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In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the month “July, 2012”

Indians decide to (mostly) sit out the trading deadline

The Cleveland Indians made a deal before today’s non-waiver trade deadline – just not the kind of deal many fans were hoping for.

The Tribe sent Double-A pitcher Steven Wright to the Red Sox in exchange for Triple-A first baseman Lars Anderson, who was stuck in the minors behind starting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

“I’m really pretty happy about it to be honest,” Anderson told The Providence Journal. “It’s a strange concept that one day I’m with one team and the next I’m with another, but I’m really looking forward to a fresh start. I think it’s going to energize me. I always thought that’d be a cool place to play with a good organization.”

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Tribe still struggling with a Detroit hangover

Much like a businessman on a long weekend in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Indians have enjoyed themselves while facing the Detroit Tigers this season.

It’s the morning after that hasn’t been so much fun.

The Tribe is 7-2 this year against the $119 million-payroll Tigers, but have had to deal with a major hangover after each series.

How the Tribe can look so good against a team that was penciled in to the playoffs before the season started and then stumble and bumble around for the next week?

We answer that question and more at The Cleveland Fan.

(Photo by The Plain Dealer)

Winds of change blowing through Brownstown

On Friday, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner issued a statement, 96 words in total, that could drastically change the course of the No. 1 franchise in town:
“In connection with current rumors and press inquiries, I can report that I’ve been approached by Mr. Jimmy Haslam, who is interested in making an investment in the Cleveland Browns. We are currently in negotiations and both sides have agreed to keep that dialogue and its details private. Given that any transaction would require League approval, care has been taken so that this process will not be disruptive to the organization, in particular the football team, as it prepares for the upcoming season. We will share further details or make an announcement if it becomes necessary.”
And with that, it appears we have entered the beginning of the end of the Lerner family’s involvement with the Browns.

Tribe rotation hitting a Lowe point

Another day, another disappointing outing from a starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.

Friday night it was Derek Lowe’s turn, as the veteran gave up nine earned runs, five walks and two home runs in just three innings of work in the Tribe’s 10-2 loss to Baltimore.

This is getting old.

Lowe’s outing is just the latest in a series of starts that make him look like the pitcher who went 4-10 with a 6.20 ERA after the All-Star break last season with Atlanta.

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Book it: Browns will not finish 1-15 in 2012

It has been open season on the Cleveland Browns ever since the end of the 2011 NFL Season.

It started with the team being criticized for not getting into an unwinnable bidding war with Washington to move up in the draft to select quarterback Robert Griffin III.

It moved to the NFL Draft, where the Browns were criticized for trading up one spot to select running back Trent Richardson and then “reaching” to draft quarterback Brandon Weeden.

It continued with the media-created “controversy” over what Jim Brown thinks of Richardson. And the cries that the Browns must do something immediately with Colt McCoy.

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It’s time to accept Ubaldo for what he is, Tribe fans

Another day, another disappointing outing for Cleveland Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

At least that is the feeling among many Tribe fans after watching Jimenez give up five runs, seven hits and five walks in just 5.2 innings of work in Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay.

But the reality is, this is the new normal for Jimenez, and the sooner Tribe fans accept it the better off they will be.

For every five-game stretch, like the one in June where he posted a 2.78 ERA in 32.1 innings of work (covering five starts), we are going to get a July stretch, where Jimenez has worked just 16 innings in four starts, posting a 7.31 ERA for the month. Before Thursday’s game against the Rays, Jimenez faced Toronto, lasting just 2.1 innings and giving up eight earned runs.

“I thought Ubaldo battled well for us,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He gave us five innings for us to do something, to score runs, and we couldn’t do it. And in that (sixth)  inning, it’s too bad, because he couldn’t come out of there with a very good outing.”

That’s a bit of an understatement.

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Liverpool slowly moving toward Clint Dempsey

Liverpool continued its slow march to acquiring Clint Dempsey on Wednesday, with manager Brendan Rodgers confirming what has been a open secret for quite some time now.

Yes, the squad is interested in bringing the 29-year-old USA international to Anfield.

“Clint is a player we’ve enquired about, it is as simple as that,” Rodgers told The Daily Mail. “Ian Ayre, our managing director, has spoken with (Fulham) to see what the position is. That is where we’re at. Clint is a very talented player but we don’t like to talk about other clubs’ players.”

Fulham wants £10 million Dempsey, who had a career year last season with 23 goals in all competitions, and who has 12 months left on his contract, but as we mentioned yesterday, Liverpool had to do some selling before they can do any buying.

As for Andy Carroll, Rodgers made it clear there will be no loan deal for the striker.

“To consider a loan period for someone the club spent £35 million on isn’t something we’re looking to do,” he said. “Andy will be the same as every other player – if there’s an offer that comes in we’d look at it and see if it’s going to be worthwhile for the club as a whole. People talk about whether he can fit into my style or not, but if you’re a club and you spend £35 million on a player you’d like to think he can fit into whatever style the team plays. He’s a good player. He’ll join the rest of the group next week and we’ll take it from there.”

We are a little worried that Liverpool will be buying high on Dempsey, but The Guardian’s Paul Doyle says that shouldn’t be a concern:

Because although last season was Dempsey’s most productive, he has been an excellent performer in the Premier League for the best part of five years. … Dempsey is a genuine dynamo, the second most prolific tackler among forwards in the Premier League for each of the past three seasons and covering more ground than prize horse manure.

Tenacity and energy are Dempsey’s first two defining traits and also the founding blocks of the style that Rodgers will seek to build, if his old Swansea City side were anything to go by. The drive that has already propelled Dempsey from his relatively disadvantaged roots in a small town in East Texas to the top of the MLS and then the Premier League ensure that he will not be rendered as meek by Anfield expectations as, say, Stewart Downing and young Jordan Henderson appear to have been.

This is a ferocious competitor who has played matches with a broken jaw and gone into challenges hard enough to fracture John Terry’s cheekbone. A seasoned American international, he will be fazed neither by the stature of Liverpool nor the amount of off-the-ball work that Rodgers will demand.

I think that pretty much works to calm our fears.

And so the slow dance continues.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Is Manny Acta a Good Manager?

Is Manny Acta a good manager? And, if so, how can we tell?

Or maybe he is not a target for fans because he coaches a team that doesn’t wear Orange and Brown?

We answer these questions and more at The Cleveland Fan.

Hey, buddy, want to buy a striker?

Even though it appears that Andy Carroll no longer has a spot in the Liverpool lineup, the club seems to be in no hurry to have the striker clear out his locker at Anfield.

Of course, the little fact that they paid £35 million for him less than two years ago is playing a key role in the decision.

Newcastle United – Carroll’s previous team and the one that pocketed all that transfer cash – is very interested in having him return. Newcastle originally said they would take Carroll on a season-long loan as long as Liverpool picked up a major portion of Carroll’s weekly £80,000 salary, but Liverpool rightly told them pound salt. Now Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is lobbying the team’s owners to up the bid for Carroll, possibly going as high as a reported £13 million, according to The Daily Mail.

But Liverpool reportedly is looking to get back at least £20 million from selling Carroll, according to The Guardian, and wants that cash to chase some other players, most notably Fulham’s Clint Dempsey.

With West Ham, Fulham and Randy Lerner’s Aston Villa also showing interest, Liverpool may be able to up the price on Carroll, but they still will take a major loss on the England international, who has scored just 11 goals in 59 appearances for the Reds.

But the squad can’t bring in any new players, presumably, until they unload Carroll, so hopefully they don’t overplay their hand and wind up without a chair to sit in once the music stops.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Green is a good color for the Browns

ImagePicking up on a theme we touched on last week, ESPN’s John Clayton points out that going young is the way to go for the Cleveland Browns.

At the skill positions on offense, the 25-year-old Mohamed Massaquoi is the old man of a group of wide receivers that includes supplemental-pick Josh Gordon (21), fourth-round pick Travis Benjamin (24), second-year receiver Greg Little (23) and Carlton Mitchell (24). Rookie Trent Richardson (21) will presumably be the starter at running back. Quarterback Brandon Weeden, who will be 29 in October, throws off the curve a bit, but in a short time the team has gotten younger at key positions.

But how soon will the youth turn into potential victories? Well … Clayton drops the dreaded patience on Browns fans:

History tells Browns fans to be patient. Teams have been successful going young at the skill positions, but in most cases, the growing pains hurt them in the first year. Going young is the right way for the Browns to go, but it will take time for everything to come together.

Clayton offers some recent examples of other NFL teams that committed to a core group of skill players that were all under the age of 25, citing the 2009 Bears (7-9), ’09 Giants (8-8) and the ’09 Raiders (5-11, but that was with JaMarcus Russell. Once the Raiders moved on, they’ve gone 8-8 in the past two seasons).

The other example? The 2009 Eagles, who went 11-5 with a group of players that included LeSean McCoy (22), Jeremy Maclin (22), DeSean Jackson (23) and Brent Celek (25). Of course they had Donovan McNabb, rather than a rookie, at quarterback.

And who was general manager of the Eagles then? None other than current Browns GM Tom Heckert.

While it is clear the Browns are still not a finished product and will very likely take some serious lumps on the field this fall, there is reason to hope that history may finally be on the team’s side.

(Photo courtesy of ClevelandBrowns.com)

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