Baxter still ailing
Cornerback Gary Baxter will miss his second consecutive game this Sunday with a pectoral strain.
“My arm feels kind of weak, like it’s not a part of my body sometimes,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can to rehab, lift weights and get some strength.”
Cosey Coleman and Brian Russell were upgraded to probable and several others remained questionable but still participated in all the drills. Willie McGinest and Kellen Winslow, Jr. were held out parts of the team practice. Crennel has said in regards to those two that he wants to take it easy with them and make sure they are ready for Sundays and not do too much with them during the week. It would undoubtedly be a huge loss if Winslow and McGinest are unable to go but I hope the coaching staff is just being extra cautious with them.
BUCKEYE NATION ARRIVES
The Ohio State Buckeyes continue to be the hottest ticket in town. The Buckeye faithful invaded Austin, Texas in week two, raising ticket prices, filling hotels and even renting out the Longhorn basketball arena. This type of hoopla is expected in Iowa City, Iowa this weekend.
The game between Iowa and Ohio State is the biggest game of the week and everyone in the nation will be watching. College Game day is there and the game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
This weekend is why college football is so exciting and why Buckeye Nation leads the country in supporting THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY.
Is Laurinaitis as good as Hawk?
James Laurinaitis is finally in the spotlight. During his childhood years, Jim was known as the son of an “action hero”. Joe “the animal” Laurinaitis is his father and one half of the “Legion of Doom”. Jim was a major recruit for most colleges, but you couldn’t read an article without reference to his father.
Laurinaitis’s first season at Ohio State, he played behind a trio of linebackers that may go down as the best in Buckeye history. The focal point of the season came when Jim had to fill in for Bobby Carpenter, who broke his ankle on the first play of the Michigan game. He played well and set up high expectations for this season.
The Ohio State defense is playing well, but Laurinaitis has started the year with numbers already drawing comparisons to superstar A. J. Hawk. He lead the Buckeyes with 13 tackles against Texas, and has a couple interceptions. If the Buckeyes want to make it to the National Championship, they will need Laurinaitis to continue to have an All American season. If he does continue at this pace, he won’t be the son of an “action hero”; Joe will be the father of a superstar.
Indians walk to victory
The Tribe barely had to take the bat off of their shoulders to win this one. With the game tied at 1 in the bottom of the ninth, all the Indians had to do was watch as two Tampa Bay relievers combined to walk four batters to give the Tribe a 2-1 win. Jhonny Peralta let ball four pass with the bases loaded for his second RBI of the night.
“That was a professional at-bat by Jhonny,” Michaels said. “That was a tough situation. With one out and that guy throwing 175 mph, it was a good at-bat.”
In his second major league start, Indians pitcher Brian Slocum got the win as he struck out five in six innings. The Tribe only managed five hits but it was all they would need as they won for the sixth time in their last seven games. It wasn’t your typical last at-bat dramatic victory, but the Tribe will take what they can get. They have put together a nice string of wins here at the end of the season and have a chance to finish on a very positive note.
Byrd wins, but frustrated with himself
Paul Byrd was able to salvage a bad month by winning his last start of the season Thursday. Despite the win, Byrd was clearly unhappy and disappointed with the way he has pitched this season and wants to do all he can to fix whatever was wrong. He finished the season 10-9 with a 4.88 ERA.
“It feels good to win, but it’s just a small feel-good,” said Byrd, who expressed appreciation for fan support despite a disappointing season by flinging his jersey to a youngster sitting behind the Indians’ dugout after the game.
“The Cleveland fans have been great,” said Byrd, who was signed to a two-year, $14.25 million contract as a free agent last December by general manager Mark Shapiro.
“Shapiro put his confidence in me and I felt like I couldn’t answer,” Byrd said. “I have to figure out why and that starts tomorrow, so I can get it done next season.”
With an ERA near 5, Byrd did not pitch up to expectations this season and he has a right to be a little upset with himself. He is a veteran pitcher and hopefully will be able to work through some of his problems because the Indians are going to need him next season.
Tribe stays hot
The Indians dug themselves out of an early hole and prevailed in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Thursday night. Paul Byrd had a rocky start, allowing the Rays to jump out to a 4-0 lead before Andy Marte’s two-run blast cut the deficit in half in the fifth inning. Grady Sizemore had another big night offensively, going 3-for-4 and hitting the game-tying homer in the seventh. In that same inning, Ryan Garko doubled in what proved to be the game-winner. Matt Miller and Rafael Betancourt combined for two scoreless innings of relief, the latter getting the save.
Pluto: Keep Garko at first base in 2007
Terry Pluto makes a strong argument that the Indians don’t need to mess around with first base for next season. Ryan Garko fits their needs very well.
The injury report may appear long, but several players are working their way back from injuries and should be able to play Sunday. Eleven players are listed in this week’s injury report, all of which are questionable.
They are Baxter (chest), Coleman (finger), tight end Darnell Dinkins (hamstring), Droughns (shoulder), defensive end Nick Eason (ankle), Fraser (shoulder), receiver Joe Jurevicius (ribs), linebacker Willie McGinest (calf), Roye (shoulder), safety Brian Russell (elbow) and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. (knee).
Droughns and Roye have declared themsleves ready to go and the only player listed who wasn’t in pads in practice was McGinest. Everyone else practiced to some extent on Wednesday. It sounds like Jurevicius still might be a week away and it’s still up in the air if Baxter is ready yet.
Baxter, who sat out last week, said, “I’m trying. I’m going to do my best to get out there.”
The Browns will gladly welcome back their 1,200-yard rusher Reuben Droughns. They need his services if they have any chance of running the ball. Let’s hope McGinest’s calf is healed enough to play by Sunday because we saw what a positive affect his presence had on the defense last week. He provides great rush ability and the Browns’ defense really showed some fire with him on the field.
Rain puts damper on sweep hopes
Thirty-one runs the Indians had scored in their previous three games. They could only manage one on Wednesday night and it resulted in a 2-1 rain-shortened loss to the White Sox. The run came on an Andy Marte homer, one of two Indian hits on the night. The game failed to make it through the eighth as thunderstorms rumbled through the city. After an almost two hour delay, the contest was finally called, leaving the Tribe without a chance at a comeback and a possible sweep. Starter Fausto Carmona didn’t pitch badly, striking out six in as many innings, but still was tagged with the loss, his tenth of the season. On the other side, Branden McCarthy was lights out for the Sox. The young right-hander fanned eight in just over five innings of work and derailed what has been a surging Indians lineup as of late.
The Indians will welcome the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to town for a four-game series at the Jake, their last of the season.
The Browns hope to carry over their positive performance against the Ravens when they travel to Oakland this Sunday to face the Raiders. Both teams are winless and the Silver and Black are coming off a bye week. With Aaron Brooks injured, they will be forced to throw out Andrew Walter at quarterback, who will be making his first career start. They have had trouble getting anything going offensively, despite having a star in Randy Moss on the outside. The offensive line has been shaky and without a strong front line, we all know how difficult it can be to win.
For the Browns, they must find a way to run the football. Otherwise, defenses will continue to pin their ears back and come after Frye, who can’t afford to take the shots he did last week every week. The Raiders defensively are strong against the pass but second to last against the run so if there’s a time to get the running game going, this would be it. If they can bring the same amount of intensity they showed against Baltimore to the West Coast, there’s no reason the Browns can’t pick up thier first victory of the season.