Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Royals, Indians washed

May 16, 2006


— The Cleveland Indians had plenty of work to do, both on their rain-soaked playing field and in trying to stop a season-high six-game losing streak, even before their game against the Kansas City Royals was postponed Monday night.

"We've got some playing field issues," general manager Mark Shapiro said just before the game was called 90 minutes ahead of its scheduled start and rescheduled as the first part of a day-night doubleheader on Aug. 12. "With all the rain over the weekend, there's at least an hour of work to be done to the playing surface to get it ready."

It's taking some time for the Indians to emerge from a disappointing stretch of six straight Central Division losses - three in Kansas City and three more at home to Detroit. The latter was the Tigers' first series sweep in Cleveland since 1990.

"We're not in a must-win situation, though," Shapiro said. "It's no fun to lose and everybody is a little frustrated. But whatever pressure we feel is self-inflicted because our standards are higher than they have been in previous seasons."

After a 6-1 start, the Indians have gone 11-20 to fall into fourth place in the division, but Shapiro would not place blame on manager Eric Wedge or the coaching staff.

"No one here is working for a job," Shapiro said. "Job security is not an issue. The coaches have done all they can do.

"The talent is there to win. Whether it is enough to win the division or get into the playoffs, too many variables enter into it to be definitive at this point."

Wedge kept his pitching rotation intact despite the rainout. Right-hander Paul Byrd (4-3) is still scheduled to open the series tonight as Cleveland seeks to end a season-high six-game losing streak. He will be followed by right-hander Jake Westbrook (3-2) and lefty Cliff Lee (2-4).

Kansas City manager Buddy Bell, whose Royals were swept in a three-game weekend series in Baltimore, made one change to his rotation, keeping Scott Elarton (0-4) on schedule to start against this former team today, and moving Monday's scheduled starter Jeremy Affeldt (2-2) to Wednesday night.

"It's just a little thing, but Scottie already was moved back a day and I didn't want him having to sit another one," Bell said.

Runelvys Hernandez (1-2) will start Thursday's game.


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