Sunday, June 12, 2011

Take By The Lake: Dire Situation for the Heat, Indians

Indians suck right now.  Its pretty clear, they are just not playing well.  They have lost 3 in a row (again) and have lost 8 of their last 10.  They need to win their next 2 games just to split the series against the Yankees.  How are they doing so poorly?  They find a new way to lose every night these days.

First of all, the Indians' ace is easily their worst starter right now.  Carmona has been on a streak of just awful baseball.  With him its never physical, its mental.  He starts thinking too much and gets too much in his head and rattles himself.  Barely over a month ago, it looked like he was really coming around.  After having a couple bad starts near the beginning, he was finally back on his feet, having a 3-3 record with a 3.83 ERA.  Since, he is 0-5 with an 8.48 ERA and his season ERA is up to 5.71.  Every start since May 8th has been lousy and he has gone this time (6 starts) without a quality start.  

While Chad Durbin didn't do Fausto any favors by giving up 4 runs, Fausto has effectively kept the Indians out of games.  The bullpen has come back to earth a little bit (but is still solid) and it doesn't help that the team isn't hitting either.  That's what hurt Talbot yesterday who had a very solid start (only 2 earned runs, one of which was an A-Rod home run).  However, the offense made Bartolo Colon look like Colon circa 2005.  When the team hits like that, even the best pitching performances do nothing.  Tomlin needs to step up today, or else the series is over and the Indians will risk losing the division lead (which they are now tied for thanks to a surging Detroit team).  He is on a 3 game losing skid which has raised his ERA by ~1.30.  Thankfully, Carrasco is hot and he will close out the series, but more importantly they will be playing for the division lead in the next series.

Dallas had a second straight win against the Heat, the first time the Heat lost 2 in a row so far in this playoffs.  Now, they have a 3-2 lead, the momentum and are going to Miami.  This doesn't matter much because both teams are as good at home as they are on the road (so no real home court advantage).  Dirk's supporting cast really stepped it up, with 4 players scoring in double digits besides Dirk.  You could look at the stat sheet and say Lebron "did well", but he really didn't.  He was passive, settled for too many threes, and shot poorly (even though he had a triple-double).  Also, Wade got hurt which will affect this game.  I think Dallas will win it tonight because they have several factors in their favor.  

First of all, I think Wade has to be at 100% or very close to it for the Heat to have a serious chance at winning this game.  Lebron has become very passive (about 1/2 of his shots were mid/long range shots and he shot 1/9 of these) and only drew 2 free throws, so it has to be the Wade show.  Even if he is 85-90%, their chances will be seriously hurt.  Secondly, the Mavericks' supporting cast has really stepped it up which is making the Heat defense look foolish (the Heat have no answer for them when they get hot, especially from downtown).  Dirk is also playing out of his mind right now and is starting to completely take over this series.  Dallas also has won 2 in a row and has the momentum and lastly, Lebron and Wade are Idiots.

Let me explain this one.  People have probably heard about Lebron and Wade making fun of Dirk being sick before game 4 of the Finals.  This is another example of their overall arrogance and feeling that they will win because they deserve to win.  Dirk is a competitor.  This playoff season has solidified his name in the discussion for the Hall of Fame (before this, some thought he was soft).  Dirk has a fire in his belly and the last thing you want to do is feed a fire, you want to pour water on it.  Unfortunately, this will feed the fire in his belly and his teammates' bellies.  If you thought it looked like they wanted to destroy the Heat on Thursday... Even the guys that didn't look completely fired up will be and that team will be going on all Cylinders.  Rick Carlisle is an excellent coach and Lebron/Wade just gave him 'chalkboard material' (things coaches can put on a chalkboard to motivate players) coaches only dream of.  Unless Wade is at 110%, the Heat will more than likely lose.

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