Quick riddle: Who is worse on the mound right now - the Indians Cliff Lee or the Aeros Shawn Nottingham?
Quick answer: Both of them.
At least it seemed that way Thursday night.
In front of me on the field was the clearly overwhelmed Nottingham, who coughed up 10 runs - including eight in the first two innings to visiting Altoona to hand the Curve the win in the first game of this four-game series. He has lost his last four starts as his ERA has ballooned to 4.87.
Then there was Lee laboring on TV behind me, dishing up nine runs to Boston - after the Tribe had held the hard-hitting Red Sox to just a run the last two nights. Like Nottingham, Lee has been struggling for quite some time now.
It's probably time for both pitchers to take a step back - Nottingham to Class-A Kinston and Lee (since he has an option remaining) to Triple-A Buffalo.
I know it's a lot easier to send Nottingham down. I know the Indians are in a bind with their starters since their top two minor league options are left-hander Jeremy Sowers (still working out his struggles in Buffalo) and flame-throwing right-hander Adam Miller (placed on the disabled list Monday with elbow inflammation).
That leaves the Tribe probably having to add a starting pitcher to its trade wish list as the trading deadline quickly approaches. Or better yet - go with my plan of sending both Nottingham and Lee packing in a deal.
Seriously, wouldn't someone want a pair of left-handers even if they stink right now?
On second thought, don't answer that.
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