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Sowers hits a bump in the road

By Sheldon Published: August 13, 2009

CLEVELAND: Before facing the Rangers on Thursday, Jeremy Sowers was on a mini-roll, compiling a 2-0 record and 1.80 earned-run average in his previous three starts. ¶
   But he slipped back against Texas, losing 4-1 and failing to finish the sixth inning. Was it a totally wasteful outing? Not really. ¶
   Sowers was seriously damaged by Josh Hamilton's bloop double that drove in two runs in the third inning, though he put the runners on ahead of the Rangers' slugger. Sowers also gave up a solo homer to Elvis Andrus, who has only five for the season. ¶
   Still, if that's as bad as it gets for Sowers, he won't be making any more trips to the minors to correct his mechanics or his mental approach. ¶
   With only nine or 10 starts left in the season, what is Sowers hoping to accomplish? ¶
   ""I'd like to bounce back with another stretch of good outings,'' he said. ""I guess that would be the most important thing: create some good stretches.'' ¶
   Naturally, his agenda includes the standard starters' goals. ¶
   ""I want to pitch six or seven innings per start if not more,'' he said. ""And I want to give us a chance to win.'' ¶
   Actually, he did that Thursday, but the Tribe could do nothing against Texas' newfound pitching strength. ¶
   Like most pitchers, Sowers is at his best when he keeps the ball down in the strike zone, but that was a problem Thursday. ¶
   ""Commandwise, it was just one of those days,'' he said. ""But that's the way pitching is.'' ¶
   Sowers doesn't seem to be searching for answers, which is what he appeared to be doing early in the season, when inconsistency earned him a trip to Columbus for corrective measures. ¶
   Whatever lessons he learned at Triple-A, he doesn't need a prepared list of to-do things when he goes to the mound. ¶
   ""Do I have a mental list, no,'' he said. ""You just go start to start.'' ¶
   In other words, a starter must make in-the-moment adjustments according to whom he is facing and the situation in which he finds himself. ¶
   ""We know what it takes to be successul,'' Sowers said. ""It's a matter of execution. You know not to leave pitches over the plate, but sometimes it happens. Baseball is a game of incredible variables. A team can win 10-0 one day and come back the next against the same team and lose 10--0.'' ¶
   FALSE ALARM -- For the second time in four games, Travis Hafner was not in the lineup. Was something wrong with his surgically repaired shoulder? ¶
   ""He was just unavailable today,'' manager Eric Wedge said somewhat cryptically. ""That's the way it's going to be this year. We hope that he'll play all three games in Minnesota then have the off day.'' ¶
   Hafner has been getting periodic days off to allow continued healing of his shoulder. ¶
   ""This was just a scheduled off day for me,'' he said. ""I'm playing five out of six. My shoulder is improving as the season goes on.'' ¶
   HONOREES -- Five Mahoning Valley players have made the New York-Penn League All-Star Team: infielder Kyle Smith, outfielder Jordan Henry and right-handers Corey Burns, Marty Popham aqned Clayton Cook. The Scrappers have the best record (34-19) in the league. ¶
   MINOR LEAGUE DEAL -- Columbus infielder Andy Cannizaro has been traded to the White Sox for cash and has been placed on the Triple-A Charlotte roster by Chicago. Cannizaro has been on the minor-league disabled list. ¶
  FARM FACTS -- Matt LaPorta hit his 15th home run of the season in Columbus' 2-1 loss to Indianapolis. *elip Russell Young gave up one run and seven hits in five innings, as Kinston lost to Lynchburg 6-5. Lucas Montero had three hits and one RBI. *elip Nick Hagadone gave up two runs, one hit and two walks in 22/3 innings, as Lake County fell to Augusta 4-3.  Hagadone was a key acquisition in the deal that sent Victor Martinez to the Red Sox. *elip Kyle Bellows homered, tripled and drove in five runs, as Mahoning Valley routed Brooklyn 12-1. Greg Folgia had two hits and three RBI, and Clayton Cook (4-2, 2.06 ERA) pitched five scoreless innings.

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