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Cleveland Indians

Tribe bullpen making positive move?

By Sheldon Published: June 22, 2009

  Does practice make perfect?  Is it possible that the Indians' bullpen has pitched so many innings in the month of June that the relief corps has corrected its problems? ¶
    Even though the Tribe lost all three games to the Cubs over the weekend, with the exception of closer Kerry Wood, the bullpen displayed a sharp turnaround. ¶
   Wood blew two saves and gave up three runs in 11/3 innings at Wrigley Field. The rest of the bullpen combined to throw 111/3 innings and give up only two runs. ¶
   Asked whether this theory has merit, manager Eric Wedge said, ""The more you pitch -- the more you're out there -- if you have decent stuff, you should get better.'' ¶
   Orel Hershiser used to talk about how difficult it is for starting pitdhers to practice, because in trying to protect their arms, they must strictly limit the number of pitches they throw between outings. It's even harder for relievers to make corrections, because they never know when they will have to pitch for real. ¶
   Even Jensen Lewis and Rafael Perez, who began the bullpen on its downward spiral in early April, made productive appearances against the Cubs, Lewis working three scoreless innings and giving up one run, Perez throwing one scoreless inning but letting in a run on an error. ¶
   Going into the series in Chicago, the Tribe relief corps had thrown 47 innings in 14 June games, an average of more than 31/3 innings per game. ¶
   GETTING IT DONE -- At least in his first outing as an Indian, left-hander Mike Gosling was a success, delivering 12/3 scoreless innings Sunday against the Cubs. ¶
    ""I guess I'm a little familiar with Wrigley Field, because I've pitched here a couple of times before,'' he said. ""That gave me a little comfort level. But I was still nervous. It was my first time pitching for Cleveland and the first time pitching in the big leagues for a couple of years.'' ¶
   INJURY UPDATES -- Asdrubal Cabrera will begin a 20-day rehabilitation assignment at Arkon tonight, when the Aeros play Trenton. *elip Aaron Laffey will make his second rehab start tonight in Akron. *elip Grady Sizemore might be activated from the disabled list tonight in Pittsburgh. ¶
   ON THE DOTTED LINE -- The Tribe signed its 13th round selection in the June draft Monday, right-hander Jeremy Johnson, who pitched for Washington State University. He is the 18th Indians draftee to sign and the 13th among their top 16 picks. ¶
   BAD OMEN -- When the Tribe begins a three-game set with the Pirates in Pittsburgh tonight, it will be with a cautionary note. In six previous games between the teams at PNC Park, the Bucs have won five. ¶
   On the other hand, the Pirates have lost four in a row and five of their last six. That compares with Cleveland's current six-game losing streak. ¶

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