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Game Thread: May 28, 2006

Season 106, Game 49

Cleveland (23-25) at Detroit (35-14), 1:05 PM (STO)

Starting Pitchers:

Cleveland: Jason Johnson (2-4, 6.52 ERA)
Detroit: Kenny Rogers (7-2, 3.32 ERA)

This week's Sheldon Ocker commentary touches on the obvious; why sign Jason Johnson? However, I think he's approaching it from the wrong angle:

The GM could have re-signed Elarton or given the fifth spot in the rotation to either Jeremy Sowers or Carmona, both of whom have impeccable credentials as prospects

Signing Scott Elarton to a two-year deal wouldn't be a viable alternative. I don't care if he was the "best #5 in baseball" last year. Elarton's FIP-ERA this season is a positive 1.72. The Royals defense isn't that great (#20 in defensive efficiency), and Elarton's left over 75% of his baserunners on base. He's walked more than he's struck out. He's allowed 13 home runs. In other words, he's pitching over his head.

Tribe operatives insist they were aware of Johnson's downside: a winning percentage of 37.7, only one plus-.500 season (8-7 with the Baltimore Orioles) and an alleged reputation for being short in the game's intangibles.

Or how about saying Johnson is just a bad pitcher? There's no need to invent weaknesses when his numbers speak for themselves. One more bad start from Johnson should be enough to banish him to the bullpen. I would have done it after last Saturday's debacle, but what do I know?