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Wickman blows save, Tribe hits new low. Andy Call, Canton Rep

After yesterday's gut-wrenching loss, frustration turned into rage:

Bob Wickman suffered his first blown save since last August during Saturday's 4-3, 11-inning loss to Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field. After the game ended, Wickman and pitcher Paul Byrd became embroiled in a heated argument that nearly escalated into a fistfight.

As if we needed to know that the players are getting frustrated. Now I have absolutely no idea what the impetus was that caused the almost-fight, but after losing a game like that, it probably didn't take much.

Reader's view not always Pluto's. Terry Pluto, ABJ

Lots of good stuff.

On Jhonny's struggles with chasing off-speed pitches:

Geoff Beckman (Rocky River) wrote that Peralta is batting only .232 against the Central Division. He has been especially weak against the Detroit Tigers (.205) and Royals (.167). A year ago, he batted .354 vs. the Royals, .382 vs. the Tigers. Beckman believes Buddy Bell (Royals) and Jim Leyland (Tigers) have their pitchers working him differently. Peralta is walking more this season, but also striking out at a higher rate -- an indication that he's swinging at bad pitches.

Dear Geoff: You're on to something. And I agree, as you wrote: ``They've stopped throwing (Peralta) fastballs over the plate and are waiting to see how he responds. There's only one way out -- don't swing at bad pitches, don't try to pull the ball, just hit lots of singles and take tons of walks. When the on-base percentage gets around .400, they'll stop walking him.''

Peralta has been getting nothing but curves and sliders this season, and he hasn't proven to opposing pitchers that he'll lay off them. That's why Travis Hafner is such a good hitter; he'll spit at the junk and wait for something in the strike zone.

Pluto also addresses the continuing insanity of missing Scott Elarton:

Reader Richard Friedman (Cleveland) wrote: ``Is Jason Johnson better than Scott Elarton? Why was Elarton dismissed for Johnson? Cheaper? Why doesn't anyone answer that question in print or the radio?''

Dear Richard: I can barely speak for myself, much less everyone in radio-land. But I have often written that Elarton got a two-year, $8 million deal from the Kansas City Royals. Johnson's contract is $3.5 million for one year. So yes, he's cheaper. And I've written several times that I would not have signed either guy. I would have let Jason Davis, Fausto Carmona, Jeremy Sowers and Jeremy Guthrie battle for the fifth spot. One of them would have been a fill-in if there were injuries in the rotation. As for Elarton, he's 1-7 with a 5.09 ERA and 16 homers allowed in 76 innings for the Royals, so I'm not sure he would save the day. And he's working in the American League's best pitcher's park.

Elarton's FIP is 6.54. Johnson's is 4.42. One is signed for two seasons, the other for one season.