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Monday Thoughts (Game Thread)

Victor Martinez is going to play first base only sparingly, mainly to get him out from behind the plate and still keep him in the lineup:

"My mind is on catching," Martinez said. "They told me they'd play me at first to give me some days off. It's tough to catch every day."

If there is a position change in Martinez's near future, he hasn't been told.

"I feel like I'm the catcher," Martinez said. "I've worked very hard for that."

Because he has one big weakness, there's been thoughts about him moving elsewhere on the diamond. But in their current roster configuration, the Indians have to keep Victor at catcher.

Why? Because any gain from Shoppach's throwing arm will not be enough to offset the dropoff in offense, whether Victor's at first base or not. This is an either/or issue: you can either have one of baseball's best offensive catchers and allow stolen bases, or you can stop the running game but have a below-average offensive catcher. Your choice.

There's a very good reason why well-rounded baseball players get the big paychecks: because there are very few of them. The closest thing the Indians have to a five-tool player is Grady Sizemore, and he has a weakness that teams regularly expoit: his arm. But you certainly are not going to move him to a less valuable position just because of it.

There is some middle ground because Shoppach is on the roster. With two outfielders hurt, the Indians can use Martinez at first against a left-hander, with Eduardo Perez in left field. They can use Shoppach against a particularly run-oriented team.

Cleveland at St. Louis, 8:10 PM (STO)

Starting Pitchers:

Cleveland: Cliff Lee (6-5, 4.71 ERA)
St. Louis: Jason Marquis (9-5, 5.53 ERA)

The Cardinals have four starters (Marquis, Ponson, Suppan, Mulder) that will become free agents at the end of the year. None is really helping themselves: each one has an ERA of 4.95 or higher.