Friday, April 28, 2006

Checking in

It's Friday afternoon. Let's take stock of the situation in Cleveland sports:

The Indians
Where was this effort against Seattle, Detroit, Baltimore and Kansas City?
After losing nine of 14 heading into Wednesday, the Indians finally got tired of being pushed around, and responded with a pair of knockout blows against Boston.
They ripped the Red Sox 7-1 Wednesday, then came back with a 15-3 pounding of Boston Thursday.
Ben Broussard had his semi-annual "game for the ages," knocking in eight runs, including a grand slam in the first inning. The eight runs ties Manny Ramirez for second-most RBIs in one game by an Indian.
Now, we can expect Broussard to retract into his shell and hit .230 until he busts out with another eight-RBI game in September. But if you are going to go nuclear, might as well be against Boston.
Texas comes into town for a three-game series starting tonight.

The Cavaliers
Tonight's Game 3 against Washington is an important game for the Cavs psychologically. After a fourth-quarter meltdown in Game 2, the Cavs must respond with a more composed game tonight.
A win tonight, and the Cavs get some breathing room. The can do no worse than come back home with the series tied.
A loss, and this series could start slipping away from the Cavs in a big way. Game 4 immediately becomes a must-win on Sunday. Cleveland would undoubtedly begin feeling the pressure of approaching elimination, and a stressed Cavs team has not been an effective team this year. They still lack the mental toughness to dig out of a huge deficit over the course of a series.
A loss tonight could start a really bad snowball effect.

The Browns
Cleveland has a chance to put an exclamation point on what has been a productive offseason by having a good draft this weekend. Or they can whiff on picks and totally negate what they did in free agency.
The Browns, with the 12th pick, are slated to go on the clock sometime around 3 p.m. Saturday. Below are the top five picks I think the Browns have a chance to make at 12.

1. Haloti Ngata. He would give the Browns beef up front for years to come.
2. Chad Greenway. The Browns could move him to inside linebacker, where he could flourish as a leader.
3. Kamerion Wimbley. No, he's not Ray Lewis. But he could be another Jamir Miller.
4. Vince Young. Not to keep. But the team that holds Young's rights suddenly becomes very popular on the trade market.
5. Jimmy Williams. Sure, the Browns have enough defensive backfielders to sink a battleship, But they don't have a shutdown cornerback. And Williams could be that.

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