Roberto Hernandez returned to big league action for the Cleveland Indians Wednesday, August 15, opening the floodgates to analysis on his performance and conversation about his overall significance to the Tribe. Perhaps the biggest issue at hand entails whether finally pitching under his real name will benefit Hernandez's game mentally. After all keeping such a big secret could easily create anxiety, anxiety which could help explain the inconsistency Roberto Hernandez displayed so far throughout his MLB career. If Hernandez can begin pitching well consistently, he becomes a key arm inside the Indians' 2013 starting rotation.
As I'm sure anyone who paid attention to Roberto Hernandez's return knows the starter pitched better than the box score indicates. He allowed 10 hits, two home runs, and eight runs, five earned, over six innings. Tribe skipper Manny Acta addressed the main problem during his postgame press conference saying, "We played terrible defense behind him (Hernandez), especially in that second inning. He threw two double-play balls, and we couldn't turn either of them. On one of them we didn't even get an out."
Sure the Indians' defense played like they were the ones who spent six months exiled in Hernandez's home country Dominican Republic, but do they deserve shouldering all the blame? No because Roberto Hernandez didn't pitch great either. I still believe though Hernandez can become an important part to the Indians' starting rotation next year.
Why do I believe? My optimism grows from the fact Roberto Hernandez's 2012 debut maintains a spring training dynamic. You know how spring training works. Players who perform well receive praise while those who struggle deliver excuses. "I was experimenting with this and it didn't go well." Or, "I'm not in my best shape yet." However when you delve through all the praising and excusing one reality emerges, not enough data exists to correctly analyze.
Well the same holds true for Roberto Hernandez's first MLB appearance under his real name. In the interest of fairness the Cleveland Indians shouldn't draw a conclusion on Hernandez until the 2012 season ends. Only then will enough date exist to determine if Roberto Hernandez can become a significant part to Cleveland's 2013 starting rotation.
Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.
More from This Contributor: