April 23, 2014

Indians 8, Tigers 2: Welcome to the Second Half of the Season

In typical fashion, the Indians started off the second half with a bang Friday night, smashing the Detroit Tigers 8-2 at Progressive Field. Jake Westbrook looked like he was on pace for a off night after allowing an RBI single to Miguel Cabrera in the first, but the Tribe offense responded quickly to take over the game.

Trevor Crowe started his impressive night with a run-scoring triple in the second before later scoring on a fielder’s choice and even though Detroit tied the game in the fourth, the Indians still had plenty of time for the blowout. A two-run home run and a massive sixth inning later, and the Indians claimed victory over the over the second-place Tigers.

Follow along with the rest of the starts, notable highlights and some minor league action in dash form after the jump:

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Indians All Star Break Analysis – Outfield and DH

In the second of a four-part series, WFNY will take a look at your last place Cleveland Indians. This afternoon, we will take a look at the outfield. It was supposed to be a position of strength when the season began, but today, things have changed.

On opening day, the outfield was something that you looked to and said “we are set.” For now and for the future I believe. Young Michael Brantley was in left, Grady Sizemore in center, and Shin-Soo Choo was in right. All three were poised for breakouts of sorts.

Again, the best laid plans….

When Shelley Duncan has seen regular time in one of the corner spots, you know something is amiss. [Read more...]

What “The Muscle” Hath Wrought

Now that Russell Branyan is no longer a Cleveland Indian (and Ezequiel Carrera and Juan Diaz are), we’re left trying to evaluate the Russ-Bus’s third stint with the team.  What, exactly, was his organizational purpose , and to what degree did he achieve it?  Whyd did we sign him in the first place, and why did we turn around and trade him before July?  Let’s try to sort through some positives and negatives that that resulted from his brief 2010 tenure to determine, in hindsight, what this signing meant for the Indians.

Pro: Branyan hit 10 HR and led the team in slugging percentage.

Con: He prevented Matt LaPorta from getting regular time at 1B, stunting his development. [Read more...]

Philles 7 Indians 6: Never Spending Money on a Closer Ever Again

After another demoralizing defeat in grand fashion in Philadelphia last night, I have a few questions for you, Tribe fans.

1. Who is a bigger waste of an $11 million salary – Travis Hafner or Kerry Wood?

2. Who had a worse night in terms of their trade value – Jake Westbrook or Kerry Wood?

3. When will Manny Acta learn how to properly work his bullpen?

We will get to those in a little. Now to the game. [Read more...]

SABR-Toothed Triber: We Get an All-Star Representative?

Yes.  We do.  For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the Cleveland Indians will send a player to the All-Star Game to help determine home-field advantage in a World Series they have no chance of playing in.

To be honest, the Game has become a bit of a farce.  It sort of matters, but it’s played like it doesn’t.  Sure, the managers would like to win, but not at the expense of real effort or keeping any reserves on the bench.  This magic combination of blah and blasé team up to deliver you one of the most forgettable moments in the modern baseball season: the Midsummer “Classic”.  At least the NBA All-Star game knows what it is: an exhibition.  The MLB version seems confused about its raison d’etre, and often leaves me wondering why we have one at all.

But each team is guaranteed one representative (until Bud Selig dies or retires), and it’s my job to vet the Indians’ candidates.  Rest assured: none of these players has the slightest chance of actually being voted in, so whoever represents the Indians will be the choice of the AL manager, Joe Girardi.  Without further ado, here are the Tribe’s mostly like candidates with some SABR-analysis attached to each one. [Read more...]

Pirates 5 Indians 3: At Least Carlos Santana is Sweet

In all of my years watching the Indians, I can’t ever remember a week in which the defense was worse. During the three-game sweep administered by the Mets, the Wahoos kicked the ball around like little leaguers. Then this weekend in Pittsburgh, the defense was a huge part of losing the series to a Pirates ball club that came in on an 11-game losing streak.

Yesterday’s 5-3 loss was extremely painful to watch. Justin Masterson, who once again put up a quality start in a month that has seen vast improvement with his pitching, could have had a better fate; if he had a first baseman who could move and/or catch the ball. [Read more...]

Tribe loses 3rd in a row in Talbot’s worst start of the season

The Indians lost their third game in a row in interleague play last night against the New York Mets at Progressive Field, where audible “Let’s Go Mets!” chants could be heard in the sparse crowd of just over fourteen thousand.  Mitch Talbot, who lasted only four innings behind poor fielding in his last outing, struggled again and was bounced from the game in the 6th after giving up 8 earned runs.  The fielding behind him was once again less than stellar although each run on this night was officially earned and was not quite the abomination in the field we witnessed the night before and that Justin Masterson was a victim of.

The game was blown open in the top of the third when the Mets strung together 6 hits in a row against Talbot.  This included an amazing stretch of four doubles in a row as they ran laps around the bases for a 10 minute stretch.  Talbot continually left the ball out over the right half of the plate where it was not getting in on right handed hitters and vulnerable to lefties taking it off the left field wall the other way.

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Tribe Weekend Recap: Santana, Strasburg, and Actual Fans!

What a weekend it was down at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. The new face of the franchise, Carlos Santana, arrived with his full offensive arsenal on Friday night. He didn’t get a hit, but his team won its third straight game. A day later, his bat did all the talking and led the Tribe to their fourth straight win in a game that lasted just two hours and five minutes. Finally to close the series, the Indians got to face the phenom of all phenoms, Stephen Strasburg, and play on national TV in front of 32,000 plus.

For the first time since 2007, there was an actual buzz around the stadium all weekend. A major part of that was Santana and Strasburg. Lets call a spade a spade; fans were not coming to the park in droves to see Russell Branyan and David Huff. [Read more...]

Santana debuts, Kearns crushes former team for 3rd straight win

When breaking down the schedule at the beginning of the year, the Indians home series with the Nationals looked to be one of the more unappealing weekend series on the schedule.  But the events of the past week have added increased hype and excitement, turning it into one of the more anticipated weekends at Progressive Field.

The highlight of the series was expected to be Stephen Strasburg’s second career start on Sunday, 4 days removed from his scintillating debut.  But after a late call up of Carlos Santana Thursday night, last night’s game took on added significance for Tribe fans.  Santana joined fellow top prospects – Strasburg, Jason Heyward, & Mike Stanton – to make their debut here in the first half of the 2010 season.  Manny Acta wasted no time and put Santana 3rd in the lineup as the starting catcher wearing number 41.

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Red Sox 4 Indians 1: Victor-y For the Sox

This one is gonna be short. Last night’s 4-1 Indians loss to the Boston Red Sox was about as exciting as listening to a Ben Stein speech on economics. The difference in the state of these two teams is night and day. While the Sox are perhaps the hottest team in baseball despite being without Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett, and Mike Cameron, the Indians are one of the worst teams in the game with a lineup mixed with retreads (Mike Redmond, Russell Branyan, Austin Kearns), under-achieveres (Travis Hafner, Jhonny Peralta), and youth (Jason Donald, Luis Valbuena, Trevor Crowe). Only Shin-Soo Choo rates as a quality, entering his peak type player.

The talk of the night was the return of the prodigal son, Victor Martinez who made his first appearance in Cleveland since last summer’s white flag trade. As always, Vic The Stik was a class act, meeting with many of his friends before the game and discussing his love for the Cleveland. “I didn’t leave this city because I wanted to. This city was great for me and my family,” he said. [Read more...]

Tribe Pitching Shuts Down Chicago Once Again

The Indians took the field last night in Chicago coming off of Justin Masterson’s first win of the season, with The Fury facing off against Jake Peavy. The Indians got a superb performance from Talbot, who guided the Tribe through seven innings, allowing one run on six hits. Talbot was supported by two runs off of Peavy, who went seven innings as well.

The Indians scored two in the fourth frame, off of singles from Trevor Crowe, Shin-Soo Choo, and Austin Kearns. Kearns drove in Crowe, and eventually scored after a passed ball and a subsequent balk by Peavey. The White Sox got one run back in the bottom of the fourth after a two-out RBI single by Ramon Castro.
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Justin Masterson Gets First Win Of Season

The Indians took the field in Chicago last night in the first game of a three-game set against the White Sox. Prior to last night’s start, Masterson had lost 17 straight starts and had not won a game since last August. While pressure has certainly been mounting on the lynchpin of the Victor Martinez trade, results have been lacking.

Masterson has certainly been well-aware of the lack of productivity. While the Indians’ offense hasn’t always been the friendliest for him, the lack of results in the W column have certainly been noticed.

Masterson’s line for the night was as follows: 5 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 1 K, 1 HR on 108 pitches. While not the prettiest line, Masterson managed to keep the damage light, only giving up a run on a home run by Hanley Alexei Ramirez in the fourth. [Read more...]

Tribe Notes: The Trade Chip Edition

In a rumors piece on Fox Sports.com, their lead baseball reporter Ken Rosenthal said the Indians could be a team that contenders look at in regards to adding veterans at the deadline.

In particular, Rosenthal says the Phillies once again could be looking towards Wahooland for pitching help. The Fightn’s right now are essentially without a closer. Brad Lidge, who was so dominant two years ago and so shaky last year, is currently sitting on the DL for a second time with elbow issues. Top set-up man and fill-in closer Ryan Madson, has joined Lidge on the sidelines after breaking his toe kicking a chair in disgust after a bad outing. They are leaning heavily on Jose Contreras (always a scary proposition) and Danys Baez. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Review: Take Two in Baltimore

Just as the Cavaliers were ruining all of our end of Spring into summer months with their premature season ending loss to Boston, your very own professional baseball team was busy winning to consecutive series on the road. Granted, the competition were the two other sad-sack AL franchises Kansas City and Baltimore, but hey, you have got to play who is on your schedule.

You may not be impressed by winning two of three at Camden Yards, but consider how they did it. After a porous showing Friday night in the 8-1 loss (Justin Masterson still hasn’t won a game, lending more credence to the thought that he should be a reliever), the Wahoo Warriors looked like they were going through the motions again Saturday night. [Read more...]

Tribe “Win” After “Eight Run Rally” in Ninth

The Indians put together a massive rally in the top of the ninth inning last night in Baltimore, fueled by Austin Kearns’ third home run of the season. The Tribe were down 2-0 going into the ninth, stifled by Orioles starter Brian Matusz. To close out the game the O’s inserted rookie closer Alfred Simon (5 for 5 in save opportunities to that point).

Kearns took the plate with the Tribe down 2-1 after Asdrubal Cabrera scored on a Shin-Soo Choo single. With two on, Kearns smashed the 0-2 pitch 415 feet into left field to put the Tribe up 4-2. Simon was pulled by O’s skipper Dave Trembley and replaced by Cla Meredith, who gave up a two-run double to Mike Redmond and a two-run homer to Trevor Crowe before closing out the inning. [Read more...]

Indians Washed Out Against Tigers: An Early Season-in-Review

The Cleveland sports teams were perfect last night! The Cavaliers won in convincing fashion while its Gateway neighbors played just over four innings before the storms ended the evening early. The contest between the Indians and Tigers will not stand in the record books at all and a make-up date for the game has yet to be announced.

In the meantime, it is now interesting to look back at the season as it stands right now. The Cleveland Indians are not one of the more entertaining teams in baseball at all. From asking how the team could even draw fans to Bruce Drennan’s recent video tirade, it’s been a rough start to 2010 for the Tribe.

With a lowly record of 10-17, it’s hard to get too excited about the next five months at Progressive Field. But with June and July soon approaching, there are good chances we could see an entirely different team by the end of the season. Who knows, this might even be a team worth watching in just a few short weeks.

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Indians 9 Angels 2: Austin Freaking Kearns

A night after the Indians stranded 14 runners  and lost 5-2 in Anaheim, they came right back out and stranded 13. The difference in this one was a nine-run, 18 hit attack, and a man named Austin Kearns.

I called the offense Jekyll and Hyde on Monday. On Wednesday, the gloss has been confirmed. One night they can’t score a run to save their lives, and the next they score nine. I fully expect a shutout in tonight’s series finally. Regardless, Tribe manager Manny Acta had to like what he saw against Angels lefty Joe Saunders. He loaded up his lineup with right-handed bats and sat the likes of Travis Hafner and Russell Branyan. It went over well to say the least. [Read more...]

Indians 6, White Sox 2: How to Not Let Your Bullpen Lose The Game

For the second night in a row, the Indians used a complete game victory to beat a American League opponent. Never thought I would write that this season. This time, number five starter Mitch Talbot was the star as the Tribe managed to yet again avoided the bullpen for an entire nine innings.

Thanks to a timely two-run homer by Luis Valbuena and some costly Chicago errors, it’s now two-game winnings streak for the Indians. Talbot did exactly what David Huff managed the other night, limiting his mistakes while allowing just two runs in nine efficient innings. The two back-to-back complete games were the first for Cleveland since Chad Ogea and Charles Nagy did the same thing in September 1996.

It was also the first win of Talbot’s brief MLB career (23.2 innings pitched). The former Arizona Diamondback allowed only six hits and one home run while striking out six and walking none. His 17 ground ball outs were the difference and the 26-year-old actually retired 21 of the final 23 batters of the game.
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Tribe Talk: The Russ Bus and How it Affects Everything

With opening day just 12 days away, Tribe manager Manny Acta and the GM duo of Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti still have plenty of decisions to make in shaping the final 25 man roster. There have been several developments in the works and in reality, nobody really knows which way these things are going to go. Lets examine the most pressing issue.

Will the Indians ride The Russ Bus on opening day?

I have been on record many times stating how much I dislike the Russell Branyan signing. The 34-year old power-hitting, strike out machine with a balky back has done pretty much nothing other than stroll around the Goodyear complex since his signing close to a month ago. Yet, he is still the guy who the brass would like to be the opening day starter at first base. [Read more...]

Tribe News…Don’t get Too Excited

“I never heard of half of these guys, and the ones I have heard of are way past their primes.” “Most of these guys never had a prime.” – Fake Tribe GM Charlie Donovan from Major League

Taustin kearnshe Indians made their first foray into the free agent market! Wahoo! That’s right folks, your Erie Warriors have signed two veterans to minor league deals; one time top prospect OF Austin Kearns and 4A special 1B/OF Shelley Duncan.

Before you jump down my throat with the “how is this post-worthy” talk, you have to take a deep breath and realize that this is what we are these days. They aren’t going to be bringing in anyone of consequence in a year that they are expected to be in full rebuilding mode. As if any more proof was needed, it is no secret that ownership would love to deal closer Kerry Wood and his $10 million contract. If they were trying to contend, trading their closer would obviously not even be on the radar screen.

Now onto the players. Kearns was once one of the top power prospects in baseball when he was with Cincinnati. The Reds were overloaded with Outfield prospects that they held too long – between Adam Dunn, Wily Mo Pena, and Kearns. Throw in the signing of Ken Griffey Jr, and Kearns never got in a  groove in Cincinnati. [Read more...]