August 26, 2014

Tribe Weekend Recap: Dominant starting pitching, slumbering bats, and Ubaldo being Ubaldo

Carlos Carrasco

This weekend series was once again another example of what this 2014 Cleveland Indians team is all about. The AL East leading Baltimore Orioles came to town with the biggest margin of any division top dog in baseball. Their offense is beastly, with power up and down the lineup. So naturally the story of the weekend was the Indians starting pitching. You know, the group that was Corey Kluber and a bunch of rotating pieces shuffling between Columbus and the bullpen? Well here they were, dominating one of the best offenses in the game and leading the Indians to a series win, one they needed badly to keep pace in the race for the second Wild Card.

It is still tough to see this team making another run like they did last year and it was this weekend that was example number one. There is a reason that the Wahoos haven’t won more than four games in a row this season. You can point to the up and down starting pitching all you want, but the hot and cold offense is the real reason. The much maligned rotation is on a crazy run this last week. Going back to last Saturday in New York, the Tribe starters have pitched 44 innings and has allowed just four earned runs. That’s good for a 1.02 ERA. On top of that is an 0.73 WHIP and an opponents batting average of .168. It was one thing to shut down the 4A lineup that Arizona Diamondbacks. It is quite another to do what Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar did to the Orioles. [Read more...]

Ubaldo Jimenez deal simply made more sense for Orioles

Ubaldo Jimenez dealing

Within the context of MLB free agency, four years and $48 million sounds about right for 30-year-old Ubaldo Jimenez. Within the context of MLB economics, it probably just was a more palatable deal for the Baltimore Orioles than the Cleveland Indians.

You see, even though the Orioles had to sacrifice the No. 17 overall pick1, they’re in a peculiar situation with potentially waning oodles of money to spend and in a division that requires spending. The Indians, although seven games better than the O’s in 2013, already have likely reached their spending limit for the coming season. Indications had been a bound for months that a Jimenez return was unlikely – the two sides reportedly hadn’t talked in weeks.

But the financial flexibility difference between Baltimore and Cleveland, although both face significant pressure for 2014, has a lot to do with TV and its associated boom of sports-related revenue. [Read more...]



  1. According to, the No. 17 pick has had a 65% success rate of reaching the majors and 8.3 WAR per major leaguer []

MLB Rumor: Indians interested in free agent Wilson Betemit

The Cleveland Indians are among teams showing interest in free agent third baseman Wilson Betemit, who played most recently with the Baltimore Orioles.

Comcast Sportsnet Baltimore’s Rich Dubroff reports the Indians and Atlanta Braves are interested in the 32-year-old versatile infielder.

All offseason, the Indians have been involved in a variety of rumors and news stories at the hot corner. Lonnie Chisenhall’s presence at third is the biggest weak spot of the lineup, so the Tribe has been looking for alternative options.

With Yan Gomes now entrenched as the everyday catcher, Carlos Santana brought up the idea of taking grounders at third. That experiment is currently going on in the Dominican Republic. And the team eventually added infielder David Adams to the 40-man roster from the Yankees organization. There also was interest in former backup Jamey Carroll. Backup Cord Phelps was scooped up by the Orioles after being DFA’d.

Betemit only played in six MLB games last year for the Orioles because of a knee injury and was later released in September. The switch-hitter proved valuable in the O’s surprising 2012 season, batting .261/.322/.422 in 102 games. For his career in 805 games over 11 seasons, he has a very solid .267/.332/.442 line. He has some experience at first base and corner outfield positions.

It could perhaps be another low-risk move by the Indians to see if they can catch lightning in a bottle. They’ve already reached minor league deals with starter Shaun Marcum, righty Matt Capps, lefty Mike Zagurski and catcher Matt Treanor. It’s possible Betemit could require an actual guaranteed deal, in which case the Tribe would have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move.

[Related: Outman in — Tribe bullpen takes shape before calendar turns]

MLB News: Indians DFA Tyler Cloyd; Baltimore claims Cord Phelps

The Cleveland Indians designated pitcher Tyler Cloyd for assignment today and the Baltimore Orioles announced that they have claimed former Indians infielder Cord Phelps.

Cloyd, 26, hast not pitched in the Indians organization. He was oddly claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies organization just before the AL Wild Card game on Oct. 3.

The right-handed reliever had a 5.98 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) for Philadelphia in the past two seasons. He has some impressive Triple-A numbers — 3.39 ERA in 41 starts — but struggled to find consistency in the majors. We’ll learn within the next 10 days whether he will remain in Cleveland’s hands for 2014.

Phelps, 26, was designated for assignment in last week’s flurry of roster moves related to the David Murphy signing and additions to the 40-man roster. A former second-round pick out of Stanford, Phelps hit .159/.221/.248 in 123 career plate appearances in Cleveland.

Yet, he’s also done quite well over several years in Triple-A, posting a .286/.367/.471 line in 363 games. It’s possible that a change of scenery could be enough for him to carve out a niche as a productive utility man in the majors. He certainly wasn’t going to get playing time in Cleveland behind Jason Kipnis and incumbent utility man Mike Aviles.

[Related: How crazy would it be for Indians to consider trading Michael Bourn?]

What are the Cleveland Indians’ odds to win the 2014 World Series

Now that Boston wrapped up the 2013 World Series, it’s time to talk about the Tribe and their chances in the new year. The Cleveland Indians made the playoffs this season, of course, but Vegas apparently isn’t super confident in the Tribe’s ability to repeat that feat and win the whole thing on top of it.

Jeff Sherman of LVH says that the Indians are a 25/1 shot tied with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles.

RJ Bell of has the Tribe tied with the Orioles again, but at 28/1 odds. The aforementioned Pirates are 25/1.

The Houston Astros are the bottom listed at 250/1 with RJ Bell and 200/1 with Jeff Sherman. Both services have the Dodgers with the best odds of winning at 5/1.

The Indians are our team, so you know if we find ourselves in Vegas we’re going to bet something. The only question is how much? What do you think, Chris Antonetti?

[Related:WFNY Tickets: Five top Cavaliers games]


The Diff: Reviewing stats on the surprising 2013 Indians

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote on the varying playoff odds formulations. This week, I’m revisiting many of my stats comments about the Tribe in 2013.

The Diff

Today is Sept. 25 and the Cleveland Indians have over 80 percent odds of making the American League playoffs. Yes, that’s likely as one of two Wild Card teams, but all that matters is just making it into the postseason. Dating back to the advent of the Wild Card system in 1994, home teams are only 316-271 (.538) in the playoffs. That means it’s still very much an incredible toss-up in the probable one-game playoff that would take place one week from today, regardless of location. [Read more...]

The Diff: Looking at the Indians’ thriving playoff odds

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about Chip Kelly’s arrival in the NFL. This week, I’m dissecting MLB playoff odds for the red-hot Indians.

The Diff

It’s no surprise now to Indians fans that the Tribe is on the precipice of being an AL wild card favorite. With the help of the lowly Chicago White Sox and some favorable weekend luck, Cleveland is right in the thick of things. While they remain only one-half game back of the both wild card spots, the more jaw-dropping stat has been related to the team’s mathematical playoff odds. But why do the different sites seem to differ so much? Let’s dive into each one. [Read more...]

The Boots: Expressing hope for the Indians’ playoff chase

tribe15cut-02In my usual half-rapid fire, half-prose form, I’m back with another edition of The Boots. For those unfamiliar with this feature, I assign loosely defined “Boot Up” or “Boot Down” votes to trending sports topics. Today, I’m all about Indians optimism.

Boot Up: Wild Card odds – With a record 11th straight win over the White Sox on Saturday night, the Indians have catapulted into tremendous playoff position. They now have an 80-68 record with 14 games to go and trail by 1.5 games for both AL Wild Card spots, while leading by at least 1.5 games over the next teams.

Although the Indians have taken advantage of their easy schedule with an 8-3 run, they’ve also received some help from unexpected places. Texas is 2-10 in September, Tampa Bay is 7-13 in their last 20 and Baltimore is six games under .500 over the last seven weeks.

Add it all up and the Indians now have 37.7% playoff odds according to Baseball Prospectus. Those are their best odds since the infamous Detroit sweep in early August. Suddenly, these final two weeks of the season will be very interesting. [Read more...]

22 to go: Analyzing the Indians’ still-remaining Wild Card hopes

swisher ohio“Team Streak”, the apropos nickname for the 2013 Cleveland Indians, has managed to keep staying alive in the playoff race, somehow and someway.

After a third straight victory, this time an 8-1 win over the New York Mets, the 75-65 Tribe is now only two games out of an AL Wild Card spot. Their playoff odds are again inching upwards, to their highest point in the last 10 days.

Looking at these current playoff odds, the schedules remaining and the breakdown of all of these numbers, one can see what Cleveland needs to accomplish in the final 22 games of the regular season. It’s amazing enough that they’ve somehow battled back to relevance yet again, but there’s certainly some reason for optimism going forward.

Baseball Prospectus is the site for the playoff odds below, and kudos to’s excellent postseason probabilities tracker for its complete season data. [Read more...]

Indians 6, Orioles 4: The Yanimal and a chicken help Tribe in key win


Heading into last night’s all important rubber match with the Baltimore Orioles, the Tribe knew they needed to get some mojo behind them for this stretch run. The brutal nine-game stretch with Atlanta, Detroit, and those Orioles was coming to an end and things didn’t go exactly as planned. They were swept in Atlanta, then lost two of three to the Tigers and badly needed to take the series from Baltimore or be in danger of getting themselves buried. After splitting the first two games, Wednesday night’s affair was as close to a must win as it comes. Even manager Terry Francona who doesn’t like to call any game more meaningful than another said beforehand that this was big one. [Read more...]

Orioles 7, Indians 2: A loss bigger than the game

Justin MastersonThe Indians lost more than a game yesterday. They may have loss their number one starter for the rest of the season.

They aren’t saying it now, but the “strained rib cage” is a usual sign of an oblique injury, which we have seen many times before from Tribe pitchers and if this is the case, Masterson would be lost for the pivotal month of September. The big man may be the most indispensable player on the team.

We won’t know the severity of the injury until later today when Masterson is scheduled for an MRI, but it is no hard to be pessimistic if you are an Indians fan.

“He’s the head of our team, basically,” said Jason Kipnis. “He’s the workhorse. He’s the big fella that you feel confident in every time he goes out there. You look at guys like him to stop losing streaks and to give us a quality game where we can get refocused. All we can do now is wish him a speedy recovery.”

[Read more...]

Orioles 6 Indians 3: “Bad” Masterson’s seventh turns a W into an L

Justin MastersonIn the series opener, the Indians were being completely baffled by Baltimore’s Zach Britton for five innings where they looked as if they would never score. A night later, Cleveland’s Justin Masterson was just as good for six. Retiring the first 12 he faced, the Tribe’s ace looked like he was in this one for the long haul.

“He was so good through the first six innings,” said manager Terry Francona. “He had an explosive fastball and a really good breaking ball. He was locating.”

Entering the seventh inning, the Tribe led 3-1 and Masterson had given up just three hits. He had everything working but in the blink of an eye, it all unraveled.

The middle of the tough Baltimore order was due up and with his first pitch of the inning, Masterson hit Adam Jones. It was at that point that I turned to my wife and said “here comes the two-run homer. Right here.” Literally as that sentence came out of my mouth, the AL home run leader Chris Davis absolutely tattooed the first pitch he saw deep into the right-field bleachers to tie the game at three. Davis has that Russell Branyan uppercut swing, except he has learned how to use it for good, rather than for striking out on the regular.

“I got myself in trouble hitting Jones,” Masterson said. “And then Chris Davis does what he’s been doing — he hits a homer. It’s a good lineup. We had been working well through six innings, and unfortunately, we got to the seventh.” [Read more...]

Indians 5, Orioles 2: So Smooth…..

Michael BrantleyLast night in Baltimore the Indians played a game that made you proud to root for this team. Watching them battle, execute, and eventually win this one was another example of why this particular group can be easy to love.

Sure, for the first five innings you probably didn’t feel this way and I can certainly understand why. Baltimore’s Zach Britton shut the Tribe down completely on just two singles. They looked baffled as the left-handed mowed them down with relative ease. But baseball is not a five inning game. The third time through the order can be a dicey proposition at times. Just ask the great Jeremy Sowers about that.

Trailing 2-0, things got started with the smokin’ hot Jason Kipnis, who opened the sixth with a leadoff double. It seemed innocuous at the time, given Britton’s dominance, but the Tribe train was about to run over the Orioles starter. Nick Swisher, who has been struggling so mightily in June, came through with a big RBI single to cut the Baltimore lead in half. Carlos Santana followed by lacing a double to left. Now the Indians were really in business with two runners in scoring position and nobody out. After falling behind Mark Reynolds 3-0, the O’s dugout called for the intentional pass to load the bases for a Michael Brantley. Manager Buck Showalter figured he would take his chances left on left. Except he didn’t realize who he was dealing with. [Read more...]

Video: One of Kenny Lofton’s greatest games

I was reading on Twitter this morning that it is Kenny Lofton’s birthday. That led me to go to YouTube to see if I could find the highlights for one particular game. I found it. Kenny had four hits, five steals and hit the walk-off homer to win the game in extra innings against the Orioles.

Happy 46th birthday to one of the greatest Cleveland Indians of all time. Now, bask in the highlights.

[Related: Indians prospect Trevor Bauer releases new rap song (with lyrics)]

The Indians’ offseason hunt for a veteran starting pitcher

The Scott Kazmir signing was nice and all, but it’s not going to be it for the Cleveland Indians in the starting pitching market. All offseason, the Tribe’s front office has expressed its desire to sign one more free agent starter: a veteran that could provide some more depth to the rotation.

Entering 2013, the starters for the Tribe are Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez, then likely Zach McAllister and Trevor Bauer. As I broke down last week following the Bauer-Shin Soo Choo trade, there are no other immediate options in Columbus or elsewhere. Indians fans would simply see the usual revolving door at No. 5 should no other pitcher join the fold: a la Jeanmar Gomez, Carlos Carrasco, et al.

So what’s left on the market for the Indians? Reportedly, Cleveland was on the short list of suitors for RHP Edwin Jackson, who signed a 4-year, $52 million deal with the Cubs earlier this week. But with the New Year approaching, the list is shrinking quickly. [Read more...]

15 Years Ago: The Team Of (Almost) Destiny

Strap in folks, this is a long one……

I love Twitter for so many reasons. It’s my source for news, sports, comedy, etc. I am a Twitter junkie no doubt. I feel like I’ve read so many articles and stories that I would have had no clue existed if not for my timeline.

Then there are the stats or the pieces of history that you can be alerted to. Take two days ago for example. Our buddy from Zack Meisel tweeted out that it was exactly 15 years ago Monday that Tony Fernandez hit a 10th inning, solo home run off of Baltimore reliever Armando Benitez in Game six of the 1997 American League Championship series, vaulting the Indians into the World Series for the second time in three years. [Read more...]

Playoff Baseball and What the Indians Did Wrong

The past few nights have been tremendous fun for baseball fans around the world. Obviously, the results did not go in the underdog’s favor, but several extra-inning games and a record 4/4 five-game division series make for tons of drama.

Just last season, fans would be amazed by the fact that the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics even made it to the playoffs, let alone pushed historical champions to the brink.1 Pre-2012, many would have considered the Cleveland Indians to be at least better than the latter two teams on that playoff exit list, but they faltered to an abysmal 68-94 finish.

Yes, all three of those surprising teams had their seasons end in the last couple days. But at least they made it to the October showdown. That’s something the Indians haven’t done since 2007 and the midges. So, despite annoying little insects, what do these three teams from meager backgrounds have that the Indians don’t? Well, three common trends are great leadership, great drafting and fantastic pitching. Let’s explore a bit more: [Read more...]



  1. Cincinnati doesn’t count as an underdog, they’ve been too good recently. Although as a fellow Ohio baseball fan, you have to feel for those fans — they are some diehards. []

While We’re Waiting … Belichick’s Browns, Tyler Zeller’s Blog, Indians as Next Orioles?

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at

A quick preview of tonight’s NFL Films show: “In 2011, NFL Films launched its remarkable A Football Life series with a two-part study of Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The next episode, which focuses on the ’95 Browns, should more accurately be regarded as a Belichick prequel. The study of the 1995 Cleveland Browns, which debuts Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on NFL Network, spends more time focusing on the legacy of the coach than the fate of the franchise. Yes, there’s plenty about the final days in Cleveland of the team that became the Ravens. But there’s more about the manner in which Belichick influenced a generation of men who reached tremendous heights (admittedly with varying degrees of success) elsewhere.” [Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk] [Read more...]

Indians 3, Orioles 1: The Amish Beard Looks Good, So Does Masterson

It is a bit on the dramatic side to call a game on July 23rd a “must win” for any baseball team, but if anyone needed a W last night, it was your Cleveland Indians. With the Detroit Tigers, winners of five straight and eight of ten, swooping into first place and coming to town Tuesday for a three-game set, it was imperative that the Wahoos break out of their funk and get back in the win column. They lost all three over the weekend to Baltimore Orioles and looked horrible doing so. Naturally, they did so in front of three huge Progressive Field crowds.

The Tigers can smell the blood in the AL Central water, so they went out and traded their top pitching prospect, Jacob Turner, along with two other prospects to the Miami Marlins for starter Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante. They filled their two biggest holes in one fell swoop. The Indians? Well, they are just trying to stay afloat and see what happens during this next key week before the July 31st trade deadline. [Read more...]

Box Score: Orioles 4, Indians 3

The Tribe’s miserable weekend continued on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field as they dropped the third game of their four-game series against the Orioles. Zach Britton allowed just four hits in six shutout innings and it appeared the O’s would cruise to a 4-0 win. The offense was nowhere to be found for eight innings and it looked like they would be shutout for the third time since the start of the second half just over a week ago.

But Indians made plenty of noise in their last at-bat. Carlos Santana took a Luis Ayala offering just over the right field wall to end the shutout with a two-run homer. That forced Buck Showalter to make the call for MLB saves leader Jim Johnson, who promptly gave up a double to Shelley Duncan high off the left field wall. Duncan started watching it, trotting around first as it looked like he expected it to go out. After stumbling around first, he just got in under the tag at second and was knocked in on Travis Hafner single down the left field line. The rally would die, however, with pinch-runner Jack Hannahan on second.

The Tribe will try to stave off a sweep on Monday afternoon.

N. Markakis rf 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .276
J.J. Hardy ss 5 1 2 3 1 0 1 0 1 .220
J. Thome dh 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .273
A. Jones cf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .290
W. Betemit 3b 4 1 2 1 1 0 1 0 2 .255
C. Davis lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .261
    E. Chavez lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .176
M. Reynolds 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .209
R. Flaherty 2b 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 .204
    O. Quintanilla 2b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
T. Teagarden c 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .091
 Totals 35 4 11 4 2 1 5 0 16
HR - J Hardy (14, 1st inning off J Tomlin 1 on, 0 Out), W Betemit (11, 8th inning off J Accardo 0 on, 0 Out).
S - T Teagarden 2.
RBI - J Hardy 3 (37), W Betemit (34).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Hardy 1, A Jones 1, M Reynolds 1.
GIDP - M Reynolds.
Team LOB - 7.
S. Choo rf 3 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 .293
A. Cabrera ss 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 .272
J. Kipnis 2b 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .274
J. Lopez 3b 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .247
M. Brantley cf 3 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 .295
C. Santana 1b 4 1 3 2 1 0 1 0 3 .232
S. Duncan dh 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .225
L. Marson c 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 .274
    T. Hafner ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .233
    J. Hannahan pr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .247
A. Cunningham lf 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .177
    J. Damon ph-lf 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .231
 Totals 35 3 8 3 1 3 7 1 14
2B - C Santana (15, Z Britton); S Duncan (9, J Johnson).
HR - C Santana (7, 9th inning off L Ayala 1 on, 1 Out).
RBI - C Santana 2 (36), T Hafner (27).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - A Cabrera 1, J Lopez 1, C Santana 2, A Cunningham 1.
Team LOB - 8.
 Base Running
SB - J Kipnis (21, 2nd base off Z Britton/T Teagarden).
DP - 1 (J Tomlin-A Cabrera-C Santana).
Z. Britton (W, 1-0) 6.0 4 0 0 2 5 0 1.80 3.60
L. Ayala 2.1 2 2 2 0 1 1 1.24 2.83
J. Johnson (S, 30) 0.2 2 1 1 1 1 0 0.97 2.55
J. Tomlin (L, 5-7) 6.0 8 2 2 0 2 1 1.37 5.34
E. Rogers 1.0 2 1 1 1 1 0 0.82 2.61
J. Accardo 1.0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1.33 3.68
C. Allen 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.00 0.00