August 17, 2014

Indians 3, White Sox 2: Yanimal and Bauer send Tribe into break on a high

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer is a beast. I know the stats might not say so, but my man is one heck of a pitcher. We may look back at the trade of Shin-Soo Choo for Bauer and reliever Bryan Shaw (among others) in the same vain as Bartolo Colon trade. I know that is crazy talk, but at age 23, you can see Bauer getting better and better each start while Shaw is a rock as the set up man in the pen.

One had a great day on Sunday, the other, not so much. But the two more Indians who came over in a trade together, Catcher Yan Gomes and super utility man Mike Aviles, played a major hand in the Tribe’s 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. [Read more...]

The Great Albert Belle Bat Caper: Reliving Yesteryear

Albert Belle, Steady Flexin

Of course, the Chicago White Sox will neither confirm nor deny. Certainly, the Sox employ national, regional, area and international scouts for amateur prospects. All teams do. But their major league player acquisition strategy appears to be one of a kind.

History bears it out.

[Read more...]

White Sox 3, Indians 2: Lack of “O,” poor “D,” ruin House’s “A” performance

TJ House

I have seen this game way too many times before. The Cleveland Indians get great starting pitching from an unlikely source, can’t get anything going with the bats, make an ill-timed error, and lose a winnable game. It is getting to become a real tired act.

Poor T.J. House pitched as well as anyone could have possibly hoped for. Coming up from Columbus to replace the injured and ineffective Zach McAllister, the left-hander was borderline dominant. Heading into the seventh, House was working on a three-hit shutout. There was a lot to like from the Southpaw. He was mixing and matching his breaking stuff with his fastball. The command was impeccable. The White Sox had little answer for him.

[Read more...]

White Sox 6, Indians 2: Another costly error direct cause of Wahoo loss

MIchael BrantleyThe Indians may have turned a corner with their play in a home sweep of the Detroit Tigers. They followed that up with a split of the series in Baltimore, which you will take all day. Next up was the Chicago White Sox, who the Tribe has already seen several times this year. Though they have played some of their better baseball of late, one thing has not changed; their horrific defense.

No matter the day you can count one three things in life right now: Death, Taxes, and bad Tribe defense costing them at least one run. They have lost three of their last four after the 6-2 Memorial Day defeat on the South Side of Chicago. In those three losses, three errors (one in each game), directly accounted for six unearned runs. This isn’t a recent trend either, it is a season long reality. The Indians are the worst defensive team in the league. There are no two ways around it.

Monday afternoon was just another prime example. [Read more...]

Hey, Cleveland — Meet your new ace

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He can’t touch triple-digits like Danny Salazar. He wasn’t the subject of an offseason contract debate. But don’t let the inflated ERA fool you—Cleveland’s Corey Kluber has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Rick Manning wanted a walk. As Corey Kluber toed the rubber—his face as stoic as ever, the baseball held at his side—he stared toward second base. Leury Garcia was bouncing around, extending his lead towards third base in the ever-distracting will-he-or-won’t-he manner, the Chicago White sox second baseman having recently been advanced by the way of the bunt. At the plate was José Abreu, Major League Baseball’s home run and RBI leader. The big swinging, 255-pound first baseman had already bitten off a piece in the first inning, clubbing his 12th home run of this still-young season. One misstep by Kluber this time around and his Cleveland Indians would be staring at a crooken number deficit in what was just the third inning.

[Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Injuries change dynamic, a starter revival, freeing Lonnie, and three outs shy of a sweep

Justin Masterson

A weekend that should have been spectacular turned out to be just good with a bitter aftertaste. Home from a brutal west coast swing, the Tribe was back on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. Following back-to-back wins to open a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox, the Indians led 3-1 heading into the ninth inning Sunday afternoon as closer John Axford came on to face the White Sox 2-3-4 hitters.

They say walks will kill you and in this instance, the old adage came to fruition. With a two-run lead, Axford should have fed the ball to the slumping Gordon Beckham. Instead, he walked him on four pitches. Hard-hitting first baseman Jose Abreu had already homered twice in the series, but the Tribe’s closer came back with a big strikeout. Unfortunately, Axford did what he just cannot do: He walked the tying run, strikeout machine Adam Dunn. This brought Dayan Viciedo to the plate, one of the hottest hitters in the American League. You know what happened next.

[Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Masterson’s ill-timed stinker, the Carrasco conundrum, Asdrubal’s impatience, and roster decisions

Jason Kipnis

The Cleveland Indians took two of three from the San Diego Padres and headed to Chicago for a four-game set with the team they owned last year, the White Sox. A 17-2 season-series was never going to happen again, especially with the off-season improvements the South Siders have made. We saw a lot of that this weekend with Adam Eaton and Jose Abreu looking like potential thorns in the side of the Indians for years to come.

After losing the first two, the Tribe took a see-saw affair Saturday 12-6 and looked to leave Chicago with a split Sunday. Corey Kluber gave the Indians a solid performance, but was touched up for an eighth inning solo homer to Marcus Semien which broke a 1-1 tie. But this Tribe team doesn’t quit. They came right back to get two off of closer Matt Lindstrom with the key hit by the hot-hitting David Murphy. But you have to get 27 outs to win a game, and the Tribe couldn’t close. [Read more...]

Thome’s first pitch juuuuuust a bit outside

Former Indian Jim Thome (you know, the guy who is getting a statue this summer) was invited to throw out the first pitch for the Charlotte Knights. The Knights are the AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, but were the Indians’ affiliate in 1993 and ’94. Thome and Manny Ramirez were part of that ’93 team that won the International League title.

Thome never pitched in a major or minor league game. Perhaps we now know why.

White Sox 7, Indians 3: Salazar impressive yet disappointing

Danny SalazarWell, that certainly was a weird game now wasn’t it?

On their way to 92 wins and a Wild Card playoff berth a year ago, your Cleveland Indians used the Chicago White Sox as their personal punching bag. The Wahoos beat the White Sox 17 times in 19 games, including the final 14 in a row. During that stretch, they had three walkoff home runs, two by then 41-year old part time DH Jason Giambi. But it is a new year, and the new look White Sox were out to show the Tribe that they weren’t going to be pushovers this year.

The way things started off early, it looked as though more of the same was coming. Along with many other members of the Tribe elite, I openly questioned why Terry Francona has continued to use Asdrubal Cabrera as his leadoff man against left-handed pitching. The Tribe’s shortstop has looked putrid at the plate thus far, making many pine for 2015 when top prospect Francisco Lindor will assuredly take over. Naturally, Cabrera led off the game with a double high off the wall in left. After a Nick Swisher walk, Jason Kipnis continued his torrid hitting in his home city with a single to left. The ball took an awkward hop and bounced off of the hand of left fielder Alejandro De Aza, allowing Cabrera to score. A second run would come home on Ryan Raburn’s sac fly. [Read more...]

Indians open 2014 season at 17 in ESPN MLB power rankings

Terry Francona had much to celebrate in 2013 (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel)

Power rankings aren’t interesting to everyone. I tend to be a power rankings front runner. I love to look at them when my team is performing well, and barely pay attention to them when they’re not. For whatever reason, I thought to look at them today just before the Indians start real games, and the Tribe is standing number 17 in the starting gates to the 2014 MLB season. For reference, Vegas odds for the Tribe to win the World Series are 50/1.

Around the Tribe’s division, Detroit is not-so-surprisingly ranked tops in the A.L. Central. They are ranked sixth. Vegas odds have the Tigers as 9/1 odds to win the World Series.

Next up, the Kansas City Royals hold lucky number 13 ahead of the Tribe. Their World Series odds are 45/1.

As I said, the Tribe were 17 and then the White Sox, who are 100/1 to win the World Series according to Vegas, are 27 to start the year in ESPN’s MLB power rankings.

[Related: 2014 WFNY Tribe Predictions]

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(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel)

Solutions for NBA tanking and Jim Thome wants to play: While We’re Waiting

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By now, you’ve seen the first two renditions of our new version of While We’re Waiting. Andrew got us started on Tuesday. Rick followed up on Wednesday. Now, with my usual bent toward sports analytics and media topics, here’s my first stab at this new format. Hope you enjoy and chime in with your thoughts in the comments.

The 76ers are awful. Like, really, really awful. Is it an “embarrassment”? What needs fixed? Last week, it seemed like the ESPN properties all seemed to gang up on the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving’s free agency status. Yesterday, they all appeared to team up to discuss “tanking” and the currently horrendous Philadelphia 76ers. Last weekend, former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy called the 76ers’ current scheme an “embarrassment” to the league. [Read more...]

Debating Chris Perez’s closer role – Cleveland Indians Roundtable

Shortly after last night’s incredible ninth-inning comeback, former WFNY weekend man Brendan Porath nudged the WFNY staff: Let’s do a roundtable about Chris Perez. So here we are, again, talking about the controversial closer’s role for the rest of 2013. Share your takes in the comments.

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Brendan: So, Jason Giambi delivered one of the most dramatic and enjoyable wins in Indians franchise history. But it promptly overshadowed the continuing troubles with Chris Perez — the Tribe’s shaky (is what we’ll call it) closer. Next time, the stakes may be higher and we can’t repeatedly count on old Jacobs Field magic when there may be other options. [Read more...]

Indians 5 White Sox 4: Giambi delivers a walkoff for the ages

Jason GiambiTrying to start this recap has not been easy. I am trying to come up with the words to describe the emotions, the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows of last night’s ninth inning at Progressive Field. In a season of magical moments, we have now seen the pinnacle. The best part about it – this moment was delivered by the most popular player in the clubhouse, a 42-year old gray beard who sent Tribe fans everywhere into a frenzy. It was a time warp back to the 90′s when we almost took flashes like this for granted.

And make no mistake, the Indians HAD TO win this game with the pathetically awful Houston Astros providing zero help against the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays shutting out the New York Yankees. Losing a game against the Chicago White Sox with your best pitcher on the mound in your home stadium just could not happen. [Read more...]

Will Leitch talks Trent Richardson, Cleveland sports and an Indians Cardinals World Series – WFNY Podcast – 2013-09-23

WFNY Podcast LogoWe showed Will Leitch around when he was in Cleveland and now I got him to come talk on the podcast. This was scheduled for a while, and it was just dumb luck that there was something big like the Trent Richardson trade to talk about.

The USMNT and the hipster patriotism
Lee Greenwood and how that song sucks
The Trent Richardson trade after Will Leitch visited
The value of the trade and making that choice
The tone deafness of Trent Richardson trade
“It’s a business” for everyone but sports fans
The tone deafness of the Indians and the Thome statue
Rebranding the championship the Super Bowl
The dead jersey graveyard in Cleveland vs. the dead jersey graveyard in Indianapolis
The accountability punted down the road for Joe Banner
The parity of the NFL and how everyone gets a turn [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: “Its All Happening!”

Almost FamousWhile a way too large percentage of Cleveland sports fans were up in arms over another pathetic, same old, same old performance from the Browns, the team with a real chance to play in the postseason was taking care of business on the South Side of Chicago. I am going to lay it down for you folks. If you haven’t gotten behind this team, I have no idea what you are waiting for. This group is different. The direction of the organization is different. The manager inspires confidence. You have yourselves a team that almost completely turned itself around from a league also-ran to a club with a real chance to play October baseball in Cleveland for the first time since 2007.

The Indians knew what was at stake and they headed to Chicago on a two-game losing streak to meet up with the last place White Sox. The Wahoos are clearly the superior team. Robin Ventura’s Pale Hose are playing out the string. They are a shell of what they were supposed to be. The pitching staff is in shambles. Their everyday lineup at this point is a veritable plethora of prospects and 4A players surrounding the faded Indian killer Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciedo. All of this is welcomed by Terry Francona and his team, but there are still games to be played. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting… Fantasy football in NFL stadiums?

While We’re Waiting is a space on the WaitingForNextYear website where we share links every day. We’ve been doing it for about four years or so. Denny Mayo used to be much more amusing with his intros, if you recall. You know the drill: Email us with suggestions at tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

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Would the Browns ever try out an area like this? Do they need to? “Inside EverBank Field, during the second half of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ lopsided loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, Carlos Boria finally found a reason to cheer. ‘Yeah, baby,’ he screamed as tight end Jimmy Graham scored a touchdown. But Graham is not a member of the Jaguars. He was playing for the Saints, about 500 miles away, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Boria’s cheer was part of the cacophony in the new 7,000-square-foot fantasy football lounge at the Jaguars’ stadium, where fans were primarily following not the game they had bought tickets to attend, but those in other N.F.L. cities involving players on their fantasy teams.” [Ken Belson/New York Times] [Read more...]

WFNY Stats & Info: Indians win 9th straight over White Sox

With last night’s crucial rain-soaked blowout win over the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians have now won nine in a row against their long-time division rival.

The Indians Twitter account shared earlier today that, per Elias Sports, it is the longest winning streak in franchise history over the White Sox.

That statistic was confirmed by Baseball-Reference’s Play Index. Using that tool, I then set out to find the longest winning streaks against an individual team in Indians franchise history. To be exact, this current nine-game streak over the White Sox is the 29th streak of its kind since 1916.

Here are all of those streaks:

indians win streaks

Cleveland has only had two such nine-game winning streaks against an individual opponent since the 2000 season. Their last one was a 10-game roll over the Kansas City Royals in 2005.

In this most recent stretch, the Indians are out-scoring the White Sox by an average of 8.0-4.0. The offense, obviously, has been the significant reason why, as evidenced by last night’s 14-run outburst. The team is batting .331/.398/.536 in this stretch.

On the season, the Indians are 12-2 (.857) against the South Side Sox with a fortunate five games remaining. Jason Kipnis (1.029 OPS in 45 PA), Ryan Raburn (1.319 OPS in 39 PA) and Yan Gomes (1.281 OPS in 32 PA) have led the charge offensively in these 14 games.

[Related: Indians 14 White Sox 3: Sox Raburned Again]

Indians 14, White Sox 3: Sox Raburned Again

Ryan RaburnAfter seemingly weeks of one close game after another, nail-biters that have kept us on the edge of our seats, your Cleveland Indians finally made it easy on all of us. Make no mistake about the Kansas City Royals – that team can play. They have hitters all up and down their lineup, a rock solid rotation, and one of the best back ends of a bullpen in baseball. The same cannot be said for the Chicago White Sox.

The South Siders are closing up shop on their worst season in more than a decade. They sit 30 games under .500 and are in full rebuild mode. Their pitching staff, both starters and the bullpen, leave a lot to be desired. More good news – entering last night, the Indians had six more games with the White Sox on their schedule. There is no better tonic for a struggling offense than seeing some Chicago pitching.  [Read more...]

Indians 7, White Sox 4: Bench Bunch delivers again as Tribe takes sixth straight

Ryan RaburnEvery offseason, the Indians brass gets together and tries to piece together a bench that will be able to spell the starters with minimal dropoff. The right combination has seemed to elude Chris Antonetti since he took over as GM in 2011. Last year, the group was constantly in flux with the likes of Aaron Cunningham, Vinny Rottino, Lou Marson, Jose Lopez… Doesn’t that seem like another lifetime ago at this point?

Two nights ago, it was grizzled vet Jason Giambi who supplied the pinch hit heroics with his walk-off homer. Last night, two more reserves – Ryan Raburn and Yan Gomes – came through in the late innings, providing the heavy lifting in the Tribe’s 7-4 comeback win over the Chicago White Sox. Along the way, Manager Terry Francona pulled every correct string he could. Afterwards, a trip to Horseshoe Casino should have been in the cards with the magic he pulled. 

[Read more...]

MLB News: Jim Thome joins White Sox as special assistant

Earlier this week, the Chicago White Sox announced that former Indians All-Star Jim Thome has re-joined their organization as a special assistant to GM Rick Hahn.

“I don’t think I could ask for a better situation than being in Chicago and with the White Sox,” Thome said to Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Chuck Garfien.

This move likely signals the end of the 22-year playing career for the 42-year-old slugger and likely future Hall of Famer. He finishes his illustrious playing days with a .276 average, 2,328 hits, 451 doubles and 612 home runs. He ranks seventh all-time in homers and 24th with a .554 slugging percentage.

Back in 2011, Thome returned to the Cleveland franchise where he first achieved stardom in the mid-’90s. He hit .296 with an .869 OPS in his 22 games with the team that year. He then continued his DH/pinch-hitting ways with Baltimore and Philadelphia during the 2012 season, before being unable to find another playing job this offseason.

The Indians announced toward the end of the 2011 season that they have plans to unveil a Thome statue where his legendary 511-foot home run landed in July 1999. The statue, which was commissioned about 21 months ago, has a placemarker and will be just behind Heritage Park in center field, has been a highly contentious topics for Cleveland sports fans of late, especially with this recent news of working for a division rival.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Thome is the 11th former White Sox player to be added to the organization’s staff. Team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who has long been a fan of the Peoria, Ill., native, emphasized that he thinks Thome could be a manager some day.

“He’ll be here and be a presence in our clubhouse, come to spring training and be a presence,” Reinsdorf said to the Tribune. “It’ll be a real plus. And someday he’ll manage a major league team.”

[Related: Indians no longer pursuing Jim Thome, will not commit roster spot to DH]