April 24, 2014

Tribe defense has been historically bad thus far

swisher_2014-04-05

Sure, the Cleveland Indians aren’t exactly tearing the cover off of the ball on a nightly basis, but they aren’t exactly catching it either. FanGraphs, who has been very kind to the Tribe thus far through 2014, penned another entry that wasn’t all too glowing. The topic du jour: Defense, or severe lack thereof.

As run stopping has grown just as important as run producing, the Cleveland Indians are struggling mightily with the latter. FanGraphs, who breaks defensive opportunities into percentiles of likelihood to be made, shows that the Tribe is not just struggling with the unlikely plays, they’re blowing their opportunities to make the routine ones as well.

If you look at the 90%-100% ones, you’ll notice that 12 teams have converted 98 percent or more of those plays. 17 more have turned at least 96.0 percent of “the easy ones” into outs. And all alone at 94.4 percent, and dead last in DRS, are the Cleveland Indians. [...]

You can already see how it’s hurting the Cleveland pitching staff. They have the second–best strikeout rate in baseball, and the third-lowest homer rate. They’re not immune to blame — they’re walking way too many — but they’re being saddled with a .331 BABIP that is not only the highest in baseball, but would be tied for the second-highest in the last century with a 96-loss 2007 Tampa Bay team that primarily had B.J. Upton and Brendan Harris as double play partners, behind only a 1930 Phillies team that lost 102 games and played in one of the most offense-friendly seasons ever.

Oof. The struggles have not been limited to just one area of the team. We already discussed Nyjer Morgan’s early issues with regard to stopping runs. David Murphy has been tagged with three runs himself despite being a part of a platoon. Nick Swisher has been tagged with three runs, large in part to his two gaffes in a win over the San Diego Padres. Jason Kipnis has dropped easy pop-ups, failing to convert on three “easy” plays. Yan Gomes has been tossing baseballs all over creation. Michael Brantley’s errorless streak has ended. I could go on…

As Mike Petriello writes, with the AL Central slated to be a dogfight once again, the Indians can’t afford to be helping out their opponents. The way their defense has played so far, they’re making it much harder on themselves than it needs to be.

Watching Bartolo Colon in the batter’s box is America’s new favorite pastime

Bartolo Colon is still pitching in the Majors. This year, he’s pitching for the Mets in the National League and the Internet at-large is enjoying the heck out of his plate appearances. This one, in particular, is fun because the rotund former Tribe pitcher swings wildly and loses his helmet.

Feel that breeze!

Indians and Verizon partner to roll out new wireless and Wi-Fi network

progressive-field-sellout

Say what you want about the product on the field over the last week or so, but the Cleveland Indians are undoubtedly listening to their fans. In an effort to better connect with fans at Progressive Field, the team, in partnership with Verizon Wireless, has announced a roll-out of what their referring to as new Distributed Antenna System (DAS) and Wi-Fi network.

 These updates aim to offer fans more reliable access to social media applications while allowing them to check in on ever-growing MLB.com At The Ballpark app while within the confines Progressive Field.

It was just a season ago when the entire city of Cleveland was essentially blacked out in the way of cell signal when 41,000 fans (plus those who were simply downtown) attempted to utilize their mobile devices. As tweets and image uploads on a variety of networks become a larger part of the in-game experience, the Indians obviously saw this free marketing as an opportunity worth addressing.

“This implementation will significantly enhance fans’ digital experience at the ballpark by making social media and their favorite apps more easily accessible, as well as completing common functions like making a call or sending an email or text,” said Neil Weiss, the Indians Senior Vice President of Technology and Chief Information Officer via press release.

MLB.com At the Ballpark personalizes fans’ trips with mobile check-in, social media, offers, rewards and exclusive content. It comes complete with concourse maps, food and drink menus, player entrance music info (with the ability to purchase songs on iTunes), and seat upgrade functionality. The Indians plan to offer exclusive deals to those who utilize the application. Getcha smartphones ready.

[Related: Indians (once again) among best values in MLB]

Tigers 7, Indians 5: Salazar’s implosion starts Tribe demise

Michael BrantleyWhat was thought to be a pitchers duel turned into something unexpected. The sun splashed afternoon at Comerica Park and Detroit had a much different feel than the frigid night before, but with Justin Verlander and Danny Salazar locking horns, the thought was that the fans in attendance would be in for a quick afternoon. What transpired was three hour and thirty-eight minute affair where neither starter pitched past the fifth.

For the first three innings, things breezed right along with Salazar and Verlander putting up zeroes. The Tribe’s phenom was actually better, setting down the first eight Tigers he faced. Offensively, the Wahoo offense continued where they left off a night earlier, leaving runners on base. A leadoff walk from Michael Bourn was wasted after Nick Swisher struck out and Jason Kipnis grounded into a double play. Two innings later, the Tribe really had Verlander on the hook. David Murphy started things with a walk, but a second double play ball – this one from Yan Gomes – erased that mini-threat. But Lonnie Chisenhall and Bourn both singled in front of a Swisher walk to load the bases. It was Kipnis’s chance to get the Tribe on the board, but he K’d on three pitches. He was clearly upset by an iffy first strike call from umpire Lance Barrett and told him so on his way to the dugout after the third strike. Barrett used an extremely quick hook, tossing Kipnis for the first time in his career. [Read more...]

On Asdrubal Cabrera, Francisco Lindor and wanting good things too soon

Asdrubal-Cabrera

In life, we often yearn for what we don’t have. “The grass is always greener on the other side” mentality. It happens. We take for granted what is right in front of us. In sports, the same thing often plays out. Fans fall out of favor with certain players, wish for a former star to return, desire another team’s starter or hope for the highly touted prospect to finally arrive.

This is happening right now for the Cleveland Indians, and I just couldn’t take it any longer. It’s not really fair; fans are underrating the player that exists right now. And they’re forgetting just how young a certain prospect happens to be.

[Read more...]

Some Friday @sportsyelling about the Indians, Cavs, Browns and Pittsburgh – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-11

WFNY Podcast LogoI really enjoyed my first podcast with @sportsyelling, so I asked her to come back and she said yes.

We talked about Lonnie Chisenhall and his paternity leave, the Cleveland Indians early results, the Browns and if they should do Hard Knocks, the Cavaliers and whether you’d rather have a hockey team and lots lots more.


Check out this episode!

Remembering Yesteryear: When Tribe players caught balls thrown off Terminal Tower

Terminaltower

He commonly was shirtless while grilling chicken in the backyard with my dad. Not that it mattered, but the effect was natural. My barrel-chested grandfather had the deep, permanent tan of a man who’d spent a lifetime of summers out in the Ohio sun.

His hands were toughened from working the Geauga County farm for his disabled father. And then later in his Willoughby auto shop right next to Ohio Rubber, on Vine Street; business was good for the bright, self-taught mechanic who’d also been a factory worker in the 1940s during the war.

What drew others to him was his outgoing manner, and his one-liners. Of course, he likely ramped that up when grandchildren were around to provide the laugh track. An example was when a waitress- a perfect stranger- would seat us at a table. She’d introduce herself, and he’d look up and smile, “Do you still love me?” Typically, the waitress would ‘get it’ within a couple seconds and reply, “Of course I do.” We’d roll our eyes to our grandmother, who’d offer a light hearted smirk.

[Read more...]

Starting pitching excels in double dip split with Padres

Trevor BauerWhomever in the MLB scheduling department that decided having the San Diego Padres come to Cleveland for their one appearance in early April is a genius. Now seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Naturally bad weather postponed Monday night’s game, causing a traditional doubleheader to be played on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the Padres getaway day. It is the second time the Tribe has played a doubleheader this season, which is just a week and a half old.

The Indians sent Zach McAllister to the hill for game one. The last time we saw Zach, his command was a mess. He only could muster four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks. After the first time through the rotation, I will admit McAllister was the guy I worried about the most. For the Indians to reach their goal of returning to the postseason, McAllister has to be very good.

Yesterday afternoon, he wasn’t just good….he was GREAT. [Read more...]

Peter Pattakos talks about Chief Wahoo and the Cleveland Sin Tax – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-09

WFNY Podcast LogoWhen will Cleveland sports be about sports again? Well, for right now, there’s a lot of interest in issues off the field. I had a chance to catch up with Peter Pattakos of Cleveland Frowns on both the Cleveland Sin tax issue as well as the Chief Wahoo situation.

You can find Peter at his website or on Twitter.

Indians option Vinnie Pestano to Columbus, recall C.C. Lee

Vinne Pestano

Fresh off of a ninth inning that left a lot to be desired, the Cleveland Indians have optioned relief pitcher Vinnie Pestano to Columbus and recalled C.C. Lee.

Pestano, who had (by all accounts) regained the velocity which had escaped him a year prior, will leave the big league club with a 13.50 ERA in three relief appearances. With a fastball that has been clocked in the high-80s, Pestano has allowed eight hits and six runs (four earned) after opening the season on the Major League roster.

Lee, 27, will be making his second stint at the Major League level in 2014, spending one day with the club on April 2 as the “26th man”.  He has made two relief appearances for Columbus, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.

The team has also formally announced the recalling of Trevor Bauer who will start the second game of Wednesday’s traditional doubleheader. He’s coming off of a six-inning start with the Clippers wherein he allowed just two hits and struck out nine.

Keith Olbermann proposes Indians rename the team the Cleveland Sockalexis

The coverage of the Cleveland Indians and their Wahoo logo continues both here on WFNY and nationally. Many people have suggested new names whether it’s going back in time to the Spiders or embracing the Feller logo and calling the team the Cleveland Fellers. Keith Olbermann really does have some interesting historical info in this piece and then he suggests the Cleveland Sockalexis. I prefer the Fellers, but the history part is still interesting.

[Also see: Andrew's thoughts from this morning's WWW]

Captain America the Winter Soldier plus Chief Wahoo on opening day – WFNY Podcast – 2014-04-07

WFNY Podcast LogoSpoiler alert! Brian and Craig both enjoyed Captain America 2. We discuss that movie in depth and how Marvel continues to impress with their massive film undertaking.

We also spoke about the viral photo that came out of the first day of Brian’s filming of the Chief Wahoo documentary he is making.

 


Check out this episode!

WFNY Book Review — Jacobs Field: History and Tradition at The Jake

Jacobs Field BookJust in time for the Indians’ 2014 Home Opener comes an image and story-filled book from author Vince McKee that provides Cleveland fans with a time capsule of words and wisdom. Jacobs Field: History and Tradition at The Jake is 124 chronological pages that take us from the day Dick Jacobs purchased the franchise all the way through the 2013 AL Wild Card Game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Fans of historical photographs will love the image of the last remnants of Municipal Stadium that graces the book’s opening chapter. There is a shot of a ticket stub from the 1994 Opening Day, several photos of Jacobs/Progressive Field over the years, and plenty of player images, from Albert and Omar to Carlos and Tito, spread throughout the book’s landcape.

The book reads well, telling important stories in vivid detail—the main players, the ultimate outcome and the impact each moment had on the 20 years that have been the Jacobs Field Era. It comes with forewords by legendary Tribe outfielder Kenny Lofton as well as former ace pitcher Charlie Nagy. McKee does a magnificent job of reaching into the history books, some times understandably better than others, providing a reminder to fans that this team has made the postseason eight times since the Gateway District venue opened it’s doors 20 years earlier.

Jacobs Field features exclusive interviews of players and front office personnel, taking readers inside the dugout and into the minds of the men who made the decisions that ultimately led to what was known as “The Era of Champions” as well as those who litter the team’s clubhouse today. It’s an easy addition to the shelves of fans of the Indians as well as Cleveland-based history.

***

Jacobs Field: History and Tradition at The Jake is published by The History Press, is available in e-book formats and can be purchased on Amazon or wherever books are sold. McKee is also the author of Hero and Cleveland’s Finest. He is holding author events on April 10 (Books-a-Million, Westgate) from 6-8 pm, 11 (Visible Voice, Cleveland) from 7-9 pm, and 12 (Barnes and Noble, Westlake) from 2-4 pm.

Indians (once again) among best values in MLB

The 2014 Fan Cost Index was officially released and the Cleveland Indians are, once again, among the best values in all of baseball, coming in third-lowest with an averge cost of $162.24.

The annual Fan Cost Index, as run by TeamMarketing.com, compiles the average cost of four tickets, small sodas, two hats, small beers, programs and parking. The average in Major League Baseball comes in this year at $214.46, a 2.3 percent increase over last season. The Indians’ mark of $162.24 represents a mere 0.3 percent increase over the 2013 season, one which saw the team win 90-plus games and make the postseason for the first time since 2007.

While the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks continue to be below the Indians in average cost, the Tribe continues to be well below the game’s average in ticket price ($21.31 vs. $27.93) as well as average premium ticket price1 ($54.33 vs. $93.41). The cost of a beer in Progressive Field is over $2.00 less (33 percent) than the average stadium brew and parking is roughly $3 less (20 percent) per automobile.

Last season, the Indians were among the league’s worst in attendance, with many fans pointing to dynamic ticketing policies as a point of contention. While this policy will not be going away any time soon, the team has added additional values this season, including “Carnegie Tickets” as well as Kids Value passes.

The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies top the list as most expensive. The Detroit Tigers find themselves among the top 10 while the Twins, White Sox and Royals fill in between the AL Central’s most expensive and it’s best value.

Image via TheWeek.com

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Footnotes:

  1. Either defined as premium or come equipped with one added amenity []

Ever wonder how much it costs to propose at Progressive Field?

Ever wondered how to go about proposing to a loved one within the confines of a sporting event? Ever wonder how much it costs to go about such an endeavor? Well, the kind folks at Swimmingly charted out the costs and details of all 30 Major League Baseball teams and it turns out that our beloved Cleveland Indians are among the most expensive in the league.

In the event you want to drop to a knee at Progressive Field, the only time you can do it (apparently) are during one of the team’s 15 post-game firework nights (a romantic option, per Swimmingly) as no in-game proposals are allowed. While this appears to be a change for the Tribe given all of the jumbotron jubilation of years past, these restrictions are at least more lenient than the Blue Jays, Angels, Royals, Orioles and Mets—all teams which do not allow promoted in-game proposals of any kind.

Some teams offer multiple price points, lest anyone need to place a value on their impending proposal. Some teams offer multiple tickets; others offer tours. In Detroit, you can do it alongside “Paws,” the Tigers’ mascot. All proceeds allegedly go to charity.

Brian Spaeth talks summer movies, the Cavaliers and his Wahoo movie project – WFNY Podcast – 2014-03-27

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s always fun to have Brian Spaeth on the podcast and this time he happened to be in the neighborhood so we did it in person.

First things first, we talked about Brian’s movie project that he will be doing about Chief Wahoo. If you would like to talk about your pro or anti-Wahoo stances on camera, please follow this link to Brian’s site.

We talked about the summer movie season starting with Captain America. Somehow we forgot to talk about Draft Day, but there’ll be plenty of time for that later.

Lastly, we talked about anything and everything else we could think of just like Brian and I always seem to do. The time just flew by for me. Hopefully it does for you too.

Check out this episode!

OJ: The Musical and Cleveland sports with Jeff Rosenberg – WFNY Podcast – 2014-03-24

WFNY Podcast LogoJeff Rosenberg (@jeff_rosenberg or @rosenbergsports) is a Shaker Heights native living in California and he has his film, OJ: The Musical in the Cleveland International Film Festival this weekend. We discussed his movie, Kickstarter and the rest of the Cleveland sports scene.

Make sure you check out the trailer to Jeff’s movie and also see the times it’s screening this weekend.

We discussed the Cavaliers, Chris Grant, Tristan Thompson and Jeff’s dislike of Mike Brown.

We discussed the elation at not having Joe Banner in the mix anymore in Berea.

Lastly, we made Tribe predictions for 2014.

Check out this episode!

March Madness 2014 – Dayton takes down Syracuse, Justin Masterson and Alex Mack – WFNY Podcast – 2014-03-23

WFNY Podcast LogoIt has been far too long since I talked to Jacob and now that his Dayton Flyers have taken down Syracuse, we decided to chat.

We also talked about Justin Masterson and his contract situation with the Indians as well as Alex Mack and his contract situation with the Browns.

Check out this episode!

NCAA tourney, Indians pitching rotation and more with TD – WFNY Podcast – 2014-03-20

WFNY Podcast LogoFirst things first, please go vote for WFNY as a website and the WFNY podcast at Cleveland Scene Magazine’s awards.

Secondly, it’s been a bit, but it’s good to be back. I had no voice for about a week thanks to a surgical procedure, but thankfully the voice came back. With today being the start of the NCAA tourney, I just had to get resident tourney nut TD on to talk about that, plus the Tribe. Here’s some other stuff we talked about.

The first day of the NCAA tourney and Ohio State vs. Dayton

The Indians pitching rotation

The Justin Masterson contract proposal to the Tribe

Cincinnati vs. Harvard

Oregon vs. BYU

Deadspin article about oddsmakers vs. NCAA bracket builders

TD is to Kansas as Kirk Herbstreit is to Ohio State

Check out this episode!

Tribe names Justin Masterson Opening Day starter

Justin Masterson

It was only a matter of time, but Justin Masterson has been named Opening Day starter for Cleveland when the Tribe heads to the Bay Area and takes on the Oakland As on March 31.

The 28-year-old is coming off an All-Star season in which he posted a 3.45 ERA with 195 strikeouts over 193 innings. He continues to be the subject of back-and-forth contract talk as the player and his agent recently stated that he would be willing to take a shorter-term deal to stay with the team. Masterson’s Cactus League ERA remains at a nice 0.00 through eight innings. He didn’t allow a hit to the Diamondbacks on Tuesday, though he did walk one and hit two. Slacker.

“I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but I like where we’re at,” said Masterson of his spring. “We’re along the path, in the zone, the ball’s moving really good, which is always exciting, and I’m hitting a few people here and there.”

Masterson, who will making his third straight Opening Day start joins CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Dennis Martinez, Gaylord Perry, Mel Harder, George Uhle, Stan Coveleski, Willie Mitchell, and Bob Feller as players who have started three consecutive Opening Days for the Tribe1. Assuming the rotation holds, a new and improved Zach McAllister appears geared for the start during the team’s Home Opener.

(Image: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer)

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Footnotes:

  1. Sabathia, Colon, Martinez, and Perry were all pitching for different teams the following season []