April 24, 2014

Fausto….errrrr…. Roberto…. Where Do We Go From Here?

Just when you thought you had seen it all in Wahooland, along comes a doozy that leaves everyone scratching their heads. The man we all knew as Fausto Carmona, a 28-year old starting pitcher who has been a fixture in the Indians rotation since bursting onto the scene as the power-sinking stud who won 19 games in 2007, is allegedly not who we thought he was. Literally.

Reports began to surface yesterday that Carmona was arrested in his native Dominican Republic while leaving the American Consulate in attempts to renew his Visa to come back to the States for Spring Training. The reports say the arrest came as Carmona has been falsifying his identity and his real name is Roberto Hernandez Heredia. The right-hander is also to be believed to be 31 years old.

While the facts are still murky, the Indians have a real situation on their hands that is going to have to be dealt with. So many questions are there that need answers. Let’s tackle these one by one. [Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Hardesty & Hillis, Signing Asdrubal & Masterson, McCoy & Daboll’s Rocky Past

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 tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

Balancing the bulk for the backs: “While Hillis is one of the Browns’ best offensive weapons, it would be in their best interest to lighten up on his carries when possible, not only to keep him healthy, but to see what they have in Hardesty. Before Hillis burst onto the scene in 2010, and before Hardesty blew out his knee in that preseason, the rookie out of Tennessee was deemed a potential starter for the Browns. Developing that potential and operating a successful two-back rotation will do wonders for the Browns offense, paying bigger dividends later in the season.” [Steve DiMatteo/Dawg Pound Daily] [Read more...]

Is David Huff a New Pitcher? Maybe So.

I’ve not always done a good job of hiding my contempt for the sort of pitcher David Huff became over the last several years.

After flirting with some real upside early in his MLB career, he appeared to settle into the sort of mediocrity that has been typified most notably by Jeremy Sowers.  That is to say, he seemed destined to be a 4A pitcher who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make the adjustments necessary to succeed at the Major League level.  This was particularly frustrating to watch, because we all could see that while Sowers might never have possessed the talent to succeed in MLB, Huff appeared to lack the drive.  He seemed to resent his coaches.  He seemed to avoid using his fastball, incorporating instead a steady diet of changeups and curves that hitters could whack with varying degrees of delight all around the park.

Whether it was a lack of talent, a lack of composure, or (probably most likely) some combination of both, David Huff struggled more significantly and for a longer time than any pitcher I can remember.  It’s just not that common for a pitcher to be given as many chances to fail as we gave Huff over the last two years: usually after 150-plus innings of terrible results, a team will just give up on a guy.  The fact that we didn’t has less to do with a prescient front office than with a dearth of reasonable alternatives, but that’s a story for another day. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Review: Banged Up Tribe Takes Two From Twins

Lets start with the good news. Your Cleveland Indians took the first two games over the weekend against the Minnesota Twins with their spectacular pitching leading the way. Chris Perez closed back to back games for the first time since in June.  Shin-Soo Choo returned from the DL after a six-week hiatus. They have won four of five and gained a half game on the first place Detroit Tigers, who lost 8-5 yesterday in  Baltimore.

On the flip side, as Choo comes back, Michael Brantley’s sore wrist has kept him on the shelf. Worst of all, it was revealed yesterday that Jason Kipnis is battling a side injury which kept him out of the lineup Saturday and Sunday’s rainout.  So what did we learn this weekend? [Read more...]

On the Wisdom of Sending David Huff to Columbus

What if I told you we have a pitcher under club control for the next four seasons who is striking out more than 7.5 batters per nine innings, walking about 2.0, and hasn’t allowed a home run yet this season?

Now what if I told you that pitcher was David Huff, who just got optioned back to Columbus to make room on the Big League roster for the newly added Ubaldo Jimenez?

Now, what if I told you that Carlos Carrasco has been suspended for six games for doing something silly, opening up a spot in the rotation?  On top of that, since the beginning of July, Carrasco has a 9.13 ERA. Woof.  But he’s sticking on the roster for the time being, suspension and all, while David Huff dances down I-71 to ply his trade in the minors.

Finally, what if I told you only a stupid organization would have kept David Huff on the 25-man roster in light of all this? [Read more...]

Bullpen Mafia Struggling; Ellsbury Wins it for Boston in the 9th

What’s not to like about Boston? Plenty. Those pesky Red Sox gave us another reason to dislike them tonight, winning in walk-off style with three consecutive singles in the ninth off Vinnie Pestano. It wasted a good albeit short effort from David Huff and two homers from rookies Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. The Tribe now falls back to three games behind Detroit. Below is my attempt at the in-game blog format. It’s my first, so forgive me for not being the master of format and funny like my colleague Jon. I hope you enjoy it, though.

8:46 First pitch. All this 90-plus minute rain delay has allowed me to do is think about how much I still hate Josh Beckett for 2007.

8:47 Brantley is suffering from Carlos Santana Syndrome: Watching FAR too many called third strikes go by.

Still 8:47 Take it in from a distance, Orlando Cabrera! WE ARE ALL KIPNISES! I thought McDonald may catch that at the kiddie level wall out in right field. This kid is going to be something special. Good thing we didn’t throw him into the Ubaldo deal. After all, prospects are no sure thing……

8:53 Moving on… David Huff is on the mound. He currently has a 0.71 ERA. I still keep Carlos Carrasco in this rotation at this snapshot in time. I’m hoping Huff does something to change my mind tonight. [Read more...]

Angels 3 Indians 1: Santana’s No Hitter Has Tribe Offense at Rock Bottom

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Indians offense, it does.

Roughly 14 hours after losing a 2-1 heartbreaker where they had the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth but failed to score, your Wahoo Warriors failed to get a single hit against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana. The no-no was the ninth in Angels history and its first since the Mark Langston/Mike Witt combo in April of 1990. It was the first no hitter in Jacobs/Progressive Field history and the first time the Tribe has been no hit since Jim Abbott’s gem for the Yankees in 1993.  The Tribe pitchers on that day were Bob Milacki and Bill Wertz! Quite the tandem.

The first two games of this series, the Indians had to face the ace combo of Dan Haren and Jered Weaver. They managed a split with the chance to win the series with a win Wednesday afternoon, instead, a moribund offense hit rock bottom against a pitcher was entered 0-6 in his career against them. He picked the right time to be on. The Indians bats are officially asleep. Santana struck out 10, walked just one (Lonnie Chisenhall in the eighth). He was never really challenged on the day. It was getaway day and the Tribe took a lot of getaway day at bats, swinging early in the count and letting Santana get into a groove. I looked up in the seventh inning and he had only thrown 68 pitches. [Read more...]

Breaking: Indians Send Grady Sizemore to the DL

Following last night’s loss to the Orioles, we knew the Indians would have to make a roster move in order to bring up David Huff for a spot start. Carrerra was the likely odd man out. That was before Grady Sizemore stumbled rounding first base. Today the Indians made room for Huff by putting Grady on the 15 day DL.

Today the Cleveland Indians announced the club has placed OF GRADY SIZEMORE on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion.  To take Sizemore’s place on the active 25-man roster, the Indians have LHP DAVID HUFF from AAA Columbus.

Sizemore injured his right knee in the 1st inning of yesterday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards.  So far this year he is batting .237 (55-232) with 32 runs scored, 21 doubles, a triple, 10HR and 29RBI in 61 games as he ranks T17th in the American League in doubles. This marks Sizemore’s 6th career trip to the Major League disabled list and the third this season.  He is eligible to come off the disabled list on August 2.

Huff, 26, will make his 1st Major League start and appearance of the 2011 season in the first game of today’s doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins in Target Field.  This year at AAA Columbus he has gone 8-3 w/a 3.86 ERA (100.1IP, 105H, 49R/43ER, 28BB, 63K) in 17 starts.  He ranks T5th in the International League in wins (8), 10th in innings (100.1) and 19th in ERA (3.86).  Huff won 5 straight starts from June 8 to June 29 going 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA (33.2IP, 26H, 8R/ER).

 The Indians now have six (6) players on the Major League Disabled List (Carmona, Choo, Crowe, Sizemore, Talbot, White).

Sigh. Grady had been hitting the ball better as of late. He was still striking out, but offering some protection for Santana in that five hole. Depending on the severity of the injury, the Indians may find themselves under more pressure to make a move for an outfielder.

Ready or Not: Alex White Getting the Nod?

Carlos Carrasco is officially going on the DL after not feeling capable of throwing a bullpen session yesterday

You all probably know how much I like Carrasco, so I consider this quite a blow to the rotation.  You can read about my Carrasco obsession here or here or here.  Suffice it to say, I think he has the potential to be really good.

Interestingly, when it became clear that Carrasco was going to miss some time, I assumed David Huff would get the call.  I know the team hasn’t been overly impressed with his contributions, work ethic or tweeting habits, but the only other viable option (with Jeanmar Gomez already called upon to spell Mitch Talbot) is Alex White.  The same Alex White who has pitched exactly 23.2 innings in his brief AAA career. [Read more...]

Huffing and Puffing

When Mitch Talbot’s injury was made public, a week or so after the inciting incident, I was not in a particularly good mood.  I felt that the team had intentionally misled reporters and lied to fans. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t get so worked up about things like these—things that don’t really matter much in the larger context.  A mature person would have taken the team’s deception in stride, realizing that more important things are happening in the world these days than a silly baseball team and their guarded relationship with the press.  Yes.  That’s what a mature person would do.

This is the part of the story where you find out that I am not a mature person.  Rather than moving on, I continued my little rant.  When Columbus announced that David Huff would be taking Jeanmar Gomez’s turn in the rotation (so that Gomez would be ready to replace Talbot in the rotation), I decided to make what was probably mean-spirited comment. [Read more...]

Manny Acta’s Twitter Account Goes Big Time

Though Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta was once firmly opposed to social media, the second-year skipper’s Twitter account has become quite the talking point.

Recently featured in ESPN The Magazine, Acta’s microblogging feed has been deemed a must-follow for the “MLB’s most Twitter-friendly team.”  Becoming the fourth manager in the big leagues to set up an account on the popular platform, the bilingual Acta (@Mactriber_11) treats followers to live updates from the team’s spring training – like Twitpics of bullpen coach Scott Radinsky driving – as well as his popular “song of the day” or “cancion del dia” for his hispanic followers. 

[Read more...]

Pleading the Fifth on Tribe’s Rotation

If I count correctly, the Indians will enter Spring Training with four of the five rotations spots already accounted for. 

Of course, things could change between now and April, but the word coming out of the front office continues to suggest that Carmona, Masterson, Carrasco and Talbot are all but guaranteed a rotation spot.

Fausto seems like an obvious choice (though not an obvious ace, quite, er, obviously).  The other three certainly have their question marks, but at various points during the off-season, they’ve been given votes of confidence by the organization.  According to Terry Pluto, Carmona, Talbot and Masterson are “locked into the rotation.” [Read more...]

AAA National Championship: Clippers 12, Rainiers 6 – Still Wearin’ Their Hittin’ Shoes

still_champs!Clippers 12, Rainiers 6 – (box)
COL wins AAA National Championship

The Clippers apparently weren’t satisfied winning the IL title; they wanted to leave no doubt in the AAA world. They followed their script from the IL Governor’s Cup Finals series, and jumped on Tacoma early, putting the game away in the fourth and fifth innings with four and five run outbursts. David Huff wasn’t great, but he didn’t have to be; the Clippers bats again carried them to the title.

[Read more...]

IL Playoffs Game 1: Clippers 18, Bulls 5 – That Just Happened.

scoreboardClippers 18, Bulls 5 – (box)
Series:
COL leads, 1-0

If you could script the first game of a baseball playoff series, what would you write? If it were me, it would be something like: “My starting pitcher would work seven solid innings, and my offense would jump out early and make the other team play catch-up.” David Huff took the hill for the Clippers and held up his end of the bargain, working 7.0 innings and allowing just one unearned run; and as you can see from the pic above, the Clippers offense more than did their part.

And honestly, the mark of a great playoff game is when your opponent hits a grand slam in the eighth inning, and you don’t even care.

[Read more...]

Bunting’s Overrated – Clippers Get Walk-off Homer to Take Game One 6-4

Clippers 6, Yankees 4 (10) – (box)
Series:
COL leads, 1-0

“I need to work on getting a bunt down.” So said catcher Luke Carlin after the end of a wild, ten inning Game 1 of the Governor’s Cup semi-final series between the Columbus Clippers and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. If you’d seen his four failed sacrifice bunt attempts—two each in two separate late-game at-bats with runners on—you’d probably agree with him.

Except for one thing: after two bunts foul down the first base line in the bottom of the tenth with Jerad Head on first after a lead-off single, Carlin was swinging away with two strikes. And, the next thing we all knew, the ball was leaving the yard over the right field wall just under the scoreboard for a walk-off winner.

[Read more...]

Clincher! Clippers and Huff Put 8-0 Smack Down on Toledo, Punch Ticket to Postseason

With an early start time and win-and-you’re-in stakes, the Clippers had to be chomping at the bit. They went in to yesterday’s tilt with Toledo needing a win to assure themselves of at least the Wild Card spot; they had a 4.5 game lead over Syracuse with five to play. David Huff, who had struggled of late, took the hill for Columbus. And, judging by his performance as well as the swiftness with which the Clippers’ offense buried Toledo starter Charlie Furbush, the team wanted to take care of its business and leave no doubt.

Huff and the defense set the tone in the top of the first, as Scott Sizemore rapped a lead-off single to right and foolishly tried to stretch it into a double. Jose Constanza showed off his gun by throwing him out at second. Huff then retired 11 of the next 13 that he faced to get through the fourth. By then, the offense had put the game out of reach and the Clippers were on their way to the playoffs.

[Read more...]

Carlos Carrasco Returns to Cleveland in September

A bright light is appearing down with the Columbus Clippers in the midst of the Indians’ recent summer struggles. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco has been cruising recently following a forearm injury and he looks to earn an easy promotion to Cleveland as September rolls around.

Considering the recent misfourtunes of Justin Masterson, this could be a very intriguing situation for the Tribe in the end. Even manager Manny Acta had some choice words concerning the two pitchers in a recent interview with Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal:

”Justin Masterson will probably meet his innings requirements by the second week of September,” Acta said Sunday to the ABJ. ”We want to limit him to about 180, but he doesn’t have to get every single one of them. If we bring up a starter, Masterson could finish his innings out of the bullpen. For sure, we’re going to see Carlos.”
[Read more...]

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:

[Read more...]

While We’re Waiting…Browns ready to takeover spotlight, Gilbert Letter gone, Huff twitter flap

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 tips@waitingfornextyear.com

Moving on from LeBron, time for football: “LeBron James is gone and the Indians are buried in last place. So, are you ready for some football? Mike Holmgren is. ‘It kind of juices you up a little bit.  If, in fact, all eyes are turned toward us now, that’s a good thing. That’s a pressure that helps you work harder, helps motivate coaches, players, management. I believe our team is better than last year, already. Now we have to prove it on the field. Shoot, that’s why we all came here to try to get it done…I think the Indians, the Browns and the Cavaliers are partners in this city and I think it’s important for the area that we all work very hard to be good and give the fans what they want.  I really believe, given the passion of [Cavaliers owner] Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers will be back — just a cast of different characters.  Our plan is our plan. Yeah, I’m putting a lot of pressure on the guys at work to get this thing right. But it’s good. It’s football. Regardless of what happened with LeBron, we have a plan and are sticking to it and I’m optimistic.” [Tony Grossi/Plain Dealer]

[Read more...]

Indians All Star Break Analysis – The Rotation

In the third of a five-part series, WFNY will take a look at your last place Cleveland Indians. After examining the infield, and the outfield we will delve into the starting rotation. The single biggest question mark coming into the season, the Tribe’s starters have been a mix of hot and cold.

When Spring Training opened, the only things we knew for sure were that Jake Westbrook would be the opening day starter, Fausto Carmona would follow him, and slotted somewhere after that would be Justin Masterson. The last two spots were up for grabs with several players battling for the jobs. [Read more...]