April 24, 2014

Rocky start, “Smooth” ending: Tribe splits doubleheader in Oakland

Mike AvilesThere is nothing worse than fans freaking out over one game. But the first of the two in Oakland yesterday was one of those of those examples. I’m going to say this once – it’s ONE GAME.

Scott Kazmir, whom the Indians let walk after resurrecting his career in Cleveland last season, spent his afternoon completely dominating his old club. It was similar to some of the performances we saw from the 30-year old in 2013. He was in complete control, pounding the strike zone all game long. Only twice did Kazmir even get to a three-ball count. Scott worked fast and the Wahoo offense never touched him.

Kazmir, who signed a two-year, $22 million deal with Oakland, departed with one out in the eighth, allowing just three hits without walking a single batter. He struck out five and looked to be worth every penny. [Read more...]

Indians 2, Athletics 0: It took a while, but it was worth the wait

Asdrubal CabreraTo borrow a phrase from the great George Costanza, I stayed up late to watch the Tribe start their season and “yada yada, I am very tired today.” It rained all day in Oakland and getting this game in looked bleak most of the day. But the baseball Gods usually arrive on Opening Day. They did, the sun came out, and the Tribe’s 2014 debut started right on time.

I’m sure many of you were sleeping, and if you weren’t, the Indians offense with runners on base may have put you there. But in the end, it felt like another nail-biter 2013 stretch drive game where the pitching gave them a chance to win and the bats did just enough late to pull out a victory.

The first game of the each season is always going to see two teams trot their best starter out to the mound. The A’s sent 24-year-old stud Sonny Gray out to square off with Cleveland’s Justin Masterson, making his third consecutive Opening Day start. With free agency pending, it could be the last opener Masterson starts in a Tribe uniform. Lets hope not. The way he pitched last night had all the makings of an ace. We’ve seen this kind of dominating performance out of Justin before, but to fire out of the gates like this was very encouraging.

In seven stellar innings, Oakland could muster little against Masterson and his array of pitches. He had it all working last night. You usually know how things are going to go with Justin judging by his first couple of innings. When his command is there, he is extremely tough to beat. [Read more...]

MLB Trade Rumors: Indians interested in Oakland’s Brett Anderson

Though acquiring arms at a rapid pace, it appears that the Oakland Athletics are looking to trade starting pitcher Brett Anderson. Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cleveland Indians are reportedly one of the few teams interested in acquiring the 25-year-old southpaw.

In his five years in the big leagues, Anderson has a record of 26-29 but has been considerably limited by injuries over the last two seasons. In 2010, Anderson was one of the league’s best pitchers as measured by ERA, allowing an average of just 2.80 over the course of 111 innings. Unfortunately, he has appeared in just 54 games over the course of the last four seasons.

Under contract for $8 million in 2014, with a $12 million club option for 2015, Anderson could prove to be a gamble in the way the left-handed Scott Kazmir was a season ago. Excercising Anderson’s option in November, the Athletics recently signed Kazmir to a two-year deal worth a reported $22 million.

[Related: Indians to close three of four remaining team shops per report]

MLB News: Oakland close to signing Scott Kazmir

The Oakland Athletics are close to signing free agent lefty starter Scott Kazmir, reports Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Moments after, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the deal will be for two years. ESPN’s Jim Bowden later confirmed that the deal will be for $22 million.

Kazmir, 29, was not extended a qualifying offer by the Cleveland Indians after an oustanding comeback season in 2013. The team did send the $14.1 million offer over to Ubaldo Jimenez, who later declined it and became a free agent.

Thus, the Indians were not expected to bring back either pitcher for 2014. Kazmir, who was 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts, was expected to be an attractive free agent because of his upside and strikeout numbers.

The move could perhaps open the door for former Indian Bartolo Colon to walk away from the A’s in free agency. The 40-year-old was 28-15 with an outstanding 2.99 ERA in 54 starts over the past two seasons with the team. He could be a potential candidate for a buy-low offer from the Tribe.

At $22 million and two years, it’s a bit high of a price for Kazmir, who had 1.8 jWAR in his comeback season. The deal is a slightly better bargain than other deals thus far this offseason, such as Minnesota signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes.

[Related: Talkin’ Tribe: Winning the Ubaldo trade, Kazmir’s future, and Tim Hudson?]

The Diff: Indians offseason, 2014 salary and contention windows

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. This is my 41st edition of The Diff. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I injected some stats into a Cavs rotation projection. This week, I’m writing about 2014 Indians salary issues.

The Diff

For many, talking about baseball salaries is a tiring and depressing issue. These fans will point to the unfair system that allows teams like New York, Los Angeles and Boston to spend their way into the playoffs each year while teams like Tampa Bay, Oakland and Cleveland wilt away at the bottom. But this idea ignores a clear truth: Teams like the Rays (four straight 90-win seasons) and Athletics (seven playoffs in 14 years) still have managed to win baseball games consistently. Their small-budget success makes one wonder how the Cleveland Indians could be even more efficient in the future. That continues with this current offseason. [Read more...]

WFNY Roundtable: Should Indians fans actually be rooting for Detroit?

WFNY_roundtable

Scott: With the Athletics playing the Tigers in a four-game set, who should Indians fans be rooting for? Presently, Cleveland is 5.5 games behind Detroit in the division “race”, while standing just two games behind Oakland for the second Wild Card.

Theoretically, if the As sweep and the Tribe handles the Tigers, the AL Central is right there for the having. But this would also make the Wild Card inherently less attainable unless the Indians keep pace until September. So, should our rooting interests be aligned with something that would actually have the word “champion” in it or do we just want to go for what gives us the best chances?

[Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Missed opportunities spawn series loss in Oakland

Asdrubal CabreraAnother week and another huge series came upon our Cleveland Indians. This time, it wasn’t a division foe, but rather one of the teams they were facing for one of the two AL Wild Card spots in the Oakland Athletics.  The A’s are a lot like the Indians in that their offense leaves a lot to be desired and when you look at the lineup. It doesn’t wow you, but they hit you with quality starting pitching and one of the league’s best bullpens. The Tribe had a huge opportunity in front of them: Take two of three and you gain nice ground; lose the series and not only do you lose ground in the standings, but it is a momentum killer.

Friday night’s series opener was a completely blown chance, which turned Sunday’s rubber match must win. Sunday’s 7-3 loss wasn’t a season killer by any means, but it really puts the Indians behind the eight-ball. They now sit four and a half games back of the two wild card spots with Baltimore a game and a half in front of them.

Losing two of three from the A’s came at an inopportune time, but there are 38 games remaining. I know I sound like a broken record, but that soft September schedule awaits. Damage can be done against the likes of the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, and Chicago White Sox. But this team needs to start winning series against the good teams. [Read more...]

Indians 9, Athletics 2: Kazmir Sweeps Out Oakland

Scott KazmirThe Indians just keep the train rollin’. They do it with power. They do it with some speed. They do it with solid defense. They do it with a lock down bullpen. They do it with quality starting pitching.

Wait….what did I just say?

Yes, that’s right, they do it with solid starting pitching.

A night after Justin Masterson was sharp for six of his seven innings of work and the Indians caught a major break from the umpiring crew, they went for a four-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics with Scott Kazmir on the mound.

Kazmir’s story has been well documented. He went from 21-year old phenom to All-Star to broken down to out of baseball at 27. He spent 2012 in the Independent Leagues trying to remake himself. The Indians watched him throw this winter and decided to give him one last shot on a minor league deal. He came to Goodyear this Spring with an outside shot at becoming the Indians fifth starter. He ended up not only getting the job, but won it in a walk. Manager Terry Francona spent the month of March raving about him. Unfortunately  the injury bug bit him and the start to his season was postponed by a DL trip. [Read more...]

MLB acknowledges Angel Hernandez’ blown call, won’t change it

The Indians very well might not have been able to sweep the Oakland A’s this afternoon had Angel Hernandez and his crew of umpires made the proper call on a home run replay last night. That’s the statement from MLB and Joe Torre today.

“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief. In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night’s crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.

“Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night’s decision.”

The result isn’t especially surprising as baseball continues to stand by the precedence of not trying to go back in time to re-write history. They didn’t do it for Armando Gallaraga’s perfect game and they weren’t going to do it for the Oakland A’s today. As an Indians-focused site that saw the benefits of both the two mentioned instances, I’ll leave the question of whether it should have been changed or not to others. I can say that if that had been the decision of Major League Baseball, I would have had a pretty difficult time griping about it on terms of pure fairness and accuracy of game officiating.

[Related: Cleveland Indians talk – trying not to talk attendance, Swisher’s intangibles, Francona and Ubaldo and more with TD – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-09]

Indians 4, A’s 3: Its Better To Be Lucky Than Good

Bob MelvinWhen this series with Oakland began, I wrote that umpire Angel Hernandez was arguably the second worst umpire in the game behind C.C. Bucknor. Tonight, the crew chief was at second base. Three nights ago he did the Tribe a favor when he didn’t toss Oakland starter Jarrod Parker for throwing at the head of Mark Reynolds after giving up two homers earlier in the inning. If he had, we would have been robbed of the Reynolds revenge blast in the 7-3 Indians win. Last night, Hernandez may have topped himself.

I always like to begin my recaps start to finish, but in this case, I have to make an exception.

With the Indians nursing a 4-3 lead with two outs in the ninth inning, closer Chris Perez looked like he was on the verge of closing out another win. The usually light-hitting Adam Rosales took a 1-1 Perez pitch deep to left center, which looked to hit high off the wall for a double. At closer glance, it was thought to bounce off the railing above the yellow line on the high wall in left. Hernandez was the closest umpire to the action. A conference of the umpires was called after A’s manager Bob Melvin came out to argue that the ball should be ruled a home run. [Read more...]

Indians 1, Athletics 0: Zach Attack, We’ll Be Friends Forever

zach attack7:33 PM – A bit late getting started here, but luckily we haven’t missed much. Through two innings, both Zach McAllister and Tommy Milone are perfect.

7:35 PM – Oh look. Mike Aviles is playing left field tonight. That’s weird.

I remember thinking when they traded for Aviles that it was all but certain that Asdrubal would be traded and that Aviles would become our starting short stop. That obviously would’ve downgraded our infield: even if you think Cabrera isn’t a great fielder it’s pretty evident he’s a much better hitter than Aviles.

But I remember thinking to myself, Hey self: we could really use some starting pitching on this team, and if trading your starting SS with two years left on a contract that isn’t necessarily cheap would give us a real #2 starter or a young SP stud to dream on I’d probably do it. It’s not like our system lacks for impact SS prospects and it’s also not like Asdrubal is likely to stay in Cleveland beyond 2014 and it’s also not like we have any better trade chips right now and it’s also not like some of the bigger payroll teams don’t have gaping holes at SS right now.

[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...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  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. []

A’s 7, Indians 0 – Hmmmm… How Do I Describe Another Boring Loss?

I am starting to write this in the fifth inning. Why? Because I already knew the outcome. The Indians were trailing 5-0 and facing a lefty. Need I say more?

Zach McAllister has been the Tribe’s best starter this season. A sad statement considering what was expected of this group in April. The A’s are known to drive up the pitch count of an opposing team’s starter. Last night was no different. While The Zach Attack struck out eight Athletics in the first four innings, he had thrown 96 pitches. He also had given up four runs on eight hits. That vaunted duo of Brandon Moss and Adam Rosales combined for four of those hits with Moss’s two-run homer in the third being the big blast.

His first pitch of the fifth inning was crushed over the right-center field wall by Chris Carter. McAllister’s night was over after four and a third, throwing 110 pitches. [Read more...]

Bartolo Colon Easily Handles Tribe Bats

Some 13 years ago, I had a Nintendo 64 and “All-Star Baseball 2000″. I got my parents’ money’s worth on that game dozens of times over as my dad and I would play for hours on end. In that game, based off the 1999 roster, Bartolo Colon was the Indians’ ace. He sported a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. That fastball I vividly remember: 98, 99, 98, and so on as I retired hitter after hitter. I probably pitched with Colon half the time as he was a dominate hurler and made winning quite easy.

Fast forward to present day (and real life), and Bartolo Colon is a 39-year-old who no longer has the blistering heat. Instead, his heater sits in the high-80s and low-90s, but it still has plenty of movement and deception. That deception was more than enough to solve the 10-piece puzzle that is the Indians offense right now. Colon lasted 8 innings and made one mistake to Carlos Santana, as the Indians came up short with a ninth inning rally and lost 8-5 to the A’s. [Read more...]

Duncan’s Slam Wiped Out By Six Unanswered For Athletics

The Indians opened up a three-game set in Oakland last night against the relevant again Athletics. The Indians struck first in a big way, but their starting pitching failed them again as did the bullpen while the offense powered down after the fourth inning in a 6-4 loss.

Zach McAllister started out strong, and for the first three innings, pitched like the guy who has quickly become the most consistent and effective starter after being a Columbus Clipper for a good chunk of the first half of 2012. He scattered a few hits, but he was able to keep the ball on the ground and add a few strikeouts with that low-90′s fastball.

In the fourth inning, the Indians got their first three on base via a Carlos Santana walk, a Michael Brantley double1, and a Jason Donald single. Then, Shelley Duncan worked starter Jason Milone to a full count before he found a fastball to his liking, which he crushed for his first career grand slam. Just like that, Duncan had his 11th homer of the season, the Indians had their second slam of the season, and the Tribe gotten out in front with a 4-run lead. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. Originally ruled an error even though Yoenis Cespedes lost it in the lights []

Manny Ramirez Prepping for Return in AAA

During the MLB off-season as the Indians were trying to find a right-handed bat, I wondered what could be bad about trying to bring Manny Ramirez back. As everyone told me I was crazy and that it was a bad idea and that he had nothing left in the tank, the Indians brought back Grady Sizemore and eventually signed a deal with Johnny Damon. Well, as those storylines continue to play out, Manny Ramirez, who has seemingly turned over a new leaf, is preparing to in AAA to join the Oakland A’s on a $500,000 deal.

“I went through all that situation and I looked myself in the eye and I said to myself I needed a change,” Ramirez said. “My wife is Christian, you know, and I decided to go that path. That’s why I’m here. Because when you fall, the men, all the men do is remind of your past but when you come to God, God says you’re like a new child.”

As Sizemore continues to rehab and Johnny Damon continues to pop balls up and throw underhand from left field, it might make some wonder, “What it?”

UPDATE: Ramirez suffers slight set-back-

“Ramirez was held out of Sunday’s game with Triple-A Sacramento because of a left wrist injury of unknown severity. He is with the River Cats for a 10-game assignment as his 50-game major league suspension nears completion. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his Sacramento debut on Saturday at Albuquerque.”

Kipnis With Four Hits, Tribe Keeps On Rollin’

When a team is locked in offensively, even when they go quiet for a few innings, you have an overwhelming feeling that they’re just waiting for an opening to burst things wide open. The Indians had 10 hits in the first seven innings of this one with only two runs to show for it. But, in the turning point that was the eighth inning, Jason Kipnis had the biggest hit of the game with a two-run triple that rightfielder Josh Reddick misjudged that stretched the lead to three. The Tribe took the second game of the series 5-1, and they’re looking at going for a whopping 8-1 road trip this afternoon. This team has grown an awful lot on this road trip through Kansas City, Seattle, and now Oakland.

The Indians tacked on a first inning run after singles by Kipnis and Choo, a walk by Santana, and an RBI groundout by Travis Hafner. They added another in the sixth with Jason Donald coming home to score following a single, stolen base, and a RBI single from Jason Kipnis. Cleveland stranded 11 runners on base for the second straight night, but they finally broke through in the eighth inning. That’s when after two-out singles from Donald and Brantley that Kipnis delivered with his fourth hit of the night, a two-run triple that right fielder Josh Reddick misjudged at the wall. A wild pitch from Brian Fuentes let in the third run in the inning, and the Tribe took the 5-1 lead. Seven different Indians had hits in this one, with Hafner, Choo, Hannahan, and Donald collecting two each. Early in the season, when the Tribe was going right last year, their bread and butter was scoring with two outs. That seems to be happening again.  [Read more...]

Box Score: Indians 5, Athletics 1

The Tribe offense was getting plenty of hits, but for the second straight night, they specialized in leaving guys on base. That is, until the eighth inning. The Indians broke this game open in the top of the eighth with a two-run triple by Jason Kipnis and a wild pitch which allowed him to score. Kipnis had four hits and drove in three runs. Four other Indians (Hafner, Donald, Choo, Hannahan) had two hits apiece, and Jeanmar Gomez was brilliant in 5 1/3 innings as the Tribe moved to 7-1 on the road trip with the 5-1 victory over Oakland. The Tribe goes for the sweep tomorrow afternoon and a 8-1 trip with Justin Masterson facing Tyson Ross.

Scoring Summary
Top 1st: Cleveland
- T. Hafner grounded out to pitcher, J. Kipnis scored, S. Choo to third, C. Santana to second
Top 6th: Cleveland
- J. Kipnis singled to shallow center, J. Donald scored
Bot 6th: Oakland
- Y. Cespedes hit sacrifice fly to deep center, C. Pennington scored
Top 8th: Cleveland
- J. Kipnis tripled to deep right center, J. Donald and M. Brantley scored
- J. Kipnis scored on wild pitch
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
M. Brantley cf 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .212
J. Kipnis 2b 5 2 4 3 0 0 0 0 2 .226
S. Choo rf 5 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .250
C. Santana c 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 .239
T. Hafner dh 4 0 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 .350
S. Duncan lf 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 4 .268
    A. Cunningham lf 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .214
C. Kotchman 1b 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 .157
J. Hannahan 3b 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 .342
J. Donald ss 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .241
 Totals 39 5 14 4 0 4 5 2 18
 Batting
2B - S Choo (4, B Fuentes); J Hannahan (3, B McCarthy).
3B - J Kipnis (2, B Fuentes).
RBI - J Kipnis 3 (11), T Hafner (7).
2-out RBI - J Kipnis 3.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - M Brantley 1, J Kipnis 1, C Santana 1, S Duncan 2, C Kotchman 2.
GIDP - C Kotchman.
Team LOB - 11.
 Base Running
SB - S Choo (3, 2nd base off B McCarthy/K Suzuki), J Donald (2, 2nd base off B McCarthy/K Suzuki).
CS - J Kipnis (1, 2nd base by B McCarthy/K Suzuki).
 Oakland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
J. Weeks 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 2 .209
C. Pennington ss 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .207
J. Reddick rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .283
Y. Cespedes cf 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 .255
S. Smith dh 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .195
J. Gomes lf 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .259
D. Barton 1b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .176
K. Suzuki c 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 .192
E. Sogard 3b 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .148
    K. Ka’aihue ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .333
 Totals 34 1 8 1 0 1 6 3 15
 Batting
2B - C Pennington (4, J Gomez); D Barton (2, J Asencio).
SF - Y Cespedes.
RBI - Y Cespedes (15).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Weeks 1, S Smith 2, K Ka’aihue 2.
Team LOB - 8.
 Base Running
SB - J Weeks 2 (3, 2nd base off J Gomez/C Santana, 3rd base off J Gomez/C Santana), Y Cespedes (3, 2nd base off J Gomez/C Santana).
 Fielding
DP - 1 (D Barton-C Pennington).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
J. Gomez (W, 1-0) 5.1 4 1 1 1 3 0 0.54 1.93
D. Wheeler 0.2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.60 5.40
T. Sipp 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2.14 11.57
V. Pestano 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.78 2.35
J. Asencio 0.2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1.45 4.35
C. Perez (S, 6) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.43 3.86
 Oakland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
B. McCarthy (L, 0-3) 7.0 10 2 2 3 4 0 1.47 3.38
B. Fuentes 1.0 4 3 3 0 1 0 1.35 5.40
P. Figueroa 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.00 0.00
WP - B Fuentes.
IBB - T Hafner (by B McCarthy).
Pitches-strikes - J Gomez 88-53; D Wheeler 19-11; T Sipp 11-7; V Pestano 11-10; J Asencio 17-16; C Perez 3-1; B McCarthy 113-65; B Fuentes 23-14; P Figueroa 11-7.
Ground balls-fly balls - J Gomez 8-5; D Wheeler 0-2; T Sipp 1-1; V Pestano 1-2; J Asencio 2-1; C Perez 0-1; B McCarthy 9-9; B Fuentes 1-3; P Figueroa 2-0.
Batters faced - J Gomez 21; D Wheeler 3; T Sipp 3; V Pestano 4; J Asencio 4; C Perez 1; B McCarthy 33; B Fuentes 7; P Figueroa 3.
Game Details
Umpires: HP–Alan Porter. 1B–Ron Kulpa. 2B–Jim Wolf. 3B–Derryl Cousins.
Weather: 75 degrees, clear.
Wind: 6 mph, out to right.

Hannahan Does It Again As Tribe’s Hot Road Trip Continues

This road trip the Indians are currently on has proven to be a fulfilling one. The Tribe is 6-1 thus far after last night’s 4-3 victory in Oakland, as they’ve awakened their offense, settled down their closer, and continued to get solid starts all in that short span. For the second straight night, it was Jack Hannahan turning in a multi-RBI effort, with the Tribe’s plate discipline remaining an asset in these hard fought victories the past two nights.

What a treat! It’s my weekend at WFNY, and Ublado Jimenez pitched last night. Now, if you guys have read this or follow me on a regular basis, you know that I’m far from Ubaldo’s biggest fan. In fact, my Twitter profile lists me as a “Ubaldo Trade Skeptic”. Anyway, back to the action on the field where Ubaldo earned his second straight win by pitching good enough against an admittedly weak Athletics lineup. The eye-popping portion of Jimenez’s statline is, of course his five walks over six innings. Worse than that, however, and the root of my frustration in watching him pitch, was the startling number of hitters that he started with a 2-0 count. Six, yes SIX, of the first nine hitters last night saw two outside the strike zone from Ubaldo to begin their at-bat. Against a better offense with an element of patience, Ubaldo will get eaten alive with that type of output. Jimenez has avoided being hit hard at all in the ’12 campaign, but his pitch count has been driven up early in his last two starts, and that’s only going to continue as AL hitters get the book on him. Ubaldo’s stuff is undeniably tough to hit. He made one mistake on a hanging breaking ball to Josh Reddick in the third inning that he deposited in the right field seats. That happens, and I’m not holding it against him. No, it’s far more frustrating to me when you consistently work from behind in the count and give guys a free pass on base. Are we sure Tim Belcher didn’t step down from his pitching coach role primarily because he couldn’t stand Ubaldo’s lack of first pitch strikes? I’m not ruling it out. [Read more...]

Box Score: Indians 4, Athletics 3

The Indians are making it look pretty simple these days. Timely hitting, quality starts, and their closer nailing it down in the ninth inning. The Indians took the series opener 4-3 led by Jack Hannahan’s 3 RBI effort. Hannahan added the team’s first run with a sac fly in the 2nd then doubled home two in the fourth inning. Yoenis Cespedes had three hits and two RBI for the Athletics. Ubaldo Jimenez went six innings for the win, allowing six hits and walking five. Tony Sipp, Joe Smith, Vinnie Pestano, and Chris Perez combined for 3 innings allowing for just 1 run. The Tribe is now 7-5 on the season and 6-1 on the current road trip. Game two of the series is tomorrow night at 9:05.

 

Scoring Summary
Top 2nd: Cleveland
- J. Hannahan hit sacrifice fly to right, C. Santana scored
Bot 3rd: Oakland
- J. Reddick homered to deep right
Top 4th: Cleveland
- J. Hannahan doubled to shallow left, T. Hafner and S. Duncan scored
Top 5th: Cleveland
- S. Choo singled to right, J. Kipnis scored, S. Choo to second advancing on throw
Bot 5th: Oakland
- Y. Cespedes singled to left, J. Reddick scored, Y. Cespedes to second on left fielder S. Duncan’s fielding error
Bot 7th: Oakland
- Y. Cespedes singled to shallow right, J. Weeks scored, C. Pennington to second
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
M. Brantley cf 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 .213
J. Kipnis 2b 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .167
S. Choo rf 5 0 2 1 0 0 2 0 2 .234
C. Santana c 3 1 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 .262
T. Hafner dh 1 1 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 .333
S. Duncan lf 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 .270
    A. Cunningham pr-lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .214
C. Kotchman 1b 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 .170
J. Hannahan 3b 2 0 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 .324
J. Donald ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 5 .200
 Totals 29 4 7 4 0 9 5 1 18
 Batting
2B - M Brantley (4, J Norberto); S Choo (3, J Blevins); J Hannahan (2, G Godfrey).
S - J Kipnis.
SF - J Hannahan.
RBI - S Choo (9), J Hannahan 3 (11).
2-out RBI - J Hannahan 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - S Duncan 1, A Cunningham 2, J Donald 3.
GIDP - S Choo, C Kotchman.
Team LOB - 11.
 Base Running
SB - J Kipnis (2, 2nd base off G Godfrey/A Recker).
 Fielding
E - S Duncan (1, field).
DP - 1 (C Kotchman).
 Oakland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
J. Weeks 2b 5 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .206
C. Pennington ss 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 .204
J. Reddick rf 5 2 2 1 1 0 1 0 2 .286
Y. Cespedes cf 4 0 3 2 0 1 1 0 0 .265
S. Smith lf 4 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 .189
J. Gomes dh 2 0 1 0 0 2 1 0 1 .217
K. Ka’aihue 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .348
A. Recker c 2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 .200
    D. Barton ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .167
    K. Suzuki c 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .188
E. Sogard 3b 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3 .167
 Totals 34 3 9 3 1 7 7 0 17
 Batting
2B - J Weeks (4, V Pestano); J Reddick (5, U Jimenez).
3B - J Weeks (1, T Sipp).
HR - J Reddick (2, 3rd inning off U Jimenez 0 on, 2 Out).
RBI - J Reddick (3), Y Cespedes 2 (14).
2-out RBI - J Reddick.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Weeks 1, C Pennington 1, J Gomes 1, K Ka’aihue 2, E Sogard 2.
Team LOB - 11.
 Base Running
CS - S Smith (1, 2nd base by U Jimenez/C Santana).
 Fielding
Outfield assists - S Smith.
DP - 2 (K Ka’aihue-C Pennington-G Godfrey, E Sogard-J Weeks-K Ka’aihue).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
U. Jimenez (W, 2-0) 6.0 6 2 2 5 3 1 1.50 4.00
T. Sipp (H, 3) 0.1 1 1 1 1 1 0 2.73 14.73
J. Smith (H, 4) 0.2 1 0 0 1 1 0 1.65 2.70
V. Pestano (H, 3) 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.75 2.70
C. Perez (S, 5) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.50 4.05
 Oakland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
G. Godfrey (L, 0-3) 5.0 3 4 4 5 3 0 1.38 5.06
J. Blevins 2.0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1.11 2.84
F. De Los Santos 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2.33 0.00
J. Norberto 2.0 1 0 0 3 1 0 1.17 3.52
IBB - C Santana (by J Norberto).
HBP - J Kipnis (by G Godfrey); T Hafner (by G Godfrey).
Pitches-strikes - U Jimenez 107-61; T Sipp 11-5; J Smith 20-12; V Pestano 11-9; C Perez 17-11; G Godfrey 93-53; J Blevins 33-17; F De Los Santos 8-2; J Norberto 42-22.
Ground balls-fly balls - U Jimenez 7-5; T Sipp 0-1; J Smith 1-0; V Pestano 1-1; C Perez 0-2; G Godfrey 2-6; J Blevins 2-1; F De Los Santos 1-0; J Norberto 3-0.
Batters faced - U Jimenez 27; T Sipp 3; J Smith 4; V Pestano 4; C Perez 3; G Godfrey 24; J Blevins 7; F De Los Santos 2; J Norberto 9.
Game Details
Umpires: HP–Derryl Cousins. 1B–Alan Porter. 2B–Ron Kulpa. 3B–Jim Wolf.
Weather: 67 degrees, clear.
Wind: 5 mph, out to right.