April 16, 2014

“It was 20 years ago today…”

Manny opener

Manny being Manny…in 1994

The Home Opener is hands down the biggest baseball day of the year in each Major League city. No matter the town,  the game is sold out1. It is the one time that every team play in front of a house packed full of their own fans. Bunting is all around the park. Excitement is in the air. Balloons. It is just flat out American: Hot dogs, cracker jacks, peanuts, beer, and Opening Day baseball.

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a family where baseball was king. My father would take me out of school for the Home Opener every year. My older brother, my pops, and I would be down at the old Municipal Stadium for that game rain or shine—it was a rite of passage in the Dery household. On Opening Day, we would be surrounded by fans in our upper deck seats on the third base side. A week later, we would have the entire section to ourselves, but man was Opening Day glorious. It didn’t matter if Jerry Browne was playing second or the speedy Miguel Dilone was in center field, we were just happy that baseball was back. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Yes, even in Miami []

Browns screw job, hate watching The Sound of Music, Eric Wedge’s Mariners – JONCAST – WFNY Podcast – 2013-12-08

WFNY Podcast LogoIt’s a Joncast. What else is there to say?

  • Do the Cleveland Browns losses actually happen everywhere?
  • The great screw job of 2013
  • The referee already had the flag out
  • Should Chud have gone for two?
  • What is a catch in the NFL and how do you decide what is or isn’t?
  • Should the Browns have challenged Rob Gronkowski’s catch?
  • NFL referees are more capable than they’ve ever been
  • The rules themselves are really suffering
  • Losing hurts more than it helps make a draft better
  • What would Pierre Garcon have become if he played with the Browns?
  • What does today’s game say about Rob Chudzinski
  • The moneyball part of football with coaches
  • The first time firing the people you hired
  • The savior complex amongst sports fans
  • Relying on faith as a sports fan vs. looking for tangible results
  • The 2012 first round NFL draft and how far it will set the team back
  • Carlos Carrasco and how he belongs in the bullpen
  • Carlos Carrasco’s personality for closer
  • Can a fan base ever get to know Cody Allen?
  • It isn’t brave to be the Yankees. It is brave to spend like the Yankees in Cleveland.
  • Hate tweeting and hate watching The Sound of Music Live
  • Suffering through “How I met Your Mother”
  • The Eric Wedge Seattle Mariner storyline [Read more...]

Eric Wedge and others blast Mariners’ front office

Fresh off the Mariners signing Robinson Cano to a mammoth 10 year, $240 million deal former Mariners and Tribe manager Eric Wedge is one of many to offer their criticism of the Seattle front office. In a Seattle Times article this weekend by Geoff Baker, Wedge and other former members of the Mariners chastise the leadership of the Mariners franchise, more specifically Mariners’ President Chuck Armstrong and Mariners’ CEO Howard Lincoln.

It was 14 months ago, two days after the 2012 season, and Mariners president Chuck Armstrong unleashed what Wedge calls “a ferocious, venom-filled tirade” about the team, coaches and players. Armstrong told him the club “sickened” him and was “disgusting” and “disturbing,” while Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln agreed and added choice barbs of his own.

Wedge said general manager Jack Zduriencik had assured him earlier that the duo was pleased with the 75-87 team, winners of eight more games than in 2011 and 14 more than in 2010.

Now, he felt blindsided and let down by Zduriencik. He waited until Lincoln was done, then, unable to hold back, let him and Armstrong know how he felt.

Along with Wedge, the Seattle times spoke to two dozen former Mariners’ baseball operations employees who believe  ”any manager — and the players under him — will fall short of success without a halt to ongoing interference from Lincoln and whomever succeeds Armstrong, who will retire Jan. 31.”

The Mariners have already been facing a public relations beating in Seattle over the last few years due to years of losing, high turnover rates, reluctance to raise the payroll, and failing to provide a fan experience that is anywhere close to that of the Seahawks or the Sounders.

Wedge left the Mariners at the conclusion of last season, leaving behind what h described “total dysfunction and lack of leadership”.

Alongside Wedge in the criticism is general manager Jack Zduriencik’s former number two Tony Biengino. Biengino who was recently let go by the Marniners also worked with Zduriencik in Milwaukee and is taking credit for preparing the package that led to Zduriencik’s hiring Armstrong and Lincoln — a move that Armstrong and Lincoln are still being criticized for.

“Jack portrayed himself as a scouting/stats hybrid because that’s what he needed to get the job,” Blengino said. “But Jack never has understood one iota about statistical analysis. To this day, he evaluates hitters by homers, RBI and batting average and pitchers by wins and ERA. Statistical analysis was foreign to him. But he knew he needed it to get in the door.”

The Seattle Times obtained a copy of the package, which talks of rebuilding with minimal pain through shrewd drafts, undervalued free agents and a “vast pipeline of young, homegrown star-caliber talent.” Advanced stats charts ranked every major-leaguer and top minor-leaguers, while computer spreadsheets depicted each team’s positional depth and payroll commitments.

Zduriencik declined to speak about his stats knowledge or Blengino’s role in the package.

It’s hardly unusual in the corporate world for trusted assistants to design job applications. But after initial success, Zduriencik had a slew of failed player moves — coinciding with his eventual decision to push Blengino out

Geoff Baker’s article is an eye opener and a public relations nightmare for a franchise for the Mariners’ franchise.

Indians 10 Mariners 1: Kazmir’s dominant run continues as offense awakens

Scott KazmirWe have been waiting for the offense to wake up and they finally did. The hot and cold streaks are no doubt frustrating. It is games like this one where the Wahoos scored 10 runs on 13 hits, where you scratch your head at how they can be so anemic at times. A day after a second straight blunder-filled one run loss, the angry Indians took their frustrations out on Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders.

From the jump, the caught Saunders off guard. Leadoff man Michael Bourn put down a perfect bunt single. Nick Swisher, who seems to have taken a liking to the two spot, worked a walk. Jason Kipnis decided to bunt on his own, looking for a base hit. Instead it turned into a sacrifice. New cleanup man Asdrubal Cabrera doubled to the wall in center, driving in Bourn and Swisher, starting a huge day for the offense. Carlos Santana kept the line moving with a ground rule double, scoring Cabrera. The inning ended with, surprise, a Mark Reynolds K, but the Mariners were put on notice. The Indians were not messing around in this one. [Read more...]

Mariners 4 Indians 3: Poor fundamentals do Tribe in….again

Zack McAllisterI stayed up for that? Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The Indians handed a game away they should of won because of poor defense and a lack of clutch hitting. You can throw in bad base running to this 4-3 loss to Seattle as the Tribe can’t seem to get out of their own way since the All-Star break.

Lets change course and start in the ninth inning, with the Indians down one. Much maligned Mark Reynolds broke a 3-42 slump with a leadoff single against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. He was immediately replaced by pinch runner Drew Stubbs. Lonnie Chisenhall, another one the Tribe’s current question marks, did not bunt, but instead came through with a single right up the middle. The speedy Stubbs advanced to third and the Indians looked like at a minimum, they would tie things up. Mike Aviles came on to run for Chisenhall. Yan Gomes, already with two hits, hit a ground ball to Kyle Seager at third. He looked Stubbs back to third and threw across to second to get Aviles. The problem was for some odd reason, Stubbs took off for home and then completely stopped halfway down the line. He was eventually tagged out, killing the Indians comeback attempt right there. [Read more...]

Mariners 2 Indians 1: Is team streak headed south again?

Asdrubal CabreraWe have watched all season as the Tribe has acted like a volatile stock.  They can get hot and win eight of 10 just as quickly as they can lose eight of 10. The schedule coming out of the All-Star break set up nicely. If you have to start on the road, might as well do it against two of the AL’s worst – the Minnesota Twins and the Seattle Mariners.

Over the weekend, the Indians had a sweep in their sights, except they lost two of three despite their starters allowing just one earned run combined. Last night in Seattle, it was Ubaldo Jimenez’s turn to continue the quality starting pitching run. The offense has been the real problem out of the break. They scored two runs in each of the two losses in Minnesota. Yes, they busted out for seven on Sunday, but five of those run came on two hits – a Michael Brantley bases loaded triple and a Jason Kipnis two-run homer. Other than that, it seemed to have been one missed opportunity after another.

I will say it again, it is these kinds of games that you have to win if you plan on taking the division away from the Detroit Tigers. [Read more...]

MLB News: Zach McAllister to start Tuesday in Seattle

Zach McAllister will officially return from the disabled list and start for the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday in Seattle, manager Terry Francona confirmed to the media today.

The move had been rumored for the past several days, especially on the heels of McAllister’s impressive performance on Thursday night for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He has been on the disabled list since June 8 with a sprained right middle finger. After his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday went smoothly, the team made the announcement.

Before the All-Star break arrived, the Indians reset their starting rotation to be, in order: Scott Kazmir on Friday, Corey Kluber on Saturday, Justin Masterson on Sunday and Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday. The team was still waiting to confirm McAllister’s status as of last week, as they could have again called up another one of the many young Clippers pitching prospects to start Tuesday.

The return of the 25-year-old former Yankees prospect should be a huge sigh of relief for Indians fans. In his 11 starts in 2013, he had a 4-5 record with a 3.43 ERA, striking out 45 against 22 walks in 65.2 IP. He seemed to provide an excellent balance with ace Masterson. With the emergence of Kluber as well, this will likely be the strongest and healthiest the Indians rotation has been all season.

Earlier on Saturday, Cleveland was listed as a potential trade fit for Houston Astros starter Bud Norris by ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. The team also has been connected to the ongoing rumors surrounding Chicago Cubs starter Matt Garza. Certainly, McAllister’s addition is cheaper than either of those two possible trades.

The excellent statistic below from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian highlights the struggles of the Tribe to replace McAllister over the last six weeks. Dating even further back, the Indians have struggled to receive consistent performances from anyone outside of these five pitchers in the current rotation, adding hope for the team’s second-half stretch run.

[Related: The Indians and the 2013 Trade Deadline: Decisions Abound]

MLB Rumor: Eric Wedge on the hot seat in Seattle

After seven seasons in Cleveland, former skipper Eric Wedge wore out his welcome with his “grinder” approach and lack of sustained success. Now in just his third season with the Seattle Mariners, might the same thing be happening in the Pacific Northwest?

Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, one of the best baseball writers out there, dedicated the first segment of his online column today to Wedge and Kansas City’s Ned Yost. He called out both for their disappointing starts to 2013, but said the problems run deeper than just that.

“Why are the Mariners constantly failing to improve and why can’t they identify or develop good young hitters?” Verducci wrote. “Those questions must be answered by general manager Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge, both of whom should feel less comfortable these days than [Dustin] Ackley. … The Mariners have nothing of substance to show for trades of Cliff Lee and Michael Pineda. And, no, it’s not to be blamed on spacious Safeco Field, where the Mariners once built a 116-win team. Something is seriously wrong institutionally when it comes to identifying and developing talent in Seattle.”

Verducci proceeded to share how Wedge’s Mariners teams have often ranked at the bottom with some of the worst offensive statistics in franchise history. His overall record is 165-213 (.437) with no playoff appearances. The team improved from 67 wins in 2011 to 75 last season, but has regressed thus far in 2013. Most notably, several of their top hitting prospects — notably Ackley and catcher Jesus Montero — haven’t lived up their lofty potential.

The Indians swept the Mariners in a four-game series at Progressive Field just two weeks ago. Yan Gomes’ walk-off home run on May 20 bumped the team to season-high nine games over .500.

Of course, preceding Wedge’s tenure in Seattle, it’s also not too helpful when the Mariners organization has so often gift-wrapped up-and-coming to the Indians. Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo and Omar Vizquel are three All-Stars acquired for pennies on the dollar over the years in Seattle-Cleveland trades.

[Related: Indians 7, Reds 1: We Did It, You Guys. The Ohio Cup is OURS!]

Indians 10 Mariners 8: Yan Freaking Gomes and the Mariners Defense – a Lethal Combination

yan GomesI have been to hundreds and hundreds of baseball games in my 37 years on this earth. I don’t think I have ever witnessed a game like this one. The beauty of baseball is that every time out, you may see something you have never seen before. Today was one of those days.

Like the great Mr. Skin says, “Let us fast forward right to the good parts.”

The Indians carried a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning and turned it over to resident set up man Vinnie Pestano, who was activated off the DL Friday. Vinnie is still trying to work himself back into a groove and showed some immediate signs of rust. Kyle Seager hit a rocket shot, no-doubter to the seats in right field to tie the game before Pestano could record an out. The 19,390 fans in attendance sat in stunned silence. However, the Indians still had two more shots to finish off the sweep.

“With this lineup, you can go back in the dugout look guys in the eyes and say, ‘Come on, boys pick me up,’ ” said Pestano. “And they’re all in. It’s not deflating by any means. It’s like, ‘OK, let’s go back to work.’ ” [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Two Walk Offs and a Shutout – What More Could You Ask For

Jason KipnisMagnificent weather. First-place baseball. Hot Dogs.  Walk-off wins. Shutout Sunday. Beating down another Cy Young Award winner in front of the home fans. I mean, honestly, could it get any better down at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario this weekend?

I vowed not to discuss the attendance at Progressive Field, but after a night where 34,282 came out to support the Tribe, two weekend afternoon games drew a combined 37,000 plus. The weather was perfect. The Indians were coming off a walkoff win. They are in first place. Seriously, folks, what were you doing this weekend? Most interesting to me is how immensely popular $1 hot dogs and fireworks are here in Cleveland. Regardless, the Indians continued their unbelievable hot streak, taking all three games this weekend against Eric Wedge’s Seattle Mariners. The wrap around of the series takes place this afternoon where the Tribe goes for a four-game streak, but the series has already been clinched. It is the 10th consecutive series that the Indians have either won or split.

Think about that for a second: It was just three weeks ago that the Tribe got smoked in Kansas City in that first game of a Sunday doubleheader. Since then, they are 17-4, the best record in baseball. This weekend provided a ton of highlights, so let us look back at the weekend that was in Wahooland. [Read more...]

Now an Angel, Omar Vizquel shares favorite Indians memories

omar vizquelHe wished he could have announced how proud he was of his return to Cleveland. He wished he could do this type of event right there again and again. He wished he could tell the Indians staffers in attendance that he’d see them shortly in Arizona. But it wasn’t meant to be, or at least not yet.

Omar Vizquel, now 45 years old and retired, was the main speaker at the Akron Shaw Jewish Community Center’s sports dinner on Tuesday night. He wined and dined while sharing stories with the ecstatic fundraiser crowd of over 200 people. He seemed genuinely thrilled to be back in Northeast Ohio.

“There is no other team I love more than the Cleveland Indians,” he said. “Believe me.”

Vizquel, who played his final Major League season in 2012 with the Toronto Blue Jays, also unveiled during the night that he will be working for the Los Angeles Angels in 2013 as a roving infield instructor. His first choice was Cleveland. They didn’t have any openings. [Read more...]

Report: Indians in the market for OF Michael Bourn

A bit of surprising news on the free agency trail today: The Indians are reportedly on the short list of teams “in the market” for OF Michael Bourn, according to a tweet from ESPN and XM analyst Jim Bowden.

Tony Lastoria, writer for the newly rebranded Indians Baseball Insider, followed up to Bowden’s tweet to say that the Indians reportedly were interested in trading for Bourn at the deadline in 2011. This is the first his name has been connected heavily to Cleveland this offseason, as the Tribe usually has been related to their courting of OSU alumnus Nick Swisher.

But, Bourn is significantly younger and likely a better fit for a possible long-term deal than Swisher. A soon-to-be 30-year-old speedster, he batted .274/.349/.391 with 26 doubles, 10 triples, 9 homers and 42 steals in 155 games for Atlanta in 2012. The 6.0 WAR was the best of his career, but he notably also produced a 4.7 and 5.3 in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

The Phillies, Rangers and Mariners, also on Bourn’s short list, have been rumored to be in the market to spend money on a marquee outfielder this season. So the Indians are likely a long-shot for now — especially if Swisher’s power is indeed their preference — but it’s no doubt intriguing to see they’ve thrown their hat in the race.

[Related: The Pitch To Swish]

Seven Straight Losses, Sizemore Done, Tomlin Going for T.J. Surgery, Just Another Day in Wahooland

So before last night’s date with King Felix Hernandez, beleaguered Indians manager Manny Acta and team trainer Lonnie Soloff met with the media. I am sure they had a blast discussing all of the great news they had to share (sarcasm font needed). In all seriousness, there is legitimately nothing positive going on in and around the Indians organization right now.

Nothing.

On the field the team has become an abject disaster, bereft of an offense while not knowing if their starting pitcher on any given day will go eight innings or make it out of the third. They have exactly three relievers they can count on. It’s enough to give any manager agita.

Acta and Soloff sat there and told the media that oft-injured CF Grady Sizemore had yet another set back and will not play in 2012. Apparently he has been experiencing right knee soreness during his rehab. In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet, and the Ubaldo Jimenez trade has been a failure. [Read more...]

Mariners 5 Indians 3: Speechless in Seattle

Yesterday, I uttered the phrase “I didn’t know what to say anymore” about this Indians team. 24 hours later, once again, they have left me speechless in the way they lost yet another game, their sixth in a row, this time to Eric Wedge and the Seattle Mariners. The days of good pitching, great defense, and timely hitting are long gone at this point. Now it’s essentially becoming borderline painful to watch this team. The exciting moments are few and far between with this group.

The game started locally here in Cleveland at 10:10, so I can’t blame you if you weren’t watching. I mean, after all this was a matchup of Ubaldo Jimenez and Kevin Millwood. Not to mention the Indians sputtering bats against a Mariners offense that isn’t exactly the New York Yankees. Somewhere, Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Ken Griffey Jr, and Edgar Martinez were looking at this one and shaking their heads.

The two sides of Ubaldo were in full effect in this one. He was actually hitting 95 on the radar gun, walked just one, and struck out eight Mariners. You see that and you say to yourself “wow, Ubaldo must have actually pitched pretty well.” Then you take into account the two, two-out homers he gave up to Griffey Jr and Jay Buhner….. errrrr…..Michael Saunders and Eric Thames. Jimenez was lifted after five and two-thirds. [Read more...]

Indians 6 Mariners 5: Beating The Grinder With Some Progressive Field Magic

When Eric Wedge was the manager of the Indians, I have to admit, I was a fan. I know I was in the minority, but I always liked the fact that he never got too high or too low. He was the same guy, win or lose. I look back at his time here now differently. He made the playoffs just once (2007) and had a winning record twice (2005, 2007) in seven years. He wasn’t exactly Rex Ryan with the media, and Indians fans never really took to him. So when he returns to Cleveland with his Seattle Mariners, it is always fun to watch him squirm.

Let us put it out there – his team is not good. Between the Minnesota Twins Monday and Tuesday and the Mariners Wednesday and Thursday, the Tribe has seen the soft underbelly of the American League and they have liked it. Actually, they have loved it. But torturing their old manager is twice the fun.

Just a quick 14 hours after dispatching King Felix Hernandez, the Wahoos took their shots at Hector Noesi. It seemed like a relatively easy task, considering how they handled Hernandez a night earlier. For the first six innings however, the Tribe offense looked like they normally do on these getaway day, putrid. Since the beginning of last year, the Indians had lost nine of their 10 weekday afternoon home games and were outscored 65-26. Their lone win was a 1-0 shutout of the Red Sox last April. [Read more...]

Indians 2, Mariners 1: The Griticism of Clutch: Where Hannahan Wins One for the Dipper

Well, somehow every time TD makes me write these recaps, the games have a 75% chance of being exciting.  I hope he never figures this out, because I seriously can’t stay up this late all the time.

Let’s do our recap in three pieces.

Josh Tomlin is becoming a sneaky good pitcher.* What if I told you that Tomlin pitched eight innings, threw only 95 pitches and somehow racked up seven strikeouts with ZERO walks?  Yes, it’s against the lowly Mariners, but on the young season, Tomlin’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is now sitting at 14.00!  Which, fine, is ridiculously unsustainable.  But it also demonstrates that Tomlin is somehow—against all odds—still doing the exact same thing he’s been doing for two years: walking no one.  And it’s just insane how effective that can be when you start paying attention.

*I’ve decided to call Tomlin “The Dipper”.  You should be able to figure that out.  And you’re going to have to deal with it.

[Read more...]

Box Score: Indians 2, Mariners 1

Classic pitching dual until the ninth inning. Hernandez mowed down the Indians, striking out 12. The Indians finally broke through against Brandon League. Tomlin pitched well, using the biggest part of the park to get a few outs. He was saved in the second by some great defense by Kotchman and Donald. Perez closed the door shut on Tomlin’s win.

Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
M. Brantley cf 4 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 .209
J. Kipnis 2b 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 6 .178
S. Choo rf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 .214
C. Santana c 3 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 .256
T. Hafner dh 3 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 .314
    A. Cunningham pr-dh 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .231
C. Kotchman 1b 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 .182
S. Duncan lf 3 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 .265
J. Hannahan 3b 4 0 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 .312
J. Donald ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 2 .238
 Totals 33 2 7 2 0 4 13 0 15
 Batting
2B – C Santana (2, F Hernandez); T Hafner (2, F Hernandez).
S – C Kotchman.
RBI – J Hannahan 2 (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – J Kipnis 2, S Choo 2, T Hafner 1, C Kotchman 1.
Team LOB – 9.
 Fielding
E – J Kipnis (1, field).
DP – 1 (J Hannahan-J Kipnis-C Kotchman).

 

 Seattle
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
C. Figgins lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .241
D. Ackley 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 .259
I. Suzuki rf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .263
J. Smoak 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 .231
K. Seager 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .292
M. Saunders cf 3 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .225
M. Olivo c 2 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .143
J. Jaso dh 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 .273
B. Ryan ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .200
 Totals 31 1 5 1 0 0 8 0 7
 Batting
2B – D Ackley (3, J Tomlin); K Seager (5, J Tomlin); M Saunders (4, J Tomlin); M Olivo (2, J Tomlin).
S – M Olivo.
RBI – J Jaso (5).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – C Figgins 1, K Seager 1, J Jaso 1.
GIDP – M Olivo.
Team LOB – 4.

 

 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
J. Tomlin (W, 1-1) 8.0 5 1 1 0 7 0 1.14 4.86
C. Perez (S, 4) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.76 4.76

 

 Seattle
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
F. Hernandez 8.0 5 0 0 1 12 0 1.02 2.76
B. League (L, 0-1) 0.2 2 2 2 2 1 0 1.17 2.35
L. Luetge 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.88 0.00
WP – J Tomlin.
IBB – M Brantley (by L Luetge).
Pitches-strikes – J Tomlin 95-70; C Perez 10-6; F Hernandez 125-75; B League 20-10; L Luetge 9-4.
Ground balls-fly balls – J Tomlin 9-7; C Perez 1-1; F Hernandez 10-3; B League 1-0; L Luetge 1-0.
Batters faced – J Tomlin 29; C Perez 3; F Hernandez 30; B League 6; L Luetge 2.

 

 

Mariners 4, Indians 1: Lowe Wild, Offense Sinks Back to Earth

When the Indians took the field in search of their fifth straight win to take on the Seattle Mariners, things immediately looked different. First and foremost, The Grinder Eric Wedge sent lefty Jason Vargas out to the hill and as we know, left-handed starters, no matter how good they are, have been known to give the Wahoos problems. Acta countered by using as right-handed heavy a lineup as he could. Without Asdrubal Cabrera available and with Michael Brantley given the night off, you had a top two of Jason Donald and Jason Kipnis. Also getting the start were Jose Lopez and Aaron Cunningham. Hey, why not give it a shot. Its early, everyone could use the at-bats, and over the last four games, no matter who Acta put in the Tribe nine, they were delivering the goods. [Read more...]

Box Score: Indians 1, Mariners 4

The Indians didn’t have many highlights in this one. A Carlos Santana throw from his knees to cut down a runner and a rare 8-3 double play were about it. Cunningham missed a home run by an inch or two. Shelley Duncan left the bases loaded in the sixth with just one out. That about sums it up. Derek Lowe battled, but did not have good stuff.

 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
J. Donald ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .235
J. Kipnis 2b 3 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .200
S. Choo rf 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 .237
C. Santana c 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 3 .250
T. Hafner dh 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 .281
S. Duncan lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 .290
J. Lopez 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .231
C. Kotchman 1b 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .195
A. Cunningham cf 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .231
 Totals 29 1 4 1 0 4 9 0 12
 Batting
2B – A Cunningham (1, J Vargas).
S – J Donald.
SF – J Kipnis.
RBI – J Kipnis (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – C Santana 1, J Lopez 2.
Team LOB – 7.
 Fielding
Outfield assists – A Cunningham.
DP – 2 (J Donald-J Kipnis-C Kotchman, A Cunningham-C Kotchman).
 Seattle
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
C. Figgins lf 3 1 2 1 1 1 0 0 1 .260
D. Ackley 1b 4 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .260
I. Suzuki rf 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 2 .283
J. Montero dh 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 .262
K. Seager 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .295
M. Saunders cf 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 .189
M. Olivo c 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .125
M. Kawasaki 2b 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 .154
B. Ryan ss 3 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 .219
 Totals 29 4 8 4 2 7 3 0 15
 Batting
2B – K Seager (4, D Lowe).
HR – C Figgins (1, 1st inning off D Lowe 0 on, 0 Out), I Suzuki (1, 1st inning off D Lowe 0 on, 1 Out).
RBI – C Figgins (6), D Ackley (5), I Suzuki (7), J Montero (6).
2-out RBI – J Montero.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – K Seager 2, M Olivo 1, B Ryan 1.
GIDP – J Montero.
Team LOB – 8.
 Base Running
CS – M Kawasaki (1, 2nd base by D Lowe/C Santana).
 Fielding
E – M Olivo (1, field).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
D. Lowe (L, 2-1) 4.1 8 4 4 6 0 2 1.72 3.50
J. Asencio 1.2 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.34 4.66
N. Hagadone 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.43 0.00
D. Wheeler 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.62 6.23
 Seattle
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
J. Vargas (W, 2-1) 7.0 4 1 1 3 7 0 0.99 2.84
T. Wilhelmsen 1.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0.80 0.90
B. League (S, 5) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.71 0.00
Pitches-strikes – D Lowe 113-63; J Asencio 21-13; N Hagadone 15-9; D Wheeler 17-11; J Vargas 107-65; T Wilhelmsen 18-9; B League 5-4.
Ground balls-fly balls – D Lowe 6-7; J Asencio 2-1; N Hagadone 0-1; D Wheeler 2-0; J Vargas 8-5; T Wilhelmsen 0-1; B League 1-1.
Batters faced – D Lowe 25; J Asencio 5; N Hagadone 3; D Wheeler 3; J Vargas 28; T Wilhelmsen 4; B League 3.

Indians 9 Mariners 8: Showing some grit on the road!

While you were sleeping, the Indians pulled off another doozy. Since they decided last week to bring Johnny Damon aboard, the Indians have entered the bizarro world. Up is down, left is right, the starting pitching has been shaky and the bats haven’t stopped hitting like they were a Tribe team from the mid-90s. All of a sudden, no deficit is too great to overcome. Here they are, seven days since they were bombed by the Chicago White Sox at home, and the haven’t lost since.

Maybe all they needed was to hit the road and catch a breather. Maybe it was the threat of losing playing time to Damon. Whatever it is, the Wahoo Express continued to roll last night in Seattle against old friend Eric Wedge and the Mariners. The 9-8 victory tasted so sweet, despite the fact that crazies like me stayed up past 1 AM to witness it.

It is still very hard to believe they were able to pull this one off.

At the start, you saw a pitching mismatch (or so we thought) with Tribe ace Justin Masterson taking on the on-his-last-legs veteran Kevin Millwood. The Tribe got one in the top of the first off of Millwood when Travis Hafner went the other way an on 0-2 count to bring in Michael Brantley with an RBI single. Meanwhile, Masterson was mowing  Mariners down through the first two innings. In the third inning, it was as if a different pitcher took the mound. [Read more...]