April 18, 2014

Indians take a flier on injury-prone starter Shaun Marcum

shaun marcum mets brewersShaun Marcum alone is not a game-changer. But with relatively little possible cost and minimal team risk, the Cleveland Indians just added a bit more upside to their 2014 roster.

Yesterday, the 32-year-old former Milwaukee Brewer and Toronto Blue Jay reached agreement with the Tribe to compete for the open No. 5 rotation spot. Marcum has struggled to stay on the mound for years, but if he can stay healthy, he could beat out some of the other competitors in spring training.

With the move, suddenly, the Indians now have become the posterboys of the offseason minor-league deal. Scott Kazmir’s storybook 2013 season is the ultimate best-case example of a former-ace-turned-reclamation-project. Again, there’s no knowing whether Shaun Marcum could be the next such comeback player. But as a fan, but you’d hate for it to be with a different team and there’s no way to truly find out unless your squad is the one making these low-risk moves.

[Read more...]

Indians 4 Blue Jays 2: Salazar dazzles in Tribe debut

Danny SalazarScott Lewis and Paul Rigdon did it. So let us not get too excited.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves “Who are Scott Lewis and Paul Rigdon?’ Both were starting pitchers who made great impressions during their major league debuts with the Indians. Rigdon, a right-hander who was later used as trade bait to pry Bob Wickman out of Milwaukee, threw seven shutout innings against the New York Yankees in his first Tribe appearance on May 21st, 2000.  Scott Lewis, a lefty out of Ohio State, threw eight scoreless for the Tribe in his Major League Debut on September 10th, 2008 facing the Baltimore Orioles.

Both lasted just two years in the majors before flaming out. Neither of the two had the pedigree of Tribe prospect Danny Salazar, who has rapidly made his way through the system. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, we didn’t expect to see the 23-year old Dominican this fast. Then again nobody expected the Tribe’s fifth spot in the rotation to be this far in flux. With Trevor Bauer still working out the kinks of his revamped delivery, Salazar was the next man up. Since the surgery, he hadn’t thrown more than 89 pitches in a game and has been strictly a five inning guy in both Akron and Columbus this season. [Read more...]

Blue Jays 5 Indians 4: Francona’s faith costly as Tribe hands one to Jays

Joe SmithThe Indians are making a habit of giving away games they shouldn’t lately. It’s becoming all too costly in the race for the AL Central title. Mental lapses happen from time to time, but they certainly can’t arrive in the ninth inning with the score tied. And I am not just talking about the players on the field.

On Tuesday morning, I took manager Terry Francona to task a bit regarding some questionable in game decisions in the late innings of a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. Last night, he was at it again. Tito deserves all the credit in the world for the culture change surrounding this club. But if he is going to get the praise, he also needs to be questioned when things he does/doesn’t do affect the game negatively.

It shouldn’t have come to this, really. During the first two innings of the 5-4 loss, the Indians offense peppered their former teammate Esmil Rogers. Michael Bourn and Asdubal Cabrera opened the game with back to back singles against the newly converted Blue Jays starter. Neither would score as Jason Kipnis grounded into a double play and Nick Swisher struck out. The second inning started with back to back walks to Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana and an RBI single from Jason Giambi. A big inning was supposed to be in the cards with runners on the corners and nobody out, but it never happened. Lonnie Chisenhall flied out to shallow right, Drew Stubbs struck out, and Bourn grounded out.

It was that this time where I turned to my son and said “you can’t let this guy off the hook, this will come back to haunt us later.”

Sure enough, Rogers began blanking the Tribe from that point forward. He would pitch six innings, allowing just that lone run on four hits.

Tribe starter Justin Masterson was putting a runner on base each inning, mostly via the walk, but like Ubaldo Jimenez a night before, he kept working out of jams. Into the seventh inning, the Tribe was clinging to that 1-0 lead. With a tired bullpen in need of a rest, Tito sent out Masterson for another inning. He gave up a one out double to Adam Lind, but recovered to get Colby Rasmus on a ground out. When he walked Maicer Izturis – his fourth of the game – it was obvious Masterson had run out of gas. But Francona wanted him to get that last out. When he walked backup catcher Josh Thole to load the bases, Masterson had to be done, right?

Nope.

I truly couldn’t believe Tito let his starter stay in the game to face Emilio Bonafacio. All he had warming in the pen was rookie Preston Guilmet, who had yet to throw a Major League pitch. He decided to stick with Masterson.

Naturally, Bonafacio, a .028 hitter, singled in two to give the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead.

“He didn’t command all night,” Francona said. “We had several walks. But his two-seamer, it was so violent that it was almost hard to keep it in the zone at times. That’s a good thing because they can’t hit it. But, there was a lot of base runners for a good amount of hits.”

If that was the case, then why leave him out there so long?

Guilmet came on to strike out Muninori Kawasaki to end the inning.

The offense still had three more chances to tie things. They did so in the bottom of the eighth. Facing All-Star lefty Brett Cecil, Bourn singled and stole second base. After Cabrera struck out, Kipnis grounded out, moving Bourn to third. Swisher then worked a walk, bringing the most clutch Indian of them all, Michael Brantley, to the plate. Dr. Smooth’s sharp liner got past shortstop Jose Reyes to tie the game. Santana followed with a single to left, but it was hit so hard, Swisher had to be held at third. With a lefty on the mound, Ryan Raburn was called to pinch hit for Giambi. Toronto manager John Gibbons countered with righty Neil Wagner, a former Tribe farmhand. Raburn would strike out.

With the scored tied at two in the ninth, Francona called for Rich Hill, one of his fresh arms. He recorded two outs, but walked Colby Rasmus. Pinch hitter J.P. Arencibia was brought out of the dugout for to replace Thole. Francona had two righties warming: Bryan Shaw, who faced four batters the night before, and Joe Smith, who had worked the previous three games. He called on Smitty to work his fourth straight game. Arencibia took Smith’s first pitch to left for a single. He previously was 0-4 with three K’s against Smith in his career. Smith clearly didn’t look right as he couldn’t find the zone and walked Bonafacio to load the bases. Shaw was ready, but Tito stuck with Smith, who shouldn’t have been pitching at all.

The sidewinder got ahead of Kawasaki 1-2, but left one over the middle of the plate which the Jays rookie took into left-center. It broke an 0-18 slump. Two runs would score, but Bourn misplayed the ball off his glove and hurried a throw towards second. The speedy Bonafacio ran hard the entire way and scored from first as Kipnis’s throw home was off line.

“I said I was good,” said Smith of his performance. “I felt all right, but I wasn’t good. That was far from that, that’s for sure.”

 

The blunder proved extremely costly.

Trailing 5-2 potentially instead of 4-2, the Tribe attempted the miracle comeback against Jays closer Casey Janssen. With two out, Bourn singled and advanced to second on catcher’s indifference. Cabrera singled him in to bring the trying run to the plate. Kipnis then walked with Cabrera on third, twice more advancing without a throw. Swisher stepped to the plate as the winning run. He hit a ground ball to Kawasaki at second. The game should have been over there, but he rushed the throw, which got past Lind at first base, allowing Cabrera to score. Kipnis made it to third. The next man up was the guy who the Tribe wanted in this spot, Brantley.

Gibbons had seen enough of Janssen and called on ace set up man Steve Delabar. Brantley got a first pitch fastball that he liked, but flew out to center to end the game.

This was a frustrating loss to say the least for the Indians, who fall to three and a half games back of the first place Tigers, who won last night 8-5 over the Chicago White Sox.

Today’s rubber match will feature the Major League Debut of the Indians right-hander Danny Salazar. The strikeout machine has been mostly a five inning pitcher in his starts for Columbus, so it should be interesting to see how he is handled should he do well against Toronto. The Jays counter with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (8-9, 4.77 ERA), who they beat on Opening Day in Toronto.

(photo via Scott Shaw/PD)

Indians 3, Blue Jays 0: Ubaldo to the rescue!

Chris PerezIn many ways, Indians starting pitcher Ubaldo Jiménez is the poster boy for his team: Just when you are ready to write him off, he comes back strong and with a vengeance. Not to say I have written this team off after losing three of four to Detroit, especially not when they started the day just three and half games out of first, but when “Team Streak” heads south, hide the women and children. The same thing goes for Jiménez.

The last time we saw Ubaldo, he was blowing a 5-0 lead in Kansas City, walking his way into trouble before giving up a grand slam to Alex Gordon. It seemed par for the course. He exited before he could record an out in the sixth.”They say in baseball, you have to forget quick,” Jiménez said. “I had to forget about what happened in my last start and get ready for this one.”

It had been six starts since Jiménez pitched six innings or more. But last night, with a tired bullpen (I feel like I write this every day) needing some length out of its starter, Ubaldo gave his team six shutout innings. Naturally, he didn’t make it easy on himself.  [Read more...]

MLB News: Danny Salazar to make MLB debut on Thursday

Danny Salazar, one of the best pitching prospects in the Cleveland Indians system, will make his major league debut on Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Tribe announced the somewhat-expected decision on Tuesday afternoon, with a final rotation spot left open with the most recent demotion of Carlos Carrasco. It will be a tough first test for the 23-year-old Salazar, as he’ll face off against a rescheduled foe: reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

Salazar is 5-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 starts this season between the Double-A Akron Aeros and Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He has an organization-leading 100 strikeouts against only 23 walks in his 76.0 innings pitched. He received his first-ever promotion to Columbus in early May. He’s also the reigning Indians minor league player of the week.

Cleveland signed Salazar as a 16-year-old prospect out of the Dominican Republic in July 2006. He had some mild success working his way up through the organization, but it was a huge surprise in the winter of 2011 when the team protected him on its 40-man roster. That was a necessary move if they wanted to prevent another team from picking him in the Rule 5 Draft.

Their patience and confidence paid off, as the prospect responded with a 2.36 ERA in 87.2 combined innings last season while continuing his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He struck out 76 batters against 27 walks between the High-A Carolina Mudcats and the Aeros. ESPN.com’s Keith Law him as the organization’s No. 4 prospect entering 2013.

Now, he’s been the highest riser of any prospect in the Indians system thus far this season. He was sidelined for about 10 days in mid-May and it appears his pitch count has been limited, as he hasn’t surpassed 78 pitches in his last four outings for Columbus. His presence still could provide a much-needed boost to a struggling Cleveland pitching staff.

[Related: How good of a starting prospect is Danny Salazar?]

Blue Jays 10, Indians 8: Myers ignites fuse on Jays explosion

Brett MyersYour Wahoo Warriors headed into last night’s tilt against the Toronto Blue Jays looking for a sweep. I am trying to be a glass half-full guy when it comes to the Tribe in the Terry Francona era, so let me start with the positives.

The Indians were facing a familiar foe in former White Sox great Mark Buerhle. It seems as though the Tribe faced him almost every opening day for a decade (exaggeration here, but you get the point). Last season’s group would have cowered when a southpaw stepped to the hill, especially when you consider Manny Acta’s patented “all lefty” lineup. Francona kept his regular lineup intact for the third consecutive game. The only minor tweak was moving Mark Reynolds to first base with Nick Swisher as the DH. [Read more...]

WFNY Podcast – 2013-04-03 – TD talking Tribe after 2-0 start

WFNY Podcast LogoTD sounded like garbage, partly because he was sick and partly because wherever it was in these United States of America that he was holed up in a hotel this week had garbage internet connections and equally garbage cell phone reception. What wasn’t garbage was our conversation following a Tribe win in Toronto as they made up for a Chris Perez blown save.

  • The Tribe start 2-0
  • Perez blowing a save isn’t that big of a deal
  • Ubaldo and his upcoming start in the home opener
  • Brandon Phillips
  • Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana in the 5-6 holes
  • Protection from Swisher
  • Eric Wedge and how Mark Shapiro had to fire his “partner”

[Read more...]

Animated: Blue Jays fan celebrates, freaks out the world after catching bat

Boston has Stephen King. Cleveland has Drew Carey. Toronto has Geddy Lee…and now this guy, the recipient of a wayward Jason Kipnis bat in the first inning of Tuesday’s Opening Day loss to the Cleveland Indians.

PsychoJaysFanBat

It’s a way of life. Even the guy behind him wants to pretend he is a crazy man with a bat. Toronto: Poutine and air bat. Bonus points for choking up.

[Related: WFNY 2013 Tribe Predictions]

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...]

MLB News: Omar Vizquel takes job with Los Angeles Angels

Omar Vizquel, who retired from his playing days following the 2012 season with the Toronto Blue Jays, announced his next career step at the annual Shaw Jewish Community Center sports dinner in Akron last night.

Vizquel, now 45 years old and with 2,877 career hits, will be a roving infield instructor for the Los Angeles Angels in 2013. He mentioned that he will travel from team-to-team in the Angels organization, reporting back on various players to his boss, likely Angels GM Jerry Dipoto.

The 11-time Gold Glove winner said he called the Cleveland Indians about a position, but they were not hiring. So he eventually was able to latch on with the Angels, while still maintaining hope that he will find a managing job at some point and maybe return to Cleveland.

Last night’s announcement of his new job appears to be the first report of Vizquel’s 2013 plans. He said he also hopes to continue speaking engagements throughout the country, especially in Northeast Ohio, and hinted that there is an summer announcement in the works with the Indians. Perhaps it will be a jersey retirement ceremony?

Also in attendance at the  Shaw JCC sports dinner were 1590 WAKR’s Ray Horner, Indians Senior VP for public affairs Bob DiBiasio, Indians announcer Jim Rosenhaus, new Akron Aeros owner Ken Babby and several other staffers for the Indians/Aeros. I’ll have more from the dinner later this week at WFNY.

[Related: 15 Years Ago: The Team Of (Almost) Destiny]

WFNY Podcast 2012-11-14 – Craig and Jon discuss Marlins firesale and what it means for baseball

The cool thing about the podcast is that when something happens and even before I have a chance to outline the issue in my brain, I can send Jon an email begging him to talk to me about it on Skype. Jon, who has a nightmare travel day and wasn’t going to be able to write about anything for today, let alone this breaking news, gives me a 30 minute window, throws the headset on and we talk through it together. We are in the future people. And I like it. [Read more...]

Toronto Sun: Robbie Wants Sandy To Land Blue Jays Manager Position

Roberto Alomar, currently a special assistant for the Toronto Blue Jays organization, has come out in support of his brother, Sandy Alomar Jr., being the next manager of the Jays, The Toronto Sun reports.

“”I hope it’s my brother,” Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar said Wednesday. We need someone who wants to put his heart and soul into his team. Someone who wants to be here.”

Alomar Jr. lost out to Terry Francona in the Indians’ search to replace the recently dismissed Manny Acta. The prevailing belief is that Sandy would stay on the staff as Francona’s bench coach should he not find a managerial job. Alomar Jr. was 3-3 as interim manager following Acta’s termination at the end of September.

Indians Weekend Wrapup: Unimpressive Start To The Second Half

The long All-Star break brought about some hard truths for our Wahoos. While they were just two and half games out of first, their margin of error was (and is) a lot slimmer than their rivals, the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. The bats need to become more consistent one through nine. The starting rotation needs to get stronger. The bullpen needs to get some depth beyond the back end three.

It all started Friday night in Toronto. The Blue Jays are a tough team, but the Tribe’s rotation was set the way they wanted it. Toronto is missing four of their five top starters and the Tribe would have their crack at a couple of fill ins in lefty Aaron Laffey and righty Carlos Villenueva.

Instead of taking advantage, the Tribe bats fell asleep in two out of the three games, particularly with runners on base. To make matter worse, in the one game the offense actually showed up, the pitching failed them. The Tribe would end up losing two of three and lost ground to both the Tigers and the first place White Sox, who each won Sunday and gained a game. The Tribe fell into third place. Its a three-team race in the AL Central, but with the Tigers so hot and the Sox not slowing down, the Indians cannot afford a slump.

As we do every Monday, lets take a look back at the weekend that was in Wahooland. [Read more...]

Box Score: Blue Jays 3, Indians 0

The Indians faltered again today in a rubber match against the Blue Jays. Toronto scored three times against Derek Lowe in the third, and that was all the offense for the day.

The bats were miserable again today, with the team mustering just five hits and five walks total. Yet again, there were several wasted opportunities and some truly awful at-bats by the bottom of the lineup.

Cleveland now goes off to Tampa Bay for four games this week before returning home Friday to take on Baltimore. Hooray for lots of doses of the AL East right after the All-Star Break.

Scoring Summary
Bot 3rd: Toronto
- J.P. Arencibia singled to center, K. Johnson scored
- C. Rasmus singled to shallow center, J.P. Arencibia scored
- A. Lind walked, C. Rasmus scored, J. Bautista to third, E. Encarnacion to second
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
S. Choo rf 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 .294
A. Cabrera ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .278
J. Kipnis 2b 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .272
T. Hafner dh 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .231
C. Santana c 3 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 .222
M. Brantley cf 3 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 .302
C. Kotchman 1b 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 .238
J. Damon lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 .219
    S. Duncan ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .233
J. Hannahan 3b 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 .236
    J. Lopez ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .265
 Totals 31 0 5 0 0 5 9 0 17
 Batting
2B – M Brantley 2 (27, C Villanueva, D Oliver).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – C Santana 1, C Kotchman 1, J Damon 1, J Hannahan 1, J Lopez 1.
GIDP – A Cabrera.
Team LOB – 9.
 Fielding
E – C Santana (6, throw).
DP – 1 (J Kipnis-A Cabrera-C Kotchman).
 Toronto
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
B. Lawrie 3b 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .286
C. Rasmus cf 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .253
J. Bautista rf 4 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .245
E. Encarnacion 1b 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 .293
A. Lind dh 2 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 .229
Y. Escobar ss 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 .251
K. Johnson 2b 2 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 .245
B. Francisco lf 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 1 .250
    R. Davis pr-lf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .243
J.P. Arencibia c 3 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .232
 Totals 27 3 5 3 0 4 7 2 6
 Batting
2B – J Bautista (14, J Smith); B Francisco (5, J Smith).
RBI – C Rasmus (54), A Lind (25), J Arencibia (43).
2-out RBI – C Rasmus, A Lind.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – E Encarnacion 1, Y Escobar 2.
GIDP – A Lind.
Team LOB – 4.
 Base Running
SB – J Bautista (5, 2nd base off D Lowe/C Santana), K Johnson (10, 3rd base off D Lowe/C Santana).
CS – R Davis (7, 3rd base by J Smith/C Santana).
 Fielding
DP – 1 (E Encarnacion-Y Escobar).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
D. Lowe (L, 8-7) 6.0 3 3 3 4 5 0 1.56 4.43
J. Smith 2.0 2 0 0 0 2 0 1.14 2.97
 Toronto
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
C. Villanueva (W, 4-0) 6.0 3 0 0 5 8 0 1.33 2.68
J. Frasor 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.37 3.53
D. Oliver (S, 1) 2.0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.92 1.30

Tribe 9, Jays 11: It Wasn’t As Close As It Appears, and That’s Ubaldo’s Fault

This one was a doozy. The Cleveland Indians obviously should have lost by quite a bit more to Toronto Saturday afternoon, and that’s all on Ubaldo Jimenez.

The former Colorado Rockies ace had his worst outing of 2012, exiting after just 2.1 innings pitched. Against the 18 batters he faced, he allowed eight runs on seven hits (including two homers and four doubles), along with four walks and just two strikeouts.

It was as bad as we’ve seen Jimenez in a Cleveland uniform, and that’s saying something, considering he has a 5.09 ERA in his 29-start CLE career. But in the meanwhile, despite facing an early 10-2 deficit, the Indians bats didn’t just lay over, and they fought back to make this an interesting game late.

[Read more...]

Box Score: Blue Jays 11, Indians 9

So, after three innings, did anyone expect this to be a competitive contest? The Indians eventually stranded the tying run on first base in the top of the eighth, as Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen picked up the final four outs for the save.

This was Ubaldo Jimenez’s worst outing of the season, as he failed to get past a miserable third inning. But Cleveland later rallied back, as led by three-hit-and-a-homer days from Michael Brantley and Shelley Duncan. Reliever Esmil Rogers also deserves some kudos for his final two innings of shutout baseball.

Let’s just hope now that the White Sox and Tigers don’t gain a game tonight. Derek Lowe (8-6, 4.43 ERA) will be on the hill tomorrow afternoon as the Tribe looks for the series victory at the Rogers Centre.

Scoring Summary
Bot 1st: Toronto
- A. Lind doubled to right, C. Rasmus and J. Bautista scored
Top 2nd: Cleveland
- S. Duncan hit by pitch, J. Lopez scored, C. Santana to third, M. Brantley to second
- C. Kotchman grounded into double play shortstop to second to first, C. Santana scored, M. Brantley to third, S. Duncan out at second
Bot 3rd: Toronto
- E. Encarnacion homered to deep left, J. Bautista scored
- Y. Escobar homered to deep left, A. Lind scored
- J.P. Arencibia doubled to deep right center, K. Johnson scored
- B. Lawrie doubled to right, J.P. Arencibia scored
- A. Lind singled to center, B. Lawrie and J. Bautista scored, E. Encarnacion to third
Top 4th: Cleveland
- S. Duncan homered to deep left, M. Brantley scored
Bot 5th: Toronto
- E. Encarnacion homered to deep left center
Top 8th: Cleveland
- M. Brantley homered to deep right, C. Santana scored
- C. Kotchman homered to deep right, S. Duncan scored
- T. Hafner singled to shallow left center, A. Cabrera scored, J. Kipnis to second
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
S. Choo rf 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 .295
A. Cabrera ss 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 .279
J. Kipnis 2b 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 .275
J. Lopez 3b 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .267
    T. Hafner ph 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .237
    J. Hannahan pr-3b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .239
C. Santana dh 3 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 3 .221
M. Brantley cf 4 2 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 .299
S. Duncan lf 4 2 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 .235
C. Kotchman 1b 5 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 1 .241
L. Marson c 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .293
 Totals 37 9 12 8 3 6 5 0 11
 Batting
2B – S Choo (27, A Laffey).
HR – M Brantley (4, 8th inning off J Chavez 1 on, 0 Out), S Duncan (9, 4th inning off A Laffey 1 on, 1 Out), C Kotchman (9, 8th inning off J Chavez 1 on, 0 Out).
RBI – T Hafner (26), M Brantley 2 (44), S Duncan 3 (24), C Kotchman 2 (36).
2-out RBI – T Hafner.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – A Cabrera 1, C Santana 1, L Marson 1.
GIDP – C Kotchman.
Team LOB – 8.
 Toronto
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
B. Lawrie 3b 4 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 1 .290
C. Rasmus cf 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 4 .253
J. Bautista rf 3 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 .242
E. Encarnacion 1b 4 2 2 3 2 1 1 0 2 .295
A. Lind dh 5 1 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 .232
Y. Escobar ss 5 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 4 .254
K. Johnson 2b 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 0 .247
R. Davis lf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .243
J.P. Arencibia c 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .230
 Totals 37 11 13 11 3 6 5 3 15
 Batting
2B – B Lawrie (17, S Barnes); J Bautista (13, U Jimenez); A Lind (9, U Jimenez); K Johnson (9, U Jimenez); J Arencibia 2 (13, U Jimenez, S Barnes).
HR – E Encarnacion 2 (25, 3rd inning off U Jimenez 1 on, 0 Out, 5th inning off J Accardo 0 on, 2 Out), Y Escobar (6, 3rd inning off U Jimenez 1 on, 0 Out).
RBI – B Lawrie (34), E Encarnacion 3 (61), A Lind 4 (24), Y Escobar 2 (34), J Arencibia (42).
2-out RBI – E Encarnacion, A Lind 4.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out – B Lawrie 1, C Rasmus 1, Y Escobar 2.
Team LOB – 8.
 Base Running
SB – B Lawrie (12, 3rd base off S Barnes/L Marson), K Johnson 2 (9, 2nd base off U Jimenez/L Marson, 3rd base off U Jimenez/L Marson).
 Fielding
Outfield assists – R Davis.
DP – 1 (Y Escobar-K Johnson-E Encarnacion).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
U. Jimenez (L, 8-8) 2.1 7 8 8 4 2 2 1.58 5.09
S. Barnes 1.2 3 2 2 2 2 0 1.85 8.31
J. Accardo 2.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 1.38 3.55
E. Rogers 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.59 1.76
 Toronto
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
A. Laffey (W, 1-1) 5.0 8 4 4 3 4 1 1.16 3.38
A. Loup 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
J. Chavez 0.0 3 4 4 1 0 2 1.57 8.85
A. Carpenter 0.2 0 1 1 2 1 0 2.50 9.00
C. Janssen (S, 13) 1.1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.87 2.21

Tribe 1, Jays 0: Masterson, Relievers Dominate to Begin Second Half with a W

It was a familiar setting. A type of opening day. Save situation. Against the Toronto Blue Jays. Chris Perez had been there before in 2012, and fortunately for Indians fans, this save opportunity ended in a Cleveland victory.

On Opening Day, Perez blew the save in allowing three ninth-inning runs to Toronto, eventually leading to a 7-4 loss in 16 innings. On Friday night, however, with the Indians returning from the All-Star Break three games back of the White Sox, he preserved a 1-0 lead for his 25th save out of 27 chances on the year.

Justin Masterson delivered seven spotless innings and Vinnie Pestano got out of the eighth to set the table for the All-Star Perez. All the star pitchers needed in terms of offense was a solo home run by Travis Hafner, who continues to hit the ball well since returning from injury.

[Read more...]

Box Score: Blue Jays 0, Indians 1

What a great way to start off the second half. Justin Masterson was, well, masterful, and the usual duo of Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez was dominant in the final two frames.

A solo shot in the second by Travis Hafner was all of the firepower the Indians offense needed to improve to 45-41 on the season. This was a crucial victory with both Detroit and the White Sox leading as of the completion of Cleveland’s game.

Scoring Summary
Top 2nd: Cleveland
- T. Hafner homered to deep right
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
S. Choo rf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .295
A. Cabrera ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 .282
J. Kipnis 2b 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 .275
T. Hafner dh 4 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 .232
C. Santana 1b 2 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 .224
    C. Kotchman 1b 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .241
M. Brantley cf 4 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 .294
L. Marson c 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 5 .295
J. Damon lf 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .223
    A. Cunningham lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .189
J. Hannahan 3b 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 4 .239
 Totals 32 1 8 1 1 4 9 1 14
 Batting
2B - M Brantley (25, R Romero).
HR - T Hafner (8, 2nd inning off R Romero 0 on, 0 Out).
RBI - T Hafner (25).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - A Cabrera 1, L Marson 1, J Damon 2, J Hannahan 1.
GIDP - T Hafner.
Team LOB - 8.
 Base Running
SB - J Damon (4, 2nd base off J Frasor/J Arencibia).
CS - J Kipnis (2, 2nd base by R Romero/J Arencibia), C Santana (2, 2nd base by D Oliver/J Arencibia).
 Fielding
DP - 2 (A Cabrera-J Kipnis-C Santana, J Kipnis-C Santana).
 Toronto
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
B. Lawrie 3b 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .287
C. Rasmus cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .256
J. Bautista rf 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .241
E. Encarnacion 1b 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .293
A. Lind dh 3 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .215
    B. Francisco pr-dh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .244
Y. Escobar ss 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .254
K. Johnson 2b 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .247
R. Davis lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .249
J.P. Arencibia c 3 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 .226
 Totals 30 0 5 0 0 1 8 0 8
 Batting
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - C Rasmus 1, K Johnson 2.
GIDP - Y Escobar, R Davis.
Team LOB - 4.
 Fielding
DP - 1 (B Lawrie-Y Escobar-E Encarnacion).
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
J. Masterson (W, 6-8) 7.0 5 0 0 1 5 0 1.32 4.14
V. Pestano (H, 24) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.00 1.70
C. Perez (S, 25) 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.08 3.24
 Toronto
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
R. Romero (L, 8-5) 6.0 6 1 1 2 6 1 1.46 5.03
J. Frasor 1.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.38 3.63
D. Oliver 1.0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.95 1.38
C. Janssen 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.88 2.29

Indians Weekend Wrap Up: Things Are Better Than They Seem

Step away from that ledge Tribe fans, its only one weekend. The first three games of the season in fact. Things aren’t always as good or as bad as they seem this early. Heck, the Tampa Bay Rays started 0-6 last season, as did the Boston Red Sox. Both finished with 90-plus wins. This weekend, the New York Yankees and the Red Sox were both swept. Of course, the sky is falling there, especially in Boston where the Bobby Valentine era has gotten off to an inauspicious start to say the least. Remember, the Tribe lost their first two to the White Sox last year and then went on a 31-13 run.

The Indians lost two of three to the Toronto Blue Jays, but in reality, they could have and probably should have swept the series. There were plenty of things to discuss after the home opening debacle 16 inning loss, Saturday’s 7-4 extra inning heartbreaker, and yesterday’s 4-3 win. There was GREAT starting pitching, a surprise power display with the struggling bats, and a closer quandary solved in one day.

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Box Score: Indians 4, Blue Jays 3

The Indians got yet another strong performance from their starting pitcher, this time from Derek Lowe (seven innings, five hits, two runs (unearned) and a walk) and Carlos Santana provided the power (two home runs) and the Indians got their first win of the season. Things did get a little hairy in the 9th; Asdrubal Cabrera botched a double-play ball that would’ve ended the game and Chris Perez ended up facing Jose Bautista with the bases loaded. For the entire at-bat, I was thinking about how a HR would make the score 7-4, same as the first two games. Thankfully, Perez came through and got Bautista to pop-up, giving the Tribe their first win of 2012

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 9 1
                           Cleveland 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 x 4 6 2
WP: D. Lowe (1-0) S: C. Perez (1)
LP: J. Carreno (0-1)
Toronto
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
Y. Escobar ss 5 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 .105
K. Johnson 2b 4 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 .357
J. Bautista rf-1b 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 4 .333
A. Lind 1b 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .250
    R. Davis pr-rf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .200
E. Encarnacion dh 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 3 .250
B. Lawrie 3b 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 3 .214
E. Thames lf 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .182
C. Rasmus cf 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .067
J. Mathis c 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333
    B. Francisco ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
 Totals 36 3 9 3 0 2 5 0 18
 Batting
2B - E Encarnacion (3, D Lowe); J Mathis (1, D Lowe).
SF - B Lawrie.
RBI - A Lind (1), E Encarnacion (3), B Lawrie (3).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - K Johnson 1, J Bautista 2, B Lawrie 1, E Thames 1.
GIDP - C Rasmus.
Team LOB - 9.
 Fielding
E - K Johnson (1, field).
DP - 1 (Y Escobar-A Lind).
 Cleveland
AB R H RBI HR BB K SB LOB Season Avg
M. Brantley cf 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 .077
A. Cabrera ss 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 .200
S. Choo rf 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .154
C. Santana c 4 2 2 3 2 0 1 0 2 .250
T. Hafner dh 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 .200
    J. Donald pr-dh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
S. Duncan lf 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .111
    A. Cunningham lf 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000
C. Kotchman 1b 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .062
J. Kipnis 2b 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .154
J. Hannahan 3b 2 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 .250
 Totals 29 4 6 4 2 6 5 1 16
 Batting
HR - C Santana 2 (2, 2nd inning off J Carreno 0 on, 0 Out, 5th inning off J Carreno 1 on, 2 Out).
RBI - C Santana 3 (3), J Hannahan (4).
2-out RBI - C Santana 2, J Hannahan.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - A Cabrera 2, C Santana 1, J Kipnis 1.
GIDP - J Hannahan.
Team LOB - 7.
 Base Running
SB - J Donald (1, 2nd base off J Frasor/J Mathis).
CS - M Brantley (1, 2nd base by J Carreno/J Mathis).
 Fielding
E - A Cabrera (1, field); J Hannahan (1, field).
DP - 1 (J Kipnis-A Cabrera-C Kotchman).
 Toronto
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
J. Carreno (L, 0-1) 6.0 6 4 4 4 3 2 1.67 6.00
C. Villanueva 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1.20 0.00
J. Frasor 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1.50 0.00
 Cleveland
IP H R ER BB K HR WHIP Season ERA
D. Lowe (W, 1-0) 7.0 5 2 0 1 1 0 0.86 0.00
J. Smith (H, 1) 0.1 3 1 1 0 1 0 1.67 3.00
V. Pestano (H, 1) 0.2 0 0 0 0 2 0 1.12 3.38
C. Perez (S, 1) 1.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 2.62 10.12
Pitches-strikes - J Carreno 97-57; C Villanueva 22-13; J Frasor 23-12; D Lowe 95-61; J Smith 18-12; V Pestano 11-8; C Perez 28-20.
Ground balls-fly balls - J Carreno 10-5; C Villanueva 3-0; J Frasor 1-1; D Lowe 16-7; J Smith 0-0; V Pestano 0-0; C Perez 1-2.
Batters faced - J Carreno 26; C Villanueva 5; J Frasor 4; D Lowe 27; J Smith 4; V Pestano 2; C Perez 6.
Game Details
Umpires: HP–Mike Everitt. 1B–Paul Schrieber. 2B–Tim Welke. 3B–Mark Carlson.
Weather: 51 degrees, overcast.
Wind: 17 mph, left to right.