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4.25.2016

High & Low of Indians @ Tigers 4/22-4/24: One Ring to Ruin Them All

Nino Colla | Monday, April 25, 2016 | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Awwwwwwww yeah! You giddy? You better be giddy! GET GIDDY! Come on, that's fun, was it not? The tight game, averting any sort of bad "typical loss to the Tigers" and your fifth starter out-dueled their number one to boot. The blowout... And then despite losing a key piece to this team's success, scrapping out one more for a sweep.

That's a series win my friends.

And here are all the Highs and very few Lows from the Indians trip to Detroit.


4.22.2016

High & Low of Indians Vs Mariners 4/19-4/21: Now Is Not the Time to Fret, People

Nino Colla | Friday, April 22, 2016 | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Ugh, an intro. I don't want to. Because it will inevitably end in a long-winded rant about something to do with some of your friends that suck as fans. I say some of your friends, because you likely reading this don't suck.

With two losses, one being a heart-breaker, and another being on the bad end of a pitcher's duel, there was quite a bit to be low about, even with silver linings. So, here's the Highs and the Lows of the Indians series with the team that has their former manager coaching third base.

4.18.2016

High & Low of Indians Vs Mets 4/15-4/17: You Were Expecting Someone Else?

Nino Colla | Monday, April 18, 2016 | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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For the two best rotation's in baseball, that sure was more offense than I think anyone expected. The winning team scored at least six runs in each game and in two games the losing team scored at least five. Each team's arguable best starter got unwound on to the tune of 11 runs.

Of course, right?

Also, someone please caption that picture. What could Bartolo be saying to Kipnis? Inquiring minds want to know.

Here's the highs and the lows of the Indians series against the New York Mets.

4.15.2016

High & Low of Indians @ Rays 4/12-4/14: We Got a Winner, Yes We Do

Nino Colla | Friday, April 15, 2016 | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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See, just needed some consistent games in a row. Quit your bitching people...

No seriously, it is hard to play a game of consistency when you aren't playing consistently. It's hard to play a warm weather game when it isn't warm. And, it's hard to play a game when you AREN'T PLAYING THE GAME.

Here's the Highs and the Lows of the Indians series win in Tampa against the Rays. In that series, they played the games.


High: Cy-lazar shirts now on sale, while supplies last

Am I too high on Danny Salazar? I don't know, maybe, but a lot of people are in that case. The Electric Slide-azar (I'm still trying to make something work here, please hang with me) was pretty rockin' in his second start. Totally on board with Salazar just straight up striking fools out. He's gonna throw a lot of pitches because of it, but it's swing and miss stuff, so what can you do? Pitch to contact more? Why? He's making it work. He has gotten to the point where he can at least get you a quality start more times than not, and that's fine. It'll all come together sooner rather than later, but I don't want to see him change from what he's doing. I'll take six innings and nine strikeouts. That works.

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High: Return to never-never land

Back to the scene of the crime for Carlos Carrasco, where he almost threw a no-hitter last season. Cookie was super strong in this one, going really deep and looking very similar as to how he did in that start in which he took it to the wire for a no-hitter against the Rays in 2015. Joey Butler was safely in Columbus, but the Rays scratched a few baserunners out regardless. Start one was his tuneup in the cold, start two was proving Cookie is ready to be a absolute force at the top once again. LOVE.

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High: The Armory has arrived

I'm not sure why I'm calling our new arrivals that are vets The Armory, but here we are. With consistent game playing came some consistent results. Marlon Byrd and Rajai Davis have turned up along with Napoli's first week success. We're still missing Juan Uribe in action, but give it time. These valuable vets have some purpose on the team, you need to give them more than one game. Davis was ripping things up there, in spite of all of us not wanting him to be in the leadoff spot and then Byrd got in on the action in Game 3 with both offense and defense. So, hey, look at those vets contributing! They just needed to get out of the cold.

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Low: Just leave it alone

Was it a mistake keeping Corey Kluber in? Look man, not going to get it into that. I'm going to leave that all alone. It was probably the one low spot in the entire series was seeing that game blown. Yeah, Kluber was clearly done, but Tito left him in because that's what Tito does and he trusts his ace. Well, sometimes, you gotta read the signs. For as much as Tito doesn't like to push things early in the year, he pushed it. In the middle of June? This may be a different story and Kluber may have typically been fine. But he hasn't worked up to that, and his first start of the season was in cold temperatures of a rescheduled game in Cleveland. I think Tito could make the same move in June and come out fine. Here though? He maybe needed to read the situation a bit better. It's nothing worth flipping out though, like half of Indians Twitter did in regards to blowing the lead. Settle down.

I will be a little snobbish towards bringing in Cody Allen though right after it. On one hand, your best reliever wasn't getting much time over the past week, but perhaps AFTER the game was already blown was not the time to get him some work. I don't know, seemed misplaced, but again, too early to get all bent out of shape about.

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High: Next of Naquin

We haven't seen much of Tyler Naquin due to the nature of the starting pitchers the Indians have seen and their handedness, but seeing Ty in there and doing well at the plate was a breath of fresh air. I'm convinced he's one of the guys to go when Brantley and Chisenhall return (which is soon), but maybe I'll be wrong. Naquin was ballin' in his start, getting three hits, and if he does that in addition to his good defense, no reason he shouldn't stay, especially since they've shown they're willing to not be consistent with his starting. I don't think he needs to be in Triple-A at this point. I think you stand to see him learn more by being a part-timer than you do getting more time in against Quad-A pitching.

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High, but Low for him: The sad life of Hank Conger

Anytime you face a team with Hank Conger behind the plate is steal party time. Holy smokes is that dude terrible throwing people out. He's a walking sad Charlie Brown walking meme in catcher's gear.

In general, can we just give a high to the Indians early season aggressiveness on the base paths? A lot of that can also be contributed to Francisco Lindor, who created a few runs in this one just by pushing the envelop by being aggressive. He forced a throw that got away, which not only let him score but let Napoli move up on the error, and in that series against Boston that double steal I had mentioned, while failed in general, was still well placed and made sense.

More base path aggressiveness, especially when it is smart. Make the other team make a perfect play, and sometimes they make mistakes that help you out even more.

High/Low: Lindor is a Gif(t)/MLB is Krampus

I wish I could have just put the GIF there, that the wonderful August Fagerstrom had shared with the world, but Major League Baseball is straight up Krampus taking away our gifs. MLB is the straight up worst with their digital content. They are stingy with having stuff on YouTube, it's ridiculously hard to embed their stuff into posts here and in general sharing videos from their website. I get you want to control it, but seriously, why create barriers for the fan to share awesome stuff from the sport they love?

The high is for Lindor just being friggin' Lindor. I love love love love loveeee this stuff. This is why the game is fun. And the on the other side you have MLB trying to roadblock the fun by saying, hey, don't share that gif, it's our property, merp merp merp.

Whatever.

Also, can we get rid of these catwalks? Are they important to the structural integrity of Tropicana Field? Seriously, if you play in a place that dictates it's own rules, perhaps we should look into figuring out how we can get the Rays a new place to play. They're in the nicest part of the United States and they play in a dome? That doesn't seem right either.

Next Up: The best rotations in baseball square off, but they're missing a few guys on the Mets side, and New York misses a few of the arms that Cleveland would probably love to showcase in this sort of series. I guess it all works out to be pretty even then? Regardless, the three matchups are still pretty damn impressive looking.

4.11.2016

High & Low of Indians @ White Sox 4/8-4/9: Stop Screwing Up All the Baseball

Nino Colla | Monday, April 11, 2016 | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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We're all just hitting .500 right now. The Indians in playing games (and winning them) and me in correctly formatting High & Low. Last time was a bit of mess, wasn't it? And this website? Oh man, sorry about the appearance. I'll clean it up shortly. I'm a home owner now (exciting stuff, eh?), so needless to say, I've been cleaning other stuff up. We're all good here now though, an opening picture, a page break so you can click on, and a more proper intro.

Hopefully as we hit a new week (and have some nicer weather this weekend), the Indians will play their full week's slate of games. Although, I'm sure they won't complain about having two less games without Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall.


4.08.2016

High & Low of Indians Vs Red Sox 4/5-4/6: This Was Supposed To Be 4/4-4/7

Nino Colla | Friday, April 08, 2016 | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Not only is this the first High & Low since the last High & Low, last year, it's really the first post since. Perhaps, first real post. Not that the other post was fake, it just wasn't, anything.

On top of that, I made a lot of promises. Okay, I didn't really promise anything. Maybe I did? I don't know, you can scroll down a tad and look, I'm not going to. I've already wasted seconds going back to my post manager to see how I formatted the titles of these.

If you aren't familiar with the game, we take the highest and the lowest of each series the Indians play. We insert some pictures, maybe a video, and I either talk for a long time, or say one word. There's no in-between, for the most part. This is a gentle borrowing of a format from the great folks at UPROXX's With Spandex site, because I'm a closet wrestling nerd, and think the format works well for what we're doing here.

Plus, what the hell is baseball analysis anyway? Let's get into it, happy 2016 baseballing season, friends. Your highs and lows of the Indians shortened opening series against Boston.

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High: JRAM!

Love me some Jose Ramirez at the top of the lineup. If he already didn't have the awesome nicknames of The Helmetless Horseman and The WAR Machine, I'd just go around calling him Sparky because he's a total spark plug at the top of the lineup, or anywhere really. Francona started him in left field on Wednesday in game two, and while that was an adventure, his bat came to play.

Ramirez had a bit of bad luck on his side last year in terms of finding hits. His contact rate though, prime stuff. Ramirez made contact twice, once to set up the game's first run when Kipper doubled him home, and then again later when he knocked in Tyler Naquin to give his team a 3-run lead in the second.

Ramirez is a key piece to this team this year. If you haven't been paying attention to all the love, start. He's filling the Mike Aviles role better than Aviles could and should start just about everyday.

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Low: JRAM! in the outfield

Where he starts is another question. He should see the majority of his team in the infield, because his venture in left was a bit shaky. He didn't make any sort of error or play that cost his team in this one, but boy was that an adventure. Having watched the game from the new left field standing room only area, Ramirez's jumps on fly balls and routes to making plays were not very good. Not sure how much wind played into it, but even the very first ball hit to him out there was a heart attack. The game's final play was a putout made by Ramirez in left on an Ortiz sinking fly ball.

Ramirez needs more seasoning out there, so you should definitely give him more time, especially if he's going to fill that super utility role and the offensive outfield production is a question, and Michael Brantley sees a lot of DH time as he comes back. But, try and avoid him ever seeing center field and keep his starts to ones where he doesn't have to deal with elements that make it more difficult until he can pick up the position better.


High: Santapoli

The Carols Santana/Mike Napoli combo in the middle of the lineup worked, at least for the first two games.

In a sequence that would anger the ilk who hate Carlos Santana's penchant for walking, Napoli and Santana walked in their first back-to-back plate appearances of the year in the first game. Nap ended up striking out three times in the game, but the win on Wednesday could be credited to the big blasts by him and Santana. Carlos belted a three-run shot (with Napoli on base) in the first to give the Indians a 4-0 lead, and then when that evaporated, Napoli hit the game winning solo shot to center in the seventh. A majestic blast that made you want to mount a horse and ride it through the town to tell everyone the Tribe won ala Paul Revere, Napoli's blast came after a night in which he and Santana continued to make the starting pitchers work. While I want Santana higher for on-base purposes, I'll take this back-to-back combo for all the work they are going to make starting pitchers do this season. That's going to be a two-man bullpen enforcer right there, and you have to love that, especially given that two of the teams in this division have rotations you can take advantage of.

High/Low: Lindor/But whaddaya doing with him?

Not going to start questioning Tito's lineups, especially two games in, but you have to wonder where Lindor fits in and if moving him around is the best idea. He started in the three-hole in the first game, and then got bumped up to leadoff in the second. In the grand scheme of things, until Brantley comes back, I guess it doesn't matter if he's one or three, but I think I'd prefer him one. Kipnis is a more seasoned guy and more likely to produce contact due to his higher average, so having him in those positions (like on Wednesday when he doubled home Ramirez in the first) to knock in runs seems more favorable. Let Lindor get on and create something. Three seems like it's too much pressure for such a young hitter who everyone is going to be adapting to, even though he had more success in the first game hitting in the three-spot.

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Low: Not hooking Detwiler earlier

Look, I know you want to get through the sixth so you can 7/8 Z-Mac and Shaw, but don't wait til it's too late to hook Detwiler in the sixth. Tito probably waited one batter too many to hook Carrasco after the back-to-back home runs to David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez in the sixth, but that's fine, it's his secondary ace starter in his first start and he had a three run lead to work with.

But Detwiler came in and was clearly not with it after giving up a double and walking Brock Holt. Hook him! Get your higher leverage reliever in now before you put him in a more difficult situation. Do you want Detwiler to get out of it? Of course, but if the end result is McAllister coming in regardless, just do it a hitter early. Don't let Detwiler walk another guy to load the bases and then give up a fly ball to score a run. McAllister came in and got a ground out. That could have saved yourself a run and preserved the lead at the very least. Again, hate to question Tito this early on, but I have to wonder if "feeling things out" and "giving guys an opportunity" early on is bogus. Just go for the win man, put your team in the best position to make the right move and go for the win.


High: Situational double steals

I do wanna throw a little praise Tito's way though, for all the questioning. I LOVED the double steal attempt late in the game on Wednesday. It didn't result in what you wanted, but it's a fairly low-risk move to get an insurance run. With Lindor walking and Davis having already stolen second, you had one out and two on. You are going to need a hit regardless to get a run in at this point, whether it's a single that scores Davis, or advances him, unless you think Jose is walking in that situation to create a bases loaded situation, why not try and force a mistake? You have the lead, all you are doing is setting up Cody Allen with the opportunity for another run to cushion his opportunity to end the game.

Of course, Davis was out at third (he looked out from where I was sitting), but Lindor still ended up on second (and still has the wheels to score on a hit). Either way, if Ramirez gets a hit, a run is going to score. If the double-steal goes well, you get an extra run, and shoot, if you are so aggressive that it takes the other team back, who knows what happens. I applaud the aggressiveness, especially with the pieces this lineup has in that situation. There's times to do that stuff that can work to your advantage, and that was one of them.

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High: NAQUIN!

Kid is fun to watch. I like him in center and at the bottom of the lineup. Hopefully the Indians keep him around and don't go the "well let's keep the vet guy who won't play a lot" because they want to get Naquin more at-bats in Columbus. That seems unnecessary. Naquin is ready to go, even if he doesn't play everyday when the regulars get back, keep him around. He can run, play defense, and maybe just maybe he can hit. That's a valuable player off the bench and starting here and there.

Low: Ohio weather in April

Yeah, we all know it sucks. Here's our obligatory low to it as the season starts and it messes up our schedules and interferes with our baseball.

Low: Nachos

Not to throw Momocho's under the bus, but I'd rather have paid the lower price for the Progressive Field nachos. Wasn't blown away by the Momocho's offering. I'm a nacho snob though and I had pretty much built this up to be the most amazing nacho experience ever. Where's my salsa!?

Up Next: To Chicago, where the weather isn't much better and the Indians still face a team with socks. Danny Salazar has been bumped back for the opener, Cody Anderson will still pitch, and Kluber did the right thing in letting Tomlin start on semi-normal schedule, so we'll see the back end of the rotation in full.

12.30.2015

Partake in this Fan Experiment on the Indians

Nino Colla | Wednesday, December 30, 2015 | Best Blogger Tips

Hello friends.

As we round out the old year (no one ever calls it the old year, we all call the upcoming year the new year) I wanted to touch base with a new project. As you know, my more in-depth pieces about the Indians appear on Everybody Hates Cleveland, and my random mishmash stuff appears here.

I haven't had much of either as of late.

But, yesterday we kicked off a study of Indians fandom that I'm conducting. That sounds so official. Conducting a study.

Oh boy. Either way, I just wanted to drop in a quick plug in case you haven't seen it yet. If you follow me on Twitter, you've likely already seen me plug it and if you still do, unfollow me now because that's all I'll do for the next five weeks.

Just kidding, don't unfollow me.

Go partake. And just as importantly (not that you aren't important, you are, but you are likely sensible) give it to someone you dislike.

Happy New Year! Hope your Old Year is rounding out nicely!