4.30.2008

Lee Wins Again; Offense Awakens

It's about time the offense came to the party. Because it ain't no party with out the bashin'.

Cliff Lee Again?: Cliff Lee pitched 27 consecutive scoreless innings, and it came to an end when he gave up a three run home run to Wladimir something or other in the 7th.

So the final line, Six plus, 3 ER, no walks again, he gave up his first home run of the year and 3 strikeouts.

By far not his best, but he was scoreless till the 7th. After the first two batters Wedge should have probably taken him out, but with a guy in his first start of the year, you probably figure Lee can get the job done.

No harm no foul, it was 8-0 at that point..

Lee's ERA rose to .96.. OH MY HOW COULD HE..

Hey still hasn't hit the 1.00 yet.

Offense Hits: Hey the offense hit.

You know it's gonna be a good night when Grady Sizemore leads the game off with a blast.

Carroll follows up with a hit, Victor knocks him over from his new spot, and Garko drives him in with a sac fly.

Franklin Gutierrez has the best bat tonight though, hitting in the SIX spot, he had 2 hits for 3 runs batted in and a run scored.

He is on a bit of a roll lately, so let's hope that continues.

I'm not sure what I feel about the new lineup. Hafner when he gets back, I don't know where he will hit. I'm not in favor of Victor at the three hole, I think our must clutch hitter has to be the cleanup guy, and I think had Garko not been struggling, he would have been in the three hole tonight.

I'd say maybe fifth if Wedge really wants to make the change. Or perhaps just give him a day or two off, see what happens. We will find out tomorrow.

I'm also not in favor of Casey Blake hitting so I high. I know he leads the team in RBI, but you just can't do that right now.

Tomorrow is the finale, and the Indians could use a series win. Miguel Batista against Paul Byrd.

[BOXSCORE]

Tribe Blow Late Comeback

After tying the game up in the 8th inning, the Indians seemed they wouldn't let this one slip away after all. That was until Adrian Beltre got his hands on a pitch.

I've got a complaint: Adrian Beltre did hit the big home run in the 9th inning that started the big inning for the M's. But all night he was ticking me off with his antics at the plate.

If you watched him against Carmona, he would continuously lean out of the way like all of Carmona's pitches inside were going to hit him. Beltre walked three times in that game, and really that type of crap just lights a fire under me. If I was Carmona I would have pegged him for real or just started throwing something that would really make him move.

With that: Let's get to Carmona...

So far this year he has pitched well, but there is one difference between Carmona last year and this year.

It is the walks. He is walking a lot more people than he did last year. For him it is not a problem, because at any time he can record two outs with one pitch, but you do have to wonder why he is walking so many people. Maybe hitters have just given up and said "lets not even swing at that stuff", who knows. Still can't fault the effort Carmona gave tonight, and had Cabrera not commit an error to extend an inning and eventually let them score an unearned run, we might have had a different outcome.

Betancourt blew the game in the 9th.. That's all there is to it.

But Craig Breslow.. WHY? Why has it taken Wedge so long to get him in the game.. And then you put him in the worst possible situation, when you need to keep it at least a little closer?

Wedge needs to start using Breslow more, he waited way to long to use him, and I think it has been just about two weeks since he pitched. Last night was not fair to him at all.

Silva Shuts Offense Down: Carlos Freaking Silva? How is he pitching so well this early?

I don't know, but he continued again tonight against us. He really isn't a good match for a patient hitting team like the Tribe, but you figure with the recent struggles, the offense might have been primed to break out against him.

Guess not. Early they got to Silva, with a pair of doubles in the first by Sizemore and Dellucci. Travis Hafner continued to suck it up as he wasn't able to keep the rally going. Dellucci got stranded on base after being on 2nd with no body out and that was it for the time being.

The offense scored again after that Sizemore and Dellucci combo did it again.. This time Hafner grounded out, which knocked in a run. That was it for scoring.

Victor Martinez's hit sreak is up to 11 games.

Everyone else went hitless, except for Franklin Gutierrez, who had THREE hits.

Tonight it is Cliff Lee and Jarrod Washburn, this is a must win. It is our best vs their worst so far this year.

[BOXSCORE]

4.29.2008

Tribe Fall, Series Split; Laffey Loses No-No

What a painful game.. Like I said I can take losing to an ace who pitches well. But this one sucks.

Laffey Pitches Well: He pitched as good as you could have expected him too. He got over a first inning walk and error to survive the inning, then went on to no hit the Yankees till the 6th inning. When everything just seemed to fall apart.

Eerily similar to the way Sowers did.. And in the same way.. Laffey was removed and Jensen Lewis came in. He let up some more runs including one charged to himself, and Laffey's good start turned into a mediocre one.

Offense comes up short: The offense just couldn't get it together against Mussina. They had numerous chances to do something. To the tune of 16 men left on base.

Thing is Victor and Travis did not leave any on.. they just didn't have the chances.. Travis knocked one in with a sacrifice fly, but none of the big guys had the chances to knock people in.

Carroll had 5 left on base, Peralta and Dellucci had four.

How much does this team miss Grady Sizemore at the top? David Dellucci just isn't a leadoff guy, he does sit better in the two hole.. Then Carroll wouldn't have been there..

It just is all out of wack, hopefully Grady gets back soon.

Tomorrow it is Carlos Silva and Fausto Carmona at Progressive to kick off a series with the Mariners.

[BOXSCORE]

4.28.2008

Clearing Up Roster Moves

Just to make clear all the roster moves that happened or will happen.

Jeremy Sowers was called up to start on Saturday, Ben Francisco sat.

Sowers was then called down after his start, to call up Brad Snyder. Snyder was an extra body in the outfield just in case because Grady Sizemore could not go no matter what on Sunday.

They did not recall Francisco cause I'm sure he was playing or had played in the Buffalo game or they just didn't want to call him up to be a backup for one day. Snyder just did happen to be on the 40 man, the downside is his major league clock has started.

Snyder will now be called down today so Aaron Laffey can pitch in Monday's game.

After that, I'm assuming Laffey will get called down. They will either call up Ben Francisco, or just immediately call up Sowers so he can start later this week, probably on Friday.

4.27.2008

Three Up, Three Down: April 14th - 27th

I have decided to make it a bi-weekly feature because it makes much more sense.

The past two weeks have seen some really down play but some really encouraging play as of late from the Indians.

First up: Casey Blake

Blake was probably down the last time around and he was on his way to being down again. But he went from batting near .150 to being the team leader in runs batted in.

In the past two weeks he has raised his average to .229, hit two home runs and knocked in 12 runs.

Since the 14th of April he is hitting .314 and really has become that guy we are used to at the bottom of the order picking everyone up.

That is one thing the offense was missing the first few weeks, was Casey Blake being productive in the nine hole. He did it the first game of the year to win it, but since then his offense was non-existent.

Second Up: Victor Martinez

It looks as if Victor Martinez has finally found his footing after finally shaking off the early injury struggles.

Since April 14th Victor is hitting .432 with seven runs batted in, and it's no coincidence that since he started hitting well, the Indians have been winning games.

He is the team leader and a big important piece of their offense. Martinez always comes up in the clutch for the Indians, but perhaps Saturday evening was the first time he had an actual walk off hit to win the game.

Martinez singled home Grady Sizemore with the bases loaded to give the Indians a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees.

If the Indians offense wants to continue to have that efficient scoring offense they want, Martinez needs to be hitting like this.

Third Up: Masa Kobayashi

If there is one guy who has stepped up in the absence of Joe Borowski, it has been Masa Kobayashi.

Kobayashi was slowly elevated to the eighth inning set-up role with Rafael Betancourt closing games.

Rafael Perez who has struggled at times has been pitching the sixth and seventh innings, was thought to be the eighth inning guy after Borowski went down.

But, Kobayashi took the role and hasn't looked back. On Saturday he got his first major league win, and since moving into that role he has been nearly flawless.

Since the 17th he has pitched six innings with no runs, a win and only three base runners.

First Down: Joe Borowski, Jake Westbrook

They are not down for the reasons you think either.

Jake Westbrook has been solid but now he is headed to the disabled list for at least a month.

While Borowski is a little closer to returning, it was found out he will be out at least a month since the time he was first placed on the disabled list. Jake Westbrook will also have to spend at least four weeks there.

Both pitchers take a hit to the strong depth of the Indians staff. Borowski's injury has caused a bullpen shuffle, elevating guys like Jorge Julio into more crucial roles, and so far he hasn't handled it well.

That has caused Rafael Perez to be used as early as the sixth inning.

Jake Westbrook's injury, combined with a rain out of the second game against Kansas City, caused the Indians to adjust their rotation and call upon not one, but two Buffalo starters.

Jeremy Sowers pitched well in his debut against the Yankees, but Aaron Laffey will also have to be called up to make the start on Monday.

Hopefully this pair can get back on the field soon, they only make the Tribe pitching staff deeper.

Second Down: Travis Hafner

You hate to see Travis down, especially since it really isn't because of his hitting.

While he is only hitting .206 over the past two weeks, and leading the team in strikeouts, Hafner is being bothered by a sore shoulder.

It caused him to miss a game in Minnesota, and ever since he started the next day you can tell something is just preventing him to swing the bat like we know he can.

He has hit a home run and knocked in six runs since the 14th of April, but his shoulder is causing him to tighten up at the plate and only try and swing at balls inside. He can't go the other way and it is very noticeable.

Third Down: Grady Sizemore

Two of the Indians most important offensive players are down?

While Sizemore has struggled at the plate the past few weeks, there is more to this selection.

Sizemore's 382 consecutive games played streak came to an end on Sunday when he failed to play against the Yankees.

Eric Wedge has sat him in the past, but usually found a way to get him in the game and keep the streak alive.

This time though, Wedge couldn't do that and Sizemore's streak was put to a halt.

Sizemore got hurt in what was described as a "strained" or "sore" right ankle.

While Grady was hitting .217 over the past two weeks, he did start to turn it on before the injury, knocking in four runs in his past five games, including a home run against the Royals.

Hopefully the injury is one that doesn't lag on Sizemore, and he can start up a new streak as soon as possible.

Indians Lose Pitchers Duel

It was the definition of a pitchers duel.

Sabathia Goes 8, Gives Up 1: C.C. Sabathia was good as you could expect. He went eight innings and only gave up only four hits.

The lone run was a Melky Cabrera home run.

The thing you like most about his start today is that he struck out eight and only gave up one walk.

C.C. has definitely got it together after a rough start.. He got tagged with this loss but he for sure does not deserve it.

Wang Shuts it Down: I mean you can't complain when a guy as good as Wang shuts you down.

9 strikeouts in 7 innings.

He too only gave up 4 hits.

Dellucci, Gutierrez, Michaels and Martinez got the four hits.

Wow yes.. Dellucci, Gutierrez and Michaels.

That means Grady Sizemore's consecutive games played streak is now officially over.

Sizemore has a mild strain of his ankle and while he probably could have been available to pinch hit, he wasn't needed and the streak will end at 382.

One more game to go. It is Aaron Laffey making his first start of the year... He takes on Mike Mussina and the Indians can win the series with a win.

[BOXSCORE]

Borowski and Westbrook Update

Joe Borowski will play catch for the first time since going on the DL soon.

If things go well he can avoid another MRI and could be on his road to returning.

The Tribe are definitely taking it easy on him though.

"He won't be ready for activity [until] after the 15-day period," Soloff said. "We're hopeful it's going to be four weeks total." - (Indians.com)

Same for Jake Westbrook who's spot is being occupied by Jeremy Sowers who pitched well yesterday.

Jake might be on the shelf for a month, which is longer than I expected..

Shin-Soo Choo is also on the road to return, he is finally playing in the field and when he plays all nine innings of a game in Extended Spring Training he will begin a rehab assignment, which is a max of 20 days.

I'm expecting the Tribe to take all 20 days.

4.26.2008

Walk Off Win Over Yankees

So five in a row and a big two game early advantage over the Yankees.

Kobayashi gets first win, Sowers good: Wow, I was legit surprised at the effectiveness of Jeremy Sowers.

Five solid innings from The Professor. He ran into trouble in the 6th inning, getting one out but putting three men on base.

He was lifted for Jensen Lewis, who got a strikeout of Cano, but then gave up a pinch hit triple to Jorge Posada that tied the game.

Sowers got charged with all three runs.

Thankfully Kobayashi came in and pitched two more solid innings to earn his first major league win.

Offense Eeks It: They did just eek it out.

The first four in the lineup had all four RBIs.. Grady knocked in the first run, Dellucci the second, Hafner the third and the winning run was via Victor Martinez.

The Yankees walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, pitching AROUND Travis Hafner.. Puzzling..

To get to Victor Martinez, our most clutch hitter.

Low and behold.. Walk off single.

WINNER

Great win.. Paul Byrd and Jeremy Sowers on the mound, we get wins.

CC goes tomorrow so hopefully we can lock up a series win.

[BOXSCORE]

4.25.2008

Peralta comes up big in win over Yankees

The P-Rizzle himself was hot today, and he carried the Tribe to a big opening series win against the Yankees. With the two young guys making their first starts this season, it is nice to get this win under the belt.

Peralta leads offense: Jhonny Peralta provided most of the offense tonight. He had a big hit in the first inning after Pettitte walked Martinez. Later in the game with two outs after consecutive hits from Hafner and Victor, Peralta took a 3-1 offering up and over the wall in left field.

He was simply on point tonight, Pettitte didn't want any part of Vic and he paid the price.

Franklin Gutierrez also had a big solo home run. Pettitte fell behind him as well and gave up a big old beach ball toss that Franklin sent plenty of rows back in the bleachers.

Jamey Carroll added a bloop single to score Grady.

Byrd Decent: Can't complain about 5+ with 4 runs. Giambi was the only guy he struggled with.. He just couldn't pitch him anything.

Matsui touched him up as well, but for the most part Paul Byrd did a good job keeping the likes of A-Rod in check.

Still he needs to be able to go at least another inning. Thankfully Cliff Lee saved our bullpen last night so it was ready to go. Perez worked 2.1 innings of one hit baseball and Rafael Betancourt got save number two.

Tomorrow is a early evening game on FOX, it is Ian Kennedy vs Jeremy Sowers.

[BOXSCORE]

Lee, Carmona Lead Tribe to Sweep in Double Header

How about that...

Cliff Lee does it again and out pitches one of the hottest pitchers in the month of April, Brian Bannister.. The Tribe win both games in the double header, and sweep the KC Royals.

Cliff and Carmona: Cliff Lee faced two batters over the minimum, giving up only three hits and striking out nine batters. That is a season high and he just continues to make the opposing team look silly.

His ERA is now down to 0.28. Cliff is probably the best picher in the entire American League so far. He leads the league in ERA, and among all the pitchers who have pitched four games or less, he leads them in innings. He is third in the AL in strikeouts with 29.

Cliff has been spectacular so far. Let's hope he keeps it up.

Carmona had a little bit more of a rougher time out there.. He now leads the Majors in walks after he walked four more.

He did go five and get the win, but he gave up a lot of hits and had a lot of people on base once again. That is how Carmona works, but you wanna see the walks go down, cause that certainly isn't his game.

Rafael Perez came in earlier than expected, gave up a few runs in the 7th, and was relieved by Masa Kobayashi who pitched well in the setup role. Masa came in and got the final out in the 7th and then pitched a perfect 8th.

Rafael Betancourt got his first save chance of the year, and converted. Horray!

The second game was all Cliff Lee, that does wonders for a bullpen in a double header.

Offense keeps rolling: They got a lot of runs off Tomko and the pen in the first game, so against Bannister you were hoping for a couple and Cliff Lee to pitch well.

That is exactly what happened.

Bannister was good, until the 7th when he gave up David Dellucci's third home run of the year and then Asdrubal Cabrera's double to bring in Travis Hafner. The offense would need just those two runs.

The first game they needed a lot more. The first few innings was the main scoring parts of the game. The first inning they tacked on one with Victor Martinez knocking in Jamey Carroll.

In the 2nd Blake Knocked home Francisco and Sizemore knocked in Blake in a very weird play.

The 3rd inning they added four more, Garko knocked in Hafner, Francisco knocked in Martinez, and Jason Michaels knocked home Francisco and Garko.

Grady Sizemore added his 3rd home run of the year in the 5th, and Casey Blake added his 18th RBI of the year in the 7th.. Last week he was batting in the .100's.. Now he leads the team in RBIs.

Everyone but Garko got a hit in the first game... Victor went 3-5 and Grady 4-5.

Travis went 2-4 in the second game, and Shoppach had the other hit for the Indians, Andy Marte went 0-2.

Up next is the four game Yankee homestand. Paul the Wall Byrd goes up against Andy Pettitte. Kennedy/Sowers on Saturday, Wang/Sabathia on Sunday, and Laffey/Mussina on Monday.

[BOXSCORE GAME 1]

[BOXSCORE GAME 2]

4.24.2008

Jason Stanford Returns

The Indians have broughten back Jason Stanford to their organization.

Last year Stanford pitched in a few big league games, making is long awaited return to the Indians after going through a long rehab for surgery. He came up and got a big win against the Marlins, and pitched so well he earned himself a bullpen spot when he was forced out of the rotation.

However, Jason didn't last and was eventually moved.. Now he will return to Buffalo to start.

The move of Sean Smith to Colorado, Sowers pitching on Saturday and Laffey having to pitch on Monday, the Indians were tight for some pitching, so this makes sense. Stanford will pitch tonight so Laffey can be on schedule to pitch in Monday's game against the Yankees.

Sean Smith Traded to Rockies to Complete Carroll Deal

The Jamey Carroll deal was still incomplete until today.

To finish the deal, the Indians sent Buffalo starter Sean Smith to Colorado.

Smith is one of many starters behind some of the more MLB ready pitchers in Sowers, Laffey and Miller.

In reality he probably had no future as a starter with Cleveland, so this makes sense for the Tribe, and he should get a shot in Colorado within the next year.

Smith was 0-1 this year, with a 4.00 ERA and was scheduled to pitch on Friday. The Buffalo rotation is in all sorts of whack with this deal though, Jeremy Sowers will be called up on Saturday to pitch against the Yankees, and it is expected that Aaron Laffey will get skipped tonight so he can be called up and pitch on Monday.

Wednesday Game Rained Out; Double Header For Thursday

Wednesday's game didn't even go anywhere. So, Thursday they will attempt to play a double header.

I say attempt because the weather looks ba-leek.

Fausto Carmona is pushed back today for the early game at 6:10 P.M ET, Brett Tomko is still scheduled to pitch for the Royals.

The Regular pitching match up that was scheduled for today, Cliff Lee Vs Brian Bannister will be the night cap.

This does impact the Indians rotation, because it pushes Fausto Carmona's monday start to Tuesday, and leaves an open gap.

It was announced Jeremy Sowers would get the start in place of Westbrook on Saturday, so he is out of the picture.

Which means they will probably hold Aaron Laffey out of today's game in Buffalo, so he can pitch on Monday against the Yankees.

4.23.2008

Tribe Pound Royals for CC's First Win

Finally! Exhale! All in one game.

CC K's 11: 11 of CC's 18 outs were recorded via the strikeout..

Pretty dominant..

The thing you love is early when he was effective he wasn't walking people. He walked two as the game went on, but that is pretty normal for CC to give up one or two as he gets tired.

Really though I think everyone can rest easy now knowing CC isn't hurt and its just mechanical and mental problems that were hurting him.

Bats Break Out: Casey was the big bopper going 4-4 with six ribbies including a big grand slam that basically put the nail in the coffin early.

Franklin had an outstanding night, going 3-5 with a couple of doubles, three runs scored and three runs knocked in. Great to see him do well. He has a history of beating up on KC though.

Dellucci went deep and knocked in a pair, and Jhonny round out the homers with a solo shot.

Really though it was a total reverse of what the Indians have been doing. They left 12 men on base, but you can do that when you score 15. However they did help strand 16 Royals on base, which is great for a staff. CC was giving up some hits, a couple of cheapies but he worked through it.

Another one tonight at 8 again. Carmona takes on Tomko.

[BOXSCORE]

4.22.2008

Westbrook to the DL; Francisco Called Up!

Jake Westbrook was placed on the 15 DL today for a strained muscle.

To take his roster spot, the Indians called up Ben Francisco.

Until Jake's spot in the rotation comes back up, Francisco should stick, but when needed they will probably call up Aaron Laffey or Jeremy Sowers to pitch, then send them right back down.

This sucks, Jake has been pretty solid so far. Hopefully whoever they call up steps up and can give us a good start or two. We should also get to see what Ben Francisco has in the mean time.

4.20.2008

Twins Win In Extras; Tribe Drop Series

Damnit, two outs and it was there for the taking and Rafael Perez couldn't close the deal.

Pitchers Duel: It was a good old fashioned pitching matchup. Brendan Harris had the lone jack of the game, and Frankie G knocked in the Tribes run. Paul Byrd pitched 7 strong innings and Scott Baker held the Tribe in check for 6.

Masa Kobayashi worked 2 outs in the 8th, while Perez came in to get one. He'd pitch a scoreless ninth but then surrender the winning run in the 10th to Justin Morneau.

Perez made two great pitches with the breaking ball to get Morneau reaching. But he threw him a third and not only was Morneau expecting it, the ball sailed up and Morneau pulled it through the gap between 1st and 2nd.

16 Left: Another game with leaving players on base. 16 were left and Hafner and Martinez accounted for 6 of them.

Baker pitched well, the bullpen pitched well. But they need to come through..

I mentioned 6 were left from Hafner and Martinez. Both destroyed prime chances when Dellucci and Sizemore got on with no body out. Hafner struck out and Martinez hit in to the double play to end the inning. You can't squander those opportunities.

Ryan Garko's streak of making it on base was also put to a halt today when he failed to reach. He struck out once.

Next up is Kansas City after an off day on Monday. Brian Bannister and Cliff Lee, two hot pitchers to start the year face off. Should be a good one.

[BOXSCORE]

4.19.2008

Indians' 8 Game Win Streak Over Twins Snapped

Dating back to last year, the Indians had won 8 straight over the Twins. Today Nick Blackburn ended that.

Bats Hitting, Not Scoring: They pretty much were. Blackburn gave up 8 hits but really held them in check at that point. He didn't walk any and got four ground ball double plays.

Garko and Asdrubal Cabrera got two hits and everyone but Hafner, Dellucci and Carroll got them. Carroll reached base again when he was hit by a pitch.

They never really capitalized on any chances, nor did they really have any. Blackburn pitched a great game.

Westbrook Good Again: Aside from a Justin Morneau homer in the first inning, Westbrook did a great job of keeping the Twins off the board and keeping his team in it.

It was just one of those games where you played okay, you had some good pitching, but the other guy did better.

It happens.

Tomorrow Paul Byrd looks to improve upon his last start against Scott Baker.

[BOXSCORE]

Web Round Up: Hafner Rest, Garko, CC

Hafner's Off Day... Travis Hafner got a day off last night to rest his sore shoulder. He should be fine but it was a nice chance to get Victor some time batting without having to worry about catching.

"The shoulder has been bothering him on and off since spring training," said Wedge. "The last couple of days, it's been bothering him a little more. I wanted to give him today, and with the off-day Monday, maybe it will be OK." - (Plain Dealer)

Make sure you check out that link for a picture of David Dellucci jumping high on the wall for a foul ball and his interaction with former Indian Trot Nixon.

Garko Taking Hits... Garko continues to be a target for baseballs. Not only does he hit them, but he gets hit by them. Shark doesn't give up any ground and here is a story about it.

"I'm not worried about getting hurt," Garko said. "You can't get into the box if you're worried about getting hurt. It's part of the game. It's like breaking up a double play - I'm not worried about injuring my knee sliding." - (Plain Dealer)

Concern Not Needed... Mark Shapiro isn't worried about that slow start. Patience is the key and he will stick by that.

"After 15 games, it necessitates concern, not action, from a front office standpoint," said Shapiro. "We hopes it's a glitch. There's not enough there to address yet." - (Plain Dealer)

Sabathia, Better Days Ahead... C.C.'s early struggles have not only the fans frustrated, but C.C. himself. But Big Cy Cy is optimistic.

"I have not been able to command both sides of the plate," he said. "I'm not making hitters aware of the inside part of the plate and I'm not making good pitches with two strikes." - (Indians.com)

Unfamilar Face... The Tribe will get their first look at the revamped Twins rotation without the likes of Johan Santana and Carlos Silva. Nick Blackburn makes his first start against the Tribe.

"I don't know, it's too early to tell," Wedge said. "I don't like to label or give too much insight before we face a guy, but I'm sure we will have our work cut out for us." - (Indians.com)

Lee Dominates... Here is the post-game wrap up and some quotes from the crew on Cliff Lee.

"He's been about as consistent as you can ask a starting pitcher to be and he was just as good today," said Wedge, who pointed to Lee's approach as a big part of his success. "His routine is solid, his mind-set is also solid -- where it needs to stay." - (Indians.com)

Cleveland Fan... One Man's Trash, an article about Jason Michaels and his worthlessness to the Tribe. Also a story on Wes Hodges and his blazin' hot start down at Akron.

Team Meeting... I've mentioned the team meeting several times, but Eric Wedge isn't really mention much of it himself.

''I talked to them,'' he said. ''It was our business, family business.'' It isn't difficult to imagine the topics Wedge broached, including poor at-bats, mental mistakes and possibly inattention to the demands of the job. - (Akron Beacon Journal)

Fantasy Impact... For the fantasy player out there..

Now, however, folks may have an answer to why Borowski has been so bad - other than the fact that he's not very good. Borowski (triceps) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, April 16, with a strained right triceps. He had been wondering what was causing a significant loss in his velocity, which was hovering in the low 80s. Is this injury the answer? - (KFFL)

Tribe Win Again; Cliff Lee Wins Again

Clifford!

Big Red On Fire: Who is the hottest pitcher not just on the Indians but in the entire AL?

That would be Cliff Lee.

Three Starts.. One Earned Run.. Three wins and gobbs and gobbs of strikeouts.

What's not to love about Cliff Lee and the way he is going right now?

In his last two outings, he's pitched 16 innings, given up four hits, one walk and struck out 16 batters.

That is insane for a guy who was sent down to Triple A last year for in-effectiveness.

What is it with the Tribe's Number Five pitcher?

Two years ago it was Jeremy Sowers for the second part of the year. He did awesome.

Last year it was Paul Byrd, and he was really better than any fifth pitcher should be.

This year... Cliff Lee and he is off to a fantastic start.

That spot might be lucky, and it might be the least pressured one in the rotation. Cause guys just keep having success there.

Casey Busts Out: The painful struggles of Casey Blake seemed to come to a little bit of an end tonight.

Bases loaded in the 2nd and McGyver came through for us. Knocking in a pair. He'd extend the lead to four in the 7th with a solo job.

Let's hope he is starting to show a little bit more life in his bat. That nine hole needs to be productive. He went 2-4..

Victor also knocked in a run tonight as the DH, giving Hafner a break.

Garko's hitting streak came to an end but his on-base streak is intact.

Tomorrow is a FOX game in the late-afternoon, Nick Blackburn and Jake Westbrook square off.

[BOXSCORE]

4.17.2008

Tribe Strike for 11 in Revenge Against Tigers

How sweet it is. The Indians came back the next night against the Tigers ace and did the same thing that they did to us.

Offensive Explosion: It was quite possibly the best offensive game of the year for the Indians.

Everyone got a hit, there was timely hitting, patience and just overall a great look out of everyone on the plate.

Jason Michaels busted out of his funk with a 2-3 night, knocking in three runs. He also had a big outfield assist, gunning down Gary Sheffield at the plate.

Jamey Carroll making his first start in the two hole, with both Cabrera and Dellucci sitting, and Michaels facing the right hander. He just was awesome again. He is a huge spark off that bench, just finding ways to get on base.

He went 2-4 with two RBIs, a triple, and a walk.

Ryan Garko scored three runs including a two run jack in the fifth.

Speaking of jack, Pronky went deep for the third time this year, knocking in another run in the process.

Victor Martinez went 2-4 with an RBI and a walk.

Casey Blake doubled in Franklin Gutierrez in the second. Gutierrez went 2-4 with a run scored and a walk.

The offense was on tonight. They worked six walks off the wild Verlander who could not find the zone at all. He also hit two batters.

Fausto Rebound: It was a Fausto Rebound. He looked shaky early, but got out of a jam in several occasions to go 6.2 strong innings and give up only one run.

He also bailed out Ryan Garko in one inning in where Inge fouled off a ball that could have been caught by Shark. But he cautiously approached the ball and dropped it in the camera bay.

Inge riffled the next pitch off the left field wall. Thankfully Michaels played the ball great, held Rents at third and kept the Tigers from scoring.

Wedge Speaks: It turns out Eric Wedge talked to the team in a closed doors meeting before BP.

Did his message get through?

Lets hope that was the wakeup call this team needed.. It was a much needed win to end the home stand, and a great confidence booster to do this against their Ace.

Up next is a series in Minnesota. The first game sees Francisco Liriano making his second start against Cliff Lee.

[BOXSCORE]

Cabrera Moved Down in Order; OF Staying Put

Despite his early troubles, David Dellucci's recent success, more so combined with Asdrubal Cabreras even more recent struggles, has earned him a shot at the two hole.

"I think David's been swinging the bat better, so we're going to give him more of an opportunity there," Wedge said. "He seems to like it there. I'd like to see him take control of that." (Indians.com)

This is just the beginning of Cabs' fall if he continues to struggle. If Josh Barfield hits at the AAA level and Cabrera doesn't, I'd expect them to make the switch.

Cabrera is pressing, he isn't taking his pitches, swinging at bad ones. He is going through some pains and the adjustment of having other pitches adjust to him.

In other Outfielder news, Ben Francisco has started to hit, he's upped his average to .222.

But the outfielder struggles of Gutierrez and Michaels isn't forcing Wedge or Shapiro to make a move.

"We're not there yet," said manager Eric Wedge. "We're a couple of weeks in. I respect the length of the season. I also respect the urgency of each and every game. It's a fine line you have to walk." (Indians.com)

More time is needed. No need to make a knee-jerk reaction here. Especially since Francisco isn't quite hot enough yet.

Also from the same article, Wedge said he could use Betancourt for two innings if it came down to it and Betancourt had proper rest.

"I'd be very hesitant to do it at the start of the eighth inning, but I wouldn't be in the middle of the eighth," said Wedge. " A lot of it would have to do with his workload. I've never had that luxury. I've always had one-inning guys [closers]."

Verlander and Fausto tonight. Let's hope we don't get beat down again.

4.16.2008

Just one of those days

Game isn't over.. But really, it is over.

But heres the jist

CC sucked..

Dellucci hit a homer in the first inning off a rookie pitcher.

Then that pitcher who made his second start ever proceeded to retire around 17 straight.

And that would be it..

Have a good one.........

[BOXSCORE]

Borowski Out Longer than 2 Weeks?

Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer says Borowski could be on the DL from anywhere to two weeks to four weeks.

He also reveals that Borowski has been injured since Spring and the Indians tried to work through it.

"The Indians tried to keep closer Joe Borowski's injury quiet. Now everybody knows, and Borowski is expected to be on the disabled list for 15 days to four weeks with a strained right triceps muscle.

Manager Eric Wedge said Borowski injured his triceps muscle March¤14 in a night exhibition game against Washington. The Indians gave him a few days off, and he's been trying to pitch through it." - (Plain Dealer)

That's telling. Joe didn't look right in the first two games either. It was noticeable.

Joe can take his time getting back. It will give us a chance to see what we have and who can do the job.

From the same article, we find out Jorge and Kobayashi won't be used in the closers role anytime soon..

"Kobayashi is still working his way in," said Wedge. "Jorge has been throwing the ball well, but he hasn't been close to that role this year. I'm not ready to go from zero to 60 mph with those two guys."

Ole' Blinky wasn't too worried about using Jensen Lewis or Rafael Left in that role either.

4.15.2008

Tribe Fall on Another 9th Inning Homer

It's happened again... "sigh:

Another 9th Inning Jack: It happened again mamma.

This time a pinch-hitting Jason Varitek victimizing Jensen Lewis in a tie game.

Then some more hits and it was 5-3.

Just.. Heart breaking.. No Betancourt, No Joe.. So they had to depend on everyone else and low and behold, Jorge Julio doesn't help matters in the 7th with two quick walks.

After I campaigned for him too.

Jensen was pitching okay, he got a big double play. He made a great pitch to Tek, but Jason is a great hitter and he went away with the pitch. Nothing you can do.

Byrds the Word: Paul Byrd was probably going to get creamed.. But he showed he isn't done just yet.. 6 strong innings(only 75 or so pitches, why was he taken out so early?), of 1 UNearned run baseball.

He also struck out six. He was really sharp tonight and it was great to see. A lot of people were down on him, including myself, but I wasn't ready to throw in the towel, and that is the reason.

Stumbling With RISP: They were.. There is no better way to say it.

17 runners were left on base..

Victor Martinez was the only one with the clutch hit, and Garko got the other RBI off a HBP with the bases juiced.

The offense didn't get the job done with people on base. They were hitting the ball, but it wasn't happening. 1 Hit with RISP is just not gonna win ball games.

Anyway another two quick game series, this time welcoming the Tigs for their first series of the year.

Armando Galarraga makes his major league debut against C.C. lord help me if we don't at least put up some numbers against this guy.

[BOXSCORE]

Joe Borowski to DL; Mastny Called Up

Just as expected, Joe Borowski was placed on the 15 Day DL Today.

The word is strained triceps in his pitching arm.

To replace him, Tom Mastny was called up from Buffalo.

This could be seen a mile away if you read the quotes from last night.

"I just felt like I had nothing," Borowski said after the game. "It felt like [I was] throwing through water, pretty much. Physically, I felt fine, but I was stuck in one gear. I had no extra gear." - (Indians.com)

This is a much needed move. It is obvious he is hurt and now as for who is closing in the short term.

My guess is Rafael Betancourt, but I don't agree with that move. I'd put in someone like Jorge Julio because of past experience. Ideally I'd like to say Kobayashi but he might not be ready for that just yet.

Borowski Blows Another; Tribe Fall to Sox

Another teeth grinding game against the Red Sox..... :sigh:

Blowoski: I believe 100% that Joe Borowski is hurt.

Sure he doesn't throw a fastball that hard, he usually tops out at 88.

But last night he was topping out at 83 and even going as low as 81.

It is quite obvious he is hurt.

Something is wrong with his arm and he better get it checked out... Mark my words he might spend some time on the DL.

Jake Was Great: Jake was great again tonight. Unfortunately the pen couldn't hold his lead. He did a great job.

Offense Looked Good: They only scored 4 runs, but I tell ya what the offense really looked good in that fifth inning. Timely hitting that got runners home. Travis was swinging the bat well, not pulling it and just hitting the pitches they gave him.

Travis is coming around, had the two hits and two RBIs, both hits were using the whole field and he even took one to the track.

Victor Martinez found his footing, he looked real good swinging the bat last night. Looks like he is finding himself and getting back into his routine.

I'm making it real quick today... Tonight we get to watch Paul Byrd get creamed against Tim Wakefield. Hopefully the knuckle ball isn't working tonight.

[BOXSCORE]

4.14.2008

Plunk Manny?

With the first game against the Red Sox looming, Skip Hall brings up an interesting question.

"It's 2008 now, and if professional baseball players truly police themselves on the field, it's time for Ramirez to get the major-league equivalent of a Taser blast.

He needs to be knocked down -- at the least.

Ramirez's act last October calls for high-and-tight heat. Don't hit him, just put him on the ground.

If Jake Westbrook wants to put a two-seamer into Ramirez's ribs, well, there will be no tears shed here. " - (Plain Dealer)

So whaddaya do? Knowing Eric Wedge and even Jake Westbrook and even the make up of this team.

They won't heat Manny up for last year when he watched his majestic jack in game four with his team still down by a lot.

I would maybe.. I would have in Game five if I was pitching.. Maybe not now.

He deserved it, I don't care how good you are or how "challenged" you are like Manuel is. You don't show up the other team like that, especially when you are down.

4.13.2008

Cliff Lee Masterful, Prevents Second Straight Sweep

Cliff Lee does it again. In his second start against the Oakland Athletics on a Sunday, he shut down the A's to help stop an Indians' three game slide.

Lee 2-0: In his two starts this year against the A's, he's pitched 14.2 innings, surrendered one walk and six hits. Only one earned run and struck out 12 batters.

Cliff Lee had his breaking ball working today. He was throwing it effectively for strikes and getting ahead in the count. He retired nine straight before two straight hits brought in the only run, then went on to retire 14 in a row.

He could have pitched the 9th, but with the game out of hand and the bottom of the 8th taking as long as it did, there was no need to throw him out there.

It was the definition of dominance. Despite the cold he had outstanding control and he located his pitches very well.

If Cliff Lee can do this all year, then the Indians will be in great shape.

Offense Gets Busy Late: A couple of early runs of Gaudin was all they could muster, until the 8th when they dropped a four spot on A's reliever Fernando Hernandez.

Grady Sizemore ripped a single for his 2nd and 3rd RBIs of the game, Dellucci followed him up with his 2nd and 3rd of the year, while Travis Hafner had the first two runs knocked in early in the 3rd inning.

Ryan Garko continues to get on base. He's been on every single game this year and is hitting .325.

Hafner and Sizemore now share the lead in RBIs with 8, each had two hits today.

Gutierrez looks like he's getting over his troubles not only with his bat but with his sickness. He went 1-4 but was hitting the ball real well.

Jamey Carroll was on base all four times today, reaching on two walks, a hit by pitch and a single. He was a real spark plug today, and I think he's earned himself a shot at hitting in the 2 hole if both Michaels and Cabrera aren't playing. He got the Tribe going twice today while leading off innings.

The Tribe welcome the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox in for a two game show. Jake Westbrook takes the hill against Jon Lester and Paul Byrd takes on Tim Wakefield on Tuesday.

[BOXSCORE]

Three Up, Three Down - Week Two

A very very bland week for the Tribe. It wasn't pretty to watch as Torii Hunter crushed us late in Monday's game. It set the tone for the whole week. While Travis Hafner came back the next night and delivered a win, they Indians had dropped three straight before a finale against Oakland.

There are some bright spots though, and all is not lost as Cliff Lee saved the Indians from another Oakland sweep.

First Up: Jhonny Peralta

Jhonny Peralta pretty much had to bat in the three hole last week with Victor Martinez out.

Now he is back in his comfort zone with no big time pressure on him to get the job done.

Just how he likes it, and better yet, just how I like it.

Jhonny went off this week, homering in three straight games.

After a sluggish first week without any runs batted in, Jhonny knocked in five this week.

Peralta is a silent key for the Indians if they want to be successful offensively. He was a big reason for their post-season success last year. He had a lot of clutch hits and important home runs.

Second Up: Travis Hafner

Travis Hafner isn't having that high average, but he is making his hits count and he is making good contact. Something he didn't do last year for awhile.

The man they call Pronk has knocked in four runs this week, two in Sunday's game against Oakland in the third inning.

The other two on Tuesday night off Justin Speier.

After being rocked in the bottom of the ninth the previous night, the Tribe battled back and Hafner was the hero. Hitting a two run jack in the top of the ninth to save Jake Westbrook's bacon.

There really isn't that much of a difference between this week and last for Hafner, except for the strikeouts.

Both weeks now he's had six hits, but compared to last week his strikeout total has significantly lowered.

Last week he struck out nine times, for five games in a row.

This week, only three.

Another big key for the Indians. As long as Travis isn't striking out a lot, the offense should be doing fine.

Third Up: Cliff Lee

Talk about dominant, Cliff Lee was that on Sunday against Oakland.

In his second start of the year, and for the second straight Sunday facing the Athletics, Cliff Lee threw a gem of a ball game.

Both his games have stopped three game slides, and have prevented sweeps from happening.

That is a stopper.

While he is the Indians' five starter, he hasn't been pitching like it, he's been pitching above it.

Last week he shut them out for 6.2 innings, while this time around he held them to one run off only two hits in eight strong innings.

He struck out eight Athletics' hitters and retired 14 straight before being removed after a long half inning for the Indians' offense.

If Cliff Lee can keep this team afloat until their big Ace gets back on track, he will be an important piece to this team's success.

After an injury riddled year, filled with emotion from getting sent down, Lee has bounced back in a big way.

First Down: Franklin Gutierrez

After starting off the year 3-3, Gutierrez has gone three for his last 28.

Not to mention he missed a few games with a small bug.

The last two games have been better, as he is finding his swing again and getting hits, but since having a stellar opening day, Gutierrez has struggled.

He has also struck out ten times opposed to only two walks.

Second Down: C.C. Sabathia

For a second straight week, C.C. Sabathia is down.

Sabathia got rocked in his Friday start against the A's, surrendering nine runs off 12 hits and two walks.

The reigning Cy Young of the American League has gotten off to a rocky start, walking nine batters after only walking 37 the entire year in 2007.

Sabathia must turn it around and start keeping his teams in games. Even when he doesn't have his best stuff, Sabathia manages to minimize the damage, but early this year he simply does not have his control.

Third Down: Paul Byrd

If there is anyone worse than C.C. Sabathia on this young season, it has to be Paul Byrd.

Byrd was rocked in this weeks start against the Angels.

Byrd went three innings, giving up six runs off three homers, including a Mike Napoli grand slam.

He only threw 43 pitches before he had to make an early exit; his control has been just as bad as Sabathia.

Byrd will get a chance Tuesday to redeem himself, but if his control issues continue, he might not be useful.

A guy who doesn't throw hard needs to control his pitches, and right now he just isn't hitting his spots.

4.12.2008

Toughen Up California!

Obviously the A's players are not used to the cold..

Fausto Carmona always pitches in short sleeves, the cold does not faze him, and it will not because he doesn't like the way he feels in long sleeves when he pitches.

Travis Buck on the other hand had a full blown robbers mask on..

Click for larger image..

I don't think even if it was near 10 degrees I could hit with that thing.. If I could hit that is.

Ahhh.. I guess us Northern-Eastern area folks are tough enough for it.

West Coast Whimps!

Carmona Loses Control; Tribe Lose 3rd Straight Series

What a rotten night for Fausto Carmona

Carmona Walks 8: Fausto only gave up 3 runs in his start today.

The problem was he only went 3.1 innings and he walked a career-high eight batters.

It's very unlike Carmona, and really all the Indians pitchers to walk batters, yet the theme continues and the free pass is being issued an awful lot.

Carmona typically holds a good strike to ball ratio, but in this game he was 40 strikes to 42 balls.

Let's hope that he was just battling the cold and trying to find his command because of it. That could be the reason for someone like C.C. as well. Obviously this won't continue, it's just a matter of staying afloat until it stops.

Jensen Lewis Holds it Down: Jensen Lewis had to pitch earlier than usual for him in this game.

Jorge Julio and Breslow went multiple innings the previous night, so they had to throw someone out there.

Jensen went 2.2 innings, coming in with the bases juiced and 1 out. He struck out Travis Buck and got Mark Ellis to pop out.

Masahide Kobyashi and Joe Borowski each pitched perfect innings, Masa only needed 6 pitches.

Things went haywire when the game was close and Rafael Perez came in to hold it there.

But Rafael quickly let up four runs and just like that the Tribe was once again out of it.

Pity Runs: I call them pity runs cause that's what they were.

This is how the three runs were scored tonight.

Casey Blake Grounds out to Second, Gutierrez Scores - 3rd

David Dellucci walks, Travis Hafner Scores - 6th

Grady Sizemore sacrifice fly, David Dellucci scores - 9th

Now. You can't win that way.

Especially when your starter goes 3.1 innings..

Scrapping runs together is nice, but the A's had their sticks and the pitching wasn't all there.

You have Lenny Freaking DiNardo out on the mound for them.

Where's the muscle man?!

These B Team Rotation Pitchers for the A's are shutting this lineup down.

They better get it together, you hate to have both sides of your team not working at the same time. It's all about picking the other side up.

[BOXSCORE]

Carmona Contract Updated on 40 Man Roster

If you haven't ever taken a look on the right side of the page at the multiple links, take some time out to do so.

One feature is the 40 man roster with complete payroll information.

I've updated it through the new Carmona contract and there are now only a few more players that I'm unsure of salary figures for. Those are all guys on Buffalo that haven't leaked through the grapevine at just what their actual dollar amount is. As time moves on it will come clearer, but it's pretty accurate. Thanks to places like the Cleveland Fan and COT's baseball contracts for all the information.

40 MAN ROSTER AND PAYROLL INFORMATION UPDATED WITH CARMONA CONTRACT

Web Round Up: Byrd Avoids Suspension; Buffalo Deal on Hold

A Web Round Up Full of between game buzz. Leading off is the news of the new agreement on performance enhancers and the impact it has on Paul Byrd. He will not be suspended after all.


"Six months after admitting to using human growth hormone and the ensuing madcap meeting with the press at Fenway Park, the right-hander is in the clear.

Byrd learned he will not be suspended by Major League Baseball, and he was understandably relieved upon hearing the news as he drove to the park early Friday. - (Indians.com)

Mark Shapiro isn't worried, here are some comments from the big brain.

"That being said, it's hard to say that anybody is probably happy with the way we played," Shapiro said. "It's been very inconsistent. There have certainly been a few performances from our starting pitchers that have been good, very good. But virtually every other facet of our team has been somewhat inconsistent." - (Indians.com)

What is not to love about the Fausto Carmona Deal?

"The deal — some call it a seven-year contract, others a four-year deal with three one-year club options — keeps one of the Tribe's bright young pitchers on the team for years to come. How is that thought in the least upsetting?" -
(Akron-Beacon Journal)

It is looking ever so likely that the Bisons will not be the Triple A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians next year. A move to Columbus might be one step closer.

"The Buffalo Bisons issued a statement Friday indicating that their player development contract with the Indians would not be extended until the end of the season.

Why issue such a statement now? Columbus will be lobbying the Tribe to move its Triple-A affiliate to a new stadium in Ohio's capital city, and the Indians will at least listen. Moving to Columbus would be a prime marketing move, not only with respect to drawing fans, but also for SportsTime Ohio." - (Akron-Beacon Journal)

The Cleveland Fan talks about CC Sabathia's early struggles.

"As frustrating as it is to watch the reigning Cy Young Award winner's WHIP creep closer to his weight (his current 2.32 WHIP, I believe, is still a little short of his tonnage), let's take a quick step back and analyze how the Indians' pitching staff, as a whole, is performing in the young season and what's happening to our beloved aCCe." -
(ClevelandFan.com)

4.11.2008

Tribe Comeback Falls Short; Lose to A's

C.C. Sabathia was horrible again and the bats were working late in the game.

C.C. GAG: The line isn't a pretty one on C.C. Sabathia.

By far one of his worst outings in a while.. 3.1 innings pitched with 9 hits and 9 earned runs. He walked two more batters and his ERA is up over 11 now.

What is wrong with the guy?

I don't know.. Maybe just thinking too much.. Not clear.

It really is unacceptable for your ace to be pitching like this three games in a row.

Tonight especially.

This is the weak part of their early schedule and the Tribe need to win every game they can, not be losing games to the A's with our ace on the hill.

He better snap out of it, and quickly.

Bullpen is Stellar: They were stellar.

They went 5.2 innings with only 3 hits and 7 punchouts. Jorge Julio cleaned up the 4th inning and pitched another. Breslow continued his great start by going 2 solid, and Masa Kobyashi and Rafael Betancourt each went one more to finish it out.

Really impressed with Craig Breslow so far. He is proving not just to be a lefty specialist but someone you can count on to help eat innings and come in when needed.

What a great pickup that has been, and I don't think any of us will miss Aaron Fultz.

Bats Get Hot Late: Aside from a Jhonny Peralta 2nd inning jack, the Indians scored all their runs in the 8th inning.

Jason Michaels and Travis Hafner each knocked in runs in the start.

Jhonny Peralta drew a bases loaded walk and that brought up Ryan Garko who hit a big double to bring it within 3 runs.

Then with Dellucci up and 2 strikes on him, the rain came and there was a 40 plus minute delay.

Huston Street came in for the save with the delay taking Santiago "Don't call my Jairo Garcia" Casilla out of the game.

Two pitches in he threw a wild pitch enabling the Indians to get one more run to make it 9-7.

The ninth inning was pretty much a lay down and die inning and the Indians fall short.

It was real painful to watch CC get smacked, but it was nice to see the offense come alive and make it a game again.. Perhaps the rain delay saved the A's bacon there.

Tomorrow it is Fausto Carmona taking on Lenny DiNardo who is making his first start in place of the injured Rich Harden.

[BOXSCORE]

4.10.2008

Update: Carmona Deal Specs Coming to Light

So earlier it was reported Carmona had earned himself a 7 year extension that would make him an Indian for up to 2014 provided that his option years get picked up.

Now there are some details on the dollar amounts and the first thoughts I have are WOW.

Did the Indians really get themselves a deal.
"The deal could become a seven-year agreement if the Indians exercise club
options in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The deal is worth a guaranteed $15 million over
four years. If the Indians exercise all three options, it would be worth $43
million and could go as high as $48 million with escalators." -
(Cleveland
Plain Dealer)

Well the first thing that comes to mind is that they only have to pay him $15 million for the next four years. That's pretty good and leaves some flexibility in the short term. Carmona gets a real good deal for only one good year of service and some real long term security that I'm sure a guy like him would love after going through what he did.

All in all it is another sensible move for the Indians to make. Kudos to Mark Shapiro on this one, he really did a great job. Locking up what could be our ace for the next several years until the age of 31.

Web Round Up: Speier's Redemption

Here are some of the best from the past two days during an off-day. Although with the Carmona signing it's hardly that. More on Carmona later, right now here are some hot topics to look after.

Justin Speier's Redemption, Hafner Calls it "Strange".
"Strange is probably a good word," Pronk said with a smile. "Curious. I
don't know. I don't know what he was doing or what his intentions were." -
(Indians.com)

Speier came into the game yesterday with a big lead. Yet he decided to toy around and plunk Travis Hafner. Hmmmm why would you do that? Oh that's right, you gave up that go-ahead jack the previous night. Speier said he was trying to take control of the plate, but that's a load of garbage. I hate pitchers who do this kind of stuff. What a coward. Speier's intentions were clear, and I hope the next these two teams meet, Pronk has a gift for him.

Here is a story that was posted yesterday as apart of the game preview. The part about Craig Breslow is still worth reading.
"Brelsow found himself in that position in July of 2004, when he was
released from the Brewers' Minor League system. The Yale graduate considered
going to medical school and giving up on his Major League dreams, until Matt
McCarthy, a college buddy who had made a similar move, offered him some advice." -
(Indians.com)

Here is a fine article about Asdrubal Cabrera and his impact, which was provoked from his crucial walk in Tuesday night's game.
"He's definitely more disciplined [now]," Wedge said. "And he's still
getting a feel for himself at the big league level. He's always been pretty
aggressive." -
(Indians.com)

An early preview to the Oakland game and some talk about the Indians' two big horses, which are both slated to start this weekend.
"Pitching coach Carl Willis believes it's the latter scenario, but he admits
the walks are an early cause for concern. The Indians hope Sabathia and Carmona
address that concern this weekend, when the Tribe returns home for a three-game
set against the A's. Sabathia will start Friday, and Carmona will go Saturday."
-
(Indians.com)

Breaking News: Fausto Carmona Gets 7 Year Extension

Great news has just broken through ESPN concerning Fausto Carmona.

Buster Olney has reported a 7 year extension will be agreed upon by Carmona and the Tribe.

The deal is guaranteed through 2011 and has club options for three more additional years. Nothing in terms of money has been released yet.

This is great news for the Indians, they've done this with guys like Cliff Lee, Sizemore and Peralta so it's no surprise they did it with Carmona. This contract will take him into his early 30's so obviously it locks him up for a good time.

Stay tuned to Sportstimeohio around 3:00 today for the press conference.

4.09.2008

Angels Outslug Indians for Series Win

The Indians took on the Angels today looking for a series win, yet Paul Byrd wasn't having any of it as he completely sucked.

Anaheim of Los Angels Massacre: The Angels bats were absolutely cooking today. They scored every single run off a homer.

Napoli had a grandslam, Kotchman and Anderson added solo jobs, and to put it out of reach for good Vlad Guerrero decimated a Jensen Lewis pitch for a three run job.

Paul Byrd gave up 6 runs in a 3 inning stint, walked 2, surrendered 5 hits and threw a total of only 43 pitches.

Jorge Julio worked 2 solid innings of relief and Kobayashi did the same with one. He gave up 2 runs, only one earned after he let up Figgins get on and an error by Casey Blake.

Lewis came in and surrendered the jack to Vlad.

Indians Bats Hot: Well the bats started getting going in the 6th inning.

It was evident Moseley was losing it. Peralta got a solo job, Casey Blake doubled home Dellucci and Shoppach brought him home with his first jack of the year.

The Indians were robbed of a few runs throughout the game. Macier Izturis had a huge forceout after he made a diving stop on a sharply hit ball up the middle by Asdrubal Cabrera. Then later in the 8th, Jason Michaels knocked in a run with a sac fly, but almost knocked in one more when he hit a ball very well to deep left, Anderson got over in time and made a great running catch.

The ball was really jumping off the bat today for both teams. Travis Hafner went 0-4 but two of his outs were really well hit balls. Neither pitcher was really solid, but Moseley kept the damage down until the 6th.

The Tribe have an off day but then return home to take on Oakland once again.

Joe Blanton makes another start against the Tribe as C.C. apposes him looking for his first win and a rebound. Fausto Carmona and Rich Harden a pair of 1-0, small ERA righties face off on Saturday, and Sunday's finale sees Cliff Lee looking to build off his first start against Chad Gaudin, who makes his first start of the year.

[BOXSCORE]

Hafner Gives Westbrook First Win and Complete Game

Boy oh boy that was a great way to bounce back. Travis Hafner does it again to the Angels and Justin Speier, and Jake Westbrook slams the door.

Westbrook continues hot streak: He's been on fire since the start of spring training. He twirled another great game going the distance.

Once again though he made a small mistake in the 6th inning and Vladdy Guerrerro took him deep.

Jake went the whole game, including a 9th inning in which he got Vlad up again, this time getting him to ground into a big double play. Jake surrendered 3 runs off 7 hits with 4 strikeouts. He induced 3 double plays but also committed an error.

It looked like Jake was going to lose by one run once again though. Until...

Hafner Wins It: Travis does it. It's been a long time coming but he took Justin Speier deep and won the game.

Asdrubal Cabrera got a big walk and up came Hafner against the interim closer. He took a 1-2 cutter over the wall to give the Tribe a HUGE win coming off a bad loss.

Travis went 2 for 5 with the two runs knocked in while the guy he knocked in on the homer, Asdrubal Cabrera knocked in the other two with a single in the 5th inning.

Dellucci and Blake went 1-2 and each earned walks. Victor Martinez and Ryan Garko also got hits while Grady was held at 0-3.

The Tribe turn around with a day game today at 3:35 Eastern Time. Paul Byrd takes on Dustin Mosley who is also looking for his first win.

[BOXSCORE]

4.08.2008

Web Round Up: Jumpin' Joe Mania; Victor Back Behind Dish

It's Joe Borowski Tuesday here on the Tribe Time Report.

Leading off is Bud Shaw and his wonderful article about the closer spot. I agree with him 100%, careful what you wish for guys.

"It's not that the "Joe Must Go" chants weren't unexpected after Joe
Borowski blew the save in Anaheim Monday night in what could only be described
as spectacular fashion. Two walks and a grand slam home run to turn a 4-2 lead
into a 6-4 loss? A fireworks show after that would've been overkill.


You want Borowski replaced immediately? Fine. But by whom?" - (Plain
Dealer)


Borowski's Epic Fail

"Borowski had eight blown saves last year en route to his 45 saves, the
second-highest save total in Indians history. He also gave up nine home runs a
year ago, by far the most of any Indians reliever." - (Scout.com)

Here are some Joe Borowski quotes in the game recap by Anthony Castrovince

"We battled, came back, took the lead, and I let it get away," Borowski
said. "It solely rests on me. I've got to do my job." -
(Indians.com)
Here is some Yahoo lovin from Tim Brown. Great read for the optimistic realist!
"[The Indians have] been to big games in big ballparks, where
they’d beaten back Yankees Universe before getting started on Red Sox Nation.
They’d spread their modest payroll across an eager and willing roster of gamers.
They’d played to the brink of the World Series, grinding at-bat after at-bat in
the face of more decorated lineups, winning in the unkempt moments of pivotal
pitches and late-game do-or-dies." -
(Y!
Sports)


Jamey Carroll got his first start last night. He was awesome with the glove was he not? Anyway he's a bit of a trooper.

"I knew it was going to be different," Carroll said of switching leagues.
"But, you know, you just kind of deal with it and get used to how it works." -
(Indians.com)

Victor made his return last night and it showed at the plate.

"In all seriousness, the Indians are happy to turn Martinez loose on
opposing pitchers. The Tribe bats struggled mightily with Martinez out of the
mix. Over their last four games, they batted .173 (22-for-127), not collecting
more than seven hits in a game. " -
(Indians.com)

So the Indians won't be the only ones using the new facilities in Goodyear, Arizona for Spring Training. It turns out the Reds will be joining them in 2010.

"The groundbreaking for the Reds' portion of the facilities tentatively is
scheduled for Feb. 1, 2009. The Reds are slated to begin Spring Training in
Goodyear in 2010. The Indians will move camp from Winter Haven, Fla., to
Goodyear next spring. " -
(Indians.com)

Sheldon Ocker of A-B Journal talks about the new helmets and the box rule that Larry Bowa got tagged for, Joel Skinner quotes inside.

"Not many fans care about the ups and downs of a coach's nine innings at
either first or third base. But a few more do this year because of a couple of
new rules and the recent explosion of Larry Bowa, former volatile manager, now
volatile third-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers." -
(Akron Beacon
Journal)

A couple of game recaps from two guys at Bleacher Report.

Dr. Jeff Poove: Things that go boom in the Night
David Wiley: Indians Lose in Grand Fashion

The Left Field Spitoon

Much is to be said about the wonderful left field platoon.

One side of it worked last year. Jason Michaels was nails against left handed pitching.

This year he's stumbled to a bad start and because the majority of pitchers we've faced have been left handed, he's gotten most of the starts.

Dellucci too has started poorly going 0 for 7 to start the year.

The Left Field Platoon of Dellichaels is pretty much the Left Field Spitoon.

It's trash..

The question begs then how long do these two struggle before a change is made.

Do both have to continue to struggle?

If one gets going does he get more starts and that saves both of them?

Will they trade or release one?

Some teams, like the Mets, were inquiring about Jason Michaels during spring because of his ability to hit lefties. Some teams were hurting for some help and Michaels was having a good spring.

But the Indians didn't pull the trigger because he is apart of their plans this year.

But at this point, who knows. Of course we give them more than 2 weeks to prove their worth. But if this continues how long will Mark Shapiro put up with it?

Ben Francisco is doing okay right now, he isn't lighting the world on fire, but if he gets it going you know people will clammor for him.

Michaels and Dellucci are a combined 1 for 25 to start the year. They've started every game in left field and Michaels has even started a game in right the same day Dellucci did.

Jamey Carroll and Andy Marte have started in 2 games, and combined they are 2 for 7.

That is pretty sad in my eyes.

Here is the game preview and the article about the platoon.
"But it will take more than one hit to alleviate the Tribe's concerns
about their left-field platoon of David Dellucci and Jason Michaels.


In the early going, that platoon has not exactly been potent.
Dellucci is hitless in seven at-bats. Michaels has one hit in 18 at-bats -- but
the lone hit came Sunday, when he was starting in right field." - (Indians.com)

Joe Borowski Causes Sleepless Night For Tribe, and Me

I'm a big defender of Joe Borowski, but last night I can't defend that.

Look it happens.

If you are just waking up and didn't see the game, here is what happened.

Offense Sleepwalks till 9th: Sleepwalking is the appropriate term because aside from a Jhonny Peralta jack early in the game, Joe Saunders shut the Indians down. Quite like he always does.

Victor and Grady collected hits, and Jamey Carroll got an infield hit, but that was it. Saunders was outstanding, and he continued to kill the Tribe. He did walk batters and have some trouble in the first few innings, but the Indians didn't capitalize.

It wasn't till they got him out in the 9th inning. An injured K-Rod who didn't have control, probably because of his sore ankles, imploded.

Walked Hafner, Victor ropes a double that Vlad misplays allowed Asdrubal Cabrera the pinch runner to score from first. Peralta destroys a double down the line as well, the other pinch runner Dellucci scores and Peralta is thrown out at third trying to advance on a errant throw by Vlad.

No one was at third, Jhonny made a heads up play but K-Rod beat him to the bag so, I can't fault him.

Garko walks and K-Rod is yanked. Gutierrez grounds into a force out, Blake gets a hit and Garko is sent. If Vlad makes a perfect throw, Garko is toast but the throw is horrible and the Indians have a two run lead.

Joe Bo Blow Blow: Bring in Blowin' Borowski on this night.

Joe walks the tightrope. Loading the bases after walking Matthews, letting up a hit to Guerrero and then walking Anderson.

Torii Hunter who already was responsible for putting the Angels ahead in the 8th with a jack off Rafael Betancourt came up again with the bases juiced.

And the 161 consecutive games won while leading after the 8th inning would stay in tact.

I'm thinking it's over because this is typical Joe, here comes a DP or a force out and then a strike out.

But Joe just didn't have his control tonight.

He threw a gopher ball, like he usually does when he doesn't have his control, right over the center of the plate.

I mean what can we say about Joe?

I know people hate him and don't want him as the closer, and would rather have Betancourt.

But I think he is the right choice.

The only thing I think I'd do if I were Eric Wedge would be a fast hook.

Some nights, it's obvious Joe doesn't have his control.

This would be a night, and that would be the prime candidate to yank him for someone else.

But also make yourself clear as crystal, Joe Borowski is the closer, but when he doesn't have his control, I'm going to yank him.

Fausto Dazzles: Fausto was great once again. Only giving up one unearned run thanks to some errors.

Fausto didn't have his control either as he walked five batters, the culprit for his early exit after six innings of work.

[BOXSCORE]

4.07.2008

Web Round Up: Hafner Still Finding the Zone

Anthony Castrovince discusses Travis Hafner's early struggles. Although he isn't really struggling, he just is striking out a lot.
"I need to do a better job controlling the strike zone," Hafner said before Sunday's series finale against the A's. "I'm just swinging at some pitches out of the zone that I normally don't swing at. That's kind of getting me behind in the count." - (Indians.com)
The difference between this year and last year is his swing and his impatience. Last year his swing was not up to par and he was growing impatient with the way pitchers were pitching to him. This year he is just swinging garbage.

The other thing is he is hitting the ball and doing what he has to get hits. He isn't trying to pull everything like he was last year.

He is just getting used to regular time baseball. It's common for people early in the season.

Armando Camacaro is a 29 year old catcher at Kinston. He has no future in the big leagues but he certainly is making his stay worth it. Camacaro had seven RBI including a grand slam on his birthday!
"I was thinking I'm going to pick one pitch and hit it deep," Camacaro said. "I was close." - (MILB.com)
I guess Jim Rome's TV show provides you a little karma... I don't really know why but whatever. Ryan Garko isn't cashing in his karma right now. Eat your heart out Earl Hickey.

"So why not pop in on the program to get a little of what Rome refers to as "Jungle Karma" -- i.e., the good fortune on the field that seems to follow those who appear on the show?

"I'll go in later in the season," Garko said. "I want to save the karma for when we need it."- (Indians.com)

The latest Indians' Mailbag is up. Anthony fields some great questions, including ones about Cabrera and his stolen base potential. For the record he didn't run much last year and probably won't this year. But even though he isn't fast, he can steal bases and I'd like to see him doing that more when he hits in the 7th hole.
"Eric Wedge believes Cabrera will eventually be an asset on the basepaths. But, at this stage of the game, that's about the last thing the Indians are concerned with when it comes to Cabrera's progression. For now, they want him focused on his defense and maintaining his offensive approach at both sides of the plate." - (Indians.com)
Eric Wedge says Victor Martinez could be in the lineup tonight.
"Victor ran around out here real well this morning," said Wedge. "We'll bring Victor out early Monday and let him run the bases. If he feels all right, he'll be in the lineup that night." - (Plain Dealer)
Here is a series preview from Paul Hoynes at the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Lost Weekend -- Almost by Gary Benz of the Cleveland Fan.
"Well, at least they avoided the sweep. But no one outside of Cleveland Indians announcer Matt Underwood actually believes, as Underwood said after the final out Sunday, that all is once again well with the Indians." - (Cleveland Fan)

4.06.2008

Three Up, Three Down - Week One

Here is a weekly series here at the Tribe Time Report. It's Three Up and Three Down. Where I give you the three hot people with the Tribe and the Three Cold people.

Without further ado...

First Up: Ryan Garko

Ryan Garko was outstanding this first week of the regular season. He's been the most consistent hitter from the start.

Garko is hitting .333 with four walks, four runs batted in, and a home run.

Garko has played half of the games so far on the West Coast, his home area where he is notoriously good.

He's also had the luck of facing the A's, a team he is really hot against. Another team he does well against, the Angels, are up on deck. Expect his hot start to continue.

Second Up: Grady Sizemore

I'm always mum when talking about Grady. I think he is an awesome player, but I also think other people give him way too much credit.

I spread the love around.

But Grady deserves it. He's leading the team in batting average, homers, runs knocked in and total bases.

He started the year off great with a big home run, and has just continued to get on base and hit the baseball.

I mean the reason he is up this week is because of his statistics, but watching him swing the bat you can tell he's improved.

He's making great contact, hitting the ball hard to the gaps. It's real impressive to watch him mature as a hitter.

Third Up: Craig Breslow

How about that for a late season addition?

Breslow came over after being cut by the Red Sox.

The Indians were not impressed with Aaron Fultz and decided to make a change to a kid they've had their eye on.

Breslow has come right in and has been impressive.

In two appearances he's pitched in two innings and given up only one hit with a strikeout. He is earning more than just left handed specialist appearances.

First Down: Jason Michaels

Jason Michaels started the year off in a bad way.

He started opening day due to the left handed Mark Buehrle pitching.

Michaels was not swinging the bat well. Sunday was the first game where he collected a hit.

His worst performance was his debut in the third spot, where he struck out in his two at bats.

Michaels when he plays against the left handed pitchers, is the normal second hole hitter.

So he has to be able to create for the guys behind him. Yet so far he has collected only two walks and struck out four times. If this team is going to get some runs against the lefties, Jason has to have the year he did in 2007.

Second Down: C.C. Sabathia

In his 10.2 innings so far this season, C.C. Sabathia has given up nine runs and walked seven batters.

C.C has struggled against both the White Sox and the Athletics in his first two starts. His control has not been great and he's having trouble locating his pitches.

It's nothing to get worried about at this point in time, but it certainly deserves being pointed out.

Sabathia only walked 37 batters in 34 games last year, so the walks are something to be concerned about.

But don't expect this trend to continue. C.C. has notoriously been bad at Oakland and the cold weather might have effected his control in the opener.

Third Down: Eric Wedge

I've learned to live with Eric Wedge and some of the decisions he's made, I rarely want to second guess and blame him for things.

But this first week he has earned it.

With Victor Martinez out, Wedge has had some lineup shuffling to do.

He choose to revert to a lineup that worked for awhile, but eventually fizzled because of the pressure Jhonny Peralta couldn't take.

For the first few games Peralta batted third and was absolutely awful. The pressure was too much for him and he at times would kill rallies.

Wedge's latest decision on Saturday was to bat Jason Michaels in the third spot.

What would possess a man to do this? With Ryan Garko swinging the bat like he is, why not give him a shot?

Low and behold in Sunday's game, Wedge had Hafner back in the three spot and Garko hitting cleanup. It's no coincidence that Jhonny Peralta had two hits.

Victor Martinez should be back on Monday, so we can forgive Wedge for now.

Tribe Salvage Series; Lee Looks Great

The Indians survived a sweep at the hands of the Athletics on Sunday. Cliff Lee made his first start of the year and got enough offense to get the win.

Garko The Man: Shark has been the lone man from the get go this season. He's hit safely in all the games up until today (he did go 0-2 with a pair of walks), and has been the sole reason the Indians offense hasn't been completely awful.

Travis Hafner had another hit today, but he continues to just not feel comfortable. Hey I'll take the garbage hits and just wait for him to get comfortable.

The two RBIs in today's game came from Cabrera and Garko, both who didn't record hits. That was an ugly offensive put together, but they got the job done.

Andy Marte played and he came up big.. He got a hit in that inning the Indians scored their two runs, and was replaced by Carroll to run. But it's encouraging to see that.

Jason Michaels got his first hit of the year.

Andy finally out of the 3 hole and hitting behind Garko like he should be, Peralta got two hits.

Cliff Lee Makes Debut: Cliff Lee made his first start today and boy was he good.

He went 6.2 innings giving up only 4 hits and a walk. He gave up a run but it wasn't earned. He also struck out 4.

If Cliff Lee can pitch like this most of the time... MAN that would be awesome. He is technically the fifth starter, and to get this kind of production or at least close to it would be great.

Raffy Dos worked 1.1 combined innings to bridge the gap to Jumpin' Joe, who slammed the door for his second save of the year.

The Indians make the short trip to face the Angels for a three game series. Fausto Carmona takes on Joe Saunders at 10:00 P.M. E.T.

[BOXSCORE]