3.24.2011

Welcome to our world

Whoa so I downloaded the new Firefox and it is pretty cool. It got rid of my split-plane viewer though and I used that frequently so I can have blogger up and look at the other link that I'm referencing. Instead I downloaded an add on that is similar but much different and I'm still working out the kinks. I'll get there, but this proves to be much cooler once I get used to it.

[COMEBACK CORD]
Don't Call Him Robert... Call him CORD.

KEY PERFORMANCES - BOX SCORE
Shin-Soo Choo: 3/4, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB
Carlos Santana: 2/3, R, 3B, SB
Travis Hafner: 1/4, 2 RBI, BB
Cord Phelps: 1/2, RBI 3B
Carlos Carrasco: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Doug Mathis: 2 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 1 K

Cord Phelps played hero in the comeback as the Tribe as now won yet again to improve to 12-11 this spring with some ties.

The story in this one was perhaps the struggles of Carlos Carrasco, who was making potentially his second to last start of the spring. If this was his audition to go second in the rotation, he certainly didn't put forth the greatest statement.

"Carlos started well," Acta said, "but he kind of hit a wall in that fifth inning. Everything was up in the zone and, obviously, you're not going to get that many ground balls when you're pitching up in the zone. They hit him." 

Ever notice that whenever Carrasco gets pounded, he seems to get pounded by the long ball? He gave up two more in this game and really anytime I've seen him struggle it has included multiple home runs. That can be a problem, especially when you give up nine hits and two walks. Silver lining is that those two home runs were solo shots, but still, he had a lot of guys on base and when someone is prone to the long ball, having people on base makes it worse.

How about that Carlos Santana kid? Caught the entire game on Tuesday, had a triple and a stolen base on Wednesday. If he didn't prove that the knee was ready to go after that then I don't know what else he can do. He even got Choo to call him a five-tool catcher.

Doug Mathis walked four, and despite his scoreless frames, I don't think that will convince Acta that he deserves a spot over someone like Justin Germano. Who would have thought that when they DFAed him in December that he'd be back in a position to win a bullpen spot? Heck when they signed him and he was in Akron last year, I don't think anyone thought he'd be where he is now or where he was at the end of the season, pitching out of the bullpen.

We keep writing him off as just another arm, but the guy keeps producing.

"He has," Indians manager Manny Acta agreed. "That's the way he goes about his business. He just lays in the weeds, throws strikes, gets people out. He did that for us last year and he's doing that here in camp, too." 

Sometimes you just think this whole "25 guys" and telling people like Germano they have a chance is just lip-service. But when you have injuries like Joe Smith and disappointing performances like with Jensen Lewis during spring, then I guess anything can happen.

Good to see Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp both on a good track as we head into the season. Both had good appearances yesterday throwing scoreless innings and Sipp struck out a pair. Sipp is slated to pitch in a minor league game today with Chris Perez. Looks like they are preparing Sipp for back-to-back days. You can tell we are getting close.

Back to Carrasco. Looks like Acta is starting to lineup his rotation because Justin Masterson will start in that minor league game. Perhaps that will be Masterson's second to last go and he'll slide into the second spot right behind Carmona. Right now, who really knows the way Acta is going to order them up.

In the Cactus League game, it will be David Huff getting the starting nod against San Francisco and Jeanmar Gomez will follow to make his final bid for the rotation as well. Josh Tomlin has it all but locked up at this point though and I'm not sure there is much either can do to change that outcome. Acta says they'll make their plans known after the game.

Grady Sizemore will also play, but he'll be taking part in the minor league game and Acta says he'll hit second every inning. I guess you can do that type of stuff? Not sure how that works, but he'll be DHing.


[MEDIA DARLINGS]

I brought you some fantastic news yesterday about attending Opening Day in the social deck and I'm very much looking forward to it. Even more so now with the press release the Indians issued this morning. The e-mail was sitting in my inbox and the first thing that caught my eye was the Twitter news. But more on that in a second.

First things first, the Social Deck is no more. Wait, what? Yeah! It is now the Social Suite and it has been moved from the bleachers to a suite. The deck experience was one-of-a-kind, so we'll see how the suite works out. I very much enjoyed sitting on the field like that but closed off from everyone else. It had a VIP sort of a feel. Who's going to argue with a suite though?

Second, social media deals and I'm telling you right now I already took advantage of one of them. You can get half off tickets by tweeting or sharing on Facebook. Seriously... SERIOUSLY! And you can get Friday games, not some weekday game that few people want to attend. So um, go do that.

"An interactive and engaging social media presence is something we strongly believe in because it is integral to the Indians brand," said MARK SHAPIRO. 

And that leads us to Mark Shapiro and Chris Antonetti joining twitter. Yes, the Indians GM and Team President have both joined up and Shapiro so far has been active. The entire network of Tribe Twitter handles has been laid out, they've got nice pretty backgrounds and logos and everything. It looks pretty good. You can tell they are taking this movement seriously and really they are the first team to really go this in-depth.

And yes, I will now destroy the FakeShap account... Not that it is in use anyway... Plus with him stepping aside as GM, it's hard to fake-tweet about personnel moves that he didn't make. And we don't really know much about Antonetti (aside from the fact that he sold ice cream at Expos games) to have fun with it.

[RANDOM RUNDOWN]

Jordan Bastian says a decision about shoulder surgery for outfielder Trevor Crowe could come soon. That would make sense if they want to clear up a 40-man spot by placing him on the 60-day disabled list. Crowe has hit off a tee but according to JB still can't play catch. That sounds bad, it's one of the basic things you first do when you are recovering.

Hoynes says that the Indians are expecting to get Josh Rodriguez back from Pittsburgh. Mentioned yesterday, but I think it is a no-brainer that the Indians would take him back. You need depth, I don't care if Jason Kipnis is the future, Cord Phelps and Jason Donald are the future utility players, and we have Asdrubal Cabrera. You need depth and Rodriguez goes right to Columbus and plays shortstop.

That I think could mean bad news for Jayson Nix. That would push Valbuena out of a regular role in Columbus and the way he's swung the bat this spring, you'd have to do something with him. There's a slight chance they work out a trade, but I think it would be more likely they hold onto him as their utility infielder (he can play all three spots you would need, although not all three superbly) and drop Jayson Nix and use his roster spot for  Hannahan or Buck.

So I guess in a round-a-bout way I've revealed how I think the roster shakes out. Rodriguez returns, Valbuena, Duncan, and Buck get backup jobs, Buck and Hannahan take Nix and Lewis' roster spots and Germano potentially takes the vacated spot of Trevor Crowe.

We still have eight days left though, so anything can happen. And as for the catcher's spot... Man Lou Marson is really making things difficult for the Indians. They may need a roster spot for Paul Phillips because Marson has been abysmal at the plate. He chucked up another 0-for after going 0-for-4 in the minor league game on Tuesday. It would be so much easier to take Marson along, but he clearly is making that a difficult thing to do.

Most people laugh at me when I preach about having veteran leadership and having some grizzled vet in the locker room. But every year the Indians bring someone in and I say the same thing and it always works out. Last year I think everyone realized what a benefit having Mike Redmond was. This year I think the Indians are really going to benefit from having Orlando Cabrera patrolling the middle of the infield and Terry Pluto states that case as well.

Acta says it, Antonetti says the defense needed an upgrade with the groundball pitchers. Cabrera fits.

"He has won two Gold Gloves at shortstop," Acta said. "I know I said he could play second base with his eyes closed -- but he's had them open, and he's been good there. We need a guy like this." 

Speaking of impressions... Can we get Choo to teach everyone to swing a baseball bat? Travis Buck worked closely with Chooster upon arrival in Arizona and well... He's hitting like Choo in the freaking games. He's never hit two home runs in a game before, until the game this week in which he did just that.

"It's fun to go up there and hit right now, because my confidence is at an all-time high. I couldn't care less who's on the mound. I know what I've been working on and I'm seeing the results. My confidence is there."

Man possessed right now, man possessed.

Maybe Matt LaPorta should take some pointers. Jon Nunnally has been pressing LaPorta to stop pressing, and slow it down.

"He's calmed down in the last week and a half or so," Nunnally said. "He's starting to see the ball better and making some good passes. He thought he was seeing the ball good before, but he wasn't." 

For what it's worth, he has 10 RBI this spring, better than everyone but Choo and Buck. But that isn't everything.


Joe Smith seems to be pushing hard to make the Opening Day roster, but I think that would be quite the mistake on his part. The Indians won't rush him and Acta said they probably wouldn't carry him Opening Day if they aren't going to use him for the first few days.


Adam Everett was available off the bench yesterday, good news for him.

A new Indians Inbox has arrived.

And perhaps one of the best annual traditions around the internet. The point at which Paul Cousineau posts songs for the members of the Indians roster. Chris Perez's is on-point.

[TRIBE TWEET OF THE DAY]


It only makes sense, right?

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