First Is Nice: Smith, Pestano Show Guts; Offense Comes Through

Cleveland increased their AL Central lead to two games after holding the Kansas City offense at bay in extras.

April 18th, 2011 
Cleveland Indians - 7
Kansas City Royals - 3
W: Joe Smith (1-0) L: Tim Collins (1-1)


Whoaaaa... First off, the Royals can hit.

But man can the Tribe pitch or what? They haven't given up more than four runs since the second game against Chicago... DEAD serious... Since the Opening Day and the aftermath of Opening Day, Cleveland has not let a team score more than four times against them in a game. Score five times, you win!

The Indians did that again last night against the Royals. It all came together in the tenth when the Royals put, hahahaha Tim Collins, out there. Manny Acta pushed some crazy buttons last night, but they all worked.
Photo Credit - AP via Yahoo! Sports

First thing that comes to mind was how much he used Joe Smith. Kid was able to pitch to the left-handers and get them out. He was rewarded the win, only gave up a walk. But he was in there against Betemit with runners on and he did the job. Then he came out again for the ninth and was great.

Vinnie Pestano also was big in one spot. Carlos Carrasco was brought out for the seventh inning, despite giving up a pair of runs to tie the game in the sixth. That was a big test. He ended up putting the first runner on. A bunt later, Manny Acta decided it wasn't time to test Carrasco's pressure build and brought in Pestano. Huge by Vinnie to get out of there, he's really starting to settle in and he should continue to gain appearances in high-leverage situations.

Carrasco overall was okay. He didn't give up any home runs. Three runs, six-plus is a quality start, only one walk. That's just what you want from him if you can get it.

Offense scattered their three runs in the first nine. They started by getting out ahead in the first, adding one in response to KC's run in the 2nd and then responding to the two-run spot in the sixth by pushing one across in the seventh. Just great to see them respond each time out.

I will willingly eat words with Sizemore doing what he's doing. I'm not going to complain. Guy is healthy and look what he's doing. Another double, two more hits after that and a walk. He's some kind of awesome right now and just making this lineup better. Choo knocked in a run, Santana doubled and knocked in a run. They didn't come through late like you would have liked, but they did produce. Then look at Michael Brantley down in the seven hole, a hit and two walks, even a steal. That's what we've been waiting for with him, that type of game. He's been putting together good games and consistency, but those are the types of games Brantley is capable of.

LaPorta had two hits and is quietly starting to get real consistent at the plate. He had the big hit to tie things back up in the seventh.

But HAWKMAN! Shelley Duncan may have sent Buck to Columbus after that pinch-hit RBI double. KEEP THIS MAN!

"I try to talk myself into it every single day," Duncan said. "That it's going to happen. That way, I'm never overwhelmed by it. I never let the moment get the best of me." 

Duncan was awesome and if there was any doubt, he needs to stay because of games like that. He's a pinch-hitting savant and so much energy in that clubhouse.


As mentioned, there is expected to be a roster move today to get Jeanmar Gomez on so he can start. Expect that any time now.

Mitch Talbot's injury was addressed by Lonnie Soloff. The Tribe's head athletic trainer said the strain is not as severe as his previous UCL sprain in 2009 with Tampa.

Setback for Jason Donald in Columbus. He strained his groin while fielder and will sit for a few days.

Anthony Reyes will not be in Akron today to take Scott Barnes' place in the rotation. He's still building up his innings and is expected to get to a point where he can throw four-to-five by the end of the month.

Go ahead and read the latest by Andrew Clayman over at TCF. With the Royals and Indians off to hot starts and battling it out for first place, Clayman compares the two squads and how they were put together. I'm not just saying this because I root for the good guys, but I think this season, the Indians may be more built to last.

Kansas City's rotation was strung together with glue and paperclips in the offseason. Luke Hochevar and Jeff Francis are their top two starters.. Really? They can certainly hit, but their pitching, it will eventually cause them to lose more games than they have been.

One Chicago area writer thinks the Indians are certainly for real. But he thinks its largely because of Orlando Cabrera. Can't disagree with the assessment about Cabrera.

New Indians Inbox is up. Bastian tackles Cabrera's hot start, Jason Donald's return (which has been slowed now), and Brantley's confidence.

Twitter NOTE! Austin Adams, currently pitching for the Aeros is on Twitter.

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