Morning Rundown: Half the Lineup, Half the RunsThere are days when I'm not really sure how to write this introduction, but as I've probably said before, I feel like I have to. The days are especially tough when I don't have a lot to write about. The world would definitely be easier if Ozzie Guillen was managing this team. Then I wouldn't have to worry about there not being anything worth noting. But then again, we'd all hate ourselves.
April 9th, 2012
Chicago White Sox - 4
Cleveland Indians - 2
W: Chris Sale (1-0) L: Josh Tomlin (0-1) S: Hector Santiago (2)
After the 37 innings played over the previous four days, the Indians lineup had a little different look.
After trotting out the same lineup in all three games, Manny Acta altered things.
He emptied his bench in one fell swoop. It worked out for two reasons. The first is that there's a left-hander on the mound and his bench is made up of right-handed hitters.
The second is that, members of his lineup probably could have used a break. You can't take Carlos Santana out of the lineup right now but you have to get him a break at catcher and the way to do that is to play him at designated hitter.
I said I could not disagree with this sort of choice. It has it's pro-reasoning and it has it's con-reasoning. You can't play the same lineup 162 times a year and as Manny Acta says, it would be nice to have a lineup of 9-Albert Pujolses... But that ain't happening.
The lineup resulted for two runs, half of what the Indians have been putting up in their other games with their normal lineup.
We've discussed this strategy before with Acta. He did it last year and we often called it the 'B' lineup. Acta puts his entire bench, or just about the entire bench, against lefties. The strategy has some "strategic" idea in that well, you use all of your backups at once.
You keep your best lineup, the one you rely on to put up the most production, in tact for more games than you would if were to alter it on a daily basis. That's partially Acta's thinking.
That and again, his regular lineup is made up of left-handed hitters, his bench has a lot of righties.
Acta says most of the reasoning though, lies with a breather for some regulars.
"It's mostly because of the amount of innings we have played," Acta explained. "When you leave Arizona or Florida, you don't prepare these guys to play 28 innings in the first two games and 37 in three. It was a grueling series."
Reasoning aside, this didn't produce. But then again, the regular lineup did not produce. So who cares?
The replacements: 2-15 with a RBI. Jose Lopez had the solo shot to lead off the ninth inning with a little bit of hope, but that was it. That's Donald (leading off and third base), Lopez (hitting....fifth?), Cunningham (in center for Brantley), and LouMar catching.
Is this a lineup that is going to be trotted out every so often? Or will Acta mix it up? He's said that with Tomlin going, he'll probably go with a more outfield defensive oriented lineup (Cunningham over Duncan), but in this one, Duncan was still in left to give Brantely the night off.
I really think in the end, this was a product of what Acta was talking about. It's likely the subbing is more scattered. It is also likely though that this lineup is a frequenter against left-handed pitching given the right-handed bench.
The offense as whole that hasn't been very good, regardless of who's hitting?
"You just have to stay positive and continue to encourage the guys," Acta said. "Four games is not going to define the offense of a ballclub. That's all there is to it. It's kind of early still. We'd rather have six or seven runs every day on the board, but it hasn't happened.
Nothing was saving the Indians on this night though. Josh Tomlin just didn't have it quite frankly.
|Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports|
"Those two lefties kind of ambushed him," said Acta. "After that, Josh pitched well."
There is nothing wrong with five innings, four runs on a down-night for Josh Tomlin really. But he needs offense when he has those down nights and you can't always coordinate those properly.
The bizzaro part of this all (aside from that sinister looking goatee he's sporting) was the strikeouts. He matched a career high with seven and he did it all in just five innings. He gave up his homers, he walked just one, but the oddity was the strikeouts. He tossed 95 pitches (65 for strikes), so it didn't even eat up his pitch count all that much because he doesn't toy with people.
Could it be the fact that the White Sox are just a team prone to striking out? A little bit, but I think most of it was the Chicago offense also making him work. They did a good job fighting off his pitches and taking him into the count. So if anything, I wouldn't expect Tomlin to become some sort of strikeout machine. He just managed to miss some bats on the third strike in this one.
Dan Wheeler and Jairo Asencio are slowly destroying my spirit. They are also giving life to the tagline of my blog.
Home run aside, Jose Lopez and defense don't belong in the same sentence unless the words "bad" "crappy" or "horrible" are included in there somewhere.
Two walks. Two walks. One to Choo and one to Duncan. Not going to get it done...
Give some major props to Chris Sale in his first major league start. We've seen his stuff out of the pen. We'll see if the rotation move works out, but so far so good.
I think a lot of people wanted to get on Cabrera for not getting to the ground ball hit by Konerko, that was proceeded by the Punch A.J. home run, but that was not an easy ball to get to.
"It was kind of a long run for him," Tomlin said. "I don't think he would've got there. The ball was just out of his reach. It wasn't anything he misplayed."
Choo got hit in the hand by a pitch and immediately we all were ready to charge the mound. Gutless.
Kidding, but Sale hit Choo and maybe you can now understand why Chooster got so ticked the other day when the Jays hit him. Luckily there appears to be no issues as Choo stayed in the game and the only thing that got shattered was his protective guard. Hope he has more of those.
By virtue of his dastardly strikeouts and evil-looking goatee, from now on, or at least until he shaves, Josh Tomlin is Sinister Tomlin. On Monday though he was just Bizzaro Tomlin too.
Rumors floated around Twitter yesterday afternoon when WTAM's Nick Camino tweeted that the Indians "were looking to keep their core players" and that Indians fans would be happy.
Right... Jordan Bastian later confirmed that it was not Justin Masterson, like I had thought.
Then Bastian came through with the report that the contract extension was agreed upon between the Indians and Carlos Santana.
Now it turns out that if you had listened to some random fan out there with six followers, you would have known about this a few days ago.
AND you would also know that the deal is for four years.
This random Twitter user told Bastian on the sixth that Carlos Santana signed a four year extension. He then went on to tell Paulie C. that he "announced it at his party Friday."
I'm not sure what party he was at, but I need to catch an invite.
So we'll see if this is a "four year extension" rather soon... But like Paul asked, I have to wonder... What does that even mean?
I'm not really one to really say much now because we don't know how much or how long, but I like the idea of getting Carlos locked up. I'd much rather commit to the young guys on offense like Santana and Cabrera in short spurts than anything. I wouldn't be against signing Masterson either, especially if he keeps it up, but I would exactly clamor for it.
We'll see when more details are announced, but it would be good to have Santana a few years after he is due to become a free agent. If it's only for one, I quite frankly don't see the point with him not even having hit arbitration. I mean maybe you get him below market value and one more year of free agency, but to me, if you sign a deal this early into his career, you buy out more than one free agent year, not just one because you already control him through 2016. With a catcher like Carlos, you could potentially sign him to the only contract you're ever going to sign him to.
Manny Acta has some good praise for Jack Hannahan, who got a breather on Monday but is still off to a good start offensively. Now only if one of our most productive hitters wasn't in the nine hole...
"We've always felt that he is a better offensive player than what his numbers show," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He showed flashes of it last year. In Spring Training, he kind of showed a better approach at the plate, too. We're not saying he's all of a sudden going to become Wade Boggs, but we do feel that he can be a better hitter."
I'm not sure what prompted Manny to use Wade Boggs there, but, yeah I'm not sure.
Acta has Roberto Hernandez update, saying that he's up to 85 pitches. He talked to Robbie on Sunday and he said, 'Hello.'
Detroit was on an off-day, they face the 3-0 Rays today in the afternoon.