Another Introduction

The other day I mentioned how this blog turned six years old and just completed it's fifth full year of existing on the internet. A few weeks ago I introduced to you a new layout and new look and all the fun that comes with it. And for the past few weeks, Bryan Belknap has been comparing the Indians starting rotation to cowboys. It has been fun and Bryan will continue to bring his insights on a regular basis.

The season is just around the corner, so it only seems to right to introduce to you the second new addition to the website, Justin Johnston. He will be providing you with series previews every week and doing something that I've tried to keep up with the past few years, but have simply not had the time nor energy to do.

And he'll probably do it better, because he like stats far more than I do and can utilize them very well.

So without further stammering on, I'll let him introduce himself. With the full-staff now on board, the season approaching rather quickly, look for a blog season preview next week before the games begin.


Editor's Note: The following is an introduction by Justin Johnston. I do appreciate the Happy Gilmore reference and introductory fanfare, so you know Justin will fit in well here.

Fellow friends of the feather, we’re gathered here today to witness something magical, something poetic, something that hasn't been done since last month! An unveiling of a new contributor to The Tribe Daily!


Spring Training Rundown: As Close As You Can Get

It's that time of the year again.

The time of the year when everyone starts putting out preseason predictions, division and team previews, and try their hand at predicting or forecasting what is going to happen.

That means, it is the time of the year when I get a little antsy and start thinking the Indians have a chance to win the World Series. It doesn't matter, they could field a team of 12-year-olds that have one arm tied behind their backs and are restricted to wearing snow boots and I would think there is a chance.

That's the magic of Opening Day and the impending return of baseball season. The magic of hope, and sometimes lunacy and unsupported, but wildly imaginative potential scenarios in where the Indians win it all.

Previews like this one and this one can help shed perspective, but also give you a rebellious attitude. What do they know! They're totally overlooking the Indians in that regard! Or if there are any slivers of hope, it helps you manifest some good point into a full-blown reason to believe.

I was going to try and fight it, but why do that? I'll take my periods of untamed hope and wild optimism, because I also have those moments of sober realization that will probably bring me back to the middle somewhere.

So with that, as I did last year, I present to you the final Spring rundown of the 2013 year. It is one that I look back the Spring Training Primer and cover up any loose ends before we begin to start the season. Enjoy.


Brat Pack Cowboys and Zach McAllister

[Just because I have pointed ears, it doesn't me I love Star Trek.]
Photo - Chuck Crow via Cleveland.com

I'm no Trekkie, but I know enough to know that the red shirts get it.  You see, in Star Trek, the crew wear blue, yellow or red shirts.  They discover new worlds, beam down, and get into conflicts.  Captain Kirk will have a sexy encounter with a green skinned woman.  Spock will say, “illogical.”  Bones will say, “Damn it, Jim.”  Scotty will have trouble beaming them up.  And the crew members wearing red shirts will get zapped.  

If you are new to my writing here at The Tribe Daily, this piece is part of a series on the Indian’s rotation.  I’ve covered Masterson, Jimenez, and Myers.  So, it is onto the fourth and fifth starters, Zach McAllister and Scott Kazmir, respectively.  

This is the red shirt section of the series.  Four and five starters are the red shirts of the rotation.  They are the likely casualties; some will spend time in the minors working out a funk (McAllister) and others on the disabled list (Kazmir).  That is not guaranteed, mind you.  Again not a Trekkie, but I can’t image all the red shirts die.  Right?  Surely, some make it off the planet intact.  And Bones can't say, “Damn it, Jim” in every episode.  The red shirt section is about probabilities.  Most likely, the red shirts will die, and McAllister and Kazmir will miss turns in the rotation.


LOLTribe: 3/27 The Cacti Are Coming!

It's the most celebrated and highly acclaimed feature on The Tribe Daily...

I know you missed it since the last time it was here, so here it is to save the day.

Remember that if you'd like to try your own, submit it to me and I'll feature it here the next time (you can use http://wigflip.com/roflbot/ to produce something if you are not super tech savvy) I post LOLTribe.

You can submit your entries to me on Twitter (@TheTribeDaily), on Facebook, or through e-mail.

Got that? Good...


The Roster Is Set...

Before we set the roster, there is one thing I'd like to point out that passed exactly a week ago today. A special date.

And even though today I turn 24, something more monumental has passed.

Five years ago on the 19th of March, this blog was launched. Five years! Holy crap! I mean, 24 is pretty cool, but now that the blog is five years old, I'm much more excited about that. I started this thing with blood, sweat, and Indians love as The Tribe Time Report. Now it has a much better name, people actually read it, and, well, this is just a whole lot of fun to do on a weekly basis.

You know they say you remember and are more excited for your earlier birthdays. At least that's how I feel, so if they say it or not, I don't really know. I would think they do if that's the way I feel. And what I feel is what is said. Don't argue with me, it's my birthday.

So the blog is five, I'm 24, and we're a WEEK away from Indians baseball. This is an early birthday for the blog. so...

Cause for celebration?

I know some particular people that are celebrating this morning.


Mini Spring Rundown: Getting the Opening Day Chills

We've made it friends.

What was first months, then turned to weeks, and to finally days is now so close.

In one week, we'll be anticipating baseball.

Now that the Super Bowl is long gone, out of sight, out of mind, and I KNOW that your bracket is completely busted (be honest), there's one thing in sight for sports fans.

Opening Day. I'm getting chills, and it isn't the weather. It's the good chills.

It's the chills you get when you know something awesome is coming or about to happen.

Business first though, because we're all patient here.


We'll all be there watching, and it looks like Chris Perez won't. He'll actually be there playing, not watching. Well, maybe watching up until the ninth inning. Perez has passed another test by throwing in a minor league game on Saturday and will now progress to pitching every other day.


Spring Training Rundown: Bauer Out, Carrasco Eyes Rotation Spot

Alright I jinxed myself. Maybe they were running a free preview or something, but my few days of joy watching the MLB Network again was just that. A few days and very short lived.

MLB Network once again became unavailable, meaning I don't actually have the 24/7 baseball station.

I don't have the 24/7 baseball station. I'll say that one more time.

I don't have the 24/7 baseball station.

My birthday is coming up, so if someone wants to make things right. You guys know where to find me.


After his outing Wednesday, starting pitcher Trevor Bauer said that he is undergoing some neuromuscular programming in regards to his pitching mechanics.

...Oookay Sheldon Cooper.

On Thursday, Bauer was optioned to Triple-A Columbus, along with Corey Kluber, signifying his (and Corey's) elimination from the rotation race. Which means it is all down to Scott Kazmir and Carlos Carrasco, but more on that in a second.

Bauer, not disappointed, but rather cognizant of the fact that he will be in the big leagues at some point, knows he has some work to do. If that wasn't clear by the neuromuscular programming comment, not sure what is.


Bauer Hits Wall Against Angels; May Be Out of Rotation Race


I think the Indians rotation competition got a little clearer after the Cactus League affair against the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday afternoon.
Photo - Chuck Crow via Cleveland.com

Trevor Bauer got the start and after two quiet innings, was looking really good. Then he got to the third and things just got out of hand.

"He got a third inning where he threw so many pitches, we really weren't comfortable letting him go back out," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had good velocity and good life on his arm, and a good changeup. But there's still some inconsistencies, but I think that's to be expected."

Bauer was scheduled to go five innings, but his third inning became too long and the 33 pitches pretty much had him working to the point where the Indians really did not want him going back out. He is in no ways behind in building up, but rather clearly showing some signs of things he needs to fix.

Brett Myers, Hired Gun

Cold comes the day and lone rider. He is there, a growing void on the horizon. Here, in town, there are no welcoming banners. There will be no parade today. No one is baking pie, putting on her Sunday best, or pulling out the fine whisky. He enters, as he will leave, alone. He comes not out of greed or generosity, not out of love or revenge. Need brings him here. There is a job, killing to be done. This is the man that comes.

The 2012 Tribe were a team in need of a hired gun. Cleveland starters were 27th in innings pitched. They were 29th in K/9 but 3rd in B/9. When the dust cleared, the starters had a 5.25 ERA, putting them at 28th in the league. In other words, Tribe starters didn’t pitch long, but they still got hit really hard. After a year like that, there will be blood in the streets. There is a need and a gun to be hired.

Enter Brett Myers, mercenary.
Photo - Chuck Crow via Cleveland.com

This will be Brett’s fourth team in five years. He signed with Cleveland on a one year 7 million dollar contract. The contract comes with a club option for a second year at 8 million, and the option vests if Myers pitches 200 or more innings this year. He is not part of the Tribe’s long-term plans, but as with his kind, he'll do the job and move on.

The veteran gunslinger, Myers does the job asked. He was a starter, but the Phillies wanted him to close. So, he became a closer. Not part of Philadelphia's long term plans, it was on to the Lone Star state. The Astros wanted help in their rotation. So, back to starter he went. They needed a closer; he took the mound in the ninth. When Houston no longer wanted him, it was on to the next town. Chicago needed a setup man; so, Myers toed the rubber for the White Sox in the seventh and eighth. Now, the carnage of Cleveland’s starting pitching calls him to town. He arrives, ready to take the ball every five days.

This post is part of my starting pitchers as Hollywood gunslingers series. What Hollywood cowboy would Brett Myers be, if Brett Myers were a Hollywood cowboy?


Spring Training Rundown: Tribe's Remaining Battles Come Into Focus

I can't get it together here. I'm not sure what's going on.

I will apologize in advance for two things. The first is for my lack of titles. For some reason I think I need to be catchy and awesome when I put in section headers. And well, I'm failing quite miserably with that in this Spring rundown.

I'm also going to apologize for my incredibly bad introduction.

How do I know this is going to be a bad introduction? Probably because I have nothing introduce my main topic. I know, you are probably saying, well what the heck man, why do you need an intro? I just want to read about the Indians, I skip your intro every day anyway.

Chances are, if you do just that, you didn't see what I just said considering you skip the intro, so why should I even bother?

To give myself an intro?

Sometimes I'm amazed at how ridiculous I am.

And there my friends is my lead in. You didn't think I would waste your time did you?

Don't answer that.. Just remember the word ridiculous.


Spring Training Rundown: Cody Allen Claims Bullpen Spot

I'll make this long and un-important, but baseball related story short.

I had the MLB Network. Loved it, kept it on my television almost all the time, rarely changed. When spring started, it dominated being on my TV when my TV was on.

When I moved, I had to make the tough decision and downgrade my package to save money since I was now paying the cable bill. It was tough, but I managed. The true test would be the MLB season in full. I had contemplated adding it back for the extra $10 a month, but decided I would just go without, because I still have to eat once and awhile.

Then I had noticed this weekend that MLB Network was suddenly available for me. Here I am hoping that this isn't a tease and that it will now be available for me forever, because I have it on...all...the...time. I hadn't watched a lick of ESPN from March of last year until, well, really September, and even then when I did, it was for a specific reason, a game or something else.

What does this have to do with anything? Look, nothing really. It was just a side story to ease you into this edition of the run down. It is also a convenient way for me to point out the Indians were on television on Sunday and under the new-but-old FOX Sports umbrella. It begins the stretch of televised games on FOX Sports Ohio's SportstimeOhio (I guess that's what we're calling it?).


Spring Training Rundown: Tribe Shaking Into Spring

Yes we love the Cleveland Indians and we focus on them 99 percent of the time. The one percent representing whoever they face or are involved with.

But if you know me, I like to talk about other teams and what they are doing. I do it frequently and I mostly enjoy looking at the AL Central. When you face those four other teams almost 20 times a year each, well, it becomes really important.

Since he's been with the Royals I have hounded Luke Hochevar. Why? Well, he's a Royal, and was the number one overall pick, and he has big ears and he always looks like his hat is over-sized. Okay that last one is just mean, but Hochevar is someone the Indians have beat up on in the past and it's fun to see how a guy like that progresses for a team that has a good offense, but needs pitching.

To put it into perspective he would barely be a four-five guy on the Indians, yet for the Royals they hinge on him doing something. Granted, that isn't saying much because the Indians don't have a whole lot to boast, but the guy's career 5.39 ERA speaks for itself. That's over several seasons, not just one or a few months.

And now the Royals seem to think that if they trade him, they'll net a good return?

I'm just gonna go ahead and laugh at that and wonder if we the Indians could dump Ubaldo on them and save themselves the "Will he/won't he" drama that will certainly surround him this year.

I of course say the hopes that I can copy-paste that statement three months from now and say, "See, look what I said, that would have been a stupid stupid thing to do if the Indians listened to me."


LOLTribe: 3/14 Here Comes Rich Hill, Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

It's the most celebrated and highly acclaimed feature on The Tribe Daily...

I know you missed it since the last time it was here, so here it is to save the day.

Remember that if you'd like to try your own, submit it to me and I'll feature it here the next time (you can use http://wigflip.com/roflbot/ to produce something if you are not super tech savvy) I post LOLTribe.

You can submit your entries to me on Twitter (@TheTribeDaily), on Facebook, or through e-mail.

Got that? Good...


Excuse me while I whip this out: Analysis of Ubaldo Jimenez


Consider Jim from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, played by Gene Wilder

When we meet Jim, he is hanging upside down staring at a new sheriff, Bart.  He is a man in crisis, living in a town in crisis.  Jim’s the town drunk of Rock Ridge.  Rock Ridge is town under siege.  Quicksand has rerouted the railroad right through the center of town.  The evil Hedley Lamar has decided to terrorize the town as part of a land-snatching scheme.  When Bart asks if he needs any help, Jim responds, “All I can get.”  

Jim and Bart are fast friends, and Jim tells the new sheriff his secret.  Jim was the Waco Kid, fastest gun in the world.  Bart is understandably skeptical.  So, Jim provides a demonstration.  He stands a few feet from a chessboard.  Tells Bart to put his hands on both sides of a king.  Then Jim snatches the king before Bart can clasp the piece between his hands.  Jim also shows the depth of his decline.  He presents Bart his right hand, steady as a rock.  Then up comes his shooting hand, a fish on dry land. 

Bart asks his friend what happened.  Jim’s tail is a simple one.  He cracked under the pressure of being the fastest draw.  With that title comes the constant demand to prove it.  The pressure breaks the Waco kid, when he nearly guns down a child and is promptly shot in the rump by the youngster.  Wounded in brain and bum, Jim climbs inside a bottle.  And now, here he is, a broken man of diminished skills, telling his tale to his friend. 


Spring Training Rundown: Kazmir Makes Case, Hill Makes Bullpen

Exactly 20 days. That's how many more days that I can use the calendar hanging above my desk.

Of course I'm talking about the calendar I received last year at an Indians game. Once March ends, the calendar has no use. Which means one important thing.

I need to get a new calendar.

How annoying is that? Especially since I don't particularly care for spending money on a new one, because knowing me, I'll want something cool. Why can't I just automatically have a new Indians one ready for me to use?

Why? Why? Why?

Just let me have nice things... Or a new calendar ready and waiting to go.


Scott Kazmir really wants a rotation spot.


Spring Training Rundown: McAllister In Rotation, Tribe Contemplate Bench

So the bands that are doing these songs that just happen to involve sports themes are geniuses.

The Script with their Hall of Fame song, don't tell me that won't get overused for Hall of Fame related things the next five years in every sport that has a Hall of Fame.

This new Muse song, "Madness" is the theme for this year's NCAA Tournament.

So it got me thinking. I need to just make up a song that strategically involves the World Baseball Classic.

It'll be brilliant.

It's the... CLASSIC!
Because there's not one like it. It's the classic!
The best and the unforgettable. Its the classic!
Scoobadoodoodooot Badababow!

I'm going to make millions people...


We are only into our second full week of March, but that isn't stopping the Indians from shaping up what their roster is going to look like on Opening Day. We may have found out more than we thought we'd know at this point in spring after a few announcements Sunday afternoon.

The first big domino to fall is that the Indians have settled the fourth spot in their rotation and it will belong to Zach McAllister. No, not fifth, fourth. McAllister was considered a favorite to nab one of the last two spots up for grabs and he solidifies that before March even got a chance to progress.


McAllister Goes Four Strong, Indians Pummel Cubs

Indians - 9 | Cubs - 2

David Huff started, but Zach McAllister was the starter that did the job against the Cubs in the Indians latest spring win. McAllister went four scoreless giving up just three hits and striking out three in relief to help lead the Indians.
Photo - Getty Images via Zimbio

McAllister picked up the win as the Indians bats picked up the momentum, but prior to, Huff struggled in giving up runs and throwing the number of first-pitch strikes he wanted.

McAllister meanwhile did the exact opposite and was awesome. So, that's good. The Indians need a fourth starter (and a second, and a third, and a fifth....) so McAllister getting himself on track is a really welcome site.

Huff gave up two runs off four hits in his three innings, but he did not walk anyone and struck out three. It was really one blemish as the two run home run by Javier Baez accounted for all of Chicago's runs.

Justin Masterson: The Big Hoss of the Tribe Rotation

For me, pitchers are like Hollywood cowboys, gunslingers.  Baseball is a team sport, but it begins one on one, a showdown at high noon.  The pitcher stares down the batter.  The climatic music plays.  He fires.  For sixty feet and six inches, it is mano-a-mano. 

Not all cowboys are the same, of course. 

Some like Rooster Colburn survive by grit and bile.  Bite the reigns of your horse, double guns blazing, and charge that angry mob.  Some like Jack Beauregard can stand alone against 150 armed and angry men. The elite skills that put a person in the history books.  “The man with no name” are as likely to get you to gun down yourself as take you down.  “Baxters over there, Rojos there, me right smack in the middle.”  And some just seize the day.  Why worry about drowning when the fall will kill you?     

Pitchers are just as colorful a bunch. You have grizzled vets like later-year Nolan Ryan.  Charge my mound and I'll give you a nuggie.  Those with elite skills like Mariano Rivera.  "I throw one pitch and no one can hit it."  You have the masters of deception like Mark Buerhle.  He never throws above 88 mph, but he still gets you out.    You have the live in the moment types, cause your stuff can't carry you. 


LOLTribe: 3/8 Nick Swisher's Favorite Bro

It's the most celebrated and highly acclaimed feature on The Tribe Daily...

I know you missed it since the last time it was here, so here it is to save the day.

Remember that if you'd like to try your own, submit it to me and I'll feature it here the next time (you can use http://wigflip.com/roflbot/ to produce something if you are not super tech savvy) I post LOLTribe.

You can submit your entries to me on Twitter (@TheTribeDaily), on Facebook, or through e-mail.

Got that? Good...

Hey, Where'd You Put That: Site Update and an Introduction

I know, things look a little bit different around here. If you are confused, I apologize. But here's the good news.

This layout is way better. It's also more organized and it just feels better. I had grown sick of the old one and felt like it was a little, silly. This isn't silly, this is, better.

Some things have moved, some things have gone away. If you really want to find something, try that search box to the right of this post, that should help. Or if you can't find it, ask me and I'll show you where it went.

There are several reasons for the changes other than looks. The first, is that I'm going to try and incorporate a few (unobtrusive to you) advertisements into the layout. The only cost that goes into the site is the domain, but I'd at least like for that to pay for itself. And if at all possible where I make some money off this, I'd like to put money back into the site other than purchasing a domain. So, I will keep the advertisements out of your way and hope they are not a bother.

The other is that the site just wasn't set up optimally to my pleasing. I've learned some things in five years of running this blog and as we enter the sixth year of existence (whoooaaa!), I'm starting to figure some things out. Who wants to read a sentence then click a link if you visit the site directly from the home page? No one, so I'm starting to make some of those changes as well.


Jimenez Strong Against Giants, Swisher Stays Hot

Giants - 4 | Indians - 6

WHOA! Giambi!

We'll get to that in a second. All eyes on the starter for this one, Ubaldo Jimenez, and his four innings of work. He gave up a run in the fourth, but it was thanks to the sun shielding Michael Bourn that put Brandon Crawford on third, easy pickings for Hunter Pence to knock in.

Spring Training Rundown: Masterson Rounds Into Form

I'm a little obsessed, sometimes.

I dig fantasy baseball. It is a reason I started the Tribe Daily Invitational last year. I can't get enough of it. One year when I had the time (and no life) I was in about 12 leagues. I'm not exaggerating either. I paid attention to all of them and drafted all the teams. I had several on ESPN, several on Sporting News, and the rest on Yahoo. I had a problem.

Of course not a single one was for money. I just enjoy the labor of picking a team and managing it. If you think I am obsessed with baseball, you think correctly.

I'm down to a few leagues a year now a days. Right now The Tribe Daily Invitational II is the only one that I have so far, but I'll probably be in a few more before the season starts. I did my first mock draft on Tuesday, an exercise in me trying to determine where players are going on average.

You know what struck me?

Usually I'm taking Indians as sleepers. Grabbing a Justin Masterson at the end of the draft because I think he'll be a sneaky start that puts up some great numbers that I don't have to spend a high end pick on. Taking Shin-Soo Choo because I'm convinced he's going to bust out and be one of the best all-around fantasy gems available.


Indians Top Giants, Matsuzaka Navigates Through Three Scoreless

Indians - 4 | Giants 3

The Indians are back to their spring winning ways with another victory over the San Francisco Giants. With some of the regulars in the lineup gone, some new faces now have some opportunities to show what they have and make an impression.

Still, the focus is mainly on that rotation battle, as it was Daisuke Matsuzaka with another opportunity to go out and try and state his case for a rotation spot.


Spring Training Rundown: Perez Shelved, Herrmann in Question, Smith Returning

I'm sorry for the sudden drop off in activity the past few days...

I've been working on some things though and later this week, you'll see what I'm talking about.

I have a strange feeling this will be a jam-packed run down though, so let's waste not another character, and get right to it with some recapping...

Indians - 13 | Cubs - 5

There they are! The Indians offense roars again! In a different look, Drew Stubbs led off and led the charge with a pair of hits (a double and a triple), three RBI and a run scored, and that was just the beginning.

Nick Swisher hit his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot, in addition to collecting three hits and knocking in four total runs. He was joined in the homer party by Lonnie Chisenhall, who hit a solo shot for his second of the spring and did so in the three spot. Holy moly! Chiz in the Hall went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, three RBI and a walk. Is this kid going to have a great year or what?

Mark Reynolds also had a pair of hits and a few RBI to joint he party, making it a big day for some of the big additions.

It was a starter day with Carlos Carrasco, Zach McAllister, and Trevor Bauer throwing three innings each. Carrasco gave up a pair off four hits and a walk with two strikeouts, McAllister went three scoreless with just a hit, and Bauer gave up three runs (two earned) off two hits and a walk.

Carrasco was hit in the head with a come-backer in the game but it didn't force him out. he did drop to his knee, but passed the concussion tests the Indians gave him during and after the inning. They'll continue to monitor him though, however.

Just to update you so far on some spring numbers...