Tribe Versus: New York Yankees 4/8 - 4/11

After riding the high of beating up the Blue Jays in Canada, the Tribe brought us back down to earth this weekend. After not just losing, but getting shut out for two games and held to just seven hits, it seemed like our offense didn't clear customs back into the States. Yesterday's game was the toughest match-up of the series, with the Tribe going up against 2012 Cy Young winner David Price, but the Indians stormed into the Trop and crushed the Rays, getting 17 hits and 13 runs, with five homers. Guess they felt they had some making up to do, or perhaps getting shafted on several calls the night before just got under their skins. Either way, we avoided being swept and are coming home with a 3-3 record to face the New York Stankee Yankees.

New York Yankees (2-4) at Cleveland Indians (3-3)
Progressive Field, April 8-11th

RHP Hiroki Kuroda (0-1) vs RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0)
         First pitch: 4:05pm EST

LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-0)
         First pitch: 7:05pm EST

RHP Ivan Nova (0-1) vs. RHP Brett Myers (0-1)
         First pitch: 7:05pm EST

RHP Phil Hughes (0-1) vs. Zach McAllister (0-1)
         First pitch: 7:05pm EST

A Cleveland Indians fan, a Chicago White Sox fan, and New York Yankees fan were all in Saudi Arabia performing military duty for the Army. While off base, they were caught sharing a smuggled case of booze. All of a sudden Saudi police rushed in and arrested them. The mere possession of alcohol is a severe offense in Saudi Arabia punishable by death!

With the help of good lawyers, they were able to successfully appeal their sentence down to life imprisonment. By a stroke of luck, a benevolent Sheik decided that they could be released after receiving just 20 lashes of the whip. As they were preparing for their punishment, the Sheik said, "It's my wife's birthday today, and she has asked me to allow each one of you one wish before your whipping."

The White Sox fan was first in line, so he thought about this for a while and then said, "Please tie a pillow to my back."

This was done, but the pillow only lasted 10 lashes before the whip went through. The Sox fan was carried away bleeding and crying.

The Yankees fan was up next and after watching the scene said "Okay, please affix 2 pillows to my back."

But even 2 pillows could only take 15 lashes before the whip went through again, sending the Yankee fan crying unbelievably.

The Indians fan was the last up, but before he could say anything, the Sheik turned to him and said "You support the greatest baseball team in the world. Your supporters are the best and most loyal fans in all the world. For this you may have TWO wishes'"

"Thanks, your most royal highness" the Tribe fan replied." In recognition of your kindness, my first wish is that you give me not 20, but 100 lashes."

"Not only are you an honorable, powerful man, you are also very brave," said the Sheik. "If 100 lashes is what you desire, then so be it. And your second wish. What is it to be?" the Sheik asks.

"Tie the Yankees fan to my back."


Yes, we all dislike the Yankees and no one really wants to talk in depth about the team, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I don't tell you more about this match-up.

Hiroki Kuroda will take the bump on Monday in Cleveland's home opener. Last year, Kuroda went 16-11 with three complete games and two shutouts, all while posting an ERA of 3.32 which was the 8th lowest ERA in the AL.  His one game in the 2013 season was cut short after taking a line drive off his middle finger off the bat of Shane Victorino. According to NJ.com, the bruised finger is still plaguing the hurler.

“I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent,” Kuroda said before Sunday’s game against the Tigers. “But when you think about the season, you won’t be physically ideal every outing. So it’s something I have to deal with...I would be lying if I said there’s nothing that’s bothering me. But at the same time, I have to deal with it.”

Next up will be the 41 year old southpaw Andy Pettitte, who retired after the 2010 postseason and then changed his mind and signed a minor league contract with the Spankees last year, only to get knocked out of a game against your Cleveland Indians last June. Casey Kotchman lined a shot straight up the middle that Pettitte took off his left ankle, breaking the fibula. He hasn't pitched in more than 21 games in two years. In his 2013 debut, he went eight innings giving up eight hits, one walk, and one run while striking out three.

Dominican Republic native Ivan Nova will be taking the mount on Wednesday. The 26 year old went 12-8 last year in 28 starts, but gave up 194 hits and had a 5.02 ERA. His only game this year was against the Tigers where he only got through 4 2/3 innings and stuck out five, but suffered five hits for four earned runs.

The last game of the four game series will have the Tribe facing righty Phil Hughes. In 2012, Hughes' main crutch was the long ball; he was rocked for 35 homers over 32 games. So far this year, the 27 year old pitched one game against the Tigers, only lasting four innings and surrendered eight his for three earned runs.

Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports
The Yankees offense has been bitten by the injury bug early. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson won't be present in the line-up due to various afflictions. Plus they have injury prone Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis who are healthy now, but the question is more or less when not if these guys get hurt.

This series is completely winnable for the Wahoo Warriors. The Yankees are beat up already and we won't be facing their number one pitcher, C.C. Sabathia. If our bats can stay alive like they were on Sunday, we could win two, if not three of these games.

Players to watch

Ubaldo Jimenez - Which Ubaldo will we see in our home opener? Will it be the Ubaldo that kept the Blue Jays to three hits and one run in six innings, striking out three while only walking two? Or will it be the 2012 Ubaldo who walked 95 batters and threw 16 wild pitches? Only time will tell. But I am starting to think that Baldy has tweaked enough in his pitching technique to be leaps and bounds better than he was last year. With our defense which has been outstanding in these six games, I think Jimenez will pull out a 'W' in the Tribe's home opener.

Mark Reynolds - In 20 at bats, Reynolds has come up big in some pretty clutch situations. His stat line is a pretty .300/.364/.950 with four homers and seven RBI. On the flip side, Reynolds has struck out six times, which makes him tied for third worst on the team after Drew Stubbs (9) and Jason Kipnis (7). Reynolds will have a ton of stike outs, but his big bat on the right side of the plate gives us more versatility in our line-up which helps keep teams from throwing all lefties against us and leaving us helpless.

Justin Johnston is a contributing writer to The Tribe Daily. You can follow him on Twitter @WahooJay.

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