8.31.2013

Positive Swish: Undo The Tiger Voodoo, Get Luck Back on Our Side


I can feel some tension arising. Not so much anger or disappointment, but bit of a helpless, "What the heck do we gotta do" type of feeling. Don't worry, I feel it too and so does Positive Swish, so he's here to inject some faith and hope right back into you. Hopefully he brings an Indians win.

8.30.2013

Morning Rundown: Tribe Swings Deal for Jason Kubel After Offense Sputters Against Braves


Photo - Getty Images via Zimbio.com
Sorry for the run of inactivity lately, I know you missed the rundown in your mornings. But my mornings have been starting pretty early, which never really jive well when you are dealing with a team playing on the west coast. Hard to write when you sleep, eh?

That was last week, this week was a few different things, from the off day on Monday to not feeling well Tuesday, things have just been hectic around these parts. But I'm back and ready to go for this stretch run. And we've got a lot to talk about.

INDIANS - 1 | BRAVES - 3
W: Kris Medlen (11-12)
L: Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9)
S: Craig Kimbrel (43)
[BOXSCORE]

Are the Indians struggling offensively or the Braves that good of a pitching team?

8.19.2013

Morning Rundown: Tribe's Chase Gets Harder


Who would have thought it is Ubaldo Jimenez that was claiming a spot in the rotation and showing he is worth keeping in that spot and Kazmir showing some vulnerability?

The Indians are now in an interesting position. They're 4.5 back and coming off a series with a team that is leading the spot they're chasing. It wasn't a total failure and if the Indians can find a way to pull of a sweep, you'll take a 6-3 road trip. And even if they win two, 5-4 isn't so bad either if you can go home and finish out the week strong against the Twins.

A lot of people want to lament the fact that the team just lost this series. A lot of people are calling them dead, but I guess I just don't get it. This team is above .500 and with two wins will match last year's win total. This team isn't dead. This team is so much further ahead than last year's team. This is a new era. There's faces that weren't around last year, a manager who is new and bringing a fresh attitude and new set of accountability due to the respect he commands.

I feel like a broken record. But if you think this is the same old story, and you aren't enjoying this summer, then man, why are you watching this team with a miserable outlook?

8.15.2013

Morning Rundown: Double the Comeback, Double the Heart-rate


The Indians are giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "Keep on Keeping on" with their latest win. Beauty of all this, is that a win is a win, that is a win.

You can get out-hit 17-12. You can blow a save. You can have your starter not get out of the fifth inning. You can have your top two hitters in the order go a combined 2-for-12 with six strikeouts and no runs scored and a caught stealing.

But you can do all that and still win a game and if you do win that game, none of that really matters in the end.

And the Indians did all of that in this game, but still won.

They won with grit and determination. It is almost as if they are running on spit and shoelaces. I don't know what that means, but it sounds gritty and as if it was strung together, but effective and that it gets the job done.

The Indians are the McGyver of baseball wins right now.

Spit and shoelaces.

8.14.2013

Morning Rundown: Z-Mac Back on the Attack for Tribe


Just more proof that Andrew Albers deserved a lot of credit for what happened on Monday. The Indians came back out on Tuesday and were able to get some things going.

Those games happen, those performances are sometimes ones you just can't anticipate nor stop. There was a little uneasiness with the loss because it knocked the Indians down to third thanks to a Royals win.

But fear not, for the Indians get back in the win column, Kansas City finds out what it is like to face Jose Fernandez, and the Indians are back into second and even gaining a little bit on the Tigers after their loss. Not to mention, they're not too far out of the wild card race, with a big series coming up against one of the leaders.

Gear up for an early start today and then what will be a little bit lengthy period of no Tribe baseball.

8.13.2013

Morning Rundown: Canada Guy and Twins Defense Blank and Dazzle Tribe


Nothing. I mean, just, nothing. You can't do a single solitary thing about good pitching and defense.
Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports

When you have them both, you are going to win games. They didn't even do much offensively. They got two big hits that scored all their runs and that was all the Twins needed. The Indians didn't play a bad game. The Twins just played a really good one.

INDIANS - 0 | TWINS - 3
W: Andrew Albers (2-0)
L: Danny Salazar (1-1)
[BOXSCORE]

And those are games you can stand to lose, even if they are against a team that is out of any sort of playoff race and is not really playing for much other than to further the experience of their young players and build their team up.

Does it feel good? No of course not, but it feels a lot less painful than some of the losses last week when the team booted the ball around the infield and there was a whole lot of sloppy play going on.

8.12.2013

Morning Rundown: Hold the Shovel Tribe Won't Be Buried Yet


Closer's blow saves. Mariano Rivera has done the Indians no favors this weekend blowing two saves against the Tigers. On Sunday he let up a two-run lead after Miguel Cabrera homered and then Victor came back few hitters later to tie it. It marked his THIRD consecutive blown save in the week.

Chris Perez blew one save and the world was ending. He came back on Sunday to nail the comeback win down. Mariano Rivera will come back next time and figure it out and he'll go on to save a bunch more games before his career ends.

Both guys close out games for a living. Both are prone to mistakes and bad outings. Both will blow saves. Rivera has blown five saves this year. I'm in no way saying that Perez is a better closer, all I'm trying to prove right here is that closer's blow saves. It happens. Before we melt the world down, let's let things play out.

Because the Indians proved they have a lot of fight left in them after Sunday's huge comeback and there is a whole lot more of enjoyable baseball left to witness.

8.11.2013

Sunday Grazing: Goon Squad, The Closer, and Remembering Nimartuena


You probably don't want to put up with my ridiculous Sunday Grazing after a week like this one. A week without a win thus far, I wouldn't blame you if were over it.

Thing is, maybe Sunday Grazing is just what you needed. I certainly feel like I need it. With all the animosity that has been built up over this team the past week, I myself would like to take a step back and just breathe in some fresh air.

So, that's just what I'm going to do.

Sunday Grazing, a little bit of an outside the diamond look at the Cleveland Indians.

8.09.2013

Morning Rundown: End of a Tribe Series But Not a Season


Going through this, here's something that I've kind of found really funny, especially with the Browns first game on Thursday night and the preseason starting for football.

When this Indians season started, there was little care, perhaps even some disdain towards the team. Yeah they were active in the offseason and whatever, but there were a lot of fans dis-interested and still in that "prove it to me first" mentality. But now with the recent surge, a lot have come back and even the ones who were still around were getting excited. Heck, I'm excited, how could you not be the way the team has been playing?

But, a large portion of people getting excited were jumping from "well whatever, another year another losing season for the Tribe" to playoffs, to World Series. Maybe not saying World Series, but reading comments after his series ended in a total failure, there are people who were saying "The Indians can't hang with the big boys" as if they were expected to all a long.

This team was not very good last year. They were very flawed. They had talent and drive that showed at times, but largely a team that needed fixed in many areas. They got fixed in many areas, but they're still very much a work in progress. They went from a non-contender to a hopeful contender and are still there.

They need more pieces to compete with a team like Detroit, who just has more talent right now. It isn't unreasonable to expect competitiveness, which they were in each of these games except the last one, but it is a little unreasonable to expect a four game sweep and utter domination of the rest of the schedule en route to the World Series.

Which I think a lot of fans were hanging their hats on, and that's a shame, because it feels as if this sweep has almost diminished what is happening in Cleveland with this baseball team.

8.07.2013

Morning Rundown: Tribe Still Searching for Perfect Game Against Tigers


I could not sleep Monday night and it had nothing to do with the sunburn that I'm dealing with. I'm going to reveal a behind the scenes trick right now, but I write most of the Rundown the night before it actually goes up. My job requires me to be at work early, so I get up ridiculously early to make sure everything is still good, double-check it, and add in quotes or finish up the game recap.

I had written the Chris Perez essay all before I went to bed. I even spent extra time going back and forth with a few people on Twitter about the secondary issue of him not talking to reporters, which was not a focal point of yesterday's post because that gem didn't pick up much steam until after.

So, I couldn't sleep because I had Chris Perez and the Indians on my mind, is that what I'm saying?

Well, no. I couldn't help think of what I had written. I thought maybe I had acted irrationally and jumped to a gut reaction, despite the fact that I had pegged many others with having done that. Even though we could fall on different sides of the fence, I surely could have been speaking from a point of passion with no chance to cool down about what I was seeing.

I woke up and had started to read what I wrote. And quite frankly, I felt ten times as strongly about it the morning after than I did as I was writing it out. I even went ahead and added in some thoughts and changed some things.

I've stuck to my guns on this. Last night wasn't exactly the bounce-back you were either hoping for or thought this team would give. There was a lot of "this team is resilient" talk and "we'll come out the next night" banter, but really, they didn't. It was your typical game in which the offense faced a good pitcher having a good game, and your pitcher did not show up.

It just happened that Cleveland's pitcher was supposed to be their best and Detroit's pitcher, is, well, their best.

8.06.2013

Morning Rundown: A Bad Turn for Tribe Momentum


This is not about wins and losses. People keep saying this is a big series and I think people get lost in their response. Obviously, Francona and the players are going to say "every game is a big series" and "there's more games after to play as well" as your typical cliche responses.

This series is big, but it has nothing to do with the record. Yeah if the Indians lose three of four, it hurts. If they win three of four, it helps, but it's only a few games, there's still more work to do.

But that is exactly why the records, the wins and losses, do not matter when it comes to this series. This is so much more than wins and losses. This is momentum, this is confidence, this is a battle for having a mental edge from August 9th on. You win this series, you shift momentum in your favor. You win this series, you put a ton of eggs in the confidence basket moving forward. You win this series and you have that edge over the other team going forward with just one series left. You set the tone for that series too.

That all being said, this was a horrible turn for momentum's sake. But the good news is that there are three games left. So don't go anywhere.

8.05.2013

Morning Rundown: Showdown Begins for Tribe After Wins Over Miami


Several things can happen at this point. The Indians can sweep the Detroit Tigers and take over first place in the AL Central division. That is highly unlikely. The Tigers can sweep the Indians and put the Indians seven games out. That too would seem unlikely the way the Indians are playing. Each team has to win a game in this series.

They could win three of the four and still drive the Indians back, or the Indians could win three of four and pull within a game of first place. Or the teams can split and we are back where we started with just a few more games left before the two teams.
Photo - Getty Images via Yahoo! Sports

I was driving in from Mentor yesterday and on Route 271 there was an electronic billboard. Battle for the Central Divsion, Monday-Thursday. The old English D and the new Block C. This is for real people. Before we can get into that, we have some weekend business to attend to.

INDIANS - 2 | MARLINS - 0
W: Scott Kazmir (7-4)
L: Nathan Eovaldi (2-2)
S: Chris Perez (17)
[BOXSCORE]

8.04.2013

Sunday Grazing: Dreaded Masty, Rally Pies, and Climbing Vinnie


I don't have a weird intro for you this morning. All I can say is, what up? It's August. Things are getting more serious. So maybe there aren't as many Sunday Grazing-type stories or links to share.

But I'll do my best to find all of the ones possible.

Sunday Grazing, a little bit of an outside the diamond look at the Cleveland Indians.

8.03.2013

Bro of the Month: July 2013


For the past few years, we've done this little thing around the blog were we've voted for the player of the month, every month.

It had a fancy title, because Manny Acta, the former manager, wore fedoras. It was a play off the idea of the "golden sombrero" only this was something you were okay with being saddled with.

Manny Acta is now gone though, so to continue the tradition of having a Manny Acta Golden Fedora of the Month would be really, weird. And awkward.

So the search began for months after Acta's dismissal as to what would happen. Would we abandoned the concept completely? Would we choose a new person and unique trait about them to represent the award? Would we just call it Indians Player of the Month?

8.02.2013

Morning Rundown: Say It With Me, Cleveland Is a Playoff Team


We've talked about magic, being special, being good, among other things. But now, you can say it with me if you need to. The Cleveland Indians are a playoff team. At least, a playoff contending team. If the postseason started today, on August the 2nd, your Tribe would be the second wild card and in the American League postseason.

If that isn't exciting to think about, then you need to go home and wallow in the sorrow of your misery with the Browns. That may have been a really harsh thing to say, but if that is the case, you probably deserve it.

This team is proving that it is for real. Unfortunately the Tigers and Royals are winning just as much as they are. The good news, they're winning regardless. With the Sox dispatched, the Indians get a nice three game series against the Florida Miami Marlins before the "Showdown for First Place" gets underway next week.

The way both teams are playing, that will probably be a showdown and first place will probably be in the balance, because neither team is losing to other teams right now.

WHITE SOX - 1 | INDIANS - 6
W: Justin Masterson (13-7)
L: Chris Sale (6-11)
[BOXSCORE]

8.01.2013

Morning Rundown: A Special Kind of Something, Indians Do It Again


There's that word again. It's being thrown around a lot on Twitter and everywhere else even. It's a cool word, especially when you are talking about a baseball team. But it scares the bajesus out of me.

I'm afraid though, I'm going to have to agree with the masses. Not that I don't believe in these Indians, I most certainly do. But, I really don't like using the word "special."

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to not use it in regards to this team because of what they're doing. They're not just winning, they're showing some unbelievable grit and determination in the way they're winning. They probably could have or should have lost at least one of these past three games against Chicago.

But they didn't. They won, all three of them and have a chance to pull off a sweep. And things really are starting to look really special.

WHITE SOX - 5 | INDIANS - 6
W: Chris Perez (4-1)
L: Dylan Axelrod (3-7)
[BOXSCORE]

I now take you to a paragraph I composed in the ninth inning after Corey Kluber was just removed from the ball game..