All I have to say is Mark Buehrle, and his kick save.
That just had me in a slump all day… and possibly the wind was blowing down on us? Maybe, it’s the only excuse I could think of.
0-1, not bad, Mark Buehrle’s kick save and flip between his legs, not bad at all….
*It’s in the top right corner as a featured video.
We were up 7-4 in the eighth inning, and I had no worries. We had runners on for Travis Hafner and all I needed was to sit back and watch.
Everything was perfect. The Indians were cruising along, and in the ninth they brought in Joe Smith. This was going to be an easy finish, or maybe not… Noonan!
But Joe got the first out of the ninth easily, and I thought that I was just being optimistic, but then maybe I was wrong? There were then two outs with no one on, when a guy laid down a perfect bunt single, with two outs!??! And this is how I looked…
I bit my nails, and I knew we were in for a big finish. Joe delivered and all of a sudden, BOOM! Single down the right field line. Luckily he was thrown out at second, whew.
But the game was still tied, and I danced around the house throwing things.
But I didn’t fret, I knew that we played a good game, but we tied. But we are still
the best team in the Cactus League! undefeated! And hopefully we can keep it that way. We have two ties on the year, and we might get caught in another one along the way.
Let’s just hope Joe can keep his head in the game.
With the Indians and their awful pitching and bullpen last year, it was hard to swallow in the offseason and try to move on to Spring Training. But we did it. And I do think that if this staff gets better with a halfway decent bullpen, we can win the Central.
Yes fans, I did say a few posts ago and I still have a gut feeling that my Tribe has no chance of contending, but then again who is in the Central that really “wow’s” you and makes you think that everyone will be forming a line behind them? The answer is no one. The Twins were favored, but then Nathan went down. Now it’s anyone’s game to take home. This is going to be an interesting year.
Reasons we can contend: We have a good offense. We are young, and have full potential to hit at every position. Yes we will have our team slumps, but together we have a team that has a new hitting coach, that focuses on smooth swings and lives and dies off of working pitchers. I do think that this is an upside to our offense. No more dilly-dallying around. We are getting straight to business and straight to the point.
One of the reasons that we faultered last year was that Grady was injured and missed a good chunk of at bats. This really sunk our ship, and we slumped because of this loss. I think with a healthy Grady, and with Branyan in our lineup, we will be the most feared offensive team in the Central. I think 1 through 9 in our lineup can hit the gaps, and I think that we have the possibility of being in the top 5 in the MAJORS in extra base hits.
Luis Valbuena will be carrying that load by constantly hitting the gaps and circling the bases. I really like this kid, and if he can hit 7 homers and eh have maybe 60 or so RBI’s which he is capable of, I’m happy. Because his gap hitting power will always be there, and he will always score a good 60+ runs for us. I really like our chances in the Central.
We don’t have 5 clear spots etched in stone that are going to contribute on the mound, but when your the Cleveland Indians, if 3 of those guys don’t work, we have about another 5 in line. Just think about it, we have so many average minor league pitchers that we can bring up if our rotation isn’t contributing. It could be alot like “Guess Who” but you never know. We might find the guy that just might fit. Kind of like the Orioles did last year.
We could have a Brad Bergesen awaiting somewhere in the minors. I think the big contributor to this team is going to be their bullpen. If we keep a strong and consistent bullpen, this team will be alot of fun to watch. Just like in ’07 when the team had a ton of walkoff hits, we could do the same this year. We just need our bullpen to put up solid numbers, and we need inherited runners to not score.
I have been saying this the whole time, Tony Sipp is the man that I think might be the best relief pitcher on our team. Last year he hardly let inherited runners score, and he constantly got big outs when he needed. This could be contention time for the Cleveland Indians. We have most of the tools, and we cleaned house. Plus we have such a great ballpark and great fans. This year could be a whole heck of a lot of fun.
The Twins aren’t a team that we need to keep a huge eye out for anymore. Since there best pitcher is gone, they are going to be in panic mode. Yes there offense will still have a strong core, but their pitching will go down the drain. I would compare them to us this year, I don’t think that they will be any better though do to their loss of Nathan. I think if Mauer plays better than he did last year, then the Twins might win the Central over us.
But this speculation is fun. Who knows who could win the central. The Royals have a great pitching staff with a poor offense, while the Tigers have a decent offense with questionable pitching. Every team in the central has at least 3 or 4 flaws in them and could easily win the division. If the Indians want to win it though, they need to come out from the start hard and looking to win the central. The Tribe needs to work the counts, get good pitches, and steal bases.
That is another thing on my list that I forgot to mention. The stolen base part of the Indians game. With Choo, Cabrera, Sizemore, Valbuena, and Brantley able to steal bases, the Indians will definetly get into scoring position more often. We will see more RBI’s by the power hitters for sure this year, due to the reason we will be taking off more so than not. I think that if we swipe a good 80+ bags this year, we will have more productive numbers from guys in the lower spots in the order. And that just juices up the stat line, and the run production.
This year is going to be very lopsided, and we aren’t going to be happy for parts of the season. But I think it’s contention time, and it’s time that we recognize that. We are a contending team with lots of potential and lots of talent. Let’s just hope that no injuries occur, and that we can take a shot at one of the weakest divisions in baseball. I would like to thank the baseball gods…
Well… first the problem lies that we can’t trade him because no one wants him and his monstrosity of a contract he owns. Maybe we could file some propaganda and a disclaimer
stating “We will pay half of his salary!”. That could be one way to go.
Fans, let’s get real. Would you want a guy who is rigged and old on your team? Add in the fact that he is on the DL almost every year and plus he is worth $11.5 million. This isn’t a guy most people want on their team.
And he produces pretty poorly. So Kerry what do we get out of you? I know what you get from us, a heaping amount of cash that sticks out like a sore thumb. Could you possibly lend me a dollar? Or maybe two? Maybe you could uh,… take me out to dinner sometime and pay the bill?
Nah. Yes you did produce in the second half of the year, but you have the hot streak of magma from the earth’s mantle when it comes out of the Mid Ocean Ridge, and it ain’t too long. The mulitude of times you have been on the DL slap you in the face and give you a ‘trade me’ sign on the back of your jersey. Yes dear fans, it is Kerry Wood’s time to leave the Indians. Whether you put a thumbs up or give a thumbs down you know that he has to go. We will praise the team that takes him off of our hands.
Maybe we can sucker the Twins into taking him? Joe Nathan is down. Either way, Kerry Wood you suck eggs!
(Photo courtesy cleveland.com)
I said it last year and I will say it again. Michael Brantley is going to be the leadoff hitter for this team. He has quick hands which he can use to turn on the ball or he can wait on the ball and hit it the other way. The thing I admire about Brantley’s play and that sticks out to me is his befuddling ability to work pitchers to the very best of his potential. For how young he is, he sure does make me want to see more of him.
I don’t think that the Indians should keep him down in the minors for long. If Laporta struggles, Brantley should be brought up immediately and placed in the one spot. This makes the whole idea of Grady hitting second which in my opinion is regrettable better. He can be moved maybe into the third or fourth spot and Asdrubal can be moved back into his spot in the second spot.
Brantley came into the majors last year and hit an astonishing .313 in 28 games. Yes he didn’t have all of the time in the world to show us what he has, but so what. The kid got into the majors but still showed what he could do. He kept the team alive and I think he was the real deal. He does need more time for grooming as the Indians and Manny Acta call it. Sometimes he gets himself out too easily and can be atrocious against lefties at times.
But Brantley has shown me something. He has shown me what I thought that was in him the whole time. He has a young Kenny Lofton brewing inside him. No I’m not saying he is going to be as good as Kenny ever was, but he has the potential to become a player like Kenny. He could possibly steal 40 bases, hit .310 while scoring 90 runs in a season. Now this could not happen this year, but I think if Brantley keeps on driving to work on his swing and mechanics, this isn’t out of the question…
(Image courtesy sportsgrumblings)
But my question is “Are the Indians belittling Brantley?” For heaven sakes, the guy almost hit for the cycle against the D-Backs. He only needed a homer to complete it. Do the Indians have full faith in Brantley like I do? I want an answer from Acta. He needs to make up his mind in whether Brantley is going to be the every day left fielder, or if he will be playing in the minors for three fourths of the year.
He can’t afford to spend his season in the minors this year as he did last. The problem is and I will say this loud and clear: There are no spots for him to fill. Matt Laporta is expected to hit 20 or more homers this year and is really depended on to pump out 70 RBI or more. The Indians are counting on him to produce. And then you know who we have in center. And right now, no one is going to beat him out. Then you got Choo in right who can’t be beaten.
(Image courtesy CNN)
There is just no where to go. Which is why this “tuning” might be taken place. It could be the Indians excuse of saying “Your not good enough and we don’t have a spot for you.” This I will agree is the main point and argument. Is Brantley good enough to play in front of Laporta? I think it will take a little bit of this year to figure out. And it will be interesting in what Acta decides.
Brantley is young as is Laporta. It’s hard to compare a power hitter and a speed guy. But in my utter opinion, I would have to say that I agree with the Indians that Laporta should be the number one while giving Brantley a “tune up.” But when this tune up is over, where shall he go? If there is no spot in the roster for him to go, then what is his purpose for the Indians?
It will all play out during the year. You will see moves being made with either Laporta and/or Brantley. It’s going to be a dogfight in my opinion for the role unless Laporta comes out and wow’s the majors in the first two or three months. But are the Indians belittling him? He is very talented but also very young. I think in fact that Indians are belittling him due to the fact that he is a young and inexperienced player.
(Image courtesy lebrownstown)
And I think he knows that the Indians think of him as that. Frown upon it or not, it’s a true fact and he needs to play more mature. He needs to lay off pitches that he doesn’t want and polish his game off. When he comes back to the majors after his tuning we could see a different Brantley, maybe one with a better game.
But this all depends on where a spot opens up. Possibly many players could change position at once just for Brantley to come into the opening. He will definetely be up during September call ups, you can count on that. But if he’s not up before that, than that will be a shame. The Indians will have belittled little Brantley to the expiration point..
(Image courtesy Waiting For Next Year)
Thanks to my good friend savagetruth who commented on last post, he had the idea that Andy Marte and Russell Branyan should platoon at first base. And he is absolutely correct about the 40 HR possiblity. That was a genious comment, and I would like to say thanks for the idea, and thanks for letting me post on it. It makes perfect sense.
Russell Branyan hit 31 homers last year while Andy Marte only had 6. But if you take the time when Marte was hot and the time when Branyan was hot you have two oiled machines. You put them together and then you have one super oiled machine. With all that oil you can produce a good 40 homers or so. Yes fans this is a wonderful idea don’t you agree?
I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this. This idea is so simple yet so hidden. With Marte’s struggle at times, Branyan could take the weight off of his shoulders. While during the time Branyan is getting pitched well, Marte can come in and take the chip off of his shoulder. I also think that Marte can come in against lefties. The other idea could be for Marte to only play when lefties are on the mound.
Marte is not a very good hitter against righties but against lefties he’s halfway decent. Since 2007, he’s increased in homers and he is looking better and better the more I see him. The reason that Marte hasn’t produced those HUGE numbers in just one year is because of the fact that he only plays about 50 games a year. If you take the 6 homers he hit in those 47 games he played in you can use that to calculate about eh 21 homers in a full season.
(Image courtesy AP)
So if you platoon Marte and Branyan your going to get some production out of it. I think it makes perfect sense, and as a Tribe follower for years this finally came to me and said “great idea”. I totally understand where savagetruth is coming from and I agree that platooning these two is the best thing to do. They are both “power hitters” and do rack of their fair share of strikeouts. But that’s not the point. Together as I have stated, they can produce about 40 home runs and 90 RBI’s.
As if the fact that you used one of them you might get 30 homers from Branyan with 70 RBI’s and 5 homers and 20 RBI’s with Marte. Going just with one can lead to slumps, and alot of bad games over all leading with no productiveness and maybe a bad year for either Marte or Branyan. But with the combo I can see new beginnings in Cleveland. Just like they platooned when they weren’t successful in the 60’s it panned out eventually.
This platooning could be infectious among the other players who knows? If Branyan starts going, it could be a domino effect. You never know. Maybe if Branyan gets into dancing lessons, than Marte will get into dancing lessons, and maybe Choo will get into dancing lessons. Who knows. I do think that Choo would be a pretty good dancer though… just a thought.
(Image courtesy Castroturf)
I do see strikeouts happening with these guys. But I do see home runs being hit night after night. I don’t even know what pandemoneum will be present when Marte and Branyan are hot. If the Indians (Manny Acta) goes through with this, and I hope he/they will… then I think that the Indians will have a VERY productive first base. It’s almost like your getting an All Star to play first base for them.
I do think that this will pan out perfect. Russell Branyan played in 116 games last year while Marte played in 47. Together that will be 163 (one more than games played). So if you give or take away another game or two in either one of them’s stats, then you have a perfect season. That is why this platooning will work for them. It has to be like this in order for run production to take place.
I do believe that this team can flourish from a good platooning. This could effect the team in multiple ways. The team can feed off of a good first base performance and follow up in a good way. For example maybe Russell Branyan and Marte go on a hot streak. The whole team could feed off of that and maybe go into a month hitting great as a team. This situation could effect everything for the Indians. This is why I really like this idea.
I do thank savagetruth for the idea of platooning as he is a very smart individual. I do highly believe that the Indians should platoon in order to get more productivity out of the first base position. Manny Acta needs to meet this head on and needs to platoon. He can’t see through this. Andy and Russell might make a happy couple… for the Cleveland Indians. Until next time….
(Image via Let’s Go Tribe)
The Indians just won their first Spring Training game of the season 9-2. Shocker, isn’t it? The Indians hit well thanks to their new hitting coach and Lou Marson had one heck of a game. Throw in a couple well alot of extra base hits and you have a huge win for the Indians. But it’s Spring Training.
When I think about the multitude of players contributing to the win yesterday, I become apolled. It’s amazing how many players had great games in their first game of the year. Yes I know it’s one game, but it was the first of a long season ahead. And many players out there had integrity and looked like they had a burning passion to play ball. But most of these guys were younger guys trying to make the team.
Manny Acta had a comment after the game saying “We swung the bat well, but that’s already there.” I don’t know where he’s coming from. Yes the Indians do have a great young lineup but I don’t remember anything from last year or the year before that where the Indians always “had the hitting there.” I do agree that they put on a circus show in their game yesterday, but I don’t think that they had the hitting there the whole season last year.
Yes there were bright spots in which I did say that “the Indians had the offense down pat” but those were at certain times. The offense wasn’t there as a whole last year as Acta is claiming to. But that’s his opinion, and for all I know he might be right. They hired a new hitting coach in the offseason, the hitting coach from Columbus who is said to be an outstanding coach. He is working with everyone on their swing.
For all you fans that said that Asdrubal should be the leadoff hitter, I am thinking maybe you are right. He hit a homer in his first at bat, and really works the pitchers well. I do agree with you on that perspective, but where my friends will Grady go? This is a laughing matter. There is no possible way he is going to maintain the two spot all year. He has to be moved to the three or four spot.
(Image via Let’s Go Tribe)
I thought that Grady did pretty well in his first game I have to admit. Rick Manning commented saying that “The team builds off of Grady”. Where have we heard that one before? I think I remember saying that about a few days back. Grady does give the team a discharge that they use to get on rallies. I do think that with a healthy Sizemore, a good team comes.
And no I’m not saying that we are going to win the Central, I’m just saying that we aren’t going to be a basement dweller if Grady has a good year. But the first step in making this year a good one, will be for Acta to take him out of the two spot. It is the best thing for the team right now and for the next step forward.
My personal thoughts on this situation are bring Brantley up in the opening day lineup. Put him first, Asdrubal second, and Grady can go in the third or fourth spot. But that’s just my opinion. It does make sense though on a degree. Brantley can hit all pitching and is just as effective as Asdrubal Cabrera is plus Brantley can steal 30 some bases in a season. The move for Asdrubal would make sense because numbers prove that he is a better hitter in the two spot.
(Image via Let’s Go Tribe)
But let’s lose the argument. It was a sunny, warm, humid day in Arizona. And when I got off of the bus from school, I ran home to turn on the game. It was a very exciting one if you were an Indians fan, not so much if you were a Reds fan. Back to the drawing board I guess. I saw fans that had no shirts on, sandles, and bathing suits. That’s the life eh?
Indians baseball is back for good. At least for the whole season. I craved it during the offseason and had to keep reminding myself that I didn’t need it. But it’s back, and this sudden urge of baseball makes me want to scream. It’s time for the sun to come back out, weather to reach the 70’s, and ESPN to air those Sunday night baseball games. And with Indians baseball comes more speculation and more questions which I love.
And what better than to start the season (well Spring Training that is) off with a win. Why don’t we just quit? Don’t worry fans I am just kidding. But if the Indians were to quit then well… They would set a record. A record that well, we would always hold and cherish. We would go undefeated in a season. Yes we would be accounted better than any of those 90’s teams that were amazing or any of the teams in the 50’s that were ridiculously talented.
Too bad we can’t just quit. But then baseball would be gone, and I would be bored once more. Good thing we’re not. I did hear a comment yesterday on the climate in Arizona, “It is harder to pitch in Arizona because of the humidity. The ball is slick and you can lose grip easily.” That can’t be too good for pitchers. But I guess Justin Masterson is slick proof. And guess what, Bob Feller was at one of the practices. Maybe Bob let Justin in on a few of his techniques? Possibly so.
(Image via Let’s Go Tribe)
But Justin pitched a heck of a game yesterday as he single handedly lead the Indians to a 9-2 win over the Reds. Justin went scoreless giving up one hit and gaining three strikeouts. He looked like his movement was back, and that he could put the ball wherever he wanted to. I can’t describe how he pitched in words you can understand. He came out and threw the ball like a man.
Well, Indians baseball is back on the globe and with Indians baseball means more of my thoughts and more of my anger towards the team that I love. It’s a shame that Walt Jocketty had to go on the air yesterday and embarrass himself. He didn’t seem like he was ready for his interview.. “I, I um think that the uh Reds had a um good offseason you know? Uh, we um, got Cabrera and he has showed us what he can, uh can do. So I …. *pause* I uh think we have a good um what’s that word again? Oh yeah… team.”
Oh you forgot about that? Okay Walt. At least Mark Shapiro can talk to the public. On a brighter note we won and the baseball season has begun for us. I hope that we can keep it up today. Here are the lineups via Castroturf:
INDIANS (1-0): CF Michael Brantley, 2B Mark Grudzielanek, DH Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, LF Nick Weglarz, RF Austin Kearns, 1B Andy Marte, C Wyatt Toregas, SS Jason Donald. LHP David Huff.
REDS (0-1): CF Chris Dickerson, SS Orlando Cabrera, 1B Joey Votto, 2B Brandon Phillips, 3B Scott Rolen, RF Jay Bruce, LF Jonny Gomes, C Corky Miller, DH Devin Mesoraco. RHP Johnny Cueto.
Make sure you tune in for the game on STO or Fox Sports Ohio. It shall be another good one, and I will make sure to get a post on it. I am so proud of the Indians on their opening day in Spring Training. They are looking pretty good (*knock on wood*). Hopefully no hexes get us *knock on wood again*. Let’s just hope we can
keep this up. Until Next time…