Young guys are proving they can play – the bullpen is showing it can shut opponents down. I think this team is ready. I give us a good two years to contend. The Indians will be AL Central Champs again, and playoff baseball will be brought back to Cleveland. The thought of it sends chills down my spine – remembering the 07 playoff run.
Every team in their brother in this offseason will be looking for ways to get Matt Laporta and Andy Marte out this next year. They will exploit their weaknesses and go after them. Next year should be a tough year for both and Valbuena so don’t be so sure of powerhouse number’s. Let me show you an example.
In 2007 Asdrubal Cabrera hit .283 with 30 runs in 159 at bats. He wasn’t quite figured out until the next year when he went .259 with 48 runs in 352 at bats. When getting almost double the at bats he did in the first season: his number’s slipped because opposing pitcher’s figured out how to pitch to him over the course of the season. They exploited his weakness’s and made him ground out again and again. Once they figure you out – its awful hard to come back strong.
This year: although Asdrubal is hitting .315 with 16 stolen bases and 67 runs. He has been one of the leader’s on the team and has really shown he can fight at the plate. He learned how to hit the away pitch – and every pitch for that matter, and just lines every thing back where it came from. He has come a long way, and it has finally payed off.
The pitching just isn’t deep enough to contend next year: even if Carrasco dazzles. The fact is – that Laffey should be your one starter, with Masterson at two, Huff at three, Carmona four, and Carrasco five. That means Sowers is out – or could fight Fausto for his job. Carmona hasn’t been controlling his pitches at all: and like Masterson, has really gotten behind hitters. Fausto walks alot of people which is what leads to many runs scoring. In his past ten starts: Carmona has walked more than one batter all but once.
That just shows me the batter’s are starting to work him – and he isn’t able to keep pounding the strike zone consistantly. He hasn’t shown he can keep the Indians in ball games giving up 4 or more runs in 5 of his last 10 games pitched. Where did the dominant Fausto go: where he won 19 games? That Fausto controlled his sinker and was one of the most dominant pitcher’s in the game. Until he finds his mojo – the Indians won’t have the pitching.
In 2011 – I figure that we will have Carlos Santana behind the dish: and nor Wyatt Toregas or Lou Marson will have the job. Santana has an absolute gun behind the plate and is a true hitter. Carlos is hitting .290 with 21 homers and 93 RBI at the AA level. Those are some very good numbers: especially for a young guy like Carlos. I expect next year he will get a promotion: and if he can hit at the AAA level, I think he will be a for sure midseason call-up. What have we got to lose?
Playoff fever back in Cleveland would feel amazing. The 07 ALDS was a memory I will always have. The crowd was going crazy: waving their “Its Tribe Time Now” towels all crazily in the air. You couldn’t hear anything – and no one was going to miss any part of the game for oh: a bathroom break, food, or an Indians team shop.
People in the street were happily playing guitars: and playing hermonica’s all for the joy of playoff baseball. I tell you – we have some of the most true fans over here in Cleveland: we aren’t band wagon at all. We love the Indians and have from day one. Some of Red Sox nation and probably a third of the Yankee’s fans: don’t know anything about them. They just like them cuz they are good. That isn’t what being a fan is like though. Winning all the time: just isn’t fun.
When you are on the brink of elimination – and everyone in the stadium is biting their nails: that is fun. Like when Travis Hafner hits a walk off to win the game in the ALDS – that is fun. But what fun is winning 100 games year after year and winning the division? Then you take the playoffs by storm and win the world series: is it that fun to repeatedly say “We win, we win!” And do you cheer? Or do you try to cheer? Like you don’t have the inner fan: to start shouting and screaming and romp around the house.
The Rays made alot of die hards happy when they made it to the world series: something that no one expected them to do. Now that is baseball – the celebration: fans not giving up on one of the worst teams in baseball, and then celebrating the huge win and the world series birth. In fact: I would be happy just to be a part in the world series.
The last time we were in it, 1997: the dang Marlins got us. They came back on us in game 7 and beat us. My dad was there – he experienced it all. The heart break: the long trip back home: the angst of losing. It sucked, but that is what a true fan is being like: always there rooting your team on.
When playoff baseball comes back – I will treat it like church. I will be attending almost every game: ready to cheer on the Tribe. In 2011 the year I picked: I will be there, ready for the Indians to go to the world series. Jon Adams will be there banging his drum of course.
But we need pitching in order to get there: In my eyes – with the talent coming up we have a potent lineup that I would compare to the Red Sox. We have to make our starting pitching better though – we can’t get to the playoffs without pitcher’s who can go 6 to 7 innings giving us a chance to win every night. Hopefully all the young guys will have it figured out by then and will perform well: but you can’t guaruntee anything. That is why I am not so sure about 2011: “Is the pitching going to be there?”
I can’t answer yes. The pitching was there in 07. Although Sabathia sucked in the postseason: he still won the Cy Young, and really led the Indians to the playoffs. Fausto Carmona was a stud: having won 19 games and really showing he could pitch. Paul Byrd had a good 15 wins adding on to the Indians 96-66 record. They have to be complete: and I believe this team can do it.
So reserve your playoff tickets for 2011 Cleveland, make sure you grab them quick: they are selling fast. Make sure we come out with new towels and signs too – we can’t have the old “Its Tribe Time Now” rally towels anymore. Jon Adams: bang away as loud as we can – and we will be yelling with you. Let’s go Tribe – its our turn to win!
Are you kidding me?! I didn’t see the game because I went to the fair yesterday. Boy, what a game I missed. When I saw the boxscore, dang was I surprised. Laporta and Marte are actually on legitimate hot streaks. Laporta (4-4 last night) raised his average up to .296 while Marte (2-4) raised his up to .289. These kids can play, and have finally found out how to hit at the big league level. Next year could be a shocking season Cleveland, you be ready!
Marte saved the Indians once again by hitting a three run bomb in the sixth that helped the Tribe topple the Orioles, 5-3. That was the second night of the row Marte hit a game winning homer, and he is on a tear. Marte has a 10 game hitting streak while going (15-36) .417 with three homers and twelve runs batted in. Him and Laporta have really ganged up, and destroyed opposing pitching. Who would have guessed?
Is this the same Andy Marte? The guy that was hitting in the low .200’s for his career BA? The same guy who couldn’t catch up to the fastball, and couldn’t lay off of the low curve? Yes, that’s Andy Marte, only he has a different swagger about him. He seems like he has more confidence, and patience at the plate, which leads to him getting his pitch, and nailing it every time. Andy has really came out of his shell, and finally reached his potential after so many years. I stopped believing myself last year when he hit in the .100’s. Guess it’s time to start believing!
Matt Laporta, as I said is an XBH machine. Well, last night, he went 4-4 with a double and a run. Let’s just add another one to his double column. I think he has like a five game double streak? Laporta has hit (16-39) .410 since joining the Indians and has a 10 game hitting streak. Laporta is a great hitter, the question was, “When will he become a big league hitter?” The answer is, “Now.” Laporta has a great swing, and is really seeing the ball well. Like Andy, Matt is staying back and waiting for his pitch, and his patience has really helped him.
With Marte and Laporta both on 10 game hitting streaks with similar numbers during the streak, they are adding extra fire power to a young Indians lineup. Everyone in the Indians lineup had one hit last night except for Choo, and Giminez who were 0-fers. That’s never a good night, but I am sure Choo will make up for it tonight with a good 3 hits. He is just like that. That’s how he rolls. That’s how the Indians roll. We love you Cleveland!
I can’t believe I missed the game. A friend invited me to go to the County Fair and watch a demolition derby, so I went, and we ended up watching some big smashing and banging and some smoke a-flyin. It was all a good time, but I wouldn’t trade all of that for missing a great Indians game. It’s okay though, I didn’t see the Indians 22-3 win over the Yankees. Dang! I am unlucky, that’s it.
Jeremy Sowers my friend, could you try to go more than 5 innings while giving up 2 earned runs or less? He just doesn’t have the stamina or something, because Sowers pitched pretty well yesterday but only went 4.2 innings. He gave up 2 earned on 6 hits which leads me to think he was near 70 pitches. Why wouldn’t he keep going? Who knows? Maybe Eric Wedge holds him to an 80 or so pitch count so he will ease his way into throwing more pitches. I guess he just dipped his toes in the water cause there is no way he is already halfway in.
He almost seems like Pedro Martinez, where they hold him on a leash until he gets to a certain amount of pitches. Hmmm, if only he was him… I see the similarities, 4.2 innings of work, nibbles on the corner’s, and gives up many hits. Jeremy Sowers needs to start throwing more pitches now, and see where he goes with it. Gosh I remember when my grandpa was a boy. Juan Marichal threw something like a 160 pitches and just iced his arm and was ready to throw the next day. Why can’t pitcher’s go back to the past and throw that many pitches?
Money factor definitely plays into it. If you lose a guy who threw 120 pitches to injury, or his arm is too sore to pitch for the next month, there goes $3 million right out the window. Back then, they didn’t care about money or anything. They would just go out there and pitch every day for the love of the game. I just don’t feel that factor anymore, everyone is about money, money, money. You see young guys at the Draft holding out to get more money, cough cough Stephen Strasburg. Who cares about the money? Who cares about your arm? Let’s just play baseball.
And play it the right way. The love of the game is almost shattered completely. With players not caring about baseball, just wanting money and more money. That just sickens me that players hold out just for more money so they can pay for the Ferrari, and for a mansion. Heck, $1 million is enough for me by itself! Milton Bradley is a good example, having a crappy year, and just not doing anything about it. What adjustments has he made? None. Zero. He hasn’t even thought of making adjustments. He is laughing at the Cubs because he gets paid, and the Cubs got screwed.
The Indians are showing me they have this factor, they go out there every night, gunning for the W. The starting pitchers go out there time after time, and really give the Indians a chance to stay in the ballgame. In Fausto Carmona’s case, keep the Indians within 7 runs. Good enough right? The offense has been shining with the young stars in Andy Marte and Matt Laporta, and have really been playing off of them. They are the energizer bunnies of the Cleveland Indians, and have enough power to run the team.
Even though Progressive Field hasn’t let many home runs out of the yard happen, the Indians have still won many games there. And who needs the long ball? The Indians have the gaps and all kinds of time to run! That’s old school, and that is the Cleveland Indians! Progressive Field has been helpful to pitcher’s as it ranks about 20th for home runs hit. I guess it must be the left field wall, the mini monster. Or it could be the 410 wall at center, which doesn’t give up alot of homers. You have to be a man to hit one out there. We haven’t seen many hit it out there.
This all leads back to one factor, the love of the game. Players like Derek Jeter, Omar Vizquel, always play for the love of the game. They just love baseball itself, and don’t care about money or if they are sore or not. Cal Ripken Jr. is a great example. He was hurt many times throughout his record consecutive games streak. But did he stop? No, cuz he wanted that record. He has the love of the game and my respect. If only all players could have that, oh how the game would change…
Luis Valbuena, again, decided the game for the Cleveland Indians. In the eighth inning of Monday nights game he hit a three run homer to put the Indians on top of the Royals, 7-5.
“I’m not going to try to do that every night,” Valbuena said through an interpreter. “I’m just trying to make good contact.” Well, Valbuena is good at making contact, and hitting the ball far when doing so. He hit a walk off homer Saturday night, to give the Indians the win.
“I’ve been working hard in BP,” Valbuena said. “I’m lucky enough that I’m getting good pitches that I can turn on and drive the ball.”
Valbuena has been stroking the ball as of late. He has really been seeing it well, and has gotten alot of pitches to hit. The only thing I noticed that needs work, is that when he gets into hitters counts, he tends to give some at bats away. In yesterday’s game, Valbuena was in a 3-0 count, and swung at an outside pitch. That isn’t a pitch he should be swinging at! The next pitch was high and outside. Another pitch he should just lay off and take ball four. He ended up walking, but that is just what I noticed.
Oh yeah, did you know Travis Hafner had 4 RBI?
Ole’ Travis hit a three run dinger in the fourth, giving the Indians the 3-0 lead. His fourth RBI came in the sixth inning off of Gil Meche. Travis got a pitch to his liking, and went with it hitting it in the left center field gap and scored Shin-Soo Choo who tripled.
When was the last time you saw Pronk do that? Jeremy Sowers had a great game for the Indians, going 7 strong, giving up 5 ER. I noticed, that he kept his stamina the whole game, and just let the Royals score big in one inning (the fifth) and came back and pitched well after that. Good game Jeremy! Way to keep your head in it and way to keep pounding the strike zone.
“Working through seven innings gives you more opportunities for your teammates to pick you up,” Sowers said. And that is totally true. It also gives you more chances to possibly mess up though. With Sowers fastball topping out at 90 MPH he has to live on the corners, and have good location. What I have noticed is that he tends to pound the strike zone with his cutter, fastball and change up regardless of how hard he throws.
I admire that! When a pitcher shows me that he isn’t scared, I will take him any day.
The kid can pitch. He is 3-3 on the year and has already pitched twice for the Tribe, once out of the bullpen, and once as a starter. He was recently acquired in the Victor Martinez trade along with three other top prospects in the Red Sox system. He has a nasty slider, and a fastball which on average is in the 92-96 range. He is a young kid and looks like he is growing off of each outing.
The year 2008 was a big year for Masterson as he
FROM JAMAICA: Is the first Jamaican-born pitcher in major league history and just the 4th player overall, joining Chili Davis (1981-99), Devon White (1985-2001) and Rolando Roomes (1988-90). AS STARTER: Started 4 games at Double-A Portland to begin 2008 before making his major league debut in a spot start on April 24 vs. the Angels…Allowed 2 hits and one run in 6.0 innings without a decision in Boston’s 7-5 win…Was the 3rd Sox pitcher since 1956 to pitch at least 6.0 innings while allowing 2 hits or less in his debut, joining Jim Lonborg (April 23, 1965) and Billy Rohr (April 14, 1967)…Was optioned back to the Sea Dogs later that day. Returned for a 2nd start on May 20, beating the Royals for his first career win…Gave up 3 hits and one run in 6.1 innings…Was the 4th Sox pitcher to ever allow 3 hits or less in each of his first 2 major league starts, joining Blaine Thomas (1911), Lee Rogers (1938), and Frank Baumann (1955). Recalled for a 3rd time on June 3 and went 3-3, 4.32 (20 ER/41.2 IP) in 7 starts…Won his first 2 outings, both at Fenway Park, becoming the first pitcher in Red Sox history to go undefeated in each of his first 4 major league appearances, all as a starter at Fenway Park…
Was 4-1, 3.00 (12 ER/36.0 IP) in first 6 major league starts before going 0-2, 5.00 (10 ER/18.0 IP) in his last 3 outings…Worked at least 6.0 innings in 8 of 9 starts with high of 6.2 innings on June 13 at Cincinnati…Set a major league career-high with 9 strikeouts in that game.
IN RELIEF: Was optioned to Pawtucket on July 7 and made 3 relief appearances for the PawSox before returning to Boston for remainder of year on July 20…Issued runs in 9 of 27 bullpen outings and permitted 3 of 17 inherited runners to score (17.6 percent)…Had 3 holds and finished 6 games with 10 of 27 first batters reaching base…Held opponents to a .231 batting average in relief. Tossed 2.2 scoreless frames in his first major league relief outing, July 23 at Seattle and had a 1.89 ERA (4 ER/19.0 IP) over his first 14 appearances through August 26…Compiled a 2.93 ERA (5 ER/15.1 IP) in final 13 games…His 2.36 ERA beginning July 23 was 6th lowest among all A.L. relievers with at least 30.0 innings…Worked 2.0 or more relief innings on 7 occasions…Gave up just 2 homers in relief…Was 5-0, 3.10 in 20 games/5 starts at home and 1-5, 3.23 in 16 games/4 starts on the road.
IN THE MINORS: Began the year at 1-0, 0.95 in 4 starts at Portland to earn 1st recall to Boston… After return was 0-3, 7.45 in 4 starts…After 2nd start with Boston, was sent to Pawtucket and defeated Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in lone start for the PawSox on May 29…Allowed 2 runs in 3.1 innings in his 3 relief appearances at Pawtucket, July 10-17.
POSTSEASON: Set a Red Sox rookie record with 9 appearances in the 2008 playoffs, going 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA (2 ER/9.2 IP)…Only 4 major league rookies have ever logged more post-season outings in a season: Julian Tavarez (12 in 1995), Brendan Donnelly (11 in 2002), Francisco Rodriguez (11 in 2002) and Tyler Johnson (10 in 2006)…Pitched in each of Boston’s first 6 games, joining Scott Williamson (6 in 2003) as the only Sox hurlers ever to do so in a single post-season. Logged a 2.25 ERA (1 ER/4.0 IP) in 4 ALDS games against the Angels…Made his playoff debut in Game 1 at 23 years, 191 days old, the youngest Red Sox pitcher to appear in a post-season game since Ken Brett (19 years, 24 days) in Game 7 of the 1967 World Series…Went 1.0 inning in each of the first 2 games, recording holds in both contests…Combined to allow one run over 2.0 innings in ALDS Games 3 and 4…Suffered a blown save in Game 4, but did not take the loss as Jed Lowrie’s walk-off 9th-inning single gave the Red Sox the 3-2 victory and clinched the series. Pitched in 5 of 7 ALCS games against the Rays, going 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA (1 ER/5.2 IP)…Allowed just one hit in his first 2 outings (1.1 IP)…Turned in his longest playoff appearance in Game 4, giving up one run with 4 K’s over 2.1 frames…Tossed a scoreless 9th to earn the 8-7 win in Game 5… At 23 years, 208 days, became the 7th-youngest Sox hurler to win a post-season game…Babe Ruth was the last to do so at a younger age, 21 years, 246 days, in Game 2 of the 1916 World Series.
Although the Red Sox get the big household name, in Victor Martinez, I think the Tribe gets the upper hand in the deal. Masterson, is the bargain, he is a workhorse who will blossom to be the Tribe’s #1 and will become the ace of the team in years to come. Now the Indians are (49-65) currently 10.5 back of division leading Detroit Tigers. If the Indians can go on a big stretch, and can come within a good 7 or so games, watch out! They have some young players playing but they are doing better without their studs, (Lee, Martinez, Francisco.) Look for it to be a strong finish. The pitching staff out to get better if they wanna continue to be in the hunt.
The rotation looks somewhat like this,
1. Aaron Laffey, (6-3 3.25)
2. David Huff, (6-6, 6.76)
3. Justin Masterson (3-3, 4.22)
4. Jeremy Sowers, (4-8, 4.88)
5. Fausto Carmona, (2-7, 6.37)
The Tribe doesn’t really have a particular rotation right now, as they are seeing how everyone pitches. It looks right now that Laffey has it going as well as Huff. And the newly acquired, “beast” Justin Masterson has done well in his first start with the Indians. Like I said the Pitching needs to get to the point where they can go and give 5 strong and give the Tribe offense a chance to win.
The offense has been decent. I am not going either way on this, but Grady Sizemore has gotten back on track, as Asdrubal Cabrera the team leader is staying hot. Pronk looks like he is mashing the ball again. So who knows. Cleveland Rocks! But does their baseball team? Let’s see….
Tribe Talk With Ted