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…
(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 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…
During today’s two intrasquad games a new star was born, right? Jordan Brown who has hit over .300 consistently in the minors and has caught the eye of many burst into the seen by going 2-2 and hitting a homer in day 1 of Spring Training. What does this mean? It means that Jordan will be full of confidence heading into the rest of the spring, and might be able to show a few people that he belongs in the majors.
Of course, he will need to earn his spot in the lineup and in the outfield if at best he
wants to play a good 50 games in the majors in the next two years. We have Grady in center, Laporta in left (if we so choose) and Choo in right. The only way that Brown will get to play this year will be during call ups and I think that the Indians will choose to move a few people around just to fit him in.
I’m not going to guarantee anything here, but I think this kid has a good stroke, and he’s off to a good start. Who says he can’t go throughout the Spring and wow the coaches? I don’t think you can bet AGAINST this kid. He has a wonderful swing and I really believe that he can play in the majors. (Quote via cleveland.com) “Jordan is a talented player,” said Acta. “He proved that by being the batting champ at Triple-A last year. He’ll play some left field and get some reps at first base. He’s going to have to fight for it and he knows it. Our depth in the outfield is very good.”
I wonder why Brown didn’t get a call up last year, it’s a shame that the poor kid had a whirlwind turnaround of a season but didn’t get called up. He hit about .330 and he was sitting in the minors in September? Big mistake. I told everyone in the blogging world that Michael Brantley would come on strong and he did so. I’m going to predict that Brown does too. He has a brighter shot than Brantley does I think… which can be scary if you think about it.
The Indians should try him out this year at least for a month. I mean the kid has obviously shown that he is worthy for a shot. You don’t have to praise the kid, but just buy his contract and give him some time. When your the Cleveland Indians, all you can do is give chances. That’s why we are who we are today. So why not give one to Brown?
Jordan Brown has definetely gotten off to a good start. Do you think that he has the potential to come on as strong as Brantley did? Or do you think he will be better? What are your opinions on what the Indians should do when September call ups begin? Do you think that they should give their outfield a rest?
*Photo via clevland.com*
Opening thoughts: How does this look for 7 seasons? 2 winning seasons while only having one winning season at the end of the all star break. Does that mean anything to you? Does it call out and say “we aren’t going to always dig ourselves out of the trenches that we build!” Well it is time to say “Good bye” to the man that was a part of this, Eric Wedge.
Sometimes I really don’t get the man. He is quiet, and a self conscious little guy. But why does he make such stupidity become reality? Why does he turn a “phenomenal team” into a “slumping team?” I just don’t get it sometimes. And well, neither do the Indians! Its tough to fire someone, but the deed has to be done, rid of him and move on.
What was he thinking by sitting Michael Brantley while he “was on his 8 game hitting streak?” What was he thinking? Sometimes, when a guy is hot, and when a guy especially like Brantley likes to play every day possible, why do you sit him? What pops into your mind telling you “to take the chance, that nothing will go wrong.” What do you know? Brantley ends the streak at 8 games in his “next” game and starts over again.
Another Eric Wedge, boneheaded move right there. Get used to it! I don’t get the process of thinking sometimes. Why don’t we bring in our “best” guys in the bullpen instead of our “worst” of the line? Its always the question “why” with Eric. Why is Marte at third today? You know his number’s are bad.
The success level of 2 out of 7 winning seasons just isn’t exceptable, and in the 08 season, I know we finished 81-81 but that falls under “not winning.” But I like to go back and think, “what would we have been like if Manuel would have stayed here in Cleveland? What would have happened if we could’ve kept our ‘stars’?” You never will know…
For all we know, we could have had 5 out of 7 winning seasons, and a World Series title under our belts. And you know what, Eric can’t take all of the blame. Look at all of the guys we have traded over the years! Look at how we have all the young guys we have received and have taken their chance to show us what the have!
You know they all came in those trades too right? Bartolo Colon for Grady, Victor, Brandon Phillips, and Cliff Lee catches my eye. We still hold Grady, our key player that we are quote “building around.” If it wasn’t for Shapiro, we wouldn’t be “here” teetering at the good – bad line flirting with becoming great again.
Maybe we shouldn’t be “blaming” anyone at all. I mean Shapiro has gone in and traded most of our “key guys” but has also brought in ‘all’ of our key guys. Name one guy in our starting lineup that we have “brought up through the minors.” Oh you can’t? That means Mark Shapiro has done his job. He has lived up to his ever lasting “rebuilding stages.” He has showed me that he carries it out.
Maybe Wedge isn’t the one to falter, for he was the one to have to “deal with the young guys.” He has assembled a little army of fighting knights, and we aren’t going to stop til we reach the top. Wedge might not be here, but when we achieve greatness, he will be the one to blame, excuse me, thank.
We haven’t seen it yet, but we have great baseball at the touch of our hands. The voice is just calling to us, “wait another year, come on Cleveland, you can do it.” And by the looks of things, we are following every command. We “can” be great next year and we “can” have the potential in 2011, but who says we “will?”
And until that factor comes into play, don’t expect anything. As I have been saying this for the longest time, “we aren’t going to contend until we have the pitching.” We are only two strong in my opinion, with the 3rd on his side. Jake Westbrook “could” come back full steam ahead, and could come back to being the 15 win guy he always was.
And Fausto Carmona “could” get back to 07 form and dominate with his “nasty” sinker that he threw to get his top notch ground ball/fly ball ratio. Everyone “could” compete, which they did in 07, but it isnt’ a “guarantee.” Nothing is with the Indians. Aaron Laffey is looking better and better to me, just gaining experience with every outing. I think this kid is the “real deal” and we need to hold onto him tight and not let him go.
As I said in “the Centerpiece,” the Indians hold their key to destiny, which is right before them. And that is exactly the truth. The Indians aren’t gonna come out next year and “wow” you. They are too young. They might surprise by winning 75 to 80 games, but they won’t have a shot at contending. So if you think that they are “the odds to win favorite of the AL Central” you are wrong.
With speed atop the team with Brantley, Cabrera, Choo, and Grady, the Indians could steal a ton of bases, and could use some “small ball antics” to steal the hearts of the Central. But will it happen? I am not sure. It is realisticly possible, with Brantley stealing 46 in the minors, and with Grady stealing 30 when he is on his game. The speed factor can be checked off the list, as well as the “offense” portion.
And now moving on to the offense. We need to be “more consistant” at the plate. We can’t go off of 17 hits, and all of a sudden get 2. That just isn’t good enough for the major leagues, and isn’t good enough for the Indians themselves. Its time they let themselves fly, they just hang loose for a year. Its time they make some dramatic changes in the clubhouse. We need a guy who can control the team and be a “leader” that shows signs of intensity.
With Santana possibly coming up next year for “Sept. call ups” we could be getting a look at our future catcher, and a possible MVP for years to come. From his ridiculous double A numbers, to his strong arm, he is the real deal head to toe. If we can get a hold of him by next year at the MLB level, and then broaden him for the 11′ season, oh you better be looking out Central, cuz we will be gunning for the top spot.
Its time “we” win for a change. 2011 is bright looking and we “could” be the winner’s of the Central, and we “could” be the cellar dwellers too. But who is to know unless we find out. Hey, if you just keep on dreaming, 2011 will come by soon right? C’mon Cleveland, its all in your own hands.
At the beginning of the year – the Indians were predicted to win the Central. With the key pickups of Pavano and Derosa, we couldn’t lose! We were on top of everyone’s leader board, until… We came back into reality and bombed the season!!
Shocking isn’t it? Shapiro traded away Victor, Cliff, and Derosa, which were three keys to the team. Leading to us rebuilding, once again and having Cleveland to do this…
Now speculations about Wedge being fired are filling the air, only to be surrounded in a mist of “will the Indians contend next year?” Well, two words for ya, “heck” to the “no!” They don’t have the starting pitching enough to do it.
The offense isn’t strong enough with all of the young hitter’s consuming the brains of the older veterans who once manned the lineup. Man I wish it were the 90’s!!
We have somewhere from a 90 to 100 % success rate with rebuilding on our side, so what I say is “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” Exactly what the Indians need to do. My favorite part is – that Carlos Santana will be up here in 2010/2011!! No not the singer!!
Heads up! If you don’t duck he will take your head off! And I mean it.
The Indians need some more wahoo power to lighten up the spirits. Or you could go with some “Indian Fever.” Or maybe they should just watch Major League to get a little feeling what its like to win again eh?
Well that’s baseball for ya – and the rebuilding process itself. So sit back, and relax. Just shake your head til 2011!!
The mediocre crowd stood to their feet to help Kerry Wood complete the final out of tonights game. The roar’s of the wahoo brother’s in the house meshed with the claps of the crowd and John Adams’ drum. It was a sight to be seen – and the fireworks, what fun!
The fireworks tell the story of the game – long, exciting, and fire packed. Whatever Michael Brantley is eating before games – keep doing it. He went 2-5 tonight: and is really starting to scare me. The chills are sent down my spine every time he steps into the batter’s box, reminding me of a young Kenny – squaring every pitch up and hitting it back where it came from. It just sends me out of proportion to think of what Brantley’s talent level is.
The drum had the fans going as you could here the claps going on, and here and there a wave thrown in. It was a fun atmosphere, another Indians-esque game. The excitement even though they are out of it: the happiness even though they should be sad.
The song ‘Cleveland Rocks’ played and it sure does. The regularity of this wonderful crowd is fatal at Indians’ games. It keeps the promotions going: and the organization alive. It’s not too bad to throw in a couple bucks here and there either.
Question: “Why do fans always have to get up and move during the middle of the game? Especially at Progressive Field? It should go down in baseball rules: wait til the half inning is over before you romp around like maniacs trying to be the first one to get nachos at the Market Grille.”
And then there are the non – watchers. Fans that come and just talk the whole time instead of watching the game. Well what other way is there to spend a good 30 bucks and get nothing out of it on a Saturday night. Maybe they were in it for the fireworks? I think so…
Speaking of the fireworks – they were awesome. Just when you thought the booming and banging of the sulfur loaded gas giants was over: boom! It happened again. It almost made your heart stop hearing the never ending booms and snaps of the loud packed works.
It amazes me at whole how they put it together. At one point the fireworks played to the beat of music: and at another – ended to the song. I gotta hand it to the organization – even though this isn’t a dramatic playoff run year, you really have out done yourself this time.
What a night in all – an Indians win – and fireworks. Beautiful sight. The finale of fireworks featured a ton of colors shot at the same time into the air: making your heart stop – seriously. It made you love the Indians and the day even more. It enlightened my day at the park – and enlightened my Indians passion.
For all you face – painting, mohawk wearing, wahoo brother’s out there would you not agree that the Indians are one of the grooviest teams in baseball? Isn’t it cool that we do our ‘own’ thing and are unique from everyone and everything else?
So every brother out there – make sure you come to a fireworks night at Progressive Field: It brings out the inner self – in a way that I can not describe. You have to be there in order to feel the vibe and passion that is brought to the big picture. So come next Saturday and enjoy!
PS: Sorry to tell you but I am at a hotel for a baseball tournament thus, I can’t add pictures. It won’t let me. 🙂 Please try your hardest to except this. Look forward to all your comments – yours truly,