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…
We go into the season asking a ton of questions about the Indians. We want to know if we are going to see the same team we saw last year. I maybe can’t answer that spot, but I am dang sure that I can predict the little things like how many ejections the Indians will have, or how many dumb injuries they will have over the course of the season… I just hope no Joel Zumaya’s happen, dang you Guitar Hero.
Will the Indians be last in the Central?
Well, you are a young team, with young pitchers. You just came off of a year that had your offense stumbling, and you had some bright moments with the kids from the minors. I can’t ensure that we won’t be in last place, but with teams like the Royals and the White Sox, I don’t think the Indians have a better chance to be in last place than to not.
No they are not going to win the Central I know that, but they aren’t going to be like Ozzie Guillen’s team. And no Indians fans in case you were wondering, Manny Acta will not be having a twitter. Back to the topic, the Indians are a team full of young talent but they need time to develop. If we have any chance of being in the top 3 of the Central, we need to have an
amazing job throughout the pitching staff, and our offense must be clicking.
Could you see us getting to the playoffs in 3 years?
Of course. But first, we will need to hire a new coach. Yes Manny Acta is someone new, but than again he came from a losing team. We need a guy that knows how to win, someone that has won before and has a real reputation. In 3 years, who knows who will be on our team. You can’t really have a right or wrong answer with this one. If the pitching staff is good, than I think we possibly could.
An example would be in 2007 when the Indians almost went to the World Series. CC Sabathia (don’t get me started) and Fausto Carmona were carrying the team on their backs. The whole reason the Indians got to the playoffs in the first reason was that their offense could score 4 runs a game and their pitching staff could hold opposing teams to under 4 runs a game. It’s as simple as that, the team with more runs wins. If Cleveland wants to make the playoffs in 3 years, they will have to win more than they lose. (Sorry, that’s a loose prediction.)
Number of ejections
There will be 5 ejections this year by an Indians player. But when the Indians are playing the White Sox, I predict that Ozzie Guillen will be ejected twice throughout the season. So altogether during Indians games I think that their will be 7 ejections.
But who’s counting?….
How many dumb injuries will there be?
Let’s just say there will be more than we can count. The Indians need to be healthy, but with injuries, they just keep sitting in the bottom of the AL Central.
Could you hear the whiffs on tv? There were so many, I can’t even count them. Zach Greinke set a Royals record for most strikeouts in a single game. Great job Zach we salute you! Great game pitch, and way to shut down the offense.
For the offense, it’s alright to have a bad game, we won three outta four, what’d ya expect 7 or 8?
They had that one game where they just couldn’t get the bat on the ball, and Zach Greinke didn’t help at all. It all started in the first when he struckout Carroll and Choo to start it. And it never stopped there. Greinke (15 strikeouts) is the new record holder as a Royal. Great thing for Zach, not for the Indians. It sucks to be on the wrong side of history, but at least your in it. And look at this year, we set some history against the Yankees, sorry Bombers fans.
Remember how we had that 22 run outburst? The Yankees were on the wrong side of history…
A loss is a loss though, and shows up that way on your record, (which this year I don’t even pay attention to.) We aren’t in any race, I don’t care win or lose but I just am hoping to see our starters next year doing something productive. Like Valbuena, he is hitting the ball great, and Pronk is seeing the ball well, and hitting it to opposite, when is the last time you saw him doing that?
Well, at least we didn’t get shut out last night…
Andy Marte went yard (1) for the first time this year. Congrats Andy, they couldn’t hold you in the park this time! And Matt Laporta, jeez this guy is a machine, hit another double (5). Can this guy find the gaps or what? I am really investing in Laporta, he is a great player and is going to turn out to be a big fit in Cleveland in a year or two, you just watch!
Justin Masterson, oh Justin,.. pitched okay. He couldn’t find the strike zone, and definitely couldn’t keep the ball low enough to where the Royals hitters couldn’t hit it. He took the loss, (4-5 4.47) going 6 strong (?) giving up 4 earned on 7 hits. He actually limited some damage, so it could’ve been worse.
Hey, our pitcher’s actually have been giving up big innings, but have kept going on and deep into the ballgame not letting anymore runs score.
So there are some positives. But the offense needs to get rolling. They aren’t going to face any ‘Zach Greinke’ in Luke Hochevar (6-6). So they should go out, and knock him outta the ballgame as quick as possible. Let’s be on the right side of history today. Not the wrong side of it,…
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.