(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…
All of our teams have players that can consistently hit well or players that don’t make a single error. But to face the facts, we all have liablities somewhere in our lineups. You can’t deny it either. Every single team has a liablity throughout them. It just so happens that the Indians have well… in lack of a better phrase A TON! Baseball is a game of liabilities and the team with the least throughout the season wins.
Grady Sizemore just came off an injury infested season. His shoulder bothered him throughout his swing, and all he could do is pull the ball. If Sizemore doesn’t get back to normal, the Indians will be getting a chunk bit out of them this season. Grady needs to be the best he can be as a leadoff hitter, but in Acta’s case the 2 hitter. (more on this later) If he can’t produce, than the Indians offense I predict will slump with him.
(Photo via cleveland.com)
It seems as though when Sizemore is going good that the Indians offense follows I guess its like monkey see, monkey do, but that’s just me. Grady is definetely a leader in the clubhouse and really helps out the young guys. He steps up when needed and when he is healthy can give pitchers fits. But the liability behind the whole “package deal” is the fact that he strikes out too much, and no one knows where to put him in the lineup. At times he can go with little striking out, but in some circumstances he can strike out far too much which doesn’t seem promising.
When you put Grady in the leadoff spot, he is comfortable there and it seems as though he is more of a hitter. He takes the first pitch of the game so that he can see what the pitcher has and can feel better standing in the box than he would in any other spot in the order. I don’t like the 2nd spot though. Yes Grady can put a bunt down when needed to move a runner, and can also get things started, but he can’t hit the ball the opposite way. The biggest factor in this whole baffling process is that Grady can’t hit for contact. So the 2 spot is not for him.
But oh Manny Acta would like to differ. He thinks that Grady is a shoe in for the two spot and that Asdrubal Cabrera should be the leadoff hitter. Which brings me to another liability,… coaching. I don’t see why Acta thinks that Grady is such a wonderful 2 hitter. He strikes out way to much and like I said can’t go the other way while Cabrera can hit all fields and strikes out a miniscule number of times. I don’t understand the thought process.
(Image via fangraphs.com)
It’s almost like he’s thinking backwards. Already on my bad side, which is not good counting that we’re not even through the first Spring Training game this year. If anything at all Grady should be at the 3 or 4 spot but 2? What the heck is this guy thinking? Maybe he’ll figure it out during the season when the Indians aren’t producing like he “figures” they will.
I think the biggest liability in Cleveland right now is there young arms. Yes, Jake Westbrook is feeling healthy. And yes I am excited. But it all comes down to the same questions, “Will he produce?” and “Will he play through the injury?”. I would have to say he will produce for the pitching staff, but he’s not going to turn them into a team that is the top pitching staff in the league. Of course, he could come into the season and just stink it up. We don’t know what he is and isn’t going to do yet.
I think that Westbrook has a good chance of being the two guy in the rotation. Maybe others disagree, but until Westbrook proves me wrong, I think he should be glued into that spot. Acta probably disagrees, and that’s why I hate em. As long as Westbrook fights for a good season and gives us 9 or 10 wins, I will be proud to bring him back. And no I won’t bash on him if he doesn’t do so well, the guy is injured give him a break.
(Image via bostonbaseballheadshow.com)
Fausto Carmona also makes me wonder… where did this guy go? Now two bad years after almost being the Cy Young award winner in 07. I just wanna know how a guy can go from so good to so bad. His control was amazing during 2007, and during the offseason he got into some bad habits. He walks too many people now, and his sinker is finding it’s way up in the zone. He’s a huge liability and could be the difference in finishing last in the Central or 2nd (I’m thinking it’s gonna be close).
Suppose David Huff continues to pitch well as he did last year, and our bullpen does not let us lose an extra ten games, then I think that we’ll be okay. But these things are all liabilities and they could go in either direction. As you can see the Indians have many liabilities, suprise suprise. Let’s just try and cut back on a few heading into 2011. I might have a better attitude. Just put on your headresses and paint your faces like chief wahoo cause the seasons a’comin. Good luck, and until next time…
I don’t really wanna talk about the game last night because all I can say is “wow”. The Indians had 12 hits and couldn’t score more than four runs. Pathetic. You usually see the nice side of Ted, but not this time. I am like a tiger on the prowl ready to pounce when the Indians lose like this. I mean, all I can say is “embarrasing”. That is all Eric Wedge’s deal now. Well, we just didn’t hit with runners in scoring position, simple enough…
Just like earlier in the season where we beat the Yankees 22-3, we were all laughing while they were cursing their minds out over the loss. I mean a loss is a loss, but when you lose 13-4 something needs to be said, or done. They had 15 hits, a number that is nowhere near where is should have been. The Orioles had three players with three hits or more and had three players that had 3 RBI or more in the game. That just disgusts me… You can’t go out there and think that you are going to win every time, you have to have confidence.
On the good hand, we had three doubles, and Matt Laporta homered. And let me just say this. “Matt Laporta is going to be a star player in two years, count on it.” He is an extra base hitting machine, I know you have heard me say it before, but this time, its for real. Laporta can hit the gaps like no other, and is continuing to dent the pitcher’s ERA. They don’t know how to get him out right now, but for next year’s sake, don’t expect HUGE numbers, because the whole MLB will learn how to get him out, and will be watching his every move.
Kind of like Cal Ripken Jr. was. He is having a great rookie season, and now everyone is going to be on his case. Well, Fausto, Fausto, Fausto, you did us wrong again buddy. Those walks and hits always come in a big inning all together, and it always comes back to bite you. They dented you in the fourth big time, as you went 4.2 uhm…kinda strong giving up 6 earned runs on 9 hits, and 3 BB. It wasn’t a bad outing at all until they totally unloaded on you in the fourth. You weren’t pitching bad at all. And I congratulate you on throwing three innings of two run baseball where at least you kept us in the game.
I do admit though, maybe you coulda done a little better if the offense had your back, but they didn’t and you should have dealt with it. You didn’t though and that is baseball. It sucks to go out there and have to do things by yourself, but when your needed, you gotta come through buddy. Its not like they are going to give you seven runs everytime out just to save your sorry little butt. What happened to the 07 playoff guru Fausto Carmona who no one could hit off of, and was the ace of the Indians staff? Where did he go?
He must have moved far far away cuz that playoff Fausto and regular season for that matter… isn’t around anymore. I wanna keep thinking that he is, but the truth of the matter is, they have you figured out now, like most one year pitcher’s. Cliff Lee on the other hand, has them figured out. They got Cliff early on in the season, but he steadied out and figured out how to get back into his Cy Young form again. He is now 5-0 with a sub 1.00 earned run average, and is making us Clevelanders cry our eyes out. We should have kept him…
But on the other hand, we got Lou Marson and Carlos Carrasco, who are two great young guys that are coming up in September call-ups. I am not sure about you guys, but I really wanna see these guys in action. Carrasco went 7 strong innings in his last start and gave up 1 earned run. If though he didn’t surprise already, he added onto the hype of him being a big league pitcher. Marson has been hot since he came to Cleveland, and is ready to take over the starting catching role.
Shoppach isn’t the answer for me at catcher, nor is Toregas. Shoppach strikes out more times than he gets hits. He is a good 20 HR guy, but also could be the league leader in strike outs. I would want a catcher that would hit 5 HR and drive guys in all of the time when needed to. That is Marson,… well now at the minor league level however. And Toregas, not a fan. I don’t like how he hits, he has a slow bat, and can’t catch up to the fastball. Well what pitch is he going to hit? The curve? Guess so. Not a big league guy just yet.
And to just make me smile some more, we have Carlos Santana at AA Akron. What a player is Carlos, hitting .285 with 21 HR and 89 RBI. And as I have said commenting on other blogs, “do the Aeros tell their pitcher’s to duck when Santana throws to second, because one of these days, someone is going to get killed.” And that is very true, because Santana has a machine gun of an arm. If you thought Wieters had a good arm, wait til you see this kid, you will be blown away. I know I was. He can flat out play!
I am telling you, Brantley is the answer in the outfield. Brown could DH or share time in LF but Brantley is the long term answer in my opinion. He has 43 stolen bases and has been caught stealing only 5 times. That means he has about an 8 to 1 ratio of stealing a bag. I am really locked in on this kid, because he has so much speed, and speed thrills! If both he and Jordan Brown are brought up, I would put Brown in LF since he is a true left fielder, and I would put Brantley at DH, and leadoff. I would move Grady to the third spot, and Choo to the cleanup spot, leaving the fifth spot in the order to Peralta. Just my opinion.
Rondon wasn’t so successful in his last start, which is leaving me questioning, “is he really the answer for now?” He could be, and could not be. I just need to see him at the major league level and then decide. Pitcher’s can live off of the outside corner and can get away with throwing the ball up in the minors, but not so much in the majors. There is always the “could” factor involved, and I wanna see if he “can” succeed.