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.
You know your not fooling them when the first three batters you face go: double — thrown out at third; homer; homer. It was hard for Carlos to keep his composure as he really tried to battle in there. The Tigers offense just had his number though as he was tagged for 6 runs in 3 innings of work. It’s not going to be an easy road from here.
It’s bad enough that Carlos threw 75 pitches: all in three innings. He was trying to overthrow at times; and left the ball up. It was like a merry – go – round watching all of the players circle the bases. It wasn’t really a fun game to watch: or be around. Just another bad performance.
But many stud minor league pitcher’s haven’t done so well in their first big league start: so what? Carlos could come out and dazzle us in his next start. What I have been saying the whole time is right – minor league number’s don’t matter when it comes to the majors.
Carlos was dominant against the minor league hitters as he led the league in innings pitched; and strikeouts. But in the majors – he got shelled: due to the fact the hitter’s are just so much better at the level. He’s gonna shake it off and come back and get em the next outing.
It’s not like the Rangers are going to be an easy team to face; with Kinsler able to hit the ball anywhere he wants to. It’s going to be another tough outing; and I think Carlos will have figured it out by then. He needs to pound the strike zone – but keep it low. And needs to mix his pitches often and well.
Two hits in your first game at the major league level; priceless! Michael Brantley went 2-4 last night as he ripped a single to center: and beat out an infield hit. This kid brings alot of speed to the team – and I really enjoy watching him. He makes it harder to pitch when he’s on base: and opened some eyes yesterday.
He stays back and hits the ball to left; which personally I like. He jumps on the inside fastball – which leads to never getting jammed, and he has the ability to beat out an infield hit. He is going to be a great player; you watch Cleveland. It’s not going to happen this year – but in the next two: watch out for 40 stolen bases and a .300 avg.
When anyone brings speed to the team that’s great. But Brantley brings something else; some kind of swagger. Some kind of unknown swagger that really makes this kid great. He is confident at the plate – fast as all get out; and a great team player.
It’s great that Brantley shined in his debut; I really believed in this kid’s swing – and was one of the only one’s who thought this kid was ready. He showed us that he can hit — with his to – die – for line drive swing: and his crazy speed on the base paths.
Brantley really gets along with his teammates. On STO you could see Brantley and the guys cracking jokes; and talking about their last at bat’s. It’s always fun to have a guy like Brantley around. A young leader – who has all of the confidence in the world.
Like Barry Bonds when he was on the Pirates: except the steroids were left at home. Bonds had something weird about him – he could hit for power and had speed. You don’t see that much often. In his rookie year: Bonds only hit .223 but had 16 homers and 46 runs batted in. To go along with that; he had 36 stolen bases – which meant pitcher’s didn’t want him on base.
That just shows that sometimes; your rookie year doesn’t matter. Sometimes players come out and get the rookie of the year award – and then never see daylight again. And most times like this case: they come out – and it takes them a few seasons to get used to hitting before they explode.
With Barry: I am not sure when he first used steroids. Could have been when he was with the Pirates – could have been with the Giants. But I do know this – he hit like a regular guy: and played like a regular guy for 4 years in Pittsburgh.
I think Brantley will have a year in the next few: that he will explode like Bonds did. Not home run wise – but he will steal a good 35 bases and will hit .300. He has been compared to a young Kenny Lofton; and that is spot on correct. He has the speed – hits line drives: all like Kenny did. And I would like that back in Cleveland – it has just been missing for so long.
It’s like that special song that you heard one day and you didn’t know the name of it. Five years later you heard the song and heard the name of it: and finally realized – I have been missing this for so long! Then you jam to it for a minute or two; and then gone.
Cleveland has been missing true base stealers like that song. We haven’t had a true base stealer since Lofton was here: and was a catcher’s nightmare. The whole team in the 90’s and early 2000’s was pretty darn good all together. Kenny made the team whole. Kind of like Michael Brantley makes this team whole.
Its kind of like a puzzle: the Indians are all scattered around in pieces until someone starts building – (rebuilding.) They are almost finished except they have one piece left. They have been fitting every other piece in: but none fit. Michael Brantley was that last piece. He holds everything together. Think about it…
It came to an end yesterday. The long 10 game hit streaks by both Laporta and Marte finally came to an end as they both respectively went 0-4. Both of them deserve a round of applause, because they have done most of the hitting for the Indians over the past 10 games. They really built off of each other making one another better. And I really saw some talent in both of them. Time to start over, all good things come to an end.
It wasn’t like they were going to both go on 20 game hit streaks, I don’t see that being possible. But they both did go on 10 game hitting streaks, which really opened the eyes of many, and turned a few heads. Matt Laporta showed that he can hit the gaps while Andy Marte showed he can battle in at bats and come out the winner. They both really showed us something, they can play with the big boys.
Justin Masterson pitched 5.2 innings giving up 4 earned on 4 walks and 8 hits. He really didn’t give the Indians a chance to stay in the game. He once again, couldn’t find the strike zone, and got behind batters, leading to having to walk them, or give them a hitter’s pitch. You can’t live in the majors behind in the count, and that is what Justin does. I know he is a relief pitcher and all, but if he is going to make the transition he needs to know how to pound the strike zone. Should we have held out for Buchholz?
Yes. Buchholz is a major league pitcher, and really has three out pitches, fastball, curveball, change. He mixes well, and gets batter’s to chase his pitch. Most importantly, he doesn’t walk batters. His last start he went 8.1 innings giving up 1 earned run on 3 hits while striking out 9. That is what a good young pitcher does. Justin, not so much. Buchholz has the control down, Justin… not so much. Buchholz also gets ahead of hitters and Justin gets behind. That is the difference between these two young guys. You tell me, Buchholz or Masterson?
If Justin could hit his spots 3 out of 5 times, he would be fine. But he doesn’t do that, maybe one out of five would do the trick for him. Not exceptable, that leads to walks and hits, due to the fact he’s always behind in the count. Should we have held out for Buchholz? Heck yeah. He is young, knows how to pitch, and really has potential. He doesn’t need any polishing right now, and can just go out every time and pitch his game. Justin, not so much.
It’s not like we would of had to kill someone to get Buchholz. If we added in, oh Jhonny Peralta into that Victor Martinez trade, I think we could have gotten the job done to get Buchholz. But we got screwed, getting Masterson who goes out and works half the innings Buchholz did, giving up twice the amount of runs. We got ripped off, and that sometimes happens. But we are going to have to work with Justin and make him a heck of a lot better.
Maybe Justin Masterson wasn’t the guy we were going for in the trade though? Maybe there was another guy who we thought had the potential to become very good. Nick Hagadone throws a 98 mph fastball with a nasty slider, combined with a half decent changeup. Oh my gosh, another Randy Johnson? Could be. I am not saying he would be as dominant, I am just saying Nick has the potential to pitch exactly like Randy did. Hagadone throws hard, as well as Johnson and has a nasty slider. Maybe we didn’t get screwed?
I remember Eddie Taubensee for Kenny Lofton, just another one of those, “nobody” trades. Turned out to be one of the biggest ones in Cleveland history when Kenny started consistantly hitting .300 and stealing 50 bases. Then there was Eddie Taubensee, a no name lack luster catcher who had no potential at the big league level what so ever that ended up hitting like a career .200. We got the big end of the deal. They didn’t and that’s baseball.
We should have held out because we needed another starter. Justin as I said is a relief pitcher and hasn’t really pitched as a starting pitcher while Clay has been a starter all of his life, and really knows how to pitch in different situations. The Red Sox just didn’t want to give up Buchholz because of his raw talent at starting pitching and knew he would be a phenomenal pitcher in the future. There’s nothing you can do about it.
But then again in the Cliff Lee trade, the Indians got Lou Marson, and Carlos Carrasco who were big household names in the Phillies organization. The Phillies fans think that Cliff Lee was the best thing since slice bread, and he has pitched like it but the guy is human, he loses too. And they found that out his last start. Cliff Lee isn’t going to pitch undefeated with a sub 1.00 ERA for the rest of the season. I think we got the better half.
Carlos Carrasco is making his major league debut tomorrow vs. the Tigers. Carrasco showed to be a strong pitcher in AAA going 11-10 combined between the Phillies and Indians this year while leading the International league in innings (157) and strikeouts (148). Carlos also has gone 5-1 with a 3.19 ERA since the trade. I totally agree with Carlos coming up, as he has been pitching great. He could really open eyes during call-ups and could secure a spot in next year’s rotation if he really surprises.
Lou Marson isn’t the kind of guy who will hit 15+ homers and 70+ RBI each year. But Lou will give you this, a .270 average with 50 RBI and a good 50 runs. He doesn’t strike out as much as Kelly Shoppach, and doesn’t swing the bat at all like Wyatt Toregas, so I think Marson has the job. Kelly Shoppach strikes out so much I am sick of it. He almost has more strike outs than hits this year. Toregas can’t hit to save his life. He hasn’t seen daylight yet in the majors. Marson is my guy at catcher, just to hold it down until Santana gets up here, and then look out!
You do know that the Indians and Rays are both 11.5 games out right? I mean, the records aren’t the same, but the number of games is. The only factore is the Rays are in the wild card race and the Indians are no where near the wild card. It’s just a matter of who’s in your division. The Yankees, the best team in baseball are leading the East, making the Red Sox and Rays battle the wild card out. Looks familiar right? That’s always how the AL East goes.
The Indians haven’t had a great division this year in the Central, with the Tigers being (69-60). If the Indians could have played well in the first half, who knows how things could’ve changed? Maybe they could be leading the Central? Maybe half their team would’ve stayed? I don’t know? But I wish that would have happened, because now, we are back to phase one, rebuilding. And it sucks!
We always rebuild, that is Mark Shapiro 101. “If you suck, rebuild” And this year we “suck.” So Mark got to work and made a few trades, bringing in new faces to the Indians organization. Now we will finally get to see Carrasco’s true colors, and if Shapiro made the right deals. And you know, if we don’t succeed next year, look for some new faces. I think we will falter next year in our pitching. It isn’t looking strong enough to me. I think Shapiro needs to go out, and get a veteran pitcher for the Tribe in the offseason, just to strengthen it. It wouldn’t hurt.
I gotta say, being an Indians fan is the toughest job. You can’t expect to be good two years in a row with this shaky club, but the love of the fans and hope of the city always will’s a no good season into becoming a strong finish. That’s Cleveland for you. We don’t leave a game just because we are getting beat 6-2 in the third inning, we don’t throw beer on the field cough cough… Cubs. We have one of the best fan bases in baseball, and we are proud to be Cleveland!
We aren’t Red Sox Nation, and we aren’t Yankee Nation, but we sure as heck have some loyal fans over here in Cleveland Nation! In the 07 ALDS, that is when I got my first real chance to see what real fans are. And that was Cleveland, the loudest park in the playoffs. We love our playoff baseball in Cleveland, and next year we will be gunning for a spot. Be on the lookout!
––– Tribe Talk With Ted