What once was looking ugly turned into a beautiful sight before and during the game. With ominous skies overhead and a threat of rain over Lake Erie, the Indians and Rays were stopped by a threat of rain. The rain never came at Progressive Field, thanks to several reports.
The Indians’ Grady Sizemore opened the game with some lead-off thunder but still no rain fell as the Indians took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st inning. The Rays matched that thunder by hitting a homerun by Matt Joyce in the top of the 4th inning to make it 1-1.
The Indians added a solo shot of their own in the bottom of that inning with a solo shot of their own by Michael Brantley to make it 2-1 in the bottom of the 4th inning.
Matt Joyce tied it in the top of the 6th with a double off the CF wall that scored Ben Zobrist all the way from first base. It was now 2-2.
The bottom of the 6th found the Indians able to take advantage of the Rays mistakes when Michael Brantley had singled. This was followed by the killer walks to Matt LaPorta and Jack Hannahan.Bases were now loaded and remained loaded even though Grady Sizemore lined into a fielder’s choice force-out that the pitcher Juan Cruz chose to throw home to get the lead runner. Bases were still loaded when Asdrubal Cabrera singled home Matt LaPorta. A passed ball helped score Jack Hannahan off the catcher, John Jaso. It was now 4-2.
Yet, I still thought Tampa had it in them to come back. And they did. In the top of the 7th, ex-Indian Kelly Shoppach hit a ball to score teammate Sean Rodriguez who led the inning off with a double. In the top of 8, Evan Longoriaadded a homerun and it was tied AGAIN at 4-4.
Through it all, the Indians did not surrender the lead. The Indians waited to strike in the end by allowing Brantley to be walked and the rest as they say was a walk into history.
The Cleveland Indians continued their winning ways at home for the 14th consecutive time. The Indians were not dramatic, not grand, not even getting runners in by hitting them in. (1-14 with runners tonight in scoring position) Tonight required a walk by a willing Rays pitcher named Kyle Farnsworth.
The Indians are getting the job done by playing team baseball, jumping on teams early and late. The weapons are not predictable because each and every game tends to be different. Sometimes it is a homerun, a game winning hit, superb pitching or tonight’s free pass.
Whatever the case, the Indians are proving themselves to be in every game and exciting to watch, for me, win or lose. I have enjoyed the team’s “never say die” attitude and ability to make it happen right away or at the last minute. This team is doing what it takes to win. Nothing more needs to be said!
The Cleveland Indians are doing exactly what we wanted so far on this road trip. They are competitive, in every game. I think fans would agree if we could finish at .500 after Sunday, we would all be satisfied. The Indians start Saturday’s action with a 21-10 record and still 4.5 games in front of the Kansas City Royals so far on May 7, 2011.
This week has presented plenty of challenges. This is what happens when you face the best pitching staffs. Right now the Athletics are ranked #1 and the Angels are #2 while the Indians are #3 in the American League. Thus, the scores have matched these rankings.
Tuesday, the Indians were down 1-0 before tying it in the 7th inning and then scoring 3 off reliever Brian Fuentes, the former Angels closer to win 4-1. Wednesday, despite giving up only 3 hits and 3 runs, starting pitcher, Josh Tomlin came up with a loss, 3-1 as Trevor Cahill and the Athletics relievers held Cleveland hitters to 1 run on 7 hits. Thursday, the offense reappeared. It looked tougher than the box score showed as the Indians were able to score 4 runs on 11 hits off Oakland pitchers to outlast Oakland 4-3 in 12 innings.
Last night into this morning, the Cleveland Indians showed up with an anemic offense again as Santana had the only two hits until the 10th inning off Angels pitching. Yet the Indians pitching was able to take the Angels to 11 innings before losing 2-1. Now the Indians face Jared Weaver, Cy Young candidate #1 and Dan Haren, Cy Young candidate #2. If reading all the tweets from Indians fans, most do not give us a chance to win either of these games. However, hope shows we have a shot.
Weaver, in his only loss last Monday against the Red Sox, gave up 3 runs and 6 hits in 6 innings pitched. The Angels lost the game, 9-5. The key for the Indians will to score against the Angels who have in the last 3 games have scored 4 runs and had 11 hits. This will not be easy. However, in order to be considered the best, you have to beat the best. To really be taken seriously as a contender, the Indians will need to take a page from Boston and show that they CAN score against the Angels pitching staff. Tonight they get another opportunity.
One of the best baseball play by play calls of all time was the call by Jack Buck, a Lakewood, Ohio High School graduate in the 1988 World Series for the homerun by Kirk Gibson.
Last night, the Cleveland Indians brought back the 1990’s for the franchise. This play, even though I was there helped me flash back to Jack Buck in 1988 because I really did not believe what I saw live on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. This play, this team is something truly special. Due to this blessing from God, the Indians were able to score a FRANCHISE record for wins in April. As their promotion will tell you, they were established in 1901. That’s right, in 110 years, the Indians have never won 17 games in April and we still have 1 more day to go. Stay tuned.
The Cleveland Indians are playing like it is Christmas in April. They gave their fans a Royals sweep. As a franchise, Manny Acta is getting the team to rise up to the challenges daily. It is really exciting.
I tweeted the following to Manny Acta on Tuesday. The team responded positively.
@MacTriber_11 hey tell the team, there is a “Royal Wedding” this Friday. Anyone royal doesn’t need anything else to celebrate this week.
The Cleveland Indians stats look like this currently:
They lead the American League going into tonight’s action in runs scored (129), on-base percentage (.342) and batting average (.272) Winning 16 games in April ties the most wins in April and 10 in a row at home is the most since 1996 when the team won 13 in a row.
It is my hope that this celebration can continue. Fireworks are tonight and the debut of Alex White happens tomorrow. There is a true buzz around Progressive Field these days. The pitching continues to amaze with quality starts and the offense and defense are all clicking very well. This Week In Baseball will highlight the Cleveland Indians debuting tomorrow.
If one saw the Royal Wedding this morning, the crowd there too was buzzing and very happy. It is my hope that this type of crowd will be join me tonight down at Progressive Field. This team is truly exciting and worth spending money on to watch.
On this date in baseball history, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Also on this date in 1865, the 16th President, Abrham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that made all slaves free in the USA. April 15th is a great day that helped us to live in a better nation and made baseball a better sport.
Thanks to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson, tonight when I sit down to watch the Cleveland Indians against the Baltimore Orioles, I will have the opportunity to see the best nine players for either team, no matter what their race or creed. I will want only for my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians to win. This is the joy of baseball, the joy of America’s pastime. If one plays for Cleveland, they will be cheered. The opportunity that Branch Rickey helped created and Jackie Robinson agreed to helped all teams become better and allowed my Cleveland Indians to have the first African American ballplayer in the American League as well as the first African American manager.
Tonight thanks to the efforts of the 2011 Cleveland Indians, I will see two winning organizations battle it out. Granted it is early but to see winning baseball in Cleveland is a wonderful opportunity, an opportunity I will be lucky to experience tonight. So when I see the game tonight, I will realize that the winning could not be possible unless a man named Jackie played 64 years ago. Thank God for this day, a day that makes us all happier.
On 30 Clubs in 30 Days focusing on the Indians organization, the question was posed to Grady asking if he was prepared to leave if dealt at midseason. He stated that he hopes for this not to happen. We have a history as a team, a city, to let our big names go. Some choose to leave, some are let go. I believe Grady is one that should stay the length of his career with the Indians. Here are 3 reasons why.
1. Attitude: Grady is one that has a positive attitude. He does not complain when trades are made, when costs are cut. He tries his best to win and places the team first. He goes all out and does everything to show by example. He wants to be out on the field doing the things needed to win games, making the catches, getting the hits. He doesn’t gloat or boast or make himself out to be the hero. He is one I believe that really truly wants to bring Cleveland that championship. We need leaders like him on the team. When healthy, he deserves the contract. When healthy, no one on our team is better. He plays like he is: positive.
2. Character: I ask myself, would I want this man at my house to be a part of my family is presented with the opportunity? The answer is YES! The man presents himself as a down to earth, young man. Everytime I see him on and off the field, he is one that shows himself to be that type to play catch with the kids, help cook dinner, help wash dishes and never offend anyone. Yes I know private issues became public but he did not leak them. He is a person that I believe wants to stay his entire career. Let it happen, Mr. Dolan!
3. Marketing. No wonder Grady has “grady’s ladies” following him. This young man is one that every father would not mind as a son-in-law, every young woman as a husband, every fan as a role model. He plays the game the right way, unselfishly. His drive, his desire is one I wish all players had. He sacrifices his body and wills the team to victory. I wish all players could play this way. The closest player I see to him is Shin-Soo Choo. When this team is ready to contend again, I want Grady here leading the way. I believe all fans want the same.
This year we fans celebrate Bob Feller. From Iowa, he still made and kept Cleveland as his home. In this modern day, I truly believe that Grady is like this. If the owner and management allow this to happen, I believe Grady would want to get his 3000th hit here if given the opportunity. We have the gem Cleveland fans that we need in Grady to help Cleveland. Today the journey begins again against the Diamondbacks. I truly am hoping for that comeback for Grady. He is the face of the Indians, a face I want here with the Tribe forever.
The joy of Spring gives people a sign of life, new beginning, a chance to start over, become better. It is this wish I hope for Miguel Cabrera, Austin Kearns and Coco Crisp. In my previous blog, I gave sincere praise to Mr. Crisp. It was shortly after I posted the entry that Mr. Crisp was the third player caught with a DUI. I just hope that these three gentlemen and others find what Spring is supposed to be about beyond the game of baseball off the field as well as on it. It is easy for me to preach because I don’t drink but I do have my addictions that are known to God alone. I fight them every day once I address them and can only address them with God’s help. Hopefully, these ballplayers can address their problems with God, family and friends to guide them also.
Also in my previous blog, I addressed the pitching and how wonderful it was so far to see pitchers go out there and put their work in rather successfully. Yesterday’s game was different. Masterson was not masterful as he he gave up 2 runs and 2 hits in 2 innings pitched. What troubled me more than this was the amount of walks that he had: 3 of them.
Jordan Bastian, the MLB.com beat reporter for the Tribe mentioned after the game on Twitter that Justin Masterson loved bowling. I responded back to him without a response that Masterson was now throwing more strikes in bowling than in baseball at this time. Well, yesterday’s performance showed it anyway.
On a positive note for the Tribe, the combination of Drew Pomerantz, Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano pitched the following line 3 innings pitched 1 walk allowed and 5 strikeouts with no runs allowed. This is what I call relief. I really hope this attack of the strike zone can continue. Way to go so far!
DEAL WITH SEATTLE
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Movement off the field of play saw one of my favorite players traded away to Seattle yesterday in Aaron Laffey. Hopefully he will find an opportunity to compete for a starting role with former Indians manager Eric Wedge and former pitching coach Carl Willis reunited with Aaron. I really wish Aaron well and enjoyed meeting him briefly at Progressive Field. I really think he has potential. I just hope he does not do well against us, of course.>
In return, the Indians received Matt Lawson. Two things I thought about, when first reading the news on Twitter, was Matt Lawton and the former local food mart, Lawson’s which was bought out some time ago. However, Matt Lawson is not related to either thought.
In case, one wants to know more, Matt Lawson was one of the prospects who was received by Seattle when they traded Cliff Lee to Texas. His history has him playing 2nd base or shortstop but not at third. Hopefully, he will continue to blossom in the Indians’ farm system.
Later today, the Indians take their squad to face a split-squad Ranger squad in Surprise. I remember in their debut year in Goodyear seeing the Royals there against the Tribe. It is a beautiful park. Hopefully there will be little to no surprises for the Tribe to face when playing Texas. Neftali Feliz is scheduled to get some work against Cleveland as well as Derek Holland a AAA pitcher battling for a spot in the rotation for the defending American League champions. For the Tribe, the Rangers game will be a litmus test and hopefully will be fun to see how we match up with them.
Next game against