The Cleveland Indians enter the second weekend of Spring Training games and first Saturday of action with a record of 3-3. What does the last two games tell us in particular about the 2011 Cleveland Indians?
The game vs. Texas. 3/5/2011
1. NOT ONE PUNCHOUT The former closer did not strike us out one time. Neftali Perez pitched two innings against us. Sure he did not give up a run, nor a hit but he walked us once and NEVER punched us out.
2. PATIENCE IS THE KEY! In fact against the pitchers chosen to face us this day, the Indians as a team drew 11 walks against Texas while only being struck out 4 times. Now if only we could create some consistency.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY!.The Indians were able to not let the deficits keep them down. They were 5-18 with runners in scoring position .278 batting average and even allowed some of the 11 walks to help us recapture the lead at one point in the game. Matt LaPorta came up with the big blow off the bench as a pinch hitter with a grand slam off a pitcher called Hamburger. As this video shows, LaPorta can hit.
4. WE STILL LOST THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN. As John Michael Montgomery sang in Life’s a Dance. “Had sure things blow up in my face” Yes Josh Judy could not close out the game but as the lyrics later state. “Been knocked down by the slamming door
Picked myself up and came back for more.” This is indeed what Josh Judy and the Indians need to do. I can’t wait until Josh Judy gets another chance. Hang in there, kid!
Perhaps next time this will be the result as it was then.
One thing is for sure. We sure played better against the Texas Rangers than I can remember in the recent past. This is a good sign.
After a rocky finish, the Indians against the Rockies played rather smoothly. Listening to the game for most of the later afternoon reminded me of a lazy Sunday afternoon in the sunshine at Progressive Field. Luckily the Indians did not play lazily.
1. THEY CAME TO PLAY The Indians took advantage of errors early and hit their way to two runs early. They then added power to the lineup with homeruns in the 4th inning by Chad Huffman and in the 6th by Lonnie Chisenhall. In hearing Jim Rosenhaus yesterday afternoon. I sensed an aggression in his call of the game and a drive today from the Tribe that was great to hear.
2. THERE WAS NEVER THAT BIG INNING What a difference a day makes. I heard slight jams starting to form but then heard the Indians get out of it as soon as it sounded like it might form. This made the day easier to handle for Tribe fans. What a way to end the traditional work week with a win. Fausto did give up a first run for the spring but never made me sweat.
Up next is a split squad day for the Tribe. One game against the Seattle Mariners managed by Eric Wedge and the other at Goodyear against the AL Central Division rival White Sox.
It will be an interesting upcoming day just because of the history the team has had against Ozzie and with Eric Wedge. All in all, it should at least be entertaining in the first opportunities to face either manager this year.
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
This was the score of the game early on. The problem with this is it was too early. The Indians’ scoring stopped and the Rays did what we used to do to be successful- chip away at an opponent’s lead. Still, I watched a lot of baseball and most of the games i have seen have had 7 as a good run amount to score for a WIN! However in this case, 7 was not enough.
“We’ve got to pitch…We’ve got to command the baseball. A 9-0 lead [Thursday] becomes 9-6, and tonight it’s 7-0, and we lose the ballgame…At some point these guys have got to look in the mirror. It’s not their stuff. Their stuff is fine. You’ve got to concentrate. You can’t miss by a foot and a half. I’m sitting here watching on TV and seeing what you’re seeing. It’s ridiculous. There’s no other word for it. This is the big leagues. We’ve got to be better than that…I respect the heck out of these position players…It’s not how many times you get kicked in the face, it’s how many times you get up. And they will. But these [pitchers] have to start holding up their end of the bargain, too.” -Eric Wedge This was part of Anthony Castrovince’s wrapup report of the game.
Breaking these quotes down, one can see that the pitching has not sat well with Wedge in wins or losses. He is emotional and the only thing from getting him fired is the fact that no one is too hot in the division. I yell about concentration and focus practically every game. I said this about two weeks ago. He is just stating it now. Something has to happen. Its called WIN SERIES! Losses like last night are NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE under Wedge! If they don’t win the series against Tampa. it will be closer to saying this…
After all the final score was 8-7
Clarification: I think Willis or Hernandez or Wedge will be fired for this type of a loss. Enough is enough! However, the bullpen will continue to take the fall for now but not much longer!
The White Sox series was a start. However, we need to continue. Currently, thanks to Choo who is a triple away from hitting the cycle, the Indians won 11-7 and I will reflect upon it later. Sorry I don’t blog as much as I’d like to. It is hard coming home from being or working at the game after working two jobs at one location and another in security at Progressive Field, and try to balance a family. However I am doing well and look forward to blog some now.
Game 1 of the White Sox series was one I watched in the comfort of my own home. What I saw was a combination of solid hitting by multiple players. (Finally, a team approach) and solid pitching by Carl Pavano. I was glad to see line drive swings rather than “trying to swing for the fences” over and over again. It was great to see a solid win. By this, I mean lots of hits, lots of runs, and solid pitching with few runs given up. Thus, a 9-2 result and a much needed win. As Melissa pointed out on Twitter on Monday, the Indians must win tonight. That is exactly what happened.
Game 2 of the series was the one I worked. I was placed in an area of the ballpark where it is hard to know what is going on in the game unless one is listening close to the call of Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan because the location was away from the action on various monitors in the park. The only thing relaying any sign of the game is a radio speaker in the vicinity. If I was in the fan’s shoes, I would have been down in my seat screaming “Wake up out there. Let’s stop the insanity” Especially against Thome, a former Indian who we should definitely know how to handle, no excuses! Now one can see why Sowers was sent down before the game tonight when Luis Vizcaino was signed. During the game, I had a chance to talk to a co-worker close by me. We shared thoughts about who might be Wedge’s replacement. His opinion was Mike Hargrove. I thought it should be a former manager or coach whose team actually won the World Series.
After the game, I ran into Mark Shapiro. I saw his face all red, as if embarrassed scratching his head as he was walking out yet he remained professional and courteous wishing me a good night after I said “Good night, Mr. Sha-peer-oh, I mean Sha-pie-row” The rest of the way out to my car, I was embarrased for botching up his name. That is not how I wanted to make my first impression upon him. I kept asking myself, “Why can’t we win two in a row, for goodness sake?”
Game three was in the silence of the building management office I work in. It was nice to watch Gameday seeing the Indians doing well behind the power of Martinez and Garko to lead the offense and the superb pitching by Cliff Lee to help win the series over the White Sox. A series win for only the second time all year is great. We need to keep this up. It was also nice to see the rain hold off until the game was over on Weather Education Day sponsored by WKYC Channel 3.
I read about the Indians’ Eric Wedge addressing the team after the Indians dropped another 9-3 to the Royals. I myself was looking like this.
For those that suffer like this, it is no laughing matter. I changed my attitude quickly, snapped out of it and wanted to take a positive approach. They needed to focus on today only and play like a champion. I had to cheer like a champion.
Eric Wedge addressed the team. He said the team had to improve in three areas. They had to get better starting pitching. Today’s result. Enter Aaron Laffey.
His line score read IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Laffey 5.1 3 2 2 3 5 0 3.38
Starting pitching better after one game
Next Eric said that the Indians would have to get better defensively to help the starting pitching. Today’s result: enter Grady Sizemore.
He and the rest of the team had great defense and zero errors to help Aaron’s effort stand up.
Defense helps starting pitching after one game
Finally, Eric said the team had to do better with runners in scoring position.
Today’s result: enter Mark De Rosa.
Yesterday Eric Wedge said to reporters “One thing people have to remember, spring training isn’t about results, it’s about getting better and progressing.”.
Well one thing that is glaring out to me are Aaron Laffey’s three starts so far, one has to wonder if he is worth the #5 spot in the rotation
Aaron gave up 1 run but it was unearned in 2 innings of work
Aaron gave up 4 runs, all earned in 2 innings.
Aaron Laffey was supposed to pitch 3 innings. Instead, he gave up 3 earned runs in 1 inning.
I’m starting to wonder if this is progress, as Wedge says.
Yet in Laffey’s defense, he IS coming off elbow surgery. Just watch this video
Yet one has to argue, should Jackson be given more of a chance to earn #5 status?
On his day off, the 2008 Cy Young Award Winner’s life was up in the air in a F-16 Falcon. To get an idea of what this might have looked like, here’s a video.
Meanwhile Travis Hafner was taking batting practice in preparation for yesterday’s March 6th debut along with Grady Sizemore in preparation for this weekend’s action when they are scheduled to share DH duties beginning on Sunday, March 8, 2009.
Both Lee and Hafner were primed and ready to go. However, the results were not as stellar. Remember, the key is health and depth. Today is just a tuneup, not a first real lap. Everyone’s goal is to put the best 25 man roster out there and create depth for the possibility of injuries. Repetition and practice just to get in shape as well as fine tuning for April will just begin the process for Hafner and Lee. This season is going to take all 25 players working together to make this season work. Putting it all on a star player to carry us should not be the mindset for the 2009 season. It is going to take all 25 men working together. The hat may say I but the heart needs to show T-E-A-M.
Hafner went 0-2 with a strikeout and Lee gave up 2 runs in 1 inning of work. One could get discouraged. Yet with baseball being a marathon and not won on paper but in the pace of how the race is run and eventually won, one can only hope that the kinks will continue to be worked out and the lineup will reflect what will be a very competitive Cleveland Indian team on the field. All we can do is hope that tomorrow against these guys
we will win. However, our goal should be to get better so that April 6th will be a very competitive day and set us off on a good pace to the 162 game marathon. Let’s get out there and compete better, boys! Make Wedge and Willis proud!
Good luck, let’s get more focused!
Update-Choo went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored as he led Korea over Chinese Taipei 9-0. Hopefully, he will continue this great effort against Japan later this morning at 5:00 A.M.