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!
Sunday night was a low point for us Indians fans but I refused to get sour with them. We just lost to the Twins. Carlos Carrasco was rumored to be certain to go to the DL after leaving the game with elbow tightness adding to Mitch Talbot, already being there. The Indians had lost their third in a row and had been swept by the Twins, the team picked by most, I have read, to win the AL Central again. The Indians were just not playing good baseball. Should I jump off this bandwagon too? Instead of joining many fans, I tweeted the first comment to Manny Acta and the second comment to the fans.
@Mactriber_11 Hopefully the day off and the home cooking will help turn things around. Hang in there! It was much better than yesterday.
#Indians fans, the next homestand is a great opp. for #winning in the division against the #Royals and #Tigers. #GoTribe2011 #dontgiveup
I really believed that this week would tell a lot about the Tribe and wanted them to seize the opportunity to defend their current 1st place status and not just dismiss it as a fluke. I did not want the fans to just give up this early after a slight fall. I thought the Indians were playing well enough to win in most of their games. They could actually be much better than the 14-8 current standing. I believe most fans agree with this.
Last night, the Indians showed the fire that has made them 14-8. With Kansas City and Detroit breathing down their neck and their 1st place status all but over, they came out and gave the performance they needed to give.
Aggressive in the first three innings, they grabbed the lead, a stat that proves to be victorious for the Indians almost every time. The Indians offense was also aided by the homerun, 5 in total including 2 by Jack Hannahan, who I affectionately label Jack “themanwhocan”, on Twitter. Grady Sizemore was hitting extra base hits like crazy, with a homerun and two doubles. Thanks to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the following information: Grady now has as many extra base hits in 8 games as he had in 2010 in 33 games. Shin Soo Choo and Matt LaPorta also added homeruns. The highlight for me came in the pitching however.
There was the news pregame that Wednesday (today) might prove Carlos Carrasco to be okay. This helped Indians fans like me to feel better. During the game, the pitching shut down the Royals for the first three innings with ease. However for me, the highlight of the game came when Vinnie Pestano came in with the score 7-4 and the bases loaded full of Royals and none out. Vinnie retired the Royals in order without giving up a run.
This performance by Pestano was for me the overall reason why the Indians deserve to be 14-8 atop the AL Central Standings, something for the moment that I truly hope can last.
When the season prognosticators came out with their predictions, many picked the Royals and Indians, including myself, for fourth or last place in the American League Central. Yet, tonight, these two franchises are going to begin a four game series in a battle for first place.
Its like an episode of the Twilight Zone
The Twins, White Sox and Tigers are all saying it is early. The Royals and Indians will come down to Earth soon and then the season will be back to normal. For myself, I hope it stays like this all year long. This is some outstanding baseball to watch so far.
The Kansas City Royals have a team batting average of .275, 148 hits, and 82 runs scored in 15 games. The Royals are lead by Alex Gordon who has a .365 batting avg., 23 hits, 8 of which are doubles, and 11 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support for the Royals are Billy Butler, Jeff Francouer, Melky Cabrera, and Chris Getz.
For the Cleveland Indians, as a team, have a batting average of .265, 132 hits, and 79 runs scored in also in 15 games. The Indians are lead by Travis “Pronk” Hafner who has a .354 batting average, 17 hits, 4 of which are homeruns and 9 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support are Asdrubal Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera and Michael Brantley. Add the reemergence of Grady Sizemore and the promise of Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo and you have a powerful lineup. Still at this point in the season, I have to give the offensive edge to the Royals of Kansas City.
The Royals pitching staff has a 3.70 ERA, giving up 63 runs, 59 earned runs and 145 hits in 143.1 innings pitched. They are lead by Bruce Chen 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. The Royals bullpen has Joakim Soria who is 4/5 in save opportunities The Cleveland Indians pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA, giving up 50 runs, 48 earned runs and 107 hits in 136.2 innings pitched. They are lead by Justin Masterson 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and Josh Tomlin 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA. The Indians also are consistent in the bullpen with the reemergence of Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and 5/5 in saves for Chris Perez. I think the advantage in pitching goes to the Cleveland Indians so far.
I do not know who will win this series. However, if the Indians pitching holds to form, I think the Indians will have the advantage. After all, the old saying is good pitching beats good hitting. Let us buckle up and see how this will help see who wants to be a factor in the AL Central in 2011. It should be fun and intense for the next 4 days. Hopefully the Indians can do well.
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.
As a Cleveland fan, its’ easy to get down…way down before beginning. Seeing the record of the 2010 Indians at 69-93, the Cavaliers currently with 11 wins with a new coach after the All-Star Break, the Browns with another losing season and a new coach, one can say where is the hope? For the Indians, its a true test of faith and see why its a great time to love the 2011 Cleveland Indians baseball club. This is exactly what Manuel Acta is doing.
Focus on the second half…see how great the team did…build on this is what Acta is preaching. The fan wants all these players to gel and everything to click NOW! Yet, Acta and the rest of the coaching staff, while wanting the team to progress is not pressing. This is Spring Training. Grady is making slow progress. Shin-Soo Choo while hitting for power has slight elbow soreness and will sit out today. This is good. This teaches me a lot as a fan. Be patient! Let them be healthy!
It will be hard to not see Feller out there physically. However, he will be there. I believe this. There will be a video tribute for Feller, a patch worn by the team, and a banner with the words USS Alabama will help begin honoring Mr. Feller. What a wonderful tribute!
There will be battles for the fifth starter, and third base. However, the depth which must develop to make us stronger will be interesting. In baseball, the best thing for this young team is experience. These games will help this team take another step. We as fans must be patient and not be bandwagon fans if we truly wish to see this team be a champion. This is the challenge. Goal: Have a stronger, deeper farm, bench and team!
To review fans (note to self)…be patient….be healthy….be ready….cheer on no matter what! Do not compare this team to others. Accept them for who they are! Hopefully, they compete and win
Good luck Tribe! Train well! Please try to beat the Reds<–ego push "Battle of Ohio"
I remember some years back seeing a young Jake Peavy with the Padres on WGN against the Cubs. The exact totals of the game or details escape me. I do remember it was during the day, however. What I do remember was how much pinpoint control was used by Peavy. “This guy is very tough to hit”, I thought.
I heard about the matchup and was thinking it was going to be one of those 1-0 or 2-1 games. After all, with Fausto pitching so well in Spring Training and Peavy, showing me that he had that control every team wants in an ace, I was just hopeful that our effort offensively was not going to be as OFFENSIVE as it was on Opening Day.
I was watching MLB Network showing the rain falling in at U.S. Cellular Field and thinking the game might not be played. To help me get my baseball fix in just in case the game might not be played, I took my son to his first baseball practice of the season. It had to be cut short due to showers in the area. April had returned. I was getting too used to May-like weather.
Thinking the game might be rained out as I was watching the Bucs and Dodgers begin their game, I heard the Indians were going to play now that the rain stopped. As I was channel surfing, I saw that the Indians were down 3-0 early. I thought to myself “Are we ever going to score?” After all it was now the 3rd and it was not good to see us down by 3 when only 1 hit had been given up. With an ace like Peavy and the temperature allowing breathing to be seen, I thought these factors were going to lead to the demise of the team for the second straight game.
The highlight for me did not come from the offense even though it was nice to see key hits with men on base especially from Sizemore to help tie the score, Matt LaPorta’s double to help us take a 4-3 lead and Andy Marte getting a RBI with a hard shot to Mark Teahen at 3rd leading to a fielder’s choice.
Instead my focus was on our new closer, Chris Perez who we received for Mark DeRosa last year. One may ask “Why?” You see I have seen closers that blow stellar efforts from starting pitching. Tonight I was definitely not in the mood for a Jose “Messup” Mesa-like effort from anyone.
To see Chris not give in even after giving up a walk to the second batter faced in Mark Kotsay even though Andy Marte had to help him in the end with some fine play at first to end the game gave me great satisfaction and great confidence going into tonight’s game as Justin Masterson is due to start against Gavin Floyd and a chance to win series #1 of 2010. I can only hope! Thank God for this opportunity for the Tribe!
Starting this blog again has been tough for me, like trying to start an older car in the dead of Winter that has been sitting in the garage since last October. Thus to get it moving again on the road to successful blogging is not so easy.
Still while the weather in Cleveland, Ohio has not given most that “get out and play ball” feeling, (after all, we were considered the worst major U.S. city for winter weather right above Boston) I was inspired by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and the trucks which left on Monday from Progressive Field to get ready for Spring Training in Goodyear, AZ to begin to write this blog again.
Speaking of the World Champions of the National Football League, the New Orleans Saints taught me a lot about how I should watch sports and how teams should play them.
Here are some thoughts about how they relate to me and I imagine many Cleveland fans.
1. Remembering our history. We Clevelanders put a lot of pressure on ourselves with history. Every year, no matter what the sport, we are constantly being reminded about the albatross of not being a World Champion since 1964, three years before the event now known as the Super Bowl. Sure we have made it to a World Series since then and even a NBA Finals since then, yet never actually won them.
Indians last won it all in 1948.
Browns last won it in 1964.
Cavaliers have never won it all.
As much as I hate to admit it, we seem to wear this title drought around ourselves like a ball and chain
The Saints have had a lot of bad football since their inception in 1967 and never made a Super Bowl in their team history. Their fans never even sensed a champion in their team history. At times in their past, the fans wanted to hide like this.
Ironically their first appearance and attempt at being a champion would be against the son of one of their favorite stars early on in their franchise history in Archie Manning. Perhaps I was sheltered from all the hype this year. I never heard references to being intimidated in facing Peyton Manning the son of a Saints legend, Archie Manning or the fact that this was their first Super Bowl ever and that they should just be happy to be there and take the loss to the future Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning.
So many times I see we Clevelanders or Chicago Cubs fans almost feeling paralyzed and relying on the excuse of so much losing, making excuses about a curse or in Cleveland’s case, the fact that we can’t win it all. This type of mentality along with owners that trade away Cy Young Award winners or all-star teams such as in 1995 and 1997 or 1954 with the Indians. Even today, some fans are creating websites that beg LeBron to stay. I don’t blame them for feeling upset, This mentality is only increased when the owner of the Cleveland Indians is giving indications that Grady Sizemore will be gone after 2011 or 2012.
As painful as the Cubs drought is or the Red Sox before them prior to 2004, I see their cities as ones who did celebrate championships with the White Sox, Chicago Bulls, and Boston Celtics. Cleveland has never won anything to date. Yes there is potential but where is the proof?
Have faith, Cleveland!
As the nation saw, New Orleans was put through Hell with Hurricane Katrina, yet I could remember the noise of the Superdome after the Saints returned on Monday and the energy of how well they won only to lose in the NFC Championship in 2006 against the Bears. This energy took a setback, yet never really faded. It just woke up in 2009-2010 to win the Super Bowl. Our city of Cleveland has really been put through problems, yet like New Orleans, through its sports teams, can win and rebuild.
Make sure the team wins when given the opportunity. When your team makes it to the Super Bowl, NBA Finals or World Series, make sure to win! We, Cleveland fans tend to push a panic button when in a final contest. Instead of looking at all the pain of a history, New Orleans rose up to the occasion and played very well to pull off the win and earn the title of World Champion by being the best this day. They stayed aggressive, were risk takers and fought the entire game to earn their World Championship. No woe is me, no “just happy to be here” attitude. It was simply take a risk and give it your all for the entire game.
Do what it takes, Cleveland! I saw moments when New Orleans could have become so frustrated and surrendered especially after being stopped from scoring in the end zone on two consecutive running plays. Instead of the woe is me attitude prevailing, the Saints and their coach stayed aggressive and we know the result.
If I could rewind the 2007 season as of late, I would see us sitting on a 3-1 lead and act like it was just going to earn us win #4 to become an AL Champion with a great chance to later win the World Series. We need to take our teams and never look back and keep fighting to win a World Championship.
Instead we need to seize the moment. If we are fortunate to gain opportunities to play in a NBA Finals, Super Bowl or World Series again, we need to look at the opportunity as once in a lifetime and be aggressive and smart in trying to prevail! If New Orleans can win it, so can we, the city of Cleveland, Ohio.
Let’s not look back but look forward to smart play. Let’s push forward like the trucks to Goodyear, even though the storms we face may divert or delay our plans to get there on time. When we do get there, we must play smart and aggressive and do what it takes to live in the moment and not in our comfort zone.
Have I made myself clear! I’m back to see Cleveland win a title! As much as I want the Indians to be the ones to do this, I really want any of our sports teams to win it all. After all, titles can help rebuild communities’ economies and spirits. Let’s do it Cleveland, one win at a time. After all they did!