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.
This week has been one where I was either working or watching ballgames live at a ballpark or playing the game or trying to catch up on rest. Whatever you may think, it has been a busy time.
Since I last wrote a blog, my thoughts were focused on Pavano pitching like the ace of the staff this year. What happens? He gets shelled. It was a night I wish I would have taken off early when working at the gate. Instead, I stayed and saw the worst game of the year so far performed by the team. The team gave up early and the effort given was inexcusable.
The next night, it was clear on paper that we were going to outdueled by Zack Greinke, a candidate for the AL Cy Young What happened? We got to him late and pulled off an upset thanks to Jhonny Peralta key hit to tie the game up with a shot that almost went off the left field wall. Shin Soo-Choo later hit a bird that was well publicized. It caught the attention of one of co-workers the next day saying they were a good luck charm. Also, he thought, it might be a sign that we need to change the name of the team to the Lake Erie Seagulls instead of the Cleveland Indians. Whatever results from this suggestion, the team more importantly won another series.
Friday was a spectacular night. The sun was shining. The atmosphere was buzzing. In were coming the St. Louis Cardinals. Someone told me without naming the source that nationally, the Cardinals were the third or fourth most followed team in the nation as a whole behind the Yankees and Dodgers at least. Although, I think the Red Sox are above the Cardinals in popularity, nationally. Anyway, scouting the Cardinals as I was, (Mind you, I am an amateur) I found the Cardinals to be a team where Pujols is the only one to worry about on that team. Hey he hit 2 homeruns and drove in a third to help the Cards score 3 runs while our team approach was good enough Friday to score 7. Game 1 of the series belonged to the Tribe.
Saturday I went to the game with my children and my wife. We sat in the upper deck to see Albert Pujols hit another two home runs. Someone please tell Wedge, the manager that it’s okay to walk Pujols. Quit pitching to him. No one else seemed to hit that much. To solve the bird problem, the team kept shooting fireworks to keep the birds off the field and it worked. The effort offensively was not there this day and it resulted in a loss.
After the game, the birds were everywhere on the field as the fans including my family were treated to Major League. For Cleveland Indians fans, this will always be a classic.
Sunday afternoon, my family again attended a minor league game at Classic Park to see a game between the Lake County Captains and the Phillies affiliate from Lakewood, New Jersey. Lakewood is on their way to winning the first half of the South Atlantic League. The Captains fell behind early yet scored 4 in the bottom of the ninth to make it interesting and almost pull off a solid comeback. Wow, what a finish! Unfortunately it was not enough as the Captains fell short losing 9-7. Hey we were down 9-3 and were able to make it interesting at the end.
Sunday night, I needed a break from baseball. Yet I still wanted to watch to scout the Indians hitters since I needed to perhaps pick one to continue my streak from Beat the Streak. Here I was surprised to find how easily our team was getting to Chris Carpenter. On paper, I was thinking again that a loss might be ours. Why? Cliff Lee led the league in hits allowed and Albert Pujols was a hitting machine. Yet, this is not what happened. Instead, Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homerun and Kelly Shoppach hit a solo shot and had a double. This alone was enough to beat the Cards. Pujols and the rest of the Cards were almost no-hit by Cliff Lee. A three hit shutout was thrown by Lee on the second consecutive national television audience. What it meant was a third consecutive series win by the Indians. All I can say is WOW!
One nice thing to see from the Cardinals’ series was the amount of Cubs’ fans with DeRosa on the back of their jerseys amidst all the Cardinal fans that showed up. Way to go Tribe and way to go, fans!
Tonight, the NL Central leading Brewers are in town. Its’ again time for Pavano to erase the poor start he had against KC. He will be going up against Dave Bush who lost his last four starts. Hopefully this series winning mentality will be continued. We shall see. Go Tribe!
When you have a limited amount of time to get your point across, you have have to choose carefully how to summarize a whole lot in short order. Such has been my blog lately especially today.
Half of baseball is 90% mental…Yogi Berra
The mental approach from the Tribe early on and later on by the Royals was terrible, yet when the mental errors are in your favor, it helps. Still early on I was not happy seeing the Indians fall down 4-0 and basically throwing away a golden opportunity to improve the team.
Still seeing the Royals return the favor was a welcome relief. The mental approach returned to the Tribe after their offense was uplifted by the Royals. What I envisioned as a big, big mess was turned into a big blast thanks to Mark DeRosa’s grand slam.
I return to the park today excited that this streak can continue with this year’s best pitcher on the team in Carl Pavano. He has been giving us ace-like outings and I hope this continues.
Keep the mental edge going and work hard to continue what you have started, Tribe! Keep the winning going!
Tonight as I was watching the Yankees show power over the Rays, I was enjoying the fact that the Indians were off for the first time in about a month and enjoying the fact that the Indians were coming off a series win vs. the White Sox taking two out of three games due to fast balls thrown right over the heart of the plate leading to back to back homeruns twice in yesterday’s game and 8-4 win. The rookies on the team really shined with home runs from Luis Valbuena and Chris Gimenez followed by homeruns back to back from Victor Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo. What made it extra special was this offensive showcase was against Bartolo Colon, a former Tribe pitcher. These homers along with a defensive gem from Trevor Crowe helped the tribe shine to a series win.
Knowing the Royals are 1-9 in their last 10 games gives me confidence this series will also help our team overcome the odds, and come out on top. If we do then we should be out of the cellar. We shall see as our first adversary will be Brian Bannister. Good luck tomorrow, boys!
When reading the pitching probable for yesterday’s matchup courtesy of MLB.com, it showed Cleveland’s Cliff Lee with a 12-4 lifetime record and 5-0 in 2008 vs. the Royals. On the other side, it showed KC’s Bannister with a 2-0 record against the Indians at Progressive Field. It showed me that a pitching duel was going to take place and someone’s streak was going to be tarnished.
The weather started out pretty raw, yet fair. As I worked, it was okay, as long as I kept working. The Royals philosophy is one that moves the runners. It says “get on, move the runners, hit and run and do the little things to get the runners home” This is exactly what they did as Coco Crisp got on with a double to the opposite field only to be moved over with two sacrifice flies. (1-0 KC)
Before last night, The Tribe had played from behind in 8 of the 14 games played so far. In those games where they have trailed, the Indians were 2-6. The odds were not in their favor trailing once again. Still there was hope because the Tribe trailed the previous night and came from behind to hold on 8-7 for the win.
However, Brian Bannister had the Tribe off balance all night. When we were thinking fast, he pitched slower. When we we thinking slow, he pitched fast. In the 4th, we had our best chance to score something with two consecutive hits, yet Jhonny Peralta hit a groundball to shortstop Mike Aviles who was able to get the lead runner throwing to the third baseman Mark Teahan. Shin Soo Choo followed with a flyout to centerfield and Kelly Shoppach struck out looking.
As the night went on, the night became bonechilling cold. The Indians’ opportunities seemed to grow colder also. As for the Royals, in the 7th, two straight singles by Mike Jacobs and Alberto Callaspo followed by Willie Bloomquist two batters later. (KC 2-0)
The Indians saved their best chance for scoring in the ninth when with one out, Jhonny Peralta walked and Shin Soo Choo hit a single up the middle. Kelly Shoppach hit a ball that looked like it was going to carry yet DeJesus was able to catch it as he fell to the ground. Peralta and Choo were able to advance to second and third once there was a passed ball. Now with one hit, we could tie it up. Instead, Trevor Crowe struck out looking.
The Indians seemed like a plane ready to take off, yet being grounded at the last minute looking at the Royals as they ran just enough to score twice. It was a rotten night for both, the Royals just took advantage of the opportunities a little more.
One bright spot of the night was the arrival of Tony Sipp. His inning of work in the top of the ninth was OUTSTANDING! Seeing him strikeout Mike Jacobs was AWESOME! Anytime I see a power pitcher strike out a power hitter especially since the pitcher was on my team is just simply AWESOME! It will be great to see him in action if yesterday was a sign of a bullpen transformation.
Now the Indians have trailed in 9 of the 15 games played and are 2-7 in those games. No wonder 5-10 is our record. With baseball there is always hope that today will put us on a winning streak which is what I want when facing Boston. Hey, how about the next four games, guys? After all, the weather will be getting nicer.
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.
Well I tried something different after dinner tonight. I invited my kids and wife to each write down where they thought each team would finish in the AL Central just to get differing opinions from my own perhaps.
First up was my daughter. She selected the White Sox for last, the Tigers for fourth, the Royals for third, the Indians for second and the Twins for first. I asked her why, She said the White Sox were too young, the Tigers were better offensively but their pitching was still suspect, the Royals were going to shock the division and do well, the Indians were going to fall just short and the Twins with the best pitching were going to carry the division.
Next was my son. He selected the Tigers for last because they were from a place he doesn’t like and the pitching is terrible. The Royals were going to remain a little better than them. The Twins system makes sense for third, the White Sox with their pitching were better than every team except Cleveland who have a really good heart. The heart is what makes the team great. Their team effort was going to make them the best.
Finally my wife stated the Tigers were going to be in fifth. When asked why, she stated that ESPN, the Magazine put them in the cellar. She was influenced by that and agreed. The White “Sux” as she likes to call them will be fourth. When asked why, she said they are as bad as the Tigers but she thought the Tigers were going to be slightly worse. The Royals were going to be third as a very improved team. The Twins reputation is to always exceed expectations so mark them for second. The Indians were first because they were her favorite team.
Now comes my turn.
This division may be tighter than even the experts think. Each team gives reasons for why they win and why they lose the division. Still I will try to give my best reasons for why they will finish the way they do.
The White Sox will go from 1st to 5th this year in the division. I know I hear all of you saying a lot of things. Remember, this is my opinion. However, I think I have a good argument for this. This team needed 163 games to win the division last year with a lot more talent. This year they lost Crede, Griffey Jr., Nick Swisher, Javier Vazquez and Juan Uribe. Their team is younger and inexperienced. New everyday players include Chris Getz and Josh Fields. The first three starters are solid yet former Indian Bartolo Colon is #4. Bottom line, this team lost too much, too quickly if they plan to compete in 2009.