Monday afternoon I was scouting Tyler Chatwood on YouTube and saw that he had a pretty good sinker and wondered if the Indians would not benefit from going up against a rookie. Luckily, I was wrong. The more I read about Chatwood as impressive as he looked and was on the Angels’ depth chart, the more I remembered Cleveland Indians’ history.
It was 1986 and a highly touted prospect of the Indians was then Greg Swindell. He was called up to make his debut against the 1986 Boston Red Sox. That team kicked Greg “the Flounder” around and won 23-5 by sitting primarily on a fastball. Back to the present day, it was Tyler Chatwood’s debut. On the radio, the play by play announcer, Tom Hamilton, said that while the Indians did not have a deep scouting report on Chatwood, the hitting coach prepared the batter by telling them to sit on the fastball. They did sit on the fastball and took full advantage of it to run their winning streak to 8 games and an 8-2 start.
Asdrubal Cabrera started off the scoring with a homerun to deep center field to make it 1-0. Austin Kearns hit a double off the wall at right field to score Orlando Cabrera who hit a line drive single to centerfield to start the offensive onslaught in the second inning. Matt LaPorta added a two run shot to right field that scored him and Kearns. Now the score was 4-0 and a rout seemed to be in place especially with the starting pitching that the Indians have been showing so far in 2011. However, there would be no more scoring. 4-0 was the final score.
Tonight, the Indians will go against Dan Haren, who I always have seen as a true threat, a true ace. The Indians however, with an eight game streak are meeting the challenges they face with such professionalism. On paper, they still are young, inexperienced and yes, shocking even me. Hopefully Fausto Carmona is up to the task of keeping the team in the game and the offense can do well to score just enough. This one can only hope.
On the lower end in A ball, the Lake County Captains, a Cleveland Indians affiliate pitched a no hitter. Three pitchers Trey Haley, Francisco Jimenez and Clayton Ehlert combined for the first no hitter in minor league baseball for 2011 against the Dayton, Ohio Dragons, an affliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The game was the first one at home for the Captains since winning last year’s Midwest League Championship. What a homecoming it was. To read the article go here. Things are really getting exciting as the Cleveland Indians are adding much needed depth.
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!
As I write this, the Tribe is fighting and leading 5-0. I am not counting wins and losses anymore, its just too much depression. I need to refocus on having fun and not taking this season too seriously as I have up until now.
My life is already overwhelming to worry about the Tribe as much. At 22-32, it looks impossible. It would be easy to give up as I have at times this season. Yet, with the start tonight by the team, one can hope that the team will compete once again now that the cloud of pressure surrounding WINNING has somewhat dissipated. I have resolved that the team may lose 100 games. However, I keep hope that the team can make things respectable once again. We shall see. Remember NO MORE EXPECTATIONS, AARON! I tell this to myself. The less I worry or watch, the better they seem to do and the better my health seems to be lately starting tonight.
I keep this low expectation for the minor leaguers though I want to win with each game I attend. The Captains since the last time I wrote lost a close one 9-8 to the West VA. Power and now had their game suspended 1-1 in the 4th. They will try to get it in tomorrow.
Akron lost 12-5 to Reading yesterday and is losing tonight also. Losing streaks are always tough to be a part of as a player, a coach and a fan. So hopeiully Akron is on their way to winning once again. I still like what I see from their team as they remain 3 games out in front and in first place beginning tonight’s action.
More minors tomorrow.
I just want to give a shout out to the trainers for trying to do their best to get the players back playing again. It is frustrating for all in Cleveland after the Cavs lost to see this team and city struggling so. With all the injuries, It is also a wonder they don’t ask MLB officials if they can have paramedics sit where the ballboys are during games just waiting for the next player to fall to injury. It is hard to see. I know the players are finding it hard to experience. Yet we must fight through it, together as a city as I know the team is also doing tonight. Good luck tonight Tribe! That is all we can hope for.
Now onto finding myself a new career once again. Its what I need to focus on.
For the week ahead the Indians after today will be headed to the road against Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox. Unfortunately, the Indians will be traveling like an episode of E.R. With 8 members of the team on the D.L. including the core of Hafner and Sizemore and Martinez day to day with a bruised knee, we can only hope for more from Jhonny, Jamey and Mark DeRosa. When we win, the victories will definitely need to be a team effort. Situational hitting will also be the key.
Looking ahead for the Cleveland Indians, one finds them returning to the road and divisional play. If there was a week to start a streak, this is the one. It will definitely not be easy. 1 more with the Yanks tonight, 3 with the Twins and 3 with the White Sox are what the schedule shows. However if you would have showed me the schedule last Monday, I was definitely ready to mail it in. Yet the Indians have showed some fight sweeping the Rays 4-0 and in a fight to gain a split at 2-2 with the Yankees. We definitely have to earn it tonight. They stand at 22-30 and 7.5 games off the lead in the AL Central in 5th place.
The Columbus Clippers are also under .500 at 25-26 and 4-6 in their last 10. They have lost three in a row. Tonight they wrap it up against Norfolk, tomorrow they go on the road at Charlotte and then wrap up the week against the Gwinnett Braves. Hopefully a winning streak will start for these boys as they have lost three in a row. Yet they remain in 1st place at the time of this report.
In AA, the Akron Aeros are 32-16, yet have lost 4 in a row and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Looking ahead this week, they travel to Reading, PA to take on the Phillies beginning tonight and then to Altoona for 4 to take on the Curve or Pirates’ AA team.
Hopefully they too can start a winning streak also.
Kinston at A advanced is 22-27, are 5-5 in their last 10 and lost 2 in a row. They are scheduled to take on Wilmington and then go on the road against Winston-Salem. Hopefully, they can get back to their winning ways.
Finally, the Lake County Captains are 24-26 and 5.5 games out of first place. They won earlier today against the West Virginia Power (Pirates), will finish with them tomorrow, only to continue on to Hagerstown, Maryland to face face the Suns. ( Nationals org.) Hopefully the winning will continue as this road trip continues.
I have spent the last two days going to see the Lake County Captains, the level A ballclub between Mahoning Valley and Kinston for the Cleveland Indians organization. I see some potential at this level. Still, one never knows what it might bring. I have seen current major league players play here such as Kevin Kouzmanoff, from the San Diego Padres, Ben Francisco and Fausto Carmona play here. Who knows if any of these current players have the potential to become major leaguers?
The people I would think may make a splash someday are Karexon Sanchez, 2B who bats .277 and leads the team with 7 homeruns. On the pitching side I liked what I saw from T.J. House who ended up with a no-decision Sunday. He just seems to have that composure that will benefit the Indians possibly someday He also attacks the strike zone which is what this organization needs. His final numbers Sunday were giving up no runs and 2 hits with 6 strikeouts in 7 innings of work.Too bad he couldn’t get the win after leading the game with the lead.
Saturday’s game at Classic Park had the largest crowd so far for the 2009 season. Sunday I would argue had a more boisterous crowd, although it was much smaller. They seemed a lot more responsive to cheering and clapping hands and spontaneous cheers. It was awesome to be a part of both games.
Tonight I will return to Progressive Field to see David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays face off against Fausto Carmona tonight at 6:05 p.m. I just expect a lot of carryover from last weekend’s series at Tropicana Field. We shall see. I expected we would be on a winning streak at least. Unfortunately, what looked once like an outstanding homestand may be a disaster if we cannot put together some wins here. I hate being the worst when I know the talent here is better than that. However, it is what it is.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY TO ALL FANS, EVERYWHERE! To be able to play or watch baseball today in freedom is the best blessing any fan could ever ask for, yet so often this fan writing takes it for granted. THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHOSE SACRIFICES HAVE PRESERVED FREEDOM FOR OTHERS AROUND THE GLOBE. GOD BLESS AMERICA!
I finally made up my mind. I was thinking about where I want this blog to go. I think I finally came up with an idea for what I want this blog to focus on. Each blog entry will try to focus on more than just the Indians. Along with the Tribe, I will add info about the MILB teams too such as the Columbus Clippers, the Akron Aeros, the Kinston Little Indians, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the Lake County Captains. This way it will be “Totally Tribe” as it was intended. If you have any suggestions or ideas or comments for this blog, feel free to share what you think negatively or positively so that I can learn to become a better blogger.
Here we go.
The Cleveland Indians came into the Queen City tonight with a two game winning streak against Kansas City and a 16-26 record. I read CastroTurf today and read about this Ohio Cup. It is a cup that should bring out the enthusiasm for each city and team. Yet what I saw were teams that looked flat. I was hoping to see the Indians come out and really build off of a fine performance in KC the day before. Instead, I saw Grady and really nothing else. They were being fooled by the Arroyo breaking balls and off-speed pitches and really made no adjustments to overcome this. However, it did not help to lose one of their starters and a key reliever to their 2009 club in Anthony Reyes and Aaron Laffey. Reyes exited the game with right elbow inflammation and Laffey injured his right oblique. Just when I thought we might be headed back to being average, these key injuries felt like a sucker punch right to the gut knocking us back down to feeling like the worst team in the American League again. UGH! This is NOT what we needed AT ALL! The Indians ended up losing more than a 3-1 ballgame. Though one knows not how deep the loss will be at this time. 16-27 is their record. It went from bad to worse. Although there were those that did not need physical injuries to see that the season was lost already. These injuries just made it that much worse.
On to better news.
The Columbus Clippers are in 1st place behind the efforts of Travis Hafner, Justin Brown, Chris Jimenez, Michael Aubrey and Michael Brantley. Its amazing to me how these players are playing under Torey Lovullo. I often wonder if there is some greater credibility to Brandon Phillips, of the Reds. The reason I bring this up when talking about the Clippers is this. These players, except Hafner seem to never have clicked at the Major League level under Wedge. How much of this is Wedge and how much are the players’ inability to produce at the MLB level? Keep up the good work, Torey and the Clippers.
The Akron Aeros are the best team so far in the Eastern League. At 29-9 with a winning percentage at .796, the Aeros are the hottest team thus far at AA. Congrats to Jeanmar Lopez who pitched a perfect game for the Aeros on Thursday. Way to go young man. No matter what level a perfect game occurs, it is still an awesome feat and something to admire. If we could just bottle up what happened and give some of the effort to all of the pitchers at the MLB level.
More minor league news tomorrow….
Yes I know the Indians came from behind yesterday afternoon. Yet tonight, the Tribe showed the same fire that they showed against Bannister. I remember when the Indians had their best season in 2007, pitching and defense were the focus. Now it seems everyone is trying to hit for the fences instead of playing smart. Timely hits, constant effort, a fight in their actions have been replaced with a swing and a drive, way back and caught at the warning track. Defenses and pitchers have adjusted well to our offense for the most part. We have been unable to put together two games in a row that has been worth a winning streak.
I am imploring the players to come out with a hunger that needs to spread. It seems like everyone is not loose, smiling, wanting to improve. People like me say it is early. Yet we are playing like we can turn it around on May 1st, not right now.
These series are critical. We need to WANT October! We play like we want it to be Game 162 so we can pack our bags and go home at 81-81 again or worse. Where is the focus?
First the excuse was “its Spring Training.”, then “Its Texas”, then “its early”, then “its too cold”, then the excuses stopped and we split with New York, then it was back to “its too cold.” Now what is the excuse? “Minnesota is supposed to win the division so…” I’m getting tired of defending the excuses. This team must come out and want the next two against Minnesota and have extreme focus and desire to win. Otherwise, we might as well end this season now and forget wanting to accomplish anything that may be positive for this team. This attitude and approach is unacceptable and is why we can never win in this town. I will not accept this approach. We must GET FOCUSED NOW!
A winning attitude is what will fix this season, the clubhouse, the economy and will shock the world! I know it helped the Lake County Captains, an A level affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, on Thursday night when I kept shouting encouragement to that team and helped bring them a win.
Tribe STOP MAKING EXCUSES and play team ball. Seize the opportunities to shine, stop mental mistakes and physical mishaps. Overcome the shortcomings with SMARTBALL that make wise decisions in the moment. Create opportunities and seize the next two games. We need this series!