We are now 2 weeks until Spring begins. We are now 26 days until the Cleveland Indians play ball. Michael Brantley has been kept out the lineup for 4 days now including today because of what is reported to be “leg soreness” according to local reports. Yet if Opening Day were today, he said he could go and play. Jason Donald, who injured his hand over the weekend after being hit by Gavin Floyd on Saturday did not take batting practice and remains day to day. I really think the Indians want to make sure these two men are coming north April 1st when games for Opening Day at Progressive Field against the White Sox.
However, one young man I would like to see play is Lonnie Chisenhall. I attended the Indians Town Hall meeting in February and another fan asked Manny Acta about this. Manny wants to see him play at AAA a while before handing him the everyday third base duties. MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian tweeted this in one of his updates. I speculate this to be the case because of what happened to former Indian and current Reds 2nd baseman, Brandon Phillips. In rushing him, I can remember seeing Phillips go back and forth between Cleveland, Ohio and then AAA Buffalo. This helped lead to his release because of his inconsistency.He went to the Reds and well, we know how successful he has been for them. I believe the Indians want to be certain Chisenhall plays at AAA for awhile before bringing him up to the Major League club.
I argue that he is ready. Chisenhall is showing me consistency where other players just are not producing. I think Lonnie Chisehall can be a viable conteded on this club from day 1. His performance is awe-inspiring. Chisenhall in 7 games is 7-15 2 doubles, 2 homers 4 RBI with a .556 batting avg. I think he has heart and wants to be that great third baseman that has eluded Cleveland since Casey Blake was traded.
To the Indians front office’s credit, this is Spring Training and I think if Chisenhall were to come up to the major league team at this time, he probably would be a bench player. Acta wants Lonnie to receive everyday at bats and not be bench bound or be forced to fill a role when Jason Donald or Jayson Nix who were with the club last year are scheduled to be ready to go.
I think however, in a town where potential high prospects are needed to help hype up and makethis team better faster, the pressure comes from us fans for them to be “saviors” and push the team for more success. For those who want “@theChizKid” up here in Cleveland like myself, I guess the best thing to do is be patient and try to travel down to Columbus which is only 2 hours away. If he is successful there, it will be sooner, not later that Progressive Field will be home to the top prospect. Meanwhile as with all the “kids” we will just have to trust that the front office knows what they are doing with Lonnie.
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.
Many times in Spring training I am bringing plenty of extra sheets. Cross out, erase, change numbers, change names. Who’s that? What’s his name? Something like Albert and Costello.
So when one sees the box score of 7-6 on Sunday, they might be upset to see that we blew a 6-1 lead. Yeah, I know the games do not count. So I looked deeper to what positive this Spring Training game showed.
The first thing that popped out to me was the styles of play exhibited by the two teams. The pitchers’ duel until the bottom of the seventh the way Feller would have pitched it (1-1)turned into a barrage of runs from the 7th inning on, showing 6 runs for Cincinnati and 5 for Cleveland. Thus, the 7-6 final score.This resembled the way Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine teams played. Score, score, score!
Secondly, the third basemen did well. When reading about how the Indians are looking for a third baseman and 5th starter, it was great to see everyone in contention for these spots getting their work in and doing well. Jason Donald, one third baseman candidate and the one to most likely win the position at least at the start of the 2011 campaign went 1-2 with a double and a run scored. The third baseman of the future, Lonnie Chisenhall, went 2-3 with two doubles and two runs batted in.
Last but not least, in terms of the 5th starter candidates, their lines showed how the two gentlemen want this spot to be theirs. Josh Tomlin, one candidate for #5 started the game finishing with two innings pitched, giving up 1 hit and throwing 1 strikeout. The other candidate, Aaron Laffey, pitched 1 inning only giving up 1 hit.
In both cases, the competition for the fith starter and hot corner was heating up in the desert right out of the gate. When it comes to this production, I, as a fan like to see the depth it creates and the options it presents for Manager Manny Acta.
Notes from Game 2. 2/28/2011 This day back home in northeast Ohio brought flooding to many, myself included. Not a pleasant situation at all. Yet in terms of baseball, it was pleasant as someone opened the flood gates not to the parched earth of the Arizona desert but to the run department of the Cleveland Indians. While most of us were trying to assess the damage to our property back home, the Indians were breaking open the flood gates with one run off Bronson Arroyo
the possible #1 starter, one run off the closer,
Francisco Cordero, two runs off Dontrelle Willis,
trying to get a spot on the starting rotation and four runs, three earned off Nick Masset
(the man only gave up 20 earned runs last year in 76 innings pitched. Already he gave up 3 earned runs in 1/3 of an inning.) I know Reds fans, the games do not count but still, I would be concerned especially with Masset.
Offensively, I was impressed with Ezequiel Carrera, the AAA gentleman who we received when dealing Russell the muscle Branyan to Seattle last season. Speaking of muscle, Ezequiel is showing consistency going 1-3 with 2 runs batted in game 2 and in game 1, he went 1-2 with a homerun. Take that muscle! I’m keeping my eye on this kid’s progress.
Today the Dodgers come to town, with the very recent loss of Duke Snider. I remember me as a three year old living in AZ wearing a Dodger cap. I was a fan but never saw them play in person at that time. There were no D-Backs then, so for me, I too I share my condolences and tip my cap for one of the greatest Dodgers, Mr. Snider. Thank you, Duke!