Tagged: Shin-Soo Choo

What a difference a game makes!

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.

“My oh my!” BIG inning helps Tribe win 5!

The Cleveland Indians came into the action with 4 wins and 2 losses, fresh off a sweep of the powerful Boston Red Sox to face an old friend and manager, Eric Wedge. Like the late Herb Score was for Clevelanders, Dave Niehaus was for the Seattle fans. What an awesome tribute for Seattle fans! I thought going into the game that this tribute along with Eric Wedge trying to show his former team some “revenge” that the game was going to be tough to win. Thankfully I was wrong.

Dave Niehaus’s famous line was “My oh my” The only fans saying this would be the Cleveland Indians fans staying up to watch the game to see the offensive onslaught by the Cleveland Indians offense. The scoring started with a linedrive homerun by Asdrubal Cabrera, batting right handed off the left hander Jason Vargas, that just cleared the left field wall to make the score 1-0.

The fourth inning was the inning that seemed to last forever as the Cleveland Indians kept hitting and scoring runs, 10 of them. “My oh my” was right! With Shin-Soo Choo on third and Carlos Santana on first, Travis Hafner was able to hit a broken bat bloop single to score Choo. It was now 2-0. Austin Kearns had a RBI double to score Hafner. Santana scored earlier off a single by Orlando Cabrera. In all it was 4-0 now. LaPorta sacrificed Cabrera home with a fly ball to make it 5-0. Jack Hannahan added an opposite field single to score Kearns and make it 6-0. Another run was hit in by Carlos Santana off the relief pitcher Tom Wilhemsen making it 7-0. All 7 runs were charged to Vargas. Another runner scored on the play also. It was 8-0 and Travis “Pronk” Hafner came back up. With Choo on second base and Carlos Santana on 1st base, “Pronk” launched a ball off the second deck to make the score 11-0. “My oh my!” The Indians added a final run off a wild pitch off Tom Wilhemsen in the top of the 5th inning to score LaPorta who walked in the top of the 5th. It took a former Indian, Aaron Laffey to stop the Seattle bleeding in the top of the 6th inning.

The Cleveland pitching did very well to keep the Seattle offense off the board for the first 4 innings. It was not until the bottom of the 5th that the Mariners scored a run. Carrasco showed in this inning some control problems as he hit the first batter Brendan Ryan and walked Ryan Langenhaus only to have the future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki single home Ryan to make the score 12-1. Two more runs were surrendered in the ninth inning off of Frank Herrmann to make the final score 12-3. The pitching overall was great especially from the starter Carlos Carrasco and the middle relief Justin Germano who combined for 8 innings of 1 run on 4 hits 5 walks and 8 strikouts.

Often I think that when a pitching staff is up by a bunch of runs, the focus sometimes is off for getting people out. Yet the Indians pitchers overall did awesome to not let the Mariners return the favor of a big inning to turn it into a softball game. Thanks to their efforts, the Indians now stand atop the AL Central all alone at 5 wins and 2 losses. They will try to continue their winning ways when Masterson takes the mound tonight against Doug Fister.

How sweep it is to beat the Red Sox! Tied for first!

After the outstanding Game 4 effort in beating Beckett, the Indians began another Game 5. Ah Game 5’s against Boston in other more highly spotlighted features did not bode well for Cleveland. The NBA Conference Semifinals losing 120-88. Also the famous “shot ” by Michael Jordan stuck a dagger right into our heart beating the Cavaliers at the buzzer. In Major League Baseball, there was a drubbing from Josh Beckett losing 7-1 in the 2007 ALCS. Still another in 1999 in the ALDS losing 12-8 to Pedro Martinez. This was game 5 of 162 of the 2011 Major League Baseball season. What would this game bring to add to the Game 5 lore? Something totally wonderful.

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It would bring power. Shin-Soo Choo would start off the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two run homerun to right center field. It would continue in the bottom of the 6th with a three run homerun by Asdrubal Cabrera off Dan Wheeler. It would also add a two run shot by Adrian Gonzalez of the Red Sox and a solo shot by Matt LaPorta would cap off the night.

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It would bring a lot of beanings. It started with Orlando Cabrera getting beaned by Matsusaka in the 1st. In retaliation, Pedroia received a HBP by Talbot in the top of the 3rd inning. Dennys Reyes hit not one but two players in a row. First Buck, then LaPorta in the 6th inning . What was going on?

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It was freezing, or at least it felt this way. The temperature seemed to be dropping instead of rising.

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The fog reminded me of some movie in London starring Sherlock Holmes or the Werewolf. How fitting since the Red Sox nation was indeed trying to solve the mystery of why their team had not won a game so far or were going through a horror movie coming through a fog, something Acta called Dracula weather. It was a very well pitched game. Nothing was going out of the park this day. Whenever the ball would get in the air, it would look to be going out and then be an easy popcorn fly ball and caught. I kept telling myself that the first one to score would win this game.

The Indians missed a first chance to score when Austin Kearns popped a bunt foul only to have it caught by Jarrod Saltalamacchia leaving Shelley Duncan stranded.The following inning however, Asdrubal Cabrera shocked the Sox by hitting a cue ball like he was playing pool nailing the ball down the third base corner pocket. It looked to me from my angle to be closer than it was to be too risky. I thought Everett could be tagged out but he was not. Thus the Indians were successful in making it a 1-0 lead

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The errors in judgment continued for the Red Sox when Darnell McDonald overran second base. From my angle, Darnell looked safe as well as Jacoby Ellsbury appeared to be out earlier in the game at second base at first view. The replays show things to be different at least for the Ellsbury call. I think however being on the road and 0-5 plays a psychological edge in how the game may be viewed. Thus it is harder to get close calls in your favor.

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The Indians are now in first place tied with the favored Chicago White Sox and upstart KC Royals as they begin their first road trip test. It is not a typo. The late, great Dave Nilhaus will be honored adding emotion for the Mariners to do wellas well as Wedge trying to beat his former organization that he won AL Manager of the Year in 2007. After sweeping the Red Sox and about to face Wedge, the Indians will be full of emotion too. I hope the Indians can get off to a great start on the road and continue their winning ways. We shall see beginning tonight. It is fitting to say how sweep it is to slay the Goliath Red Sox, be tied for first for the moment in the American League Central and now honor a great baseball broadcaster named David. Yes the story is indeed fitting. Thank God for it all.

Ready for the opening, Acta? He sure is. Am I? Notes before game

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"

2 out of 3 ain’t bad:reflections from the week gone by.

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!

Thanks to Homer, we get to Bart for the series win. DOH!

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!

Thoughts about the Red Sox-Indians game 2

When the Red Sox play us, it is intense. Tonight, expecting to sit in the upper deck, my sister-in law surprised me by saying tonight’s plans had changed, we were going to sit right behind home plate. It was very intense and I was into it from the first pitch.

I was trying to get her camera to work at the right time. After a while I trusted her to get all the right shots which I will share soon. With the Red Sox, our team had to earn it. Here are some personal observations.

Dustin Pedroia- One can see how he earned the MVP. He is like Mighty Mouse coming to save the day and really an intense competitor for such a small guy.

Kevin Youkilis- He has such quick bat speed.He is very intense. I noticed that the fans of Red Sox Nation throughout the park tonight liked to get him motivated by telling him how bad he is, so I tried the reverse one inning which I cannot recall and told him how he was this year’s MVP so far and he promptly struck out swinging.

Big Papi- He will not get cheated. His outs are LOUD and his hits are louder.

When we down 5-1, I saw a reversal of fortune with error #1 from Mike Lowell. Thank you Mike! It was really special to know that your effort helped us continue the inning.

Also, error #2 was special to see to keep our inning alive. God’s grace was allowing luck to happen again for us.

Now breaking away from the errors, I kept telling the bullpen to trust their stuff and their team defense and we were able to get out of jams in each inning.

Also I told Louis Ben Francisco to earn some respect from these “self proclaimed World Champions of 2009.” At least that was the impression their fans gave as they relentlessly said “Let’s go Red Sox” as though they were already too awesome to ever lose again.
On the next pitch, Louis, in my personal doghouse, nailed it deep of the the left field foul pole to tie up this war of atrition making the score 7-7.

When the Red Sox thanks to Lugo’s key hit helped Bay score and make the score 8-7, I just told the players not to lose their focus and trust their stuff. They got out of another tough jam.

I told DeRosa to do his best to get a hit and he launched one of the very tough Takishi Saito. What a shot! I just thought this was very special.

Still with Boston, one can never feel too relaxed as a fan of Cleveland. The job Kerry Wood did to get out of the ninth inning was awesome. I really was impressed. I hope this can continue tomorrow.

I just kept asking God to help this team win this night for the community, the city and put Boston FINALLY on a losing streak, even if just for a night. Sure enough, in the most unforeseen play so far this season, it looked like such a routine play and when the third error occurred, I knew that my prayer was answered. It took everything in my power to look up and point to the sky with a big smile and bigger exhale knowing I was emotionally spent saying “Thank you God for this big break!” Call it luck for the Tribe, call it carelessness on Lopez. I believe it was an answer to a prayer that led to an eighth win and an opportunity to WIN a series against a VERY tough team that has a nation of fans.
Thank you God for this wonderful blessing. Hopefully it can stir a spark that will lead to a big series win tomorrow. I can only HOPE in God and the Tribe as I will have to stay more neutral and less CRAZY as a fan.

A note about the eighth inning: I kept thinking about “Sweet Caroline.” We have our “Hang on Sloopy” where we cay O-H-I-O and perform the gestures. Well I was trying to inspire the team at the time and say “just O-W-I-N guys” The next inning, call it what you will, we were allowed to do just that, thanks be to God!

Here is another crazy analogy about Tribe history I found ironic that I was thinking about in the ninth that give you that six degrees of separation type of game. As you know Terry Francona’s father Tito played for the Tribe and so did Terry. Pitching coach Farrell played for the Tribe and was one of our key player development personnel before joining the Sox. Now in the ninth, in comes Javier Lopez, former Twin and Angel. His number is 48, the year the Indians last won it all. His name Lopez, which reminds me of Al Lopez, one of the top managers who managed the 1954 Indians. Just a crazy way that helped me believe this was fate and God’s Will for this night.

Here are some pictures I had my sister-in-law took of the Tribe players at bat on base and after the game: