Tagged: Travis Hafner

The Cleveland Indians are the best in MLB for the moment. Its all in the numbers.

On a date marked the 1st of the month, the Cleveland Indians came into May with 18 wins, a franchise record for the month of April. What would May bring? Another victory, yes! Now they have 19!

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Before the beginning of the 2011 season, #11 Manny Acta was joking but also somewhat serious when he contemplated how the Cleveland Indians were going to win 100 games. On day 1, #19 was honored and it was announced that a patch for Bob Feller was going to be worn on their sleeve.

 

Also the team promotes all the wonderful events of its 110 year history by saying “what if?” Things are happening for a reason and I say this by faith. The Indians organization led by #11 in 2011 have won 19 and are inspired by #19 on the day marked 01 on the calendar. The organization was established in 1901.

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On this date, if Bob Feller was still alive on Earth, having served in World War 2, he would approve of the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. This was announced to the crowd in Philadelphia in the 9th inning with the score tied 1-1.(9-11) Eventually the Mets would win. This allowed the Cleveland Indians to have the best record in Major League Baseball for at least the one day. What a blessing! Thank God! USA! USA!

It has been a wonderful moment for the USA, for New York and Cleveland also and for the world! Whatever happens from here, God only knows. However, we Cleveland Indians fans can be happy that for the moment we are #1 led by the memory of #19 and the wisdom of #11 and the memories of 1901, 2001 and May 1, 2011.

On a side note, I think it is also special that the offense has been helped so far by the reemergence of  Travis Hafner #48 and the pitching has been helped by #54 Chris Perez. 1948 and 1954 are special years in Cleveland Indians history as you know. I just think it has been a very special year so far. Let’s see what happens next!

 

FIRST PLACE is on the line!

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.

OFFENSE

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.

PITCHING

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.

Stats spell success so far for 2011 Tribe

The Cleveland Indians have WON 7 IN A ROW! This is remarkable since the season start looked bleak after an 0-2 start. How have they done it so far?

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1. Starters The starters have avoided the big inning. In the two losses to begin the 2011 season, the White Sox had a big inning scoring 8 in the 4th inning on Opening Day and 4 in the 2nd inning of Game 2. Since then the big inning has been nonexistant. The starters since Game 2 have allowed, in the 7 wins, 9 total runs. In the 2 losses, the starters have allowed 17 total runs.

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2. Bullpen The bullpen has been very consistent. Coming out of Spring Training, the general consensus has been it was the strength of the team. So far, this has proven to be true. In the 7 wins, the bullpen came in with the lead and never allowed the opposition to tie the score. In the 2 losses the bullpen surrendered a total of 6 runs. In the 7 wins, a total of 5 runs have been surrendered. For a bullpen to be successful, it needs to have a lead to protect. In the two losses, the bullpen added to the chaos caused by the starters. In the seven wins, the lead was never surrendered.

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3. Hitters Anytime a lineup is pressed to score a bunch of runs and come from behind, it makes it very hard to win. In the 2 losses, the Indians at one point found themselves behind 14-0 on Opening Day and 5-0 in Game 2. For the 7 wins, they were only behind in two of the games by the score of 1-0. Otherwise, they scored first and never surrendered the lead. 39 runs scored 13 runs scored in the two losses. They scored 12 in Friday’s win alone. Leading the way is Travis “Pronk” Hafner. He is not relying strictly on the long ball for his offensive production. He is 10-27 with 2 homeruns and had gotten a hit in every game he has played in this season and has a .370 batting average so far. Overall, the team has has a .285 batting average, 6th among all in Major League Baseball, 11 homeruns, tied for 6th in MLB, 86 hits, 6th in MLB and 49 runs batted in, 6th in MLB.

All in all, these consistencies have helped the Tribe to have a successful start to the 2011 campaign. Let us hope these trends can continue to improve as the season continues.

“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.

Opening Day: A tale of two halves. What? This is not the NFL!

When it comes to Opening Day, all types of fans come to the game. Generally, it is the one game the Indians can count on selling out at least for the last 18 years at Jacobs/Progressive Field. Opening Day is an unofficial holiday in NE Ohio! Many people show up at a local establishment to make their predictions and get pumped for the upcoming season. It is an all day event filled with optimism that perhaps this year we will surprise the world and actually “go all the way” or at least compete and be entertaining.

This was the atmosphere before the game. However this year, someone very dear was missing who will be honored throughout the 2011 season, Bob Feller. The pregame was very moving with a video tribute to Bob along with the baseball placed on the mound by his wife, Anne.

The sun came out hours before the game and filled yesterday with hope for all fans. With God’s blessing, the weather resembled Bob’s life, full of light and warmth. This was going to be a great day. All fans were giving predictions for scores, all of which favored our beloved team.

The first pitch, a called strike, was fitting. Just like Bob. Yet Fausto Carmona, never really seemed relaxed. Juan Pierre got a hit to lead off the game, then another by Beckham. Dunn struck out. However, Konerko hit one into right field and scored Pierre. Quentin added another hit to score Beckham and it was already 2-0 before the Indians even got to bat.

The game was played like two halves to a football game in a football town. However, this was baseball. Still in football language, the White Sox were up by the equivalent to a safety in football early in the first quarter. The second inning it seemed like Fausto settled down and it was going to be okay. The third inning a couple of “bombs” were launched into the stands off the bats of Adam Dunn and Carlos Quentin. After the end of the 1st quarter of the game for the White Sox, the score was equal to the total of two field goals as the White Sox were up 6-0. Remember this is baseball! Things were not looking well. The fourth inning was even worse and the rout was on resembling a 1986 memory where Greg Swindell lost his major league debut, 24-5 as the White Sox added a double factory and Dubble Bubble bubble gum sponsorship was nowhere to be found among the many scoreboard, foul pole and outfield advertisements. The White Sox were up by the equivalent of two touchdowns, 14-0 after 4 innings and remained that way until the bottom of 6. Colt McCoy, the Browns quarterback was nowhere to be found due to the fact that this was baseball and it doesn’t help his league is in a lockout.

The Indians thanks to the effort of of some consecutive singles added what equaled two safeties in football in the 6th and some timely “bombs” of their own cut the score to a touchdown and extra point deficit by the end of 7 innings. It was 14-7 in the 4th quarter of the game. After another run was added by the White Sox making the score 15-7, the thought of tying the score with another touchdown now required the two point conversion. Did we have enough for a two minute, er…two inning drive?

Thanks to the efforts of key hitting by Michael Brantley to get Matt LaPorta and Jack Hannahan home and Matt LaPorta hitting a single to score Hafner in the ninth, the score added a field goal and became a much more respectable 15-10. On the way out, I said to the greeter at the gate who said “Thanks for coming.” Thanks, at least it wasn’t boring. When going to sporting events, if we don’t have the talent to win a lot yet, we fans at least want to see our teams compete. And compete they did. Thank you to the Cleveland Indians for not giving up and competing until the last out. Hopefully they will pull out a W today. This fan can only hope.

Player of the game: Carlos Santana thanks to his key hits scoring the first run as well as another homerun

Looking forward to perhaps some positive consistency

For all my whining, all the sighs, frowns, grunts, curse words, from others and myself, the outlook today for the Cleveland Indians at 24-33 and 6 games out of 1st place gives me great hope. That’s right, GREAT HOPE! The true ace of the staff this year is Carl Pavano, well at least a #2 starter. Why, you may ask? Consistency. We can count on him to go out and give the team a boost. Now if only we could see this same effort from all parties today.

Today Jeremy Sowers will go out and try to give us another boost against Gavin Floyd. Hopefully if everything goes the Tribe’s way, this performance will be repeated.

Chi White Sox IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Floyd (L, 2-3) 5.0 11 8 8 3 3 0 7.32

These were Gavin Floyd’s numbers against the Tribe back on May 11th, 2009. Another thing to make a note against Floyd is his 6.65 ERA in day games. However, Gavin is much better at home than on the road. Today’s game will be at home for him.

Sowers will take a 12.60 ERA for road games into today’s action. I just hope he can give more of what he has shown against Tampa Bay and the New York Yankees today against the White Sox. His numbers however if the past is any indicator have also been shaky against the pale hose.

Cleveland IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Sowers (L, 0-2) 4.0 7 5 5 3 3 3 12.00

This game will be seen on Fox locally today. I am looking to see an offensive shootout with us coming out on top. Let’s do it men in memory of Richard Jacobs!

Cleveland Indians' Travis Hafner rounds the bases after hitting ...

My thoughts on Pronk:

Glad he finally arrived to take some pressure off Victor. I hope that he understands that he is truly a leader for our team. If consistency prevails for him, we should be that much better offensively. The question is IF! Well, I said in past blog entries that I had no expectations for this team so I should just sit back and enjoy this. I just want good health for him. After all, with Grady, Asdrubal and others either on the D.L. or struggling, seeing him hit that homerun is just what this offense needs. Now what we need from him is consistency. Here’s hoping and praying this is the case.

Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona wipes sweat from his ...

My thoughts on Carmona:

I’m glad he is where he is as long as he gets straightened out. He was not showing his dominant side. I was hearing rumors about him from some people I work with who are close to him. He was not in a good place so this move was necessary if those stories were true. Rather than assume and speculate about their validity, I will just hope Fausto gets the help he needs to become the pitcher we need him to be.

A new idea…

 

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.

 


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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.


Clippers_logo.jpgThe Columbus Clippers are in 1
st 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.

4976.gifThe 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. 

 


akr5210.jpgMore minor league news tomorrow….