Saturday, April 30, 2011

Quite a Welcome for Alex White

I bet you thought I was going to have a clever joke in the title about Albuquerque.  You were wrong. Actually I wanted to have some sort of awesome quote from A Clockwork Orange but that didn't work out welly-well. I went with vanilla title.

Alex White gave up 2 homers today, in the 4th. Scott Cabrera is not surprised. Alex White also takes the field to Billy Squire's "The Stroke". He is TOTALLY going to fit in here! But, seriously, he did great in his first major league start - especially with his whole family AND the entire Tarheel Baseball staff in attendance. Two runs but only on six hits, four strikeouts and only four walks. Fits right in, for real.

Our bullpen got the full stretch tonight, first with the "planned" Smith and Pestano in the 7th and 8th, and Chris Perez capping off the 9th. Only, our lineup didn't catch fire tonight so we had to figure out what was on the other side of the door and the answer is Rafael Perez (still gave up no runs) in the 10th and 11th, and Sipp in the 12th and 13th. Not bad to have 5 guys come out and give up no runs!

Hannahan was impressive at third today, picking up a sa-weet out from a bare-handed grab. He tried to make such a grab last night and almost did it (this was while coming across the middle of the diamond, tho) and tonight he actually almost bobbled it, but instead he looked like a great third baseman and got Miguel Cabrera out at first. Hammy and Hegan threw out the term "Gold Glove" after that one but...rly? Being from Cleveland I don't quite know what a Gold Glove third baseman looks like, so maybe I just don't get it. But, Gold Glove level or not, he's top quality for Cleveland PLUS he bats so we'll keep him!

Santana was looking like a first baseman today too AND he got his 5th home run, tying Asdrubal to lead the team. Santana was at first because both Grady and Hafner were out today. Hafner is still nursing the sore ankle but Acta said he was available to pinch hit, and will probably be back Monday.

Grady had off today because he is supposed to have a break after every 3rd game, and he had actually gone 4 games. So there was no choice but to let him sit.

But it's cool, because there wasn't much going on in the outfield and we've got Michael Brantley to fill Grady's other important role as lead-off man.

Brantley did his duty by getting 3 hits in the game (.297!) including a hit to lead off the 13th, and then drew a wild throw to first putting him on second. This of course gave our Bunter Of The Year Asdrubal Cabrera a chance to bunt him to 3rd, which is what happened. Choo, who is getting scarier (to other teams) every day got intentionally walked and guess what? So did Santana who is super scary to the Tigers right now.


Now you've got the bases loaded and really, if you look at the rest of our lineup, you have not done yourself any favors. Any of those guys can get a hit at any time. ESPECIALLY Orlando Cabrera. He's a veteran, he's gotten some key hits for us today. ESTE ES UNO DE DOS CABRERAS! 

And well, if you managed to get out Orlando Cabrera, Jack Hannahan would have figured it out.

So, another walk-off win for the Tribe. Really fun baseball these last two nights, even though it was sort of low-scoring and/or intermittent scoring. I had a great time, how about you?! Playing for that 18th April win and to gain a whole game over a team in the standings, all that stuff really adds to the excitement.

Speaking of excitement, you MUST check out this Facebook page, Tom Hamilton has the Best Home Run call in all of Baseball. Dude caps all of Hammy's home run calls and puts them on Facebook. It's the best audio clip Facebook page ever in the history of audio clip Facebook pages (do others exist?) I watched the video of Santana's walk off grand slam about 5 times on MLB.com last night but then today I watched Hamilton's version another 5 times. Goosebumps!

Speaking of MLB.com, you might think that I work for MLB.com or shill for them or get some sort of kickback for mentioning them but I actually don't. I guess maybe I am just a fan of Web sites that deliver fresh content and stuff. I don't know...I like it. I don't get money from them but if I did, you bet I'd be talking about them three times as much! Will blog for free swag!

Did anyone check out the John Adams (patron saint of The Positive Tribe) stuff at the game today? The Defend Cleveland Show reported that there were indeed drum lines present and he threw out the first pitch. Here's a picture of the only mention of it on Twitter. I would like to know more, tho. Tried to get someone to go to the game with me today...actually tried two someones...and failed. Did you know that John Adams has only missed 37 games (Wikipedia says 34..?) since 1973? I am pretty happy that so many people came out to see the game (25k plus) on John Adams day because seriously people, if he can come EVERY DAY then we can come out more often. We can even take turns.

Radio Chatter:
"There isn't a prettier ballpark than this one when it fills up like it did tonight. There's a new energy at the corner of Carnagie and Ontario."
- Tom Hamilton

"Looking at his jersey, he's got letters starting at his waist, going up and ending again at his waist."
- Tom Hamilton, commenting on Al Alburquerque

"He only weighs about a hundred pounds. [...] If his name was Saltalamacchia it would go all the way around his number. He only needs a few more letters."
- Mike Hegan's take on Alburquerque's name

"You're saying 'Why not go to Everett?' and it's because Jack Hannahan, against left handed pitching this year, is hitting .529."
- Tom Hamilton

"Jim Leyland, who normally has a cigarette going, has smoke coming out of his ears."
- Tom Hamilton on Brennan Boesch's first-pitch popup with a man at second in the 13th inning.

"...Unfortunately, April is over."
- Tom Hamilton

Supernatural

You know what I like best about this team? Better than the good pitching, better than the lightning fast outfield, better than the super cheap seats...?

I like that the whole team can hit. There is no soft spot, no downer in our lineup. Having 6 outs left in which to win a game seems like a lifetime. If someone just isn't feeling it, we've even got pinch hitters and benchers.

All night tonight I just knew that if we could get past this Scherzer fellow and see some new pitchers, our lineup would have no problem. Obviously Scherzer was golden, and Jeanmar Gomez was uhm...not so much. All our guys needed to do was get the guy to run up his pitch count, and get someone else in there and it was game over for the Tigers.

It was true. That's exactly what happened. Actually, we didn't have to get rid of Scherzer so much as tire him out. He was just around 100 pitches and had had a visit from Leyland when OMG ASDRUBAL! hit him out of the park and tied it at 5. Heynow!

Just to back up a bit...Jeanmar Gomez sort of sucked and so did Chad Durbin. Enough about that.

Even with 5 runs given up by those guys, we had some nice plays. Hannahan played some third base, remembering to take care of the runner going home in the 2nd. There were good plays on each side of second by Dos Cabreras. Who knows what the score would have been if we weren't playing a real game of baseball.

Ok so this time last year, we'd all have been turning off the TVs or maybe going to bed early. (Well not me but I am obviously insane) This year, tho...did everyone else feel it? A three-run deficit in the 6th, is that a big deal anymore?

Not when you have - dum da duuummm - SHELLEY DUNCAN! Remember him from last night from remembering him from the night before? He's been in for Hafner and has done something exciting every night. Tonight's exciting thing was a two-run single in the 6th to bring us within one.

But o noes - Durbin and Smith sort of gave up two more runs in the 7th. You GUYS! Stop it!

It's ok, tho. Because not everyone on our team had gotten a hit yet, and we hadn't hit any homers yet. Turns out these are things we've decided we really like to do lately. Especially with the home runs.

LaPorta goes long, then the aforementioned visit to the mound -> OMG ASDRUBAL! and now it's tied!

The real bullpen comes out - Vinne Pestano with his studly 0.90 ERA. Three up, three down. Orlando gets his hit, Brantley gets his hit. It wouldn't be a Tribe game lately if Brantley didn't get his hit, huh? It's .282, if you're wondering.

Chris Perez, our firestarter does his job and does it well in the 9th.

Then, dangit, it was time to get down to business. Three outs to get one run? No friggin' problem! If one guy gets on, it's a pretty safe bet someone will come up and get him in. Because we need it and because it matters. Because we need to break our record of 16 wins in April and we need to get our 57th walk-off win at Progressive field and Perez needs his first W and the season's biggest non-opening-day crowd NEEDS THIS WIN!!!

So Hannahan gets his hit, and Grady gets his hit (wow yeah, didn't hit until the 9th), and they put Asdrubal on because OBVIOUSLY HE IS A BEAST and now it's up to Santana. Well not totally up to Santana as there is just one out but you know what? Everyone else has gotten a hit thus far. And the bases are juiced. And everyone in Cleveland is about done praying to the altar of Carlos Santana because really he was going to save us if he could only heal up and it turned out that we didn't quite need him anyway.

Well now we needed him. We needed him to do something like get a walk or get a sacrifice fly. He needed to do it too because we all still remember a week or so ago when he froze up at the plate and watched 3 go by for an out instead of a hit. Something needed to happen and it sure would be nice if Carlos Santana could do it right here.

So, on 3 and 1 Manny Acta or maybe Sandy Alomar or even Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gave him the green light and Carlos Santana ripped a grand fucking slam to right field and won the game, amen.

Here's the video. I wish you could hear Hamilton call it because it was a thing of beauty, but television will do. At least you get to see the celebration. I was cleaning my bedroom - because that's what cool people do on Friday nights - and I whooped and danced, yes I did. It's funny when you listen to games alone because there's no one around to hear you scream. All I could muster was a few texts of "AAAAAHHHH!" to Scott Cabrera, in hopes that I could perhaps share the joy with someone. Because my dog...well she is not a fan of the whooping and dancing.

Anyway, wish you were here. Or wish I was there. But at least I have my Hammy and that is pretty exciting.

Hey remember how I mentioned that I should do some sort of "thing" when everyone hits? I gotta do that thing now. I think I'll use stars from the Mario games, since Mario's coins are the Indians' choice for runs scored. Stars sort of make sense...

Also did you know that "Everybody hits!" is already a thing? It's a thing for Philadelphia. You can even get it on some underwear.

I'm not going to talk about "believing" or going/not going to games or anything anymore. Because if you don't get Indians baseball now, you never will. I'm just going to keep enjoying it and being happy that I picked this year to do this blog because damn, is this easy!

Remember an early start, 6:05, tomorrow. And it's John Adams Day (patron saint of The Positive Tribe), celebrating his 3000th game. So people better show up to honor the man. I might possibly go, but my only drum is a kid's drum. And I just noticed that one of the sticks is misplaced. I wonder, tho, if I own a pair of real drum sticks? I know I used to have some...IF ONLY I WERE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL! Growing up sucks.

Anyway, try to go to the game if you can. If not, join us on the radio at 6. By "us" I mean the other people listening to the radio. I'll see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Is it that hard to let everyone know what the call is? Is his right arm that heavy?"
- Tom Hamilton

"Now, what in the world...why, in the month of April, should a team from the west coast play a team from Florida in a dome? It's not that hard to make the schedule. It's idiotic."
- Tom Hamilton

"Manny Acta's faith never has waivered on Santana. And never has a manager's faith had such a big return."
- Tom Hamilton

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Royals More Focused on Wedding Than Baseball

Thanks to Anonymous RM for tonight's title. A beardy birdy told me who RM is and all I gotta say is teachers are more useful than you all give them credit for.

I do love MLB.com's headline for tonight's game - "Indians Home Cooking a Perfect 10." But, I think ours is so TIMELY! Yay!

First off, I caught the game in four bits - on the radio with babies and parents milling about, on the radio while calmly cleaning my house alone, on At Bat 11 on my iPod and on television at Applebees after making some serious threats to my server.

Seriously, Applebees - the biggest news in Cleveland right now is the NFL draft? So serious that it requires 6 screens at Applebees? You guys realize that half of those big weepy guys are going to get hurt before they ever see a professional start, right? And uh...only one of them will play for the Browns, right? Pretty sure this could have been served via ticker.

ARGH! BASEBALL SEASON. FOCUS!

So like, why did Asdrubal leave the game in the 8th? Anyone know? Just to keep Everett's joints oiled, I hope? That happened during my At Bat 11 hiatus so I have no idea why it happened. It would make sense to me that being up by 8 was grounds for giving Asdrubal a sit-down.

Having a sit-down yesterday seems to have worked wonders for our man Carlos "Smooth" Santana (sorry, whichever blogger decided last year that "smooth" can't be Santana's nickname. I like it!) He blasted one out in the first, leaving my brother and Scott Cabrera and I with our mouths agape. "Did anyone hear who hit that? Who's after Choo, Hafner? ... Santana? Woaaahh..."

Oh yeah CHOOOOO! got one just before Santana. Get this - I was standing there with two babies who have been trained to say "CHOOOO!" and both of them got stage fright after Choo's homer. Not cool, babies! It would have been an EPIC CHOO! Although, both of them had epic a-choos on my couch. They are no better at saying "CHOOOOO!" than they are at covering their mouths.

Grady got a homer. He also got a double, as did Hannahan and Asdrubal.

You know who else got a homer? SHELLEY DUNCAN! Remember him from yesterday, when he was batting cleanup? Today he was batting 6th (still DH) and his AVG is up there with Hafner's (although fewer ABs but it works for us).

Hafner...tenderness in the ankle. I am going to say he has Old Man Ankle. I can say that because he is older than me and I am way old. Anyway, I am glad he told a trusted adult that his ankle did not feel good, instead of playing through and ruining his batting average and making us all put our Pronk shirts back in to storage. And you know what? Since our BENCH is so DEEP and we've got winners like Shelley Duncan and Adam Everett and Lou Marson ready to step in and bat a bit in Hafner's stead (he's only DHing now, anyway) then we have all the time in the world for him to take a little time off the ankle and maybe put a little ice on it and perhaps have a happy good massage. But like, not TOO much time. We do need him back. Hopefully he is better at the first sign of trouble.

Speaking of trouble, that wiley Good Fausto showed up today. Yay for Good Fausto! Only 4 strikeouts but TEN ground outs. Seven whole innings and a WIN!

My man SIPP! was out there doin' his Sipp thing tonight. Mowin' em down in the 8th. Looks like he was inspired to be Good Sipp so I'll let him return to being My Man. And then there was Germano who had a fancy play to end the game. That's the sort of thing that last year, I dunno...somehow would have led to the Royals scoring 10 runs, don't you think?

So we're 4.5 up on both the Tigers and the Royals. We face the Tigers next for 3, and they just got humiliated by the Mariners. I mean like, bad. The Royals go on to face the Twins, who just sort of humiliated us. I am pretty sure I know what is going to happen against the Tigers (it might involve me purchasing an inflatable broom) but I sort of don't know what the Royals are going to go on to do after their Wahoo whoopin'. Pretty fun to have everyone playing each other this weekend tho (except the ChiSox who are playing the Orioles, who have started to stink to that's a toss-up).

Man I just had a thought that we could have also made a pun about Kansas and "there's no place like home." Let me know if any of the newspapers use that one tomorrow.

I didn't listen to the radio enough tonight to give you any Radio Chatter, and I don't have time to go over the archive (if it's even up). However, I have a real nice quote from a few games back, posted by our follower Asimovian and it involves our favorite bencher Shelley Duncan so that's what I'll leave you with.


Radio Chatter:
"Folks, if you don't like Shelley Duncan, take a good look in the mirror. The problem will be staring back at you."
- Tom Hamilton

(I wonder if Shelley's ever going to get his own Fresh Brewed Tee?)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rolling Over the Royals

As I was watching the game tonight (yeah, watching! On TV...) I thought "wow, this was once us. This coulda been us this year, too." I remember just last week when the Royals were a threat to us, with their good pitching, good fielding and good hitting. I said we just needed to win with our bullpen and I was wrong. They got us 2 out of 4 and got pretty close to us in first place.

Just a week later it appears that the Royals are falling apart (I don't follow the Royals well enough to know if this is true) and that's the sort of thing Indians fans are used to with our club. One week we're unstoppable and the next we can't get the bat on the ball, or can't get a guy out. The team that was shaking at the site of us is hitting our starters out of the park and all over the grass.

Instead of us being that team that gets beaten up by surprise, we are that team that comes back from a so-so road trip and whoops on anyone who crosses our threshold.

Last night it was homers and tonight there wasn't a homer in sight (for the Good Guys, at least) but we still managed to score 7 runs and it was beau-ti-ful!

You know who got a hit? EVERYBODY got a hit! Woohoo! I should start a "thing" where maybe I put up an "icon" for every time the entire team hits. That might be fun. Just more things to do...

Shelley Duncan was in for LaPorta at first today instead of Santana, and Marson was catching. Hmmm...did Manny finally decide that Santana wasn't working out as our cleanup guy just now? Just so you know, Duncan batted 4th and Hafner batted 5th. L-O-L GO SHELLY DUNCAN YOU BEAUTIFUL OAF! I shouldn't call him an oaf...Jhonny was an oaf. But look how he wears his batting helmet. I don't know why I think he's like one of the kids from "Ed, Edd and Eddy" (the one with the hat). Actually dude got some AIR tonight over at first, hopping up to rob someone of a single. Yeah buddy!

Once again I'll say how NICE it is to have a productive bench. One guy not doing so well? No prob, we've got a Band-Aid for him.

Smacked a lot of doubles tonight. Not only did Duncan get one but so did Orlando (a 3-run double, at that!), Sizemore and CHOOOO. Man, Sizemore has SEVEN doubles now and only 30-some at bats.

Choo picked up a stolen base and so did our man-of-the-week, Jack Hannahan.

Say, how about that Josh Tomlin? He gave up two solo homers but that wasn't until after we'd scored 6 runs for him in the first. So maybe he was trying out some new special sauce and it didn't work out for him. But no worries - he got win number 4 and broke his own record of being the only pitcher in team history to pitch 5+ innings in his first (now) 17 starts. He also led us to our 9th straight win at home. It's maybe also the 30th day he's gone without washing his socks or something...lots of streaks there.

My brother pointed me to the Facebook page of the "Defend Cleveland Show" which is a sports talk show on WRUW, Monday mornings (more info on the Facebook page!) Anyway, I just Liked them, myself. You should too. Lots of positive stuff to say about the Tribe. Apparently the guy, Mike, works at the Beachland if you'd ever like to avoid a show by talking Cleveland sports.

Anyway, Mike had this to say about Josh Tomlin earlier this month:

"How is it possible to not love and root for Josh Tomlin? He's like a summation of John Hughes-ian characters, it's like he's both Anthony Michael Hall and Emilio Esetevez in "Breakfast Club" Sure, he was the jock, but no one ever thought he was going to win anything since he wasn't the best on the team and was so busy studying from taking all honors classes."

Ha!

Raffi Perez still has an 0.00 ERA. We won't talk about Joe Smith and Chad Durbin because this is a positive blog. Well I will say this - it was nice that we had a 5-run lead so Joe Smith and Chad Durbin could get a chance to pitch. End.

So what do you think about tomorrow? Fausto versus Kyle Davies. Both dudes had bad last outings. Similar ERAs and W/L. I say Tribe, hands down.

OH, speaking of SWEEP...I got an email back from the Indians (promptly, I might add) about brooms at the stadium. They are forbidden but you can bring a broom head or buy a foam broom. So I'm glad I didn't lug a whole broom out there with me. You might want to invest in a foam broom this season, really, because we might be sweeping a lot at home.

Another thing...There are signs on the back of the bathroom stalls sponsored by the Sewer District and they are headlined "Thank You For Your Business" with a cheeky-looking water droplet beneath. Get it? I found it funny every time I visited after drinking my half gallon of Diet Dr Pepper but I kept forgetting to tell people. Now you know.

And, speaking of cheeky...why can't I come up with a good Royals-Royal Wedding joke for tomorrow's headline? Somebody...help!

I didn't hear any WTAM at all tonight so I don't have one bit of Radio Chatter at all. Sorry!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Everyone Knows it's Windy

Wow, a home run game! That's new this year! How cool is it that it's new this year, too? As in, we haven't been winning games because of big bats but instead small hits and stuff. Tonight was just plain old FUN!

Getting a lot of hits is cool, and getting multiple home runs is cool. What's way cool is getting FIVE home runs and being in first place and being at home and all that stuff. It was like our team is the Yankees or something.

First things first, Masterson was out there again today and he got his fifth win. He did give up 3 runs but he didn't wig out and give up more. He pitched through the seventh. He had seven strikeouts!

My man SIPP! came in and did not do so well. He keeps giving up walks and stuff. Today he gave up two walks and a hit and left 'em loaded for Pestano who is now my  man instead, for the time being until Sipp gets his shit together. Cuz Pestano faced the heart of the Royals order with bases loaded and he was all LIGHTS OUT, ROYALS! That's what I'm talkin' bout!

Then Chris Perez came in and wasn't all hot stuff because it wasn't time for a save so he pitched a lot of pitches and didn't mow 'em down, perhaps because he wanted that 6th save. But, like, sorry man - we were up by six, ok?!

So how did we manage to be up by 6 in the 9th? Well first off, f'n SIZEMORE, DUDE! Two doubles and homer. His slugging percentage WAS .714 before this game but the totals haven't been updated yet. I re-checked the MLB League Leaders board and it says "must have a minimum of 3.1 plate appearances per team game," for all of the hitting stats so I guess we won't see Grady on there any time soon but that's ok.

You know who is on those boards, tho? Jack Hannahan! So long Adam Everett, I guess. Jack knocked two out of the park tonight. TWO! He also got a single, and scored, for fun.

Hmm so that accounts for three home runs who got the others? Well, LaPorta got one and the other was...wait for it...CHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! This happened at 9:08 PM and I know it because I burst forth with excitement here at home but there was no one around to echo my sentiments, so on to Facebook it went. Shout out to my girl Emily who managed to be paying attention and "Like" it.

Choo got 4 RBI on the night (his homer was a 3-run homer), got a single and also stole a base. Oh yeah and he totally saved Perez's ass at the end of the game by making a sweet catch in the outfield. I did not see this catch even though MLB.com was nice enough to blip me the end of the game as a free preview. I just can never remember to pay attention to a screen when the radio is on so I was doing a little dance in my soul while Hamilton was calling that final out and totally missed watching it on my screen. Apparently it is not MLB.com-clip-worthy. Ah well.

Asdrubal got two hits tonight, by the way, and is hitting .264. And still being impressive in the field. I heard a bunch of fans chanting his name tonight. Mind you, it was at some random time when the Indians weren't even batting, and then they went on to chant other random stuff too. But, it was nice to hear some fan-age at the game.

It woulda been a great night to be at the ballpark tonight, especially out in the right field seats, catching homers! Alas, it was not to be for me. It was tractor night and I got to slosh through mowing my lawn in the sunshine, and that sort of made up for it.

Josh Tomlin tomorrow. ALL HAIL JOSH TOMLIN!! Man I am stoked. STOKED. The Tigers lost to Seattle tonight too so we're rising to the top of the AL Central like so much sweet cream.

I will see you tomorrow, and I hope you like the title.

Radio Chatter:
"Cabrera hits one by Ka'aihue at first, who has the range of a statue."
- Tom Hamilton

"If he gets hot - LOOK OUT!"
- Tom Hamilton re: Shin-Soo Choo

"Justin Masterson has a good chance to be 5-0 in about a half hour."
- Tom Hamilton

"HOW ABOUT THAT?! Bases loaded, nobody out and Pestano takes care of the 4- 5- and 6-batters for the Royals!"
- Tom Hamilton

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Things Not Going Our Way

That was sort of a cool game. It seemed to be won and lost by defense, and a home-run replay.

Hey, guess who got a hit? CHOOOO! He also threw out two guys at home. TWO! Both guys ran through the third base coach's "stop" sign. Here's a quip from Twins manager Ron Gardenhire from MLB.com:

"If [Choo] wins a Gold Glove, we'll probably have [Twins third base coach Steve Liddel] hand it out."

ZING!

Carlos Carrasco only lasted 3 innings and left with soreness in his shoulder. Uh-oh. Jeanmar Gomez got a chance to do some long relief. If you recall, he's the guy we brought up to replace Mitch Talbot in the rotation and then he missed his start Friday with the rain-out, so Acta threw him in the game for funsies. He ended up giving up three hits and a run so...meh.

Rafael Perez came in in the 7th and gave up an un-earned run (it was Gomez's runner) and also got the loss but still has a 0.00 ERA. Yep!

Michael Brantley almost got his first homer, and it would have been a 3-run homer, and it may have won the game. It was homer-length but what it did was bounce off the flower box in right field. Seriously...flower box. See here - that lighter-colored limestone part in the right half of the picture is a big limestone flower box. So, ground rules for Target Field: In the flower box, homer. Off the flower box, double. Here's a better picture, with some flowers.

How do they keep flowers in bloom in Minnesota in the spring? What is their flower budget? I'm kind of jealous. Do we have any flowers at Progressive Field?

Hafner got two hits. Still hitting over .300 with .348!

Much ado was made about Jack Hannahan being home in St. Paul for Easter dinner. For the first time in 8 years. He got a hit too!

Hannahan would have scored the tying run in the 9th and made his ma proud, except Denard Span had quite a catch out there in center, keeping Hannahan from being on base during Grady's subsequent double. Spaaaaaaaaaan!

Rumor has it that Thome is looking to finish his career in Cleveland. 'Cept Cleveland doesn't really have the room for him like we had for Eddie Murray. What do you think about him returning? On one hand...FUCKIN' THOME! and on the other hand, FUCKIN' THOME! See what I mean?

I dunno what it is about these Twins, man. They seem to shake us up good, no matter who's on our team and how we're playing. They've got some class acts over there. But, we managed to get out of there only having to play 2 instead of 3, and while we were gone, the Rangers clobbered the Royals so we're still in first place.

BUT...the Tigers snuck up into a tie for second while we weren't looking. So next week we SERIOUSLY have our work cut out for us, as we'll be playing the Royals then the Tigers. While we're playing the Royals, the Tigers will meet the Mariners...who don't seem to have gotten much better since we saw them. However, once we're done with the Royals they will move on to the Twins, who we've primed good and are ready to win.

So, critical week coming up. Glad I have the night off tomorrow to get ready. Hopefully I'll be going to a game this week, too - it's my birthday Thursday! If I am going to a game, I need to suck it up and make my poster already.

I reviewed the game's audio for you this evening, so here's a good sample of radio chatter...

Radio Chatter:
"It's only a matter of time before Minnesota wakes up, and starts to play winning baseball. You just don't want to be the team that gets them going."
- Tom Hamilton

"Ohio State has 4000 people to see the band play before the game."
- Tom Hamilton, commenting on the sorry state of Minnesota Gophers football

"The tag is on Morneau...AND HE IS OUT BY EIGHT FEET! ... So Choo retires more hitters in the third than Carrasco did."
- Tom Hamilton at the end of the third inning

"It's amazing how many people that write for a living can't come up with an original thought. How can you all be writing about the same thing....nobody was writing it a year ago."
- Tom Hamilton's reaction to all of the recent stories that Joe Mauer should be moved from catching

"Gomez needs to pitch well, because if he doesn't there's a guy named Alex White knocking on the door."
- Tom Hamilton

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bad Fausto Shows Up

I thought the deal was we always lost to the Royals, but I guess we always lose to the Twins too. Even when we're in first and they're in dead last. Oh well, we brought a little joy to the Twin Cities today.

I didn't get to listen to the game "live" today but after an Easter dinner and a nap, the audio for the game was available online on MLB.com. I was actually excited to use this feature, and was able to avoid the score by going through the MLB.com site.

A Gameday Audio subscription comes free when you become a member of the Tribe Fan Club, which costs $19.95/year. You also get 2 free tickets and 10% off at the team shop and your name on the scoreboard. They send you a picture of your name on the scoreboard, which is cool. There's also some other benefits with the fan club but I haven't used any of them. Anyway, you actually make money on the deal if you use the Gameday Audio and stuff.

One thing that sucks is that, at least in the Apple Store, if you want to get the MLB At Bat 2011 (which comes with Gameday Audio) you still have to pay $14.95 for the app, which includes Gameday Audio. So really you can end up paying for Gameday Audio twice.

Although, I guess paying $34.90 once a year and getting Gameday Audio and two free tickets is better than subscribing to cable. Plus - Tom Hamilton!

So, Grady got a hit and it was A-WAAAAAY BACK - a homer! Keeping his AVG at .391. Still just under 30 at-bats, so not quite legit yet but he is hitting...three doubles and two homers. Not bad! Brantley was batting 7th again as Orlando Cabrera was back in playing second base.

Asdrubal got a hit. A double! Apparently he was rockin' the short sleeves even though it was a cold one in Minnesota, 43 degrees at game time. It was in the 70's here...I was sweatin' my butt off at grandpa's house! (You know old people...no A/C in sight)

Here's a nice play from Dos Cabreras (I just made that up - do you think it will catch on?) I do believe Tom Hamilton said that Orlando "nearly killed" Asdrubal.

Hafner got a hit too - a rare infield hit. Rare for this year at least, as he has really be smackin' the ball for power.

Good news in the standings, tho - Kansas City lost yesterday and today (to Texas, who is tied with us for best record in the league so don't get all excited that K.C. might suck) so we're still a game-and-a-half ahead of them despite losing a game and missing a game.

Funny stuff, being in first place, huh? Always gotta be aware of what other teams are doing.

Happy Easter! Going to visit with my niece tomorrow. We'll see if I'm going to be watching the game or watching Sesame Street. I could enjoy either one equally, really. As long as I get my Hammy fix after-the-fact.

Radio Chatter:
"They got soft here in Minneapolis once they got the Metrodome. They didn't have to fight the blizzards to watch the Vikings at old Metropolitain Stadium. Nobody got softer than our engineer, Wayne."
- Tom Hamilton

"One thing stays consistent - the Indians can't get a left-handed hitter out."
- Tom Hamilton

"'Do you believe in miracles?' as Al Michaels once said. The Indians need one here."
- Tom Hamilton

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Another Nice Start

What an icky game tonight. Not the gameplay, but the weather. It was 54 degrees and rained most of the time. When I saw Choo go for a ball and sort of slosh around in the outfield I thought "No! Don't get wet! You can't work right if you're wet!" Or something. Just didn't seem right, all that rain.

But, they played on. Tomlin was our starter tonight and went all the way into the 8th, only giving up one run. Pretty good for this sort of weather for him to go so far. Here's a stat from the Indians.com wrap-up that I brought up during Tomlin's last start, but has now changed a bit:

"In each of Tomlin's 16 career starts for the Indians -- a franchise that was founded in 1901 -- Tomlin has logged at least five innings for the club. He is the only pitcher in the team's long history to have at least that many frames in each of his first 16 career appearances."

I decided pretty early on that the Royals and the Indians are going to be matched up pretty evenly when it comes to starting pitching and batting, and it will come down to the bullpen. Of course, I meant that our bullpen had the stuff but that wasn't the case tonight. But, at least they got some time in and for all intents and purposes didn't do that bad, so it's ok. And you know what? We STILL have given up the fewest home runs in the AL, by 2.

Grady, Grady! Is the kid back?! Three more hits tonight, hitting .421. How many ABs do you need to be legit? Thirty or so? He's got 18 I think.

Hafner got a hit tonight too, keeping his AVG well over .300. That guy is DEFINITELY back, for sure. Ok maybe not the home-run-hitting Pronk but to be honest we've faced some serious pitching lately.

How about Hannahan there at third in the 9th? Made a nice stop then got the runner out at home, although Aviles sort of tip-toed in. Not like Carlos Santana did in the 8th, when he was out by a mile at home but gave it the ol' college try and barreled in to the catcher to at least try to knock the ball out. It didn't work but at least he tried. And didn't break any bones.

Some crazy stuff going on in the middle of the diamond too. Orlando Cabrera was out and Everett (Everett!) was at 2nd. Nice move, because he's got some stick right now. Lots of guys falling over and stepping on each other out there around second, and Everett got an error. I wonder if the Royals' ground crew isn't quite as good as the Indians'? I'm sure Everett will be happy to have Orlando back tomorrow.

So far we've only had one injury (Mitch Talbot) which is good...and possibly due to Acta not over-playing anyone. I did hold my breath watching the tackling at home and the tumbling at second. Hopefully we don't find out a week from now that somebody's knee is bruised.

I was out at my "Neighborhood Bar and Grille" (ugh) tonight during the game and right afterward people were moaning and groaning about how we lost. Like, angry stuff, too. WTF people? Do you not realize we just lost to the third best team in the AL? It's not like we gave up 7 runs to Seattle and didn't score any ourselves. We lost by one run in the ninth after winning two other games against the team that's on our tail. Oh yeah and we also have a winning percentage over 600 so...boy, are people weird about Cleveland baseball.

If nothing else, it was a good game tonight. It was a tough game and someone had to lose it. Our bullpen can't pitch 0.00 all season. I can see maybe spouting obscenities when your starter gives up 8 or something but all of this bellyaching when your first place team loses a game is shameful.

I guess I'm not quite familiar about what it's like when your team is in first. One thing that I know to be true is that being chased all the time is no fun! Hopefully the Tribe can ease everyone's fragile hearts this weekend when they roll over the Twins and the Royals get served by the Rangers. Then we'll have a nice comfy lead when we meet the Royals AGAIN next week (seriously - did anyone at the MLB Scheduling Committee see this coming?) and then on to squash the Tigers.

More "late" baseball tomorrow, and probably more icky baseball as we go deeper in to the midwestern cold snap.

Hey! Who has off work tomorrow? Me too!

Radio Chatter:
"If you talk to the Royals they are happy as heck that Zach Greinke is gone from Kansas City. He was a bit of a Negative Nellie in the clubhouse..."
- Tom Hamilton

I also heard Hamilton pronounce picnic as "pick-a-nick" which was just darling.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taking Care of Business

It's a pretty nice feeling to be hopeful and have it pay off. Used to be that my optimism for the Tribe was sort of hollow. I felt the optimism but it never felt me back.

I've had a feeling since the first game - that very first game where everyone came out crying about how bad the Indians are...again...and we can't have a winning season ever here in Cleveland and fuck baseball - when the team rallied and scored TEN runs  to make it not only a close-r game but a good game and a fun game...that my hope and optimism would pay off this year.

Tonight we had a guy pitching a perfect game against us, and our best starter had not the best first inning. But just as my nay-sayer buddy was posting crap on Facebook about how our team looked "lazy" and this was no way to get fans to the games, the Indians scored. Then we scored again, and again and again. Four runs in the 6th to pull ahead and double our lead. Exciting runs, too - three doubles (LaPorta, CHOOOO!, Hafner) and a balk. Yeah, a balk! I wish I had some little kid to teach baseball to this season. That kid would learn more rules and nuances watching this team this year than any casual fan of any other team!

Not only did we wreck the opposing pitcher's good time, Masterson also straightened himself out by second inning and continued on with five more scoreless innings. He came away with his 4th win.

So Rafael Perez comes in to relieve Masterson in the 7th and pitch to scary lefty Alex Gordon (who has like a 14-game hitting streak), and takes care of him. Then Pestano comes in with two men already on and proceeds to walk another guy. And for some reason I felt pretty calm at this point. We're up by 4 but a homer here could tie it. It's Mike Aviles who is no actual threat, but still, you never know, especially with a young pitcher like Pestano. Anyway, I then and there decided that "wait, our pitching staff doesn't give up home runs anymore, do they?" and I shot over to MLB.com's "Sortable Team Stats" and found out that no, we DON'T give up home runs anymore. Only 10 this season - the lowest in the American League by 2 - and 4 of those were by Carmona. Half of the staff hasn't given up any and three of them only gave up one homer.

Anyway, Tim Belcher visited the mound and must have reminded Pestano of this stat because he didn't give up a home run. He struck out Aviles to end the inning.


After the pitchers tightened up and the batters went crazy, my man SIPP came in and sort of lost his shit, giving up three runs. But hey, thanks to the offense we could afford to give up 3 runs so it all worked out. Chris Perez came in for one out and was like "Watch this!" and pitched three pitches and got save number 5. Respect!

It was a pretty harmonious game. Like a good piece of music, with ups and downs and emotions but also a satisfying conclusion.

Almost everybody got a hit, too. I'll let you guess who didn't get a hit...I bet you can't! (Without looking at the box, duh) But that's ok because some guys did super-awesome and got TWO hits. One of those guys is Hafner - yeah buddy!

Tomorrow, I guess, is the rubber match? Hmm what do you call the 4th game of a 4-game series where one team can win the series or the other can tie it? Perhaps the Polystyrene game.

See you then! Sorry for the lame radio chatter...I had to w-o-r-k during the game. Ugh.

Radio Chatter:
"Grady Sizemore showing why he's a Gold-glover, and why this ballclub is a contender."
- Tom Hamilton

Testing the Bench

Manny Acta has some balls. On what may have been our biggest game of the year (ok, second biggest? Third?) he puts in a rookie pitcher and half the bench. Well you know - why the fuck not? Have to make up for Tomlin and Gomez had to start sometime. Grady can't play ever day and neither can Hafner. And, we're 2 games up on the Royals plus we've got 2 more to go, and then on to the not-so-hot Tigers.

Dude is a chess master, really. He's got it all planned out.

So what can these cats do against the Royals? Well, not much against Bruce Chen but statistics coulda told you that. Actually, statistics could show you that the modern Indians can't usually beat the Royals anyway. However, the team still managed to cobble together runs late in the game - which I just LOVE to see. I guess that's the difference between a young team and an old team (Red Sox). Our guys are still in top form in the 8th and 9th and ready to take on some relief pitchers.

You know who got a hit? CHOOOOO! He also picked up his 4th stolen base and 8th RBI! Slow and steady wins the race...

Brantley was back in the top spot and dude got THREE hits. I'm feeling good about having him down in the lineup when Grady plays.

Bencher Shelley Duncan got a hit and his fellow bencher Loooooouuu Marson got a double. Those guys are both batting .357! So so awesome to have a happenin' bench like that.

Check out this email I sent to Kevin Keane (OMG I MISS YOU!) at WTAM in September of 2009 when he asked if anyone was "still into it":

"Of course I'm still into the Tribe, Kev! I'm a lifelong Clevleand fan - I've learned not expect much. Our job as fans is to find excitement in each and every game, see what happens tonight, hash it out with Extra Innings afterwards...and if we get into some playoff action - hey!

Low expectations, deep disappointments and pleasant surprises. That's what Cleveland is all about, man.

Asdrubal in '09!"


I guess I didn't write to WTAM in 2009, but here's what I wrote to Bob Frantz after the last game of the season in 2010:

"Bob - I don't agree with you on most things (politics!!) but I think your assessment of the 2011 season is spot-on! Healthy Grady, healthy Santana, newly-found solid pitching and our existing studs Asdrubal and CHOO - and HAFNER - will make for a really great 2011.

I saw some exciting baseball this year, including tonight's game, and I KNOW it's going to rock hard in 2011."


I hate to agree with Bob Frantz (no, really, I REALLY hate to agree with the dude) but we did agree on that point at the end of last year.

So far, I'm sticking by what I said! And even though we had not-the-best year last year, reader and Dodger loyalist Asimovian was keen to see what was next for the Tribe because he knows good baseball when he sees it. Well he also knows a hot chick who's a die-hard Tribe fan but that's another story. Anyway, hopefully the Positive Tribe bandwagon keeps up its momentum and perhaps creates more fans of Indians baseball.

Tomorrow we get MASTERSON and hopefully the A-team back. Or maybe some fancy concoction of players from Manny's playbook, who knows. It's all good!

Radio Chatter:
"I've never seen that before! It literally bounced off the ground and hit Cabrera. Can this game get any wackier?!"
- Tom Hamilton (the game wasn't particularly wacky...I think he's been on the road too long)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Do You Believe Yet?

Tonight's game was our "big game" to see if this team was legit. If they were winners. If they had the shit go somewhere this year. Well, we just pulled one out from underneath the chasing Royals, and made it look like we were a veteran team while doing it.

Of course being a Tribe fan I know you're still maybe not convinced, but oh well - it was some good baseball going on tonight so let's get to that.

If you look at the pitching results it's sort of stunning. The Royals' five pitchers and our five pitchers have almost the exact same in-game stats and resulting ERAs, but their closer gave up four and that was that. But we were battling those Royals pretty hard in the first 9 innings.

Once again, Asdrubal was involved in a weirdo play, where someone on our side was paying attention and the other team was not. Billy Butler was called safe at second, and thought he was out, so he started walking off the field. Asdrubal called for the ball and tagged Butler out. Weird shit, right?

How about that Grady Sizemore, huh? Second game back, 3 hits, 1 RBI. Michael Brantley was back tonight and they put him in the 7-spot, which I think is logical. Manny Acta said they wanted to get Brantley up as soon as possible, but 1-6 is pretty tight. So that's why he's not 9th. Orlando Cabrera maybe might lose his spot to Brantley...I say flip 'em. Put some speed between Hafner and Orlando.

Speaking of speed our outfield is looking nice with Grady and Brantley out there. Tons of speed and the arm of Choo. I expect to see a lot of nice stuff out of the outfield from here on. AND...both Brandley and Choo got their third stolen bases tonight. Your turn, Grady!

LaPorta got two hits, and so did Asdrubal.

The hero of the night was SHELLEY DUNCAN! Gotta like that guy. His dad, Dave Duncan, used to play with the Tribe. I hope Shelley sticks around on the bench with us - he's usually good news. My dad is a big fan of Dave Duncan, by the way. He says that Dave used to be found in random seedy bars around Cleveland when he played here. I'm sure my dad tied one on with Dave Duncan at the Grog Shop once or twice. I AM SO CLEVELAND!

Yeah so Duncan came off the bench to pinch hit for Hafner's pinch runner Travis Buck, and got a two-run RBI double that broke the tie in the 10th. Then, the Tribe rallied for three more...like the Royals went in to shock or something. Love the way the team can stay in there for 9+ innings and manufacture runs any way they can. Sunday's game was all homers and tonight's game was 13 hits and 7 walks. Nice!

There was a bit of buzz tonight about some secret team party they have after every win. The team locks themselves in the locker room and does their thing before letting the press in (maybe even the coaches?) Interesting. Tom Hamilton mentioned it before the game and in Brantley's post-game interview he said he was excited to get to the party. That sounds so Bad News Bears. I like it!

Three more against the Royals on this 2 Legit 2 Quit tour. Remember, every time we win we pull one full game ahead of the Royals and a half game ahead of everyone else (unless they lose, then we get a whole game). So we could end the series 5 ahead of the Royals. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Although, this is our best start since 1999.

Let's enjoy this real baseball going on right now. Tell your friends. See you tomorrow!

Radio Chatter:
"Didn't realize it was 'steal a t-shirt' night at Great American Ball Park."
- Tom Hamilton's final words after his half-inning rant about Reds pitcher Mike Leake getting arrested for shoplifting six t-shirts

"With Sizemore at first and Asdrubal Cabrera at the plate, there isn't much you can't do."
- Tom Hamilton

"It's a two run [10th] inning and the fans are flocking to the parking lot."
- Tom Hamilton

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome Back, Grady!

It was hard to come up with a title for today's post. Should it acknowledge Grady's return? The third sweep of the season? Being alone in first place? Fausto's first win? My first trip of the season to the Prog?

The big news we'll remember for the rest of the season is Grady's return. And, a blog is just a collection of headlines, isn't it? So we'll go with that.

Nice return, Grady! He did just what he did in Columbus - a double and a homer. Not bad at all for one's first big league game after about 10 months. My friend (who also had a microfracture...and explained the procedure to me as I cringed) noticed he's sporting quite a leg brace. I wonder if he'll be able to steal at all with that thing on there? Of course, he probably doesn't want to steal WITHOUT that thing but uhm...well, somebody stop me if I start yelling "Run, Forest, run!"

It was a windy windy day and I did opt to leave my foamboard sign at home. But it turns out that there's no wind allowed in the Diamond Box Seats where I sit (on occasion) so it would have been ok to have the sign. Except I probably would have lost it on E. 9th as I walked from the parking garage, so I'm glad I left it at home.

My friend (the other one, with a whole knee (not a hole-y knee!)) and I got the on-field cop to wave to us, that was cool. It took him a minute to realize that we were waving at him but then it looked like we made his day. I also brought a broom head with me. I didn't see anyone else with a broom. They didn't even have blow-up brooms for sale. All I saw were crappy little foam ones in the Team Shop. Anyway, I hadn't even looked anywhere for an official policy on brooms, but I thought I saw some kids waving broom heads during the Boston series, so I figured broom handles were no-nos. I did put my little broom head to good use. I also just wrote an email to The Indians asking about their official policy on brooms. Seriously. I will let you know what they say.

The crowd was bigger than it's been lately but still small. Thirteen thousand some. The lower bowl was pretty tight, around home plate but the outside edges of the bowl and most of the upper were just barren. I had to ask my friend (with the wacky knee) if my ears were just plugged up (hayfever!) or it was really that quiet. It was really that quiet, she said. Even John Adams (patron saint of The Positive Tribe) was pretty quiet. I did a lot of yelling, I wonder if you could hear me on TV? No one was being assholish or anything, but it is weird to be around such a quiet crowd.

However, even though we won, not much happened. But yet it was a good baseball game. It wasn't even so much a pitchers' duel as both teams scored. There never was a multi-run inning so maybe that's it. I'm not complaining because I was actually riveted the whole time.

It was like 2007...4 of our 7 hits came from Grady and Pronk, and each got a homer. Carlos Santana ALSO got a homer. Here's a stat...today was the first time Grady and Santana have ever played together in the same lineup. Pronk's AVG is still in the stratosphere at .354, which is awesome!It's legit, too. He's got 48 AB and he's 4th in the league for AVG.

Fausto got his win, and my man SIPP! came out for a perfect 8th. Chris Perez came out to full fanfare, with flame graphics on all the boards and The Prodigy's "Firestarter" blasting through the speakers. It was lol-awesomez! Especially since half of the crowd was up and leaving and the other half was kids re-shuffling around to get ready to run the bases, so not too many people saw Perez's Major-League-style entry from the bullpen. It was full of WINNING! I dug it, for real.

Tony Sipp, Chris Perez and Rafael Perez all still have ERAs of 0.00. Pestano's is only 1.80. That's new, huh?

Oh, and sadly, the Orioles' center fielder Felix Pie's last name is not pronounced "pie." It's "pee-ay". Sucks.

Quick rundown of the food at The Prog...
  • The East of Chicago pizza that they sell there is still better tasting than the stuff they sell at actual EoC stores (if it's still, in fact, East of Chicago).
  • We give three thumbs up to footlong hot dogs. While they are not as tasty as the $5 "All Beef Hot Dogs" they are better than "Dollar Dogs."
  • I believe Progressive Field is the only place in NEO where you can order Diet Dr Pepper, which is delicious but after about a gallon of it I have to pee A LOT.
  • This year's Souvenir Cup features the racing hot dogs. And you know what? KETCHUP CHEATS EVEN ON THE CUP! Shameful.
  • The Food Network steak sandwich (the one without sauerkraut) is extremely delicious and I deem it "completely not spicy" but uhm...$12? Really?
  • The new "potato wedges" at the "Suds & Spuds" stand are pretty delicious but they get cold and boring quickly.
  • The hand-made potato chips at the same stand are REALLY good but they don't give you enough for $5.
  • The best way to enjoy the biggest array of snacks at Progressive Field if you are two fat people and a pregnant lady who don't mind sharing food with each other. And you all have plenty of disposable income and/or you got free "loaded" tickets. 

Speaking of disposable income - while ticket prices have gone down a ton, food and parking prices have gone up. My "special garage" at [redacted]  went up from $8 to $10. At least with no one showing up to the games, you don't have to sit in traffic much while burning $3.85 gas. *sigh*

Up next is the Royals, who are 1 game behind us in the standings. They just lost to the laughable Mariners so maybe we have them on a downswing. Or we're just gonna crush 'em. Can't wait!

Radio Chatter:
"Today's birthday wishes go to Helen Molnar. Ninety-four years young. Her actual birthday is this coming Tuesday, but she plays bingo on weeknights and she won't be home. Hey, nothing like a good game of bingo! [...] Hope it's a good night at the bingo parlor, Helen!
- Tom Hamilton

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Still on a Roll

Short post tonight, I am dead tired. Gotta get to bed so I can make it to tomorrow's game!

I thought this blog would be a bit of a challenge...well maybe not a challenge because I honestly can find fun and excitement in any game despite the score. But I did think it would be more of a lesson for others not to be so down on the Indians and this young team, and to help disgruntled fans learn to love baseball again.

So far, it's been a breeze. Even the first two games of the season - which we lost - were exciting as heck. We did score 10 runs in the first game, after all! Then again, after my assertions last year that THIS year would be a team to see, I shouldn't be surprised now should I? This blog probably would have been more meaningful last year, at least topic-wise. This year, it seems more like a diary of How My Team Made The Playoffs. So far.

Anyway, you heard it didn't you? Another game with fan-friggin-tastic pitching and even better hitting. Like, guys teeing off as if it were batting practice.

Hey guess who got a hit? A home run, even? CHOOO! That's who. LIKE! You know who else got a home run? Orlando Cabrera. Haven't heard from that cat in a few games but the bitch is back!

Hafner had a superb afternoon, going 3 for 4 with a double. I swear he really digs being at home. Home games must be best for big names like him don't you think?

Everyone got a hit today aside from Brantley, which...whatever. He's still hitting over .300!

Speaking of Brantley, Grady might possibly be back for Sunday's game. He was in the house today. If he makes it into the game, I will be there to welcome him back. Yay me!

Got to see my man SIPP! today with another scoreless 8th. Still rockin' the 0.00 ERA. And you know how many runs Chad Durbin gave up? None.

I bought some foam board and some "poster markers" to make my sign. It was really windy when I left the store with the board in my hand and I thought "wow this is the worst day ever to buy foam board." Now I see that the forecast for tomorrow simply says WINDY (italicized even) so I'm not sure if it's the right day to debut a sign made out of foam board. What if it flies away from me? What if it makes me fall over? Plus, I am too tired to make a sign right now, and I want to do it right. Choices, choices. What if I just bring a broom? (without a handle, of course)

I was only able to listen to the game in the background today, so I don't have any Radio Chatter for you. However, the always astute Scott Cabrera was able to snap this screen shot off the TV today and I will leave you with it, without comment.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Home Again, Hot Again

Extra nice stuff tonight! The Orioles are the real thing and both our offense and pitching handled them like they were so many Red Sox.

Masterson was HOT HOT HOT, collecting his third win. Seven innings, one run, four hits. Twelve ground outs! Man, do we love good starting pitching or what? Dude's ERA is 1.33. Listening to Bob Frantz here, he tells us that Masterson didn't get his 3rd win until July 1st. SRSLY!

Masterson's mastery was hardly needed today as the offense cut through Zach Britton like butter. That guy had been all Masterson, with a 2-0 record and a .066 ERA. Some really nice situational hitting and running by us to shut all that nonsense down.

Brantley went 2 for 3 with a walk and has a very exciting .333 AVG. He is really making the case for himself to stick around when Grady comes back. All good - just more good bats to keep in the lineup!

Asdrubal went 2 for 4 with FOUR RBI and leads the team, by far, with 14. Probably has a lot to do with Brantley being on base before him! OMG what if Grady was in front of him too?! Let's do that!

Hey guess who got a hit tonight? CHOOOO!! Actually, twooooooo! And one was a big big double, almost a home run. Boy that's nice to see. I wonder how much he loves playing at home? People really came out tonight (er, in comparison. Dollar Dogs, dontchaknow) and there was a lot of "CHOOOO!" to rock the house. His AVG is creeping up there. It's getting there!

Hafner hit one out tonight, and while he's still got fewer than Asdrubal it's still more exciting to see our home run guy hit a home run. It was a friggin' big one too, almost in to the bullpen.

LaPorta and Everett (Everett!) were no slouches today either, with two hits apiece. Everett made a doozy of a play from third on a little infield dribbler to get the out. How do you like Lou Marson? Only 3 games (Santana finally took a breather) but he's hitting .400. Nice to have bats off the bench, huh?

With all these runs tonight it's a good time to bring up a little detail I've been thinking about. At Progressive Field, whenever we score they play a little Super Mario "coin sound" which I think is f'n cool. They also show a graphic of Mario collecting some coins. I don't know how many of you are "NES-aged" but this sort of thing just impresses me, even though it's a little thing. I tried to ask around (read: posted on the non-sports message board I belong to) to ask if any other stadium does this but I only got like 3 replies. So I'm going to claim this for our own. I wonder if anyone has any coin posters or anything, to hold up during the game? Do people even notice this happens? Hmm...maybe I need to have 2 signs. "OMG ASDRUBAL!" and a coin.

I'm going to the game Sunday (YAY!) and I'll be making that Asdrubal sign. I swear. I've been threatening to make one since 2007, when I actually made a little one using the free paper and markers given out at whatever that "fancast" thing was at the stadium when the team was out of town and they showed the game on the big board (man how fun was THAT?! Loved it!) Anyway, I might even go to the craft store and everything. I think I need something permanent like foam board. I also need to use a ruler. I'm the type to end up with a sign like this:

O M G  A S DRUBAL

Heh. Anyway, keep an eye out. They'll put "OMG" on TV right? It's less bad than "WTF?" Blasphemous maybe but ... ASDRUBAL!

Don't forget - 1:05 game tomorrow. We'll see ya!

Radio Chatter:
"Travis Hafner with a deep drive to right center. Can mother nature knock it down? No! Travis Hafner..into the teeth of the wind has his third home run! [...] And Pronk is back!"
- The Poetic Tom Hamilton

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Choo's Shoes

Hey! Guess who got a hit tonight? CHOOO!

My niece is so excited that I am so excited that she has learned to say "CHOO!" that I think she thinks that's my name. She sees me and just exclaims "CHOOO!"

I'll take it.

He did get some new shoes, which looked pretty stylin' especially with his fancy blue socks. Looked like he was ready for Dancing With The Stars or something. I will see if I can't find a picture to show you.

Extra innings, eh? Scott Cabrera made a funny. Said that if we went 18 the game would be "BOGO" hahaha! (Buy One Get One (Free))

Asdrubal got a hit. Brantley got THREE hits! I'm also not sure what I think about Adam Everett at third here, because he's looking pretty GOOD at the plate but I'm all about Hannahan! How weird is it for us to have a tough choice at third huh? I'm guessing Everett will just remain our backup, as he does better that way.

Speaking of choices, Brantley's hitting .311 in the one spot after 12 games. So what DO we do when Grady comes back? GOD I wish he would just come back already and we can find out!!

He's slated to join Columbus on the 14th (today). How do you like these notes from last Saturday's game with the Aeros?

"'Today was a big step,' Indians head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said. Playing for Double-A Akron, Sizemore went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk as the leadoff man and center fielder."

Nice!

Carlos Carrasco was the starter and while he did give up 3 runs (as many as the Angels' starter) he also went 7 innings. So far we really haven't needed any long or middle relief since the first two games.

Vinnie Pestano came in for relief in the 8th (seeing him pitch back home in Anaheim made his granny cry) pitching a scoreless inning, then my man SIPP! came in for a scoreless 1.2, extending the game in to extra innings.

Chris Perez came in in the 10th to shut 'em down, which he did. But even though there's a night off tomorrow, they didn't let him go more than 20 pitches before they pulled him for Durbin. Durbin? Erm...

Well I guess if Manny Acta is going to be messing with things and looking to see what guys can do, now's the time to do it. Even though the Royals won we're still a half game ahead of them in first so maybe tonight was the night to take some risks.

So check this out...last night I was "watching" the game on Gameday, and today I was following along on my iPod using At Bat 2011, and both nights a thing popped up on my screen letting me catch the live video feed of the game! I know on the Gameday site they let you flip around to different game feeds for a few minutes each (note, I do not subscribe to MLB.tv) but you can never get your home team unless you get this special sneak peak from the MLB. Pretty cool - feels like I won a prize! Even though tonight I was actually sitting in front of a TV watching, I still sat there and watched on my iPod. hehehe

Anyway, I highly recommend checking out the free Gameday site during a game. Perhaps if sitting in front of your computer all night is not your bag, at least keep it in mind during day games for when you're at work.

Ok everyone get some rest tomorrow, because it's gonna be a CRAZY weekend against the 6-4 O's. I might actually try to pay someone to go to a game with me. I shouldn't have to but that's the way it goes.

Radio Chatter:
"What Kendrick got there is called a Little League home run."
- Tom Hamilton in response to Anaheim's Kendrick scoring on an error after hitting a double.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Exhausting Pitcher's Duel

Man, am I tired. It's just exhausting listening to a pitcher's duel, where every pitch can re-set the game. Plus, 5 games into a 6-game west coast trip...zzzzzz....

I must say, nice stuff by Angels pitcher Dan Haren. A one-hit shutout against the hottest team in baseball. Hats off to him.

Also, I sort of like Torii Hunter. Shhh. And he had a nice play tonight.

Hey guess who got a hit? CHOOO! It was our only hit, too. Leave it to him...I heard someone say Choo said in an interview that he felt great and was "seeing the ball well." I'm sure you are dude. He probably thought really hard about getting a hit today, and made it happen.

Fact: Asdrubal Cabrera has the most April home runs for any Indians short stop since 1960. Hmm...cool stat, bro, but is this all the news we can come up with right now?

Aw man, sorry, I can't be snarky about Asdrubal News!

Carmona pitched 7.2. Personally I would have just shook his hand and told him "good game!" and brought in Tony Sipp for the 8th but that's not what happened. Acta seems to want to push all of his guys to 120 pitches. Which, you know, is cool. I'm sure Bob Feller would pitch 18 innings straight. And, I guess we have the leeway to push guys right now. We must trust in Acta. HA...his answer to a post-game interview question about the pitch count was "I manage the Indians". Well played.

My head hurts. Winning streaks are so stressful. I mean it sort of doesn't matter if we lose a few here and there BUT WHAT ABOUT THE STREAK?! WILL WE STILL BE THE HOTTEST TEAM IN BASEBALL?! Calm down. It's ok. Think baseball...

More baseball tomorrow, at 7:05 ET. Thanks, city of Anaheim. We're tired out here.

Radio Chatter:
"Never thought I'd come to Anaheim and there would be Fleece Blanket Night"
- Tom Hamilton

"Fausto Carmona - he's pitched gallantly tonight. Dan Heran has simply pitched better."
- Tom Hamilton

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alone Atop the Central

OMG ASDRUBAL! Home run number 4! He's now got more homers than he had all of last season. Two more than Hafner and pretty soon more than he had two years back (6). This is the third time he's homered in the first inning, too. He won the "American League Co-Player of the Week" (along with Paul Konerko) for last week. Poor Asdrubal - co-player, co-Cabrera. I'm sure he'll break out on his own at some point this season. Like, say, for fielding.

I wonder if Acta is going to stay with this lineup, with Asdrubal as our homerun leader and Choo slowly climbing back? On one hand...duh. On the other hand - if it ain't broke, yaknow?

Hafner and Orlando got hits tonight too, keeping up those averages. Hafner's tied for the h*tting str**k leader right now...I think. ESPN.com is the only place I can find info but it's not dated.

How about LaPorta with that 3-run dinger (thank you, Lord)? I was not expecting that. Drying off after a shower, thinking "Mehhhh....LaPorta...." and then BAM! Speaking of being in the shower, I totally missed one of my BADGES from Gameday tonight because I was up and about instead of logged in to Gameday. If I would have been sitting here for LaPorta's homerun, I'd have three badges now instead of two. Not cool.


Amazing start for Mitch Talbot. He pitched a shut out and aaaaaalmost pitched a complete game, but he was pulled in the 9th after giving up a double to the first batter. I decided it would have been nice to see him get a complete game shutout, but it would be nicer to WIN 8 IN A ROW! He was relieved by Vinnie Pestano, who I don't think we've seen since Opening Day. The kid is from the Anaheim area. Do you think Acta put him in to finish off the game for his family's sake? Hmmmm ... maybe?

A complete game would have been really cool, though. We've almost seen EVERYTHING so far in this young season so that one would have been a treat. Oh well, there will be plenty more.

Sort of a boring game tonight, really! Good pitching will do that and I will TAKE it.

Another late one tomorrow. Take a nap. Since this was such a short post, you get extra Radio Chatter tonight.

Radio Chatter:
"Cabrera grabs the ball and throws to...the other Cabrera..."
- Tom Hamilton

"Tim McClellan likes to be Santa Claus and not tell anyone what's in the present. Nobody in the ballpark - players, fans - has any idea what the call is until he waves his finger."
- Tom Hamilton

"Only in Disney Land can a monkey become everybody's favorite pet."
- Tom Hamilton, talking about the Rally Monkey. Yeah, that is a thing.

"Looking at the next batters, it's the Angels' 3, 4 and 5 hitters. So if you're going to finish off the Angels, you're going to earn it!"
- Tom Hamilton

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Second Sweep of the Season

OMG ASDRUBAL! Home run #3! Hamilton pointed out that he has as many home runs as the entire Mariners team. He also leads the Indians now. While he's still racking up some strikeouts, he did rack up 3 hits today putting his AVG over .300 again.

CHOO! got two hits and is slowly and stoically climbing out of his early season hole.

Hafner was benched today, as he was three games ago. I suspect he is on some sort of bench schedule, which is good if it's needed but man do I miss him when he's gone! It's really great to be excited for Pronk at the plate again.

Jack Hannahan is climbing back up too and getting a respectable AVG. Today he hit his second home run. 

Another great start from our starter, Josh Tomlin. According to Hammy, Josh Tomlin is the only pitcher in Indians franchise history to work more than 5 innings in each of his 14 major league starts. Considering our recent history, it feels like he's the only Indians pitcher EVER to give so many innings.

Chad Durbin relieved Tomlin in the 7th, but gave up a run. Then Acta went with what now seems to be the "old reliable" bullpen succession of R. Perez, Sipp and C. Perez. Sipp again looked fantastic and C. Perez picked up his third save.

Milton Bradley didn't play today, so he didn't grate on Hamilton's nerves. However, the Mariners did put up the roof on Safeco Field in the middle of the game and roof talk dominated Hammy's banter.

So yeah, if you didn't know, the Tribe is in first place in the Central and we just swept two series in a row. TWO SERIES IN A ROW. Uh, granted, it was against one team that is 1-7 and another team that is rumored to be the worst team in baseball this year...but if nothing else it's really priming the team for the rest of the season. Acta can test his lineup and his rotation, the bullpen can find their place and the team can shake those spiderwebs out. It's almost like an extended spring. As our opponents start getting more "serious" our team will have had the chance to ramp themselves up and learn how to be winners.

Hopefully all of the winning will also bring more fans out of the woodwork, and by the time they're back home next Friday we'll have more asses in the seats!

Three more west coast games coming up, against the Angels. Two late night games and a surprise 7:05 ET start on Wednesday. I'm stoked for us to roll on to a new team and see how our guys do against another set.

Radio Chatter:
"If I told you the Indians were 16-12 in the month of April, you'd probably say 'Oh, ok.' But if your team goes 4 over .500 every month of the season, suddenly you're 24 games over .500 by the end of the season."
- Tom Hamilton

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thanks, Milton

Another pitcher's duel in which we come out ahead. I think it's pretty cool to have games where we get tons of hits and runs interspersed with games where we've really got to clamor for runs. Really, both are fun baseball.

What's always fun in Cleveland is great starting pitching. When was the last time we had 5 reliable starters? And a bullpen to back them up? Ok we haven't had even 10 games yet but so far so good. Masterson is the same guy we saw last time and that is not something we're used to yet, either.

After last night's trouncing, and the Mariners' track record, most of us probably expected another beatdown today. But Mariner pitcher Doug Fister (uh huh) held us to just 2 runs on 6 hits. Only one of those runs was earned - the other was courtesy of outfielder Milton Bradley.

Milton Bradley played for the Indians for a few years under Eric Wedge, until he freaked the fuck out and Wedge sent him packing. Since then he's been slowly getting more crazy every year. But his batting hasn't suffered too much so he's still in the MLB. Not sure how he ended up back with Eric Wedge, but there you have it.

Anyway, our only runs tonight came from Milton Bradley totally forgetting how to throw to his cutoff man at short, throwing the ball to no one in particular and the ball landing in the Mariners' dugout, all while Choo was heading for home after Asdrubal scored an earned run on Orlando's sac fly. Got it?

Tom Hamilton - who seriously hates Milton Bradley - could only spit out "...Thanks, Milton" in response to that mess. But once Milton was back n Hammy's radar for the night, it was on.

Later on in the game, play was stopped when Milton Bradley went to confer with the 3rd base umpire about something. Hammy and Jim Rosenhaus speculated that Bradley felt he was being harassed by fans and wanted the umpire to stop it. But the umpire didn't do anything but resume the game. When Bradley came up to bat next, he had something (cotton?) stuffed in his ears. Seriously. Rosie reported that he'd been keeping an eye on the left field bleachers and security hadn't been over there to talk to anyone so no one's sure what Bradley's problem is.

So anyway, despite the low score, our boys Asdrubal and CHOO! got 2 hits each. Hafner hits safely for the fourth game in a row, once again putting it deep in the outfield. Orlando's AVG keeps rising, and really I am liking that cat more each day. I've been sold on him since game 3 but he continues to impress.

Asdrubal also had a fantastic play in the seventh. No wait, a flashy play. Some solid short-stoppin there. Can anyone imagine Jhonny Peralta doing that?

Lots of strikeouts for Masterson today, and he gave us 6 innings with NINE strikeouts. Rafael Perez came in to relieve him after one out in the 7th and gave up an un-earned run. Sipp held strong in the 8th, and I'm still loving that guy. I had a lot of high hopes for him last year, which turned in to ho-hums, but this year he's been strong thus far.

Chris Perez picked up his 3rd save, striking out 2 in the 9th. Lessee...on track for 20+? Yes.

Tonight I "watched" the game on Gameday, for the first time really delving in to the new Gameday setup, and I must say I am pretty impressed with it. Yesterday I talked a little bit about Gameday but I hadn't "done" an entire game using Gameday.

I have my Gameday Audio running in the background and the Gameday interface in the foreground. The new format puts pretty much everything you want at your fingertips, the sort of stuff you might be looking for if you're inclined to be "connected" while watching a game. Stats are right there - in-depth player stats including a heat chart, in-depth pitcher stats including a pitch type chart. There's a Twitter interface showing all #indians and #mariners tweets as well as a field for posting your own tweets.

There's a weird little feature called "Badges" that serves up 3 player/situation combos for each team (ex: "Asdrubal Cabrera/Double") and if one of those 6 things happen in the game while you are logged in and watching Gameday, then you win a badge. I didn't win any badges tonight but you know what this means right? I must log in again and AGAIN!

One of the coolest things on Gameday, especially for someone without access to television, is the Video player. As soon as a highlight clip is available (like, within minutes) a notice pops up and you can watch the highlight instantly, right over the Gameday pitch tracker thingy. That's just amazing, at least from a radio fan's perspective. About as amazing as when they started doing replays on the big board at the stadium. It used to be just painful waiting until the next day to see a clip of something cool, and to have it in minutes is great. And...AND...they seem to be posting more clips than ever.

So, check out the MLB.com Gameday interface - which is free. Don't forget that if a game is not on WTAM, it's on WMMS (in Cleveland) so you don't need to buy Gameday Audio to hear a game.

See you tomorrow - keep spreading the cheer!

Radio Chatter - Special Milton Bradley Edition:
"...thank you Milton."
- Tom Hamilton in response to Milton Bradley's error which allowed an un-earned run

"That's why your shortstop is the cutoff man. He's not out there to WAVE at Milton Bradley, you're supposed to throw to him. Oh well..."
- Tom Hamilton, still milling over Milton's error

"The umpires are all off-season dentists, and they tell him he's fine, put the mask back on."
- Tom Hamilton, NOT in response to Milton Bradley, but in response to a delay of game while one of the umpires asks the other umpires about his tooth

"[Milton Bradley] has plugged his ears with cotton. Good lord."
- Tom Hamilton

"If Bradley strikes out here, he'll need more than cotton in his ears."
- Tom Hamilton

Double Digit Inning FTW!

So, I missed today's game. I missed today's game because, to be honest, it's a rough life to try to be a person who catches every game and at the same time not be totally lame. Perhaps it's an ok hobby for say a married person or a retired person or a person who is friends with people who like to sit and watch games. But if you're a person like me and you tell your friends that you'd rather stay in and listen to the Indians game (yeah, not even see it on TV) instead of go "out" then well...if nothing else, your friends are going to stop asking you out. If you have those sort of friends (if you have friends who think this would be cool, call me!)

However, this brings up a good opportunity to talk about all the different ways you can catch a Tribe game nowadays. There's Sports Time Ohio, and sometimes WKYC. You can hopefully catch a game in any bar in the area - although it faces stiff competition from basketball. If you live outside of the market you can watch on MLB.tv, which I hear is awesome but blackouts make it worthless to me. You can tune in to 1100AM WTAM or if not there, you can find it on 100.7 WMMS in Clevelans or whatever your local Tribe radio station is where you live (always fun to hear the shout outs!) You can listen to radio on your iPod or iPhone, for $14.99 a year (warning: battery drainer!) and on Android and on Blackberry. I also paid $19.95 to join the Indians Fan Club which includes a subscription to Gameday Audio, which not only gives you the live feed but an archive for the year.

If you can't watch or listen, the At Bat 11 app (for mobile devices) and Gameday Web feature are pretty awesome. I did not get At Bat 10 last year, as I was just learning to appreciate the mobile version of the Indians' site, which had a stripped-down version of Gameday. I'm pretty pleased with At Bat 11, however. It's got quicker access to the box score and a more polished look. Also has quick access to player stats which is nice when you want to see how a guy is progressing.

Gameday on the Web has also changed for 2011, as has all of mlb.com and team sites. The change happened sometime between spring training and opening day - perhaps ON opening day. I REALLY like the updates. On Gameday, the pitch-by-pitch interface, which has always been cool, now includes an actual representation of the stadium in which the game is being played from the correct perspective. It also has the extra little detail of putting the batter in the right jersey. Their video clips are online within about an hour or two after the game, which is quite nice if you're a radio or Gameday regular. Like At Bat 11, the box score and player stats are much easier to get to. And check out the new play-by-play.

I am very happy to link you to the play-by-play for today's game because, being that I missed the game, this is essentially how I "caught" the game today. I wish wish wish I could have heard that magic 4th inning live but alas, I only heard about it second-hand. Props to follower Scott Cabrera (no relation) for texting me some updates as well as catching today's Radio Chatter! But anyway, thanks to the updates over at MLB.com, it's almost like being there! Ok not really like being there at all but it sure beats reading about it in the newspaper the next day.

So, Hafner is definitely back. Exhibit A.  Everyone can get their Pronkville signs and 48 t-shirts out of storage because we've got a DH who is playing the role of DH as if he were built to play DH and not like that guy we had the last year or so who was playing hurt for a while and then forgot how to hit the ball. Who knows how many more seasons Hafner has in him, but this is going to be his comeback season for sure. Oh yeah, and Exhibit B is his .375 batting average. All of the other guys seem to be leveling out but Pronk is continuing to hit every night, which is exactly what we need. Sitting around and waiting for the long ball is a fool's game. Solid singles and doubles to bring home the 4 guys in front of you is what is going to win games.

Speaking of homers, it looks like Asdrubal has THE POWER in him. He got his #2 tonight, putting him right on track with Hafner. Ixnay on the ike-outstray. Don't be fooled, though - remember this guy can also bunt and steal. And field. And cause a lot of internet chatter about his tattoo.

I mentioned the other day how Asdrubal was involved in all of the Progressive Field triple plays. He was also involved in this play tonight:

Asdrubal Cabrera strikes out swinging. Wild pitch by pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen. Matt LaPorta scores. Michael Brantley to 2nd. Throwing error by catcher Miguel Olivo. 

Reading stuff like that instead of hearing Hammy call it makes me angry to have missed the game, but I'll be tuning in to the Gameday Audio archive tomorrow. I also want to check out the magical 4th inning where we score TEN runs and sent FOURTEEN men to the plate. 

You know who else got a hit tonight? CHOOOO! Well him and everyone else on the team, including pinch hitter Travis Buck but excluding pinch hitter Adam Everett (who I will be looking forward to seeing more often). Jack Hannahan got two hits tonight, coming out of his Positive Tribe-declared "mini slump" (he impressed me mightily in the first few games!)

Carlos Carrasco pitched 6 innings with 6 strikeouts, and completed the cycle of all of our starters having a winning game (not a win, however, for those of you new to the game). He only gave up one run and brought his ERA back down from outer space.

Justin Germano relieved Carrasco, which was a good move as he seems to need more exposure and we had the means to give it to him. It's a great feeling to know that we can be up by 11 and know that our bullpen will not blow that lead. Hahahaha let's all have a good laugh now remembering a time when our bullpen could definitely have blown that lead! HAHAHA! Ok, now wipe it from your memories!  

Tomorrow is Masterson, and don't worry, I've cleared my schedule.  Note that the game starts at 9:10 PM eastern, not 10 like we're used to.

Radio Chatter:
"If that restaurant doesn't have windows, someone has a large crouton in their salad."
- Tom Hamilton, regarding Hafner's homer off the face of the restaurant at Safeco Field.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Asdrubal Cabrera's Tattoo

I am getting a lot of hits from searches regarding Asdrubal Cabrera's new arm tattoo.

Since the info I found about it (on The Tribe Daily) is buried in a previous post, I will make a new post about it and also give you a pic:
Photo source MLB.COM

It does say "Meyer & Ashley" which was one of the guesses my brother and I came up with during a game. Asdrubal's son's name is Meyer but his wife's name is not Ashley. A Google search of his name and "Ashley" brings up nothing. Soooo...if anyone know's the story behind that, I'm all ears!

Update: We've officially decided that Asdrubal has a son named Meyer and a new baby girl named Ashley. His wife's name is Lismar.

Here's a new picture of the tattoo from 7/15/2011, courtesy of MLB.com:



Update #2: Here's some pictures of Meyer and Asdrubal from the Tribe tumblr/instagram:

 http://instagram.com/p/Yn2ULcNpro/#

http://instagram.com/p/Yn_xqGtpsb/#

http://instagram.com/p/YqGIQRtpjZ/#

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Good Fausto Shows Up

WOW what a game! And I only say that because I just finished listening to it (no TV for me) and Tom Hamilton makes almost every play sound like it's the play of the century, and the last play of the game negated the sleepy two and a half hours that preceded it. Pitchers' duel.

The Red Sox are 0-6, and the Tribe swept Boston for the first time in 10 years. I know it's only the 6th game but once again THAT is another nugget of excitement that comes with following a team passionately (and positively!)

So Good Fausto showed up and he rocked! No runs, 4 strikeouts. Knocked his ERA down from 30.0 to 9.0 (yay?) and all of that in SEVEN innings. Woohoo!

Acta also neatly managed his bullpen again today by pulling reliever Chad Durbin at the first hint of trouble and replacing with Rafael Perez (who got the win after facing just a couple of batters...heh), who worked his way out of a jam in the 8th and then passed to Chris Perez (save #2!) who finished them off.

There was a bit of luck for C. Perez, as the final out was due to a running error on the part of Boston...their runner rounded second and fell down. We've gotten a few things to go our way like that lately (see last night's force out bungle) but whatever - we'll take it! Here's the video of that play...however exciting the TV announcers are, imagine them being 10x more excited and that's how Tom Hamilton called it, punctuating it of course with his famous "...BALLGAME!"

John Lester was impressive for Boston as well, and he kept our bats quiet even though he also had a bad Opening Day (not as bad as Bad Fausto did). We also actually had our "B-Squad" out there, with Adam Everett at third, Shelly Duncan at DH and Travis Buck in center. Interesting to think what may have happened if Hafner and Brantley started but Acta seemed to know what he was doing with his lineup.

They'll be traveling out to Seattle for a 10:10 PM (eastern) game tomorrow, so giving some guys some rest as well as working out out bench is probably a good move.

Aside from the base running error that ended the game, all of our excitement came at the end of the 8th. Guess who won the game? Asdrubal, that's who! I forgot to mention last night in my "OMG ASDRUBAL!" post that he's also a good bunter. Acta didn't forget, tho. With Adam Everett on third, and one out, Asdrubal managed to lay down a great suicide bunt down third allowing Everett to score. The only run in the game and OMG ASDRUBAL! Here's the video, once again with only 1/10 the "oomph" you'll hear on the radio.

Man I thought this post was going to be all short but it's pretty lengthy considering there were exactly two plays worth noting in the whole game! Good job MLB.com on getting video up so quickly. That will come in handy as my opportunities to watch games on TV dwindles throughout the season. Now if only they had the radio feed for the audio, you all could feel the excitement too!

Catch you tomorrow night, late, for Seattle's home opener!

Radio Chatter:
"How good are one dollar hot dogs? Even Buck Showalter doesn't have anything bad to say about Dollar Dog Night."
- Tom Hamilton

"I'm not sure if it's the time change or what but I just looked at the clock and we're one hour ahead of where we were last night."
- Mike Hegan (commenting on the length of last night's game)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OMG ASDRUBAL!! (The Red Sox are 0-5)

It's no secret, amongst the 3 or 4 people in this world who pay attention to me, that I am Asdrubal Cabrera's biggest fan. And no, not in a "Mrs. Grady Sizemore" sort of way but in a "this guy is going to be awesome, and he's already awesome" sort of way. I've been cheering for him since he came up with us and he is probably the reason I have been continually excited about Indians baseball even though it's no longer 2007, or 1997. He's been consistently and quietly fun to watch and fun to root for. I even have a little poster of him that I ripped out of a magazine, and hung up on my bulletin board. The adult version of the inside of a locker. Tee-hee.

I could have probably named this blog "Exciting Things Asdrubal Cabrera Did Tonight" but in an effort to appeal to a wider audience, I decided to include the entire team.

But anyway - now that I possibly have a larger audience, I strongly urge everyone to pay attention to Asdrubal Cabrera. He's where he should be defensively - at short. He also is appearing to be stronger this season than ever before and I predict he'll get double-digit homers, as well as continue to be a solid hitter and steal bases.

Might he be an all star? I don't know...people still don't seem to know him. It depends on how the team does as a whole, and whether we get more than one player sent up. Little brother is not winning any popularity contests. People just don't know.

So on to tonight's game. It's pretty normal for a Tribe fan to feel unhopeful against the Red Sox. Almost all of those names are names that have really crushed us in the past. If you're going in to a Red Sox game with no trepidation, you are just fooling yourself.

That makes it all the more sweet that we're playing good baseball against the Red Sox. All of the tooth gnashing and hand wringing about how much we're not paying our players blah blah blah WELL WE BEAT THEM TWO IN A ROW.

We beat Josh Beckett and we beat Dice-K and we beat Jenks and Yook and Big Poopy and Pedroia and JD F'n Drew. All of 'em, our little team of boys.

Thanks in part to Asdrubal, with his RBI single and 3-run homer (#1!) And also CHOOOOOOOOOO with his first hit of the season and his first homer of the season.

Very cute - was with my niece again tonight, and we practiced saying "CHOO!" for a bit before the game. Then she was upstairs with her mom when Choo got his homer, but I said "You missed it! Choooooo with a homer!" and I hear a lovely, crisp "CHOOOO!" coming from upstairs. Trained Baby Winning!

There was also the "what just happened there?" scoring play. Youkilis dropped a grounder  with bases loaded, picked up the ball and touched the base, thus removing the force of the man on third (there was now no one behind him, thus no force). The man on third went home, as did the ball (which beat him by 20 feet) but instead of tagging the runner (which you need to do when there's no force - tagging the base won't do) the catcher sauntered to his "hold the runners" position in the middle of the field. And our runner scored.

Yet another example of why every game is exciting, whether we win or lose. After the game, Acta said that they had to explain what happened to a lot of players. Because this isn't stuff you see every day in baseball. You know, just like the triple play the other day. Five games in and we're already in the Appendix of the rule books!

Also homering tonight was Matt LaPorta (Gator4God!) Impressively so, as it came off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (yeah now he's in the bullpen. I would want to be in the bullpen too if I were a knuckleballer). Wakefield smoked everyone else he faced, so nice work Matt.

My brother would also like me to point out that Brantley is doing well and if he continues to do well he should stay in the 1-spot when Grady returns, with Grady in the 2-spot. This means Asdrubal needs to move down to 7 or 8. Ok, I can feel it. Brantley has to keep up, tho. I'm really warming to him but I think he will lose his luster if he's benched and unless Many Acta is an evil genius I don't see him making that move (Grady at #2).

I can definitely see moving Brantley to LF and basically shedding what might be the weak link in our lineup (Buck/Kearns/Duncan - which are NOT bad names to have on your bench!) Ahhh...but it's such a risk. Glad I am not Manny Acta!

Whew! Pitching...I think we saw a nice NORMAL start from Mitch Talbot today. He gave up some runs but didn't melt down. He didn't go 7 but Acta deftly used our relievers, doing some righty/lefty matchups and holding the Sox to only 2 more. Raffi Perez got the win, and looked sharp. Hermann slipped a bit but instead of one bad reliever after another, Sipp and Pestano came in and got it done.

I'm looking for Sipp to play a bigger role this year than last year. So far he's looking great!

Orlando Cabrera made the defensive play of the game by fielding a grounder that didn't get to him until after the head of  Jacoby Ellsbury's broken bat, and still managed to get the speedy Ellsbury out at first.

Check out the wrap on MLB.com, which includes a large pic of Asdrubal's tattoo, as well as a link to a video of his homer. And, finally, some info on his tattoo from The Tribe Daily (scroll down to "Random Rundown"), a cool blog that I just found and will be adding to my links list. That blog kicks this blog's ass (they have nice graphics!), but they seem to do more outside reading than I do. I might be thin on facts and photos but I am full of love!

I am so excited for tomorrow. I really believe Fausto is going to come out as Good Fausto and the Sox will go home for their opener at 0-6.

Speaking of the Sox and their losing streak, I hear tell that LeBron James just signed a deal with the Red Sox's owners to buy a stake in Liverpool FC (Football (soccer) Club (team) (in England)). No, I am not messing with you, it's true. I don't even know what to say about that but that just sounds like bad karma to me, boys. I don't think the people of Boston like LeBron either. Oh and since LeBron is such a Yankee fan I don't know what he's doing cozying up to the Red Sox owners. That dude has absolutely no sense of loyalty, does he?

I know the above sounds negative, but it's not. You should read it while laughing!

Noon game tomorrow!

By the way, if you ever see a sign in the stands that says "OMG ASDRUBAL!" that's me.

"There's no love lost between the Koreans and the Japanese. [...] And for the first time ever, Daisuke Matsuzaka has given up a run at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario."
- Tom Hamilton (talking about the national baseball teams not the nations)