Sunday, April 29, 2012

Help from Torii

Hey there! I totally missed yesterday's game. I was all ready to sit down and watch/listen before my birthday party but it was delayed an hour and a half. Then my niece came over early to play. She gave me some finger paintings and a signed Bob Feller Starting Lineup figure (NIB, natch) so I think I made the right choice there. Then my friends came over and we partied until 1 AM and some of them said "Too bad the Tribe lost on your birthday!" and told me how boring the game was so I just decided to ditch it. Looking at the box score this morning with our 4 hits and 2 walks, I decided just to skip it. I think I made the right choice there, too.

Today's game was a different story! Derek Lowe pitched great and even though not all of our guys hit, everyone ended up on base (except Duncan, who got the game's only RBI on record).

Lowe was super comfortable up there today. There's no reason for him to be rattled, I suppose - the Angels aren't doing anything notable this year, other than losing. He didn't have many strikeouts but he did get 14 ground outs in his 7 2/3 innings, ending up with a 3-hitter and his 4th win!

Lowe faltered a bit in the 8th, then Pestano came in and walked the bases loaded but he did good and got himself out of it. Chris Perez came in in a non-save situation and struck out 2 to end the game!

Ervin Santana, who pitched a no-hitter against us last season, is 0-5 this season and has given up 10 homers in 23 games.Unfortunately we did not see any of those home run balls today. Or if we did, we didn't recognize them. The Tribe was leading the AL in home runs (I think with Texas) earlier this month but we haven't hit a homer since April 17. Argh!

Still, we've found ways to win. You do hear people complain about "relying on the long ball too much" when a team wins only by homers, so I guess getting in some small ball is helpful too.

My plea for multi-hit games has paid off! Brantley and Santana had 2 and 3 hits, respectively and in turn they both scored runs. And their averages are over .250!

Asdrubal didn't get a hit but he did get to 2nd base on an error from Torii Hunter who dropped a high pop fly in the outfield. While this was going on, Cunningham and Brantley scored. These runs were actually sort of made possible by Kotchman and Kipnis who represented outs 1 and 2 in the inning. Had there not been 2 outs, no one would have been running and no one would have been able to score on the error. Instead, Brantley and Cunningham were free-wheelin' it around the bases and it turned out their runs counted. How's that for serendipity?!

Later on in the 8th inning, Hafner got his single (pinch run by Donald) and Santana followed with one of his own. They had Hannahan - who is currently on a break from being magical - sacrifice bunt to get them over but we got a nice present instead. The bunt was picked up and thrown wildly to first in which case Hannahan was safe, Donald scored and Santana went to third. Then up came Duncan who could USE some magic, and he didn't get a hit he did get a sacrifice fly and an RBI!

I'll also note that Casey Kotchman got himself a hit today (he's batting .149) and had some nice plays at 1st including an unassisted double play!

Also here's a coupla Web Gems for ya - Asdrubal stops and spins and Cunningham (!) recovers from a fall and makes a catch!

So everyone really pitched in today to not let Ervin Santana make a repeat of last year. This includes help from Torii Hunter who does not play for our team but I wish he did. Today's win also means we won the series and leaves us atop the AL Central for another day. Nice job for a SUNDAY, guys!

Off day tomorrow and then off to Chicago for three 8:10 PM games against the White Sox. We've really got to win those because the Sox are chasing behind us in the standings and also after that we play Texas and Texas is really freaking good. Like 16-5 good. So we need to have some padding in case we lose. IN know?

Tuesday is Ubaldo versus Chris Sale at 8:10 PM. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Oh he's a magician out there at short stop!"
- Jim Rosenhaus on Asdrubal Cabrera

"This sinker right now is just eating up the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. That's their official name but nobody calls them that."
- Tom Hamilton gives us extra info

"Torii Hunter was getting the Bronx Cheer, but instead of getting mad about it he just turned around and flipped the fans the baseball."
- Tom Hamilton loves Torii Hunter too

"We'll see the Angels again in July. If there still only scoring 2 runs per game by then, we've got a story."
- Tom Hamilton

Friday, April 27, 2012

Multi-Hit Mania!

Once again Torii Hunter tried to run our night! His first homerun and he also threw Asdrubal out at the plate. They even brought him in as a fifth infielder in the 9th. But, I can't be mad at Torii Hunter. In fact I think he's the only guy I'd welcome with open arms when he becomes old and washed up and the Indians go hunting for old blood to hire. Well, him and Omar because seriously how could you not like those guys?

But Torii did not spoil our night! Because we have the power of Masterson and even though they have the power of Weaver (who is, in fact, most powerful) we also have the power to beat up on your sorry-ass bullpen and that we did!

Masterson rocked the f'n house pitching 8 1/3. He totally did! He was back in to the groove of a guy who is our #1 starter. Yes he gave up 2 runs and walked 5 but he also pitched almost a complete game with those stats. Ubaldo can't even do that well in 5!

Pestano came on in relief in the 9th with one out and struck out his 2 guys! AWESOME! Not sure why Perez didn't come in, because he was warming up. Perhaps he didn't want to tarnish his record with a Win instead of a Save.

Poor Masterson didn't get the W for his effort, Vinnie did. Masterson has no wins yet. I bet Vinnie feels bad about it.

Hey, Everybody Hits today! Even Casey Kotchman who snapped a 0-23 streak!

Michael Brantley - THE SPARK - went 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run. He got a double and a steal! According to Jim Rosenhaus he "looked good," better than he's been looking. If he is "back" then we are in for a lot of wins.

Kipnis was batting second instead of Asdrubal. I think they had to shuffle a bit because of Choo's absence. Like most 2-hole hitters, he must have been inspired by Brantley's 3 hits because he himself got 2 hits giving him 12 hits in his last 10 games.

Heeeeey Asdrubal! It was a good night for him to go multi-hit. He went 3 for 5 and since he missed 6 games his batting average shot up from .294 to .321. O YEA AND HE WON THE GAME! He hit the ball where Torii Hunter wasn't tee hee. (Watch the video - Santana tries to pull Asdrubal's pants off!) Finally, after what seems like forever, someone came through in the clutch who wasn't Jack Hannahan and gave us a walk-off run. Of course the fellas on base before him (Cunningham and Kipnis) didn't hurt. But it'll be super great if walking off sparks Asdrubal into another fantastic season.

Hafner was his usual awesome self today, walking twice and going 1 for 2. Him and Asdrubal are 14th and 13th in the league in batting average at .321. Wish he was pronkin' them over the fence but fuck it. He is on base LIKE A BOSS.

Still not multi-hitting but also on base like a boss (leading the league in walks) is Carlos Santana. He had the patience today for 2 walks and a single. When-o-when will he get back in to hitting homers? I hope to heck that time comes when it gets warmer maybe.

Jack Hannahan didn't have to be the hero tonight, which is good because he didn't seem to have it in him. Don't get me wrong - he got his hit. So did Shelley and so did Kotchman. But the three of them had 5 strikeouts between them courtesy of Jared Weaver. But Weaver's a beast, really. He's always scary for us. We were very lucky to get him out of there after 6 innings that's for sure.

Aaron Cunningham had a BIG night tonight. He went 2 for 4 with a double and came in as the winning run. He's actually got a 4-game hitting streak. I guess everyday play is good for him? What's really cool is that he had an outfield assist. He threw out none other than Torii Hunter! *swoon*

So beating Weaver was pretty awesome and I hate to mention it but we got 15 hits and 11 LOB. They did what I've been begging for and had several dudes with multiple hits but for some reason they couldn't follow through as well. I guess really that was Weaver - all of our scoring came after he was gone. But we also had four double plays including two strikeout/throwouts. And a out at the plate. So our aggressiveness isn't paying off just yet.

Pretty excited about tomorrow's game. It's my birthday! Brantley and Asdrubal are all warmed up so I expect good things from them. Do you think there will be any homers? I hope so. I also hope there's no rain delay because I'm throwing myself a party at 5 so I'm on a tight schedule, dangit.

Hope my birthday is as good as Santana's was. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Masterson is like a hockey goalie tonight. He's had a couple of body saves."
- Tom Hamilton

"Didn't your mom always tell you that nothing good ever happens adter 11 o'clock?"
- Tom Hamilton on Delmon Young's arrest

"By golly, Torii Hunter finally doesn't kill the Indians."
- Tom Hamilton after Hafner dropped a single in front of Hunter

"Very rarely do you get opportunities to score off Jared Weaver. The Indians so far have not capitalized, but they are giving it another shot."
- Tom Hamilton in the bottom of the 6th with 2 on and Duncan up

"This is why the Angels went the extra mile to get him."
"I don't think they just went a mile, Rosie."
"The extra hundred million miles?"
- Jim Rosenhaus and Tom Hamilton on Albert Pujols

"This is a game you've gotta find a way to win. You can't lose when you've out-hit the Angels 13-4."
- Tom Hamilton

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Four Bases and a Mound

Manny Acta did not make any excuses after the game for why the Tribe's been playing poorly at home. He said "It's four bases and a mound wherever we go," not wanting to blame it on the weather.


But you gotta think the weather MUST be quite a factor. I mean, we played this very Kansas City team just two weeks ago and they were no problem. No problem in Kansas City.

Our pitchers don't seem to be any better or worse home or away, actually. They are a steady, predictable stream of runs given up. Tomlin's ERA was 4 and he gave up 4 - just like he did in 3 of his other 4 outings.

The bullpen has tightened itself up and aside from stuff like Asencio dropping 4 last night, they're getting back to being their 2011 selves. Good ol' Joe Smith, he hasn't changed! Keeping his ERA around 2.

Our batters went back to getting more walks, so that's cool. We still lead the league in walks. But we're second from last in batting average. So our hitters are being patient but They're striking out more and more - at least at home.

Choo was out today so once again we didn't have our "full lineup." Even when everyone is healthy we'll be missing Santana on a rest day or we had Asdrubal on his bereavement leave. I don't know if it makes a huge difference, though.

Both Brantley and Asdrubal got hits today. I still say they hit in tandem! They even put those hits together! And then there was a walk! And a sac fly! And then Asdrubal stole 3rd!

Then Shelley got up and struck out and Hannahan got up and grounded out and that was the end of that.


Shelley wasn't all bad today - at least not in the field. We won't give up on him yet!

Has anyone noticed that Eric Hosmer, the Royals' first baseman, has taken like 10 runs away from us so far this season? Every time we have guys on base someone seems to hit a scorcher down the first base line and Hammy gets all excited and then Hosmer turns it into an out? *shakes fist* HOSMER!

Oddly enough our big hitters of the game today were Lopez (1 hit, 1 run), Kipnis (2 hits, 1 stolen base and a bandage to hold his eye open) and Cunningham who got a hit and a RBI and now has a 3-game hitting streak!

Our big bombers in the middle not hitting (Santana, Hafner, Duncan, Hannahan) (Yeah! Hannahan!) really hurt us today and that's about all there is to it. Not sure if it was the weather or what but it's just really sad because we know they have it in them.

Another 7:05 classic tomorrow, against the Angels who are as bad as the Royals so dammit we'd better get something out of this homestand!!!

It's Justin Masterson against....Jared Weaver. *GROAN*

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Didn't you used to score at home when you were a kid? How did you learn to score?"
"I lived on a farm. We didn't have pen and paper."
- Jim Rosenhaus and Tom Hamilton

"I felt like we were 'Smoky and the Bandit' version three!"
- Tom Hamilton on driving with Rosie

"The Indians have a lineup where they need all of the pieces to really be an effective lineup."
- Tom Hamilton

"Have you ever met them? If you met them in a parking lot you'd run."
- Tom Hamilton on the Oakland Bleacher Creatures

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Who Are These Guys?

So Ubaldo Jiminez still is no good. To be honest he's never been good for us. We know good - we've got Justin Masterson. We even know good-with-bad-streaks - we've got Roberto Hernandez. Jiminez seems to be consistently bad. But not blow-out bad just too-many-runs bad. And if he's not giving up too many runs, he's not going enough innings because he put a lot of guys on base and happened to get them out before they scored.

Plus there's the "ok he's going to be good this week!" anticipation of our big purchase from last year and then it never happens. I think that makes him even more frustrating. If he was just some dude who ended up on our roster or came up through the minors we could easily forget him every 5 days. But he came to us wrapped in a package of high hopes and so far he's not been living up to the hype (however small the hype was before we found him on our team.)

Le sigh.

So there was that - Ubaldo giving up 4 runs - which was no fun. But this was the Royals and we are the Indians and it is only natural that we're going to come back and the Royals are going to implode. That's at least the story for the 2012 Indians and Royals. HOWEVER, in the history of the Central, the story is that the Royals will beat us even if they are the worst team in baseball. Welcome to history!

Wheeler and Perez did fine in the 7th and 8th and Asencio blew the barn door open and gave up 4 runs in the 9th, giving up a 3-run and 1-run homers.

Wasn't just Asencio and Jiminez today, tho. Well ultimately it was Asencio but before he gave up all them runs, our batters did a lot of failing to get on base.

Nobody had a multi-hit game today and we only had 3 walks which is super unusual for this team. We totally owned Luke Hochevar and today he owned us!

Asdrubal got a hit and he's still up over .300. He and Santana both got one hit and one walk.

PRONK is still the man. Dude got a double and a RBI and reached on a fielder's choice. I can't tell if his OBP is under .500 now or not (stats not updated) but whatever, he's still streaking and doing what he came here to do.

Jack Hannahan was shut down today. Isn't that weird? Surely he'll get 'em tomorrow...

Casey Kotchman got hit by a pitch and I sort of cheered. I'm sorry that I sort of cheered, Casey. Do you think he maybe cheered, too? He is batting .143.

Aaron Cunningham! With an RBI single! Now is his chance to get some live batting practice in while Choo is out (hopefully having a 24/7 hamstring massage). Who knows - maybe he's good? I think we've got 3 games to find out.

I think the cool weather is starting to get guys down or something. They need a bit of a woo-ha moment here. Yeah we won yesterday but not by nearly as much as we should have. And today we did the same thing only it bit us in the butt.

The Tribe does pretty well in afternoon games (that aren't on Sundays) so maybe Josh Tomlin can get it done. He can if the bats get to swingin' and guys start connecting with the ball. Or heck - if they get back to walking more.

Noon baseball tomorrow - see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"He's never mediocre. He's either lights out or the Indians tattoo him."
- Tom Hamilton on Luke Hochevar

"Jiminez...he's become Muhammed Ali. He keeps on doing the old rope-a-dope and gets it done."
- Tom Hamilton

"When you've lost 12 in a row you'd better pay attention to details. They may come back to bite you."
- Tom Hamilton on Hochevar pitching in the dirt

"Quintero's about a 50/50 guy behind the plate. He catches half of them and lets the other half go to the back stop."
- Tom Hamilton is still not a fan of the Royals' catcher

"I wonder if Willie Jenks has the plastic up in the Royals clubhouse? They may feel like spraying each other with champagne tonight."
- Tom Hamilton after the Royals score 7

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Pains of Being Left On Base

Nine walks, eight hits and a hit batsman and we only got four runs? LOB, man - LOB rears its ugly head again! Thirteen! We really should have crushed these Royals, who have now lost 11 in a row. But I honestly think this team is not handling the cold well.

Anyway, we won. Got the W. Royals kept their streak up. On to the game!

Good ol' Derek Lowe, he did his thing this time. He got his third win (3-1) and went 6 innings only giving up 1 earned run. He struck out 5 and ended up with a tidy 3.00 ERA. Not sure how he managed to only give up 1 with 8 hits but he is pretty pro - he got it done.

Sipp came in in relief and Tom Hamilton went off on an inning-long tirade about Sipp and Raffy need to stop sucking but also we all need to calm down. When it was over Sipp had gone 1-2-3 and struck out one. SCENE!

VinneP52 came in and gave up 2 hits and a run and I'm sure we were all groaning. The bullpen is like the little Dutchboy - if it's not one hole in our dyke it's another! But Pestano got out of it with a 2-run lead, and Chris Perez came in and let one of those runs go but ultimately got his 7th save. I'm tellin ya - 80 saved this year!

Michael Brantley was out tonight. Wrist soreness!!! I think we lost him a lot to wrist soreness last year. Everyone say a prayer for Cousin Michael! (although he did come in for Duncan in the 9th to play for a second I think)

Kipnis went 1 for 3 with a walk and HBP in his stead tonight (hit by...Sanchez, of course!) I'll take it. I don't prefer it - would rather see Brantley up there but nod my head towards Kipnis and his hitting streak.

Asdrubal's back! HOLLA! Well peace and love to abuelo, of course. Now back to the game. He went 2 for 4 tonight with a double and a walk, so he's up over .300!! They were speculating as to how long it'd take him to get back into the game but...I dunno, I have this picture in my mind of throngs of Venezuelan children lining up to shag flies in Asdrubal Cabrera Parque de BĂ©isbol. In other words - no way dude wasn't keeping warm down there.

Choo didn't do anything today other than go 0 for 3 and then come out with a hamstring injury. DO NOT WANT! On the bright side, Trevor Crowe is batting over .400 in the minors so it's not like we want for outfielders (uh why is he there and Aaron Cunningham here??) But no one really wants to go without Choo for any length of time so people better be lining up to give that man a deep tissue massage. STAT.

Carlos Santana once again got one hit and one walk, and even one RBI. All good, good job. But still just ONE hit. Grumble grumble. Come on 'Los, I know you got it in you baby. Hit hit hit more. Shelley Duncan also needs to hit more. And both dudes need to hit it out of the park more. Shelley got his one hit and one RBI tonight but also struck out twice. Eep!

Hafner actually didn't hit today BUT he walked twice. And he also hit quite a fantastic line drive to the outfield. So we'll take it. He's been on base in every game but two, out of 13. His OBP is over .500. Legen

Wait for it


Speaking of Legendary, Jack Hannahan. He's having multi-hit games, tonight he went 2 for 3 with a walk. And oh yeah he got the tying an winning RBIs. And, praise St. Brigid, he's done making errors at third. Still super excited to have him down at the bottom anchoring the lineup, making up for his corner counterpart Kotchman who doesn't seem to be able to hit his way out of a paper bag.

Aaron Cunningham not only got a hit, but he also played all 3 outfield positions!
Aaron Cunningham cannot be seen
Speaking of grass, guess what I bought today.

A gnome.

This gnome.
I had a $50 gift card for JC Penney and it was expiring Saturday and I didn't know what to get. So, gnome it was! 

Having your own yard is pretty awesome!

So what do you think? Not about the gnome, I mean about the game. Do you think we shoulda coulda done better? Will it be better tomorrow with Brantley? Where is Trevor Crowe? Is Choo visiting a Korean massage parlor tomorrow morning?

And, do you like the gnome?

Ubaldo day tomorrow, versus Luke Hochevar. We smacked Hochevar for 7 runs last time, and he only lasted 4 innings because Santana hit him in the ankle with a line drive. So we've got some unfinished business with dude and hopefully that business involves a ton of runs.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Derek Lowe, you can tell he is one of those guys who enjoys life. Too many guys think this is brain surgery."
- Tom Hamilton

"Sanchez isn't throwing at anybody. Including his catcher. If you're in the dugout seats, you have a good a chance of meeting [Royals catcher] Humberto Quintero as ever."
- Tom Hamilton

"One of the most overrated events in sports."
- Tom Hamilton on the NFL draft

"What you can't do as a ballclub is start panicking."
- Tom Hamilton on the state of our bullpen

"Humberto Quintero must have a clause in his contract. 'This visit to the mound was brought to you by...'"
- Tom Hamilton on the many visits to the mound

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day Off

Oh, Sunday Tribe games. How you try me! I thought we had the Sunday Blahs worked out with our two previous Sunday wins but I was wrong.

Once again it's like Sunday is an off day for an otherwise awesome team. It literally was an off day for Kotchman, Duncan and Santana. Not to mention Asdrubal is still off (he had 6 days...I think he may be back Tuesday?) So we were left with a skeleton crew.

I didn't think too much of it, though, because I've always liked Marson and was blown away by Lopez (LOPEZ!) in spring training. Although I do wonder if maybe Damon would have filled in for Duncan today and done better than Cunningham...hmmm... Anyway, I didn't go into this game thinking the worst, especially with Justin on the mound and us having won the last 2 but nope - Sunday reared its ugly head again.

Masterson walked 6 today and only struck out 2 in his 5 innings. Whatwhatwhat? I didn't expect this sort of poor outing - 4 earned runs - two starts in a row. Someone's got to fix that and fix it fast!

Raffy Perez didn't do too bad, he just took forever. He struck out 3 in his 2 innings. Hagadone finally gave up a run, so he's got an ERA. But he still has looked awful fancy in his 3 appearances.

No one really hit today except our guys that have been hitting consistently.

Yesterday's and Friday's hero Jason Kipnis got a hit today but sadly nothing came of it. But I like to see him keep it up!

Choo got another double, his third in 3 games. He would come in as our only run.

Hafner, who, damn... yeah he went 1 for 2 today with 2 walks and the only RBI. He doesn't have a game hitting streak to speak of (well, 4) but he's gotten 15 hits in 12 games this year and 10 walks. Two homers, two doubles and 7 RBI. He's fifth in the league for OBP. LOVE IT!

Jack Hannahan got his hit today too, with a 6-game streak. He's got 14 hits in 12 games, with 6 walks, 3 doubles, one homer and 11 RBI. they moved him up from 8th to 6th today and it didn't help or hurt us. Neither his hit nor his walk gave us any more runs.

So that's all for today's game. No feats of grandeur, just guys squeaking by. Woo-ee.

Rest up tomorrow and then 7:05 baseball is BACK on Tuesday, where we get to play the world-class flops from Kansas City again. Fun time for sure - see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"It's Groundhog Day around here when it comes to talking about how they need a new stadium."
- Tom Hamilton on the state of the Oakland Coliseum

"I asked them what kind of flu do you have that keeps you out five days? They said 'It's called a 'I got a 2-year contract flu...''"
- Tom Hamilton on Coco Crisp's absence

"He might not know a lick of English, but he does know what a ball and a strike is and he is not happy with the umpire."
- Tom Hamilton on Yoenis Cespedes

"Ronnie Belliard did all second basemen a disservice. He was the first one to play that shift to the side of second base, but he had the arm to back it up."
- Tom Hamilton on Kipnis's off-mark throw to first

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kipnis > Katniss

Tonight I'm excited about Jason Kipnis, and I'm excited that I'm excited about him. Because, to be honest with you all here, I had some major doubts about him. Even as I was pondering tonight's game during the day (cuz what else do you do before a game?) my mind was specifically singling him out as a glaring weak spot in the lineup.

He actually was fairly decent last year in the 38 games he played. He got some big homers for us. His first hit was a game-winning RBI (that was him, right?) He was pretty endearing, we just didn't see him enough. His spring this year was fine too and he hit .273, one point higher than his 2011 average.

He just started so slow this year, and being "new" and unproven made me not so sure if he could recover from it. And then getting wrapped up in all of this crazy hitting going on, and then having him AND Kotchman in the lineup hitting under .200 (Kotchman is so good at first, he gets a batting pass) it was just too much for me.

Yesterday he sort of endeared me because he had that head-first slide in to home, albeit a risky endeavor, and that won the game. But still he had no hits in the game (he was hit by a pitch).

Well tonight I get to eat my hat because Jason Kipnis went 4 for 5, got a triple, got 3 RBI and both tied and won the game. His average shot up to .226 from yesterday's .167. One game does not a sure thing make, but bring me some excitement and I will be your cheering section. See what it did for Jason Donald? I no longer make fun of his greasy hair.

Well done, Jason Kipnis! Meme time!

Jeanmar Gomez started tonight and he looked pretty decent. Right now he's our team sweetie since the other guys have all had bad outings while his ERA is under 2. He did only go 5 1/3 innings and I'm not sure why because the situation where they took him out was a guy on third with one out. Someone was probably going to give up a run in that situation and indeed Wheeler did. Gomez struck out three and only had one earned run.

Aside from Tomlin's one-run beauty on Thursday, Gomez's start tonight was the second best of the road trip.

Tony Sipp came in after Wheeler and had a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout. Woohoo! Jim Rosenhaus declared him "back." Don't get too excited Rosie (I'm pretty excited, Rosie!)

Vinne Pestano gave up a hit but otherwise lights out. Asencio ended up getting two guys on base, which was no good (even though we were up by 4) so they had to bring in Chris Perez who just eats up those one-batter saves like so much Big League Chew. Did he get his batter to pop up? Yes he did. Ballgame!

Since Michael Brantley has started hitting again he has gotten a hit in 7 straight games. But he and Santana are only getting one hit  a game. So you can't really count on either of those guys to get the big hit right now - you can only hope that this at-bat is the time they get their one hit (and there's a 2/10 chance they will). So while they SEEM they're on a roll, we could really stand to have those guys shoot for multi-hit games.

I don't know the mechanics of being able to get one hit but not another. Travis Hafner sure has it figured out, tho. And to a lesser extent, Choo. Although Choo has either been feast (2 hits! doubles, walks) or famine. But at least he's stealing.

Hafner had two more tonight. He is the honest-to-God real deal I'd say. Two more singles at that, and a walk of course. His batting average is a 9th-in-the-league .350 and it's real.

Also real is SUPERMANAHAN. My goodness, where did all of this awesome come from? I mean, we knew he was awesome because he had the "vacuum at third base" thing going on but now he's hitting too? He was always given a pass (should we call Kotchman's pass the Hannahan pass?) and now the pass is REVOKED. Tonight he got 2 more hits (including a double) and dude is hitting .342 which is just behind Hafner at 10th in the league!

I think I know what Shelley Duncan's problem is right now. His dad, Dave Duncan, is hanging around. Not only that but all his dad's buddies as Oakland is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the winning of the 1972 World Series. I guess now's a good a time as ever since both Duncan's dad and Mike Hegan were on that team, so more guys will show up to the festivities because of their ties with the Indians. HA!

Yeahbut anyway, Shelley's dipping a little bit. Not knocking my socks off. Also not helping is the fact that his wife is pregnant with twins so that's gotta be nerve wracking. I wonder when she's due? Because if he finds pregnancy nerve wracking wait until she's calling him on a road trip with two screaming kids in the background. Oy.

Jason Donald is trying his goddamn hardest and I'm still on board. DID YOU HEAR ME JASON DONALD?! We're good! He went 2 for 4 tonight and stole a base, consequently scoring 2 runs. It will be almost sad to see him go when Asdrubal returns but not really. Although I suppose if I'm going to be making fun of anyone's hair ... eep...

Tomorrow is a 4:05 start brought to you by Justin Masterson, who hopefully doesn't suck anymore. I think we still need to bring our bats up to speed just a tiny bit. More guys with multi-hit games. Keep walking, that's good. But stop wasting walks by doing nothing with the bases loaded.

Perhaps our guys are slightly distracted by the vuvuzela in the crowd that just. won't. stop. No idea why Tom Hamilton hasn't complained about it. It's driving me nuts!

Anyway, see you tomorrow!

Radio Chatter:
"There was a warning for the Bay Area today. The warning was 'It's hot.'"
- Tom Hamilton

"Is he testing karma here with his dad and the 72 world series champs here?"
- Tom Hamilton with Shelley Duncan at the plate

"Our engineer Mike can't get a date with the inhouse host. So as a consolation he is eating two of these two-foot-long hotdogs."
- Tom Hamilton on the continuing story of "Mad" Mike and the scoreboard girl

"Boy how many times in spring training did they tell you that Kipnis is a catalyst for this team?"
- Jim Rosenhaus

"You think some of these kids who have the surgery then pitch 95 miles and hour think that Tommy John must have thrown pretty hard."
- Jim Rosenhaus

"Gomes held up. For some reason he thought Choo was Spider Man and could get that ball 14 feet up the wall."
- Tom Hamilton


Ubaldo Jimenez. What do you think? Dude always seems to be teetering on the brink of blowing up. His previous awesomeness is not making him get guys out but it is keeping him from giving up tons of runs, I guess. We all just have to nail-bite our way through his 5 innings.

Oh, and he only goes 5 innings (ok 6 tonight).

Sipp was scary in the 7th. He used to be my dude. Why is he not so good this year? Do not want.

Smith and Pestano are still good, tho. They both had scoreless innings and their ERAs are under 3. Doesn't look good for Sipp, when Asdrubal comes back and someone has to go back to Columbus...

Chris Perez got his 5th save. He's on pace for uhm...80? That'd be funny. Looks like he's coming in, striking a dude out, maybe giving up a walk, then getting a couple of pop-outs. That's fine. All the guys we have platooned in the outfield in the 9th inning can catch pop-ups. They can't all be Kenny Powers-like and striking guys out with his majestically powerful fastball all the time. But he can still have cool hair and ride a jet ski.

Man, Chris Perez is from Florida. You know he has a jet ski!

Brantley got a double and a walk today. No spark in that tho. Where's my spark? He misses Asdrubal. He had a couple of fly-outs instead.

Kipnis still can't hit worth shit, but he was kind enough to get hit by a pitch, steal second and then sacrifice his body sliding in to home. He seems to get his ass on base every game somehow, even though that average is in the dumps. So good on you, Katniss.

Choo quietly got 2 hits tonight and won out on some aggressive baserunning. But then he got too confident and was thrown out at the plate trying to be aggressive again. This is SORT OF turning in to a pattern for him but I think either someone will reel him in or he will actually become as fast as he thinks he is.

How is Santana's average not higher? He's got 11 hits and 9 walks in the last 11 games. /me does math. Oh, well he's also got 39 at-bats so somehow it only works out to .262. Sad for him but he's got 9 RBI so it's good for the rest of us! Santana has been on base in every game this year.

Fact: Duncan, Santana and Choo are in the league's top 10 for drawing walks, the team leads the league with 66. NO Indians are in the top 10 for striking out! We're 11/14 in striking out.

Speaking of getting on base, Travis Hafner has gotten on base the last 7 times he's been at bat (thanks to Tribe Tweeter and super-fan Jobu for that tidbit). Dude is hitting .333 and that average is not going down. Today he got another SINGLE and then he walked 3 times. He went 1 for 1 and scored a run!

Shelley Duncan straightened out a bit today, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a run. He did not have a chance to be a hero today but Aaron Cunningham pinch ran for him in the 8th (he didn't replace Hafner, cuz Hafner's so hot I guess) and then he was up in the 9th with the bases loaded. And he grounded out. So, Shelley could have been up in this crucial moment but 1) he wasn't and 2) it wasn't crucial, as it turns out. Now we don't have to go to bed being disappointed in Shelley Duncan! Hooray! I have no trouble sleeping being disappointed in Aaron Cunningham.

One guy we can never ever be disappointed in anymore is Jack Hannahan. Once again o'dude got those clutch hits and ended up with 3 RBI, including the game winner. He's batting .324 and I don't want him anywhere else in the lineup but 8th!! He is doing SO much good there, unfuckingbelieveable. He hasn't had an error for a while, either. Heyoo!

Jason Donald didn't get a hit but he made this Asdrubal-worthy play so I won't make fun of his greasy hair or goofy smile tonight.

Tonight was a nice rounded game, except for the tedium that was Ubaldo. It's so great that our hitting has come alive! Obviously we couldn't be 6-1 on this road trip so far without it.

Guess who's in second place? It's the Indians, silly! We're 1.5 behind Detroit who has 3 games against the unstoppable Rangers this weekend (rained out today, double tomorrow). I know, I know, it's too early to be counting these chickens but it's ALWAYS nice to be in first. Especially since you didn't hear anyone predicting us to be anywhere.

Tomorrow's game starts graciously at 9:05, presumably so you can listen to the game and still have time to get your party on afterwards. Right? Jeanmar Gomez versus some dude named McCarthy. I feel good about it. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"In other words, if Jiminez has trouble tonight...that is a giant red flag."
- Tom Hamilton after explaining how bad the A's offense is

"He had the easiest job of any Rebel football player ever. He was the backup quarterback to Eli Manning."
- Tom Hamilton on A's outfielder Seth Smith

"If you didn't know better Rosie you'd think it was about 35 degrees out."
- Tom Hamilton on the weird pitching

"It has not been riveting, and the pitching we have seen tonight has set the game back a few years."
- Tom Hamilton

"The question is why? Or how?"
- Tom Hamilton wants to know how is it they might send Hagadone back to Columbus

"Perez probably feels like he struck Cespedes out twice."
- Tom Hamilton

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Before the King

We only had to face Felix Hernandez once last year. I remember thinking how lucky it was for us, because we only were statistically going to lose once. We did end up splitting the season with Seattle (although we won 4 of the first 5) but yeah - Hernandez got us in August.

We almost had a "Everybody Strikes Out" game today but Santana and Hafner kept it real. Good thing too because I totally don't have a graphic for that!

Josh Tomlin and his facial hair were RIGHT THERE with Hernandez, though. Kid looked great - especially after the not-so-greatness of our last three starters. Plus Tomlin's own long relief on Saturday when he gave up 4 runs.

None of that nonsense for Tomlin today. Just one earned run and 7 strikeouts in 8 innings. MASTERFUL. I don't know if he was working off Hernandez or what but he was right there with King Felix, giving up the same number of hits even. If we ever needed super solid starting pitching today was the day.

Chris Perez came in in the 9th and did what he is lauded for doing. Nailed it! Great to look at that box score and see just two names in the pitchers column.

Manny Acta just called Tomlin "my little cowboy" in the post-game interview. True story.

Josh Tomlin
The bats were obviously pretty silent tonight, what with the 13 strikeouts. But they did manage to eke out a few hits. MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE MICHAEL BRANTLEY WAS IN THE LINEUP?!

Brantley got a hit, and Santana got a double. Travis Hafner not only did not strike out but dude got TWO hits! Love love lovin' seeing him on his game. I hope he goes home at night in a Pope-Mobile and then sleeps in a box so there is no possibility of odd injury for him.

Shelley Duncan did not get a hit and I am sort of crushed. Because he coulda been The Hero yesterday and wasn't, and the same went for today. So he is awesome just not "clutch." (Although I've heart that "clutch" is a myth. You're either going to hit or not.)

Jack Hannahan was instead the hero, and he makes a good one. He got a bases-loaded single in the 9th to get the tie run and the go-ahead run in. It was fucking fantastic, I tell you. We had 7 innings of "zzzzzz" then one inning of intense baseball, When that didn't go so well it looked as if we'd not have another chance at intensity but I was wrong. Admit it - you were wrong too! (Actually Tom Hamilton was wrong as well.)

Luckilly Hannahan got us what we needed and we didn't need anymore, because Jason Donald fucked up in the 9th and didn't get a bunt down for the insurance run. Instead he struck out FOR THE THIRD TIME. Not sure how he managed to get a hit inbetween all that mess but he did. I almost would make fun of his greasy hair and weird smile but he did this little bit of infield shiny-ness so he is safe another day.

By the way, watch that video and tell me how AWESOME Kotchman is!

Tomorrow we go down to play the A's, for whom Bartolo Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes on Wednesday. Yeep...glad we won't be facing him! Our starter will be Ubaldo, and he will not suck. See you then!

Radio Chatter:
"It's 'Earl Campbell who?' now thanks to Josh Tomlin."
- Tom Hamilton on the "other" famous guy from Tyler, Texas

"He's a guy like Justin Verlander, he's got a chance to throw a no-hitter every time he walks to the mound."
- Tom Hamilton on Hernandez

"The Indians have a chance. This may be the only chance they have tonight."
- Tom Hamilton when we had 2 on and 1 out in the 8th


The #1 problem with today's game was the lack of our #1 guy, Michael Brantley. He is our leadoff guy, he is the spark. We weren't hitting as a team until Brantley was hitting. He's been starting us off and keeping us going.

No Brantley, no hits.

He was out today, I presume, because we were facing a left-handed pitcher. I looked and his stats aren't that terribly lopsided righty vs lefty so WTF?

Oh well. The Seattle pitcher was good, we'll say.

Derek Lowe wasn't good. Doesn't matter cuz a better hitting lineup would have had no problem with his 4 runs. Not sure what's going on with our starters - Lowe was our dude for a minute there. Let's hope they straighten themselves out. Perhaps more facial hair!

Nick Hagadone, tho - how about that kid? He's lovin' being back in Seattle I guess. He pitched one inning and struck out two, no hits. Two great outings in a row, right off the plane!

Asencio and Wheeler pitched before and after Hagadone. They must have been the only guys awake in the bullpen tonight. They actually did just fine - no hits for anyone.

Jason Donald made a nice play in the field today. So I will continue to refrain from making fun of his greasy hair and goofy smile.

Our hitting was sad today, if I didn't make that clear before. Aaron Cunningham got an almost-home-run so that was cool. It was a nice big double off the wall. So nice there was even a replay and an argument!

Turns out it wasn't a homer but Kipnis came two batters later and hit Cunningham in. How's that for "who now?" baseball?

Choo and Hafner walked around a Santana single in the 5th, to load the bases. Then Shelley Duncan was up and I was all "WATCH OUT! SHELLEY DUNCAN WILL RIP YOUR FACE OFF!" and then he didn't. So I am pretty super sad about that because Shelley Duncan doesn't just do nothing like that. He usually gets stuff done!

Well, I am so tired from last night and having to get up early today that it was sort of nice to have a low-key game. You always want to come out the other end with a win but it seems like both me and the nine were all on auto-pilot tonight.

Hammy and Rosie were pretty giggly tonight, which is weird because they tend to save that for late-season west coast games or broadcasts that go past 1 AM. Hammy was riffin' on the Fish Market, giving the business to one of their techs and  pondering the mechanics of Japanese baseball. Thank God for those guys, right?

Let's hope for the better lineup tomorrow and some more of those super bats we've come to love.

Another late one, 10:10 tomorrow - see you there!!!

Radio Chatter:
"He is now batting .636 against the Cleveland Indians. It may be a small sample but to the Indians, it's enough."
- Tom Hamilton on Kyle Seager (before he hit a double)

"Come on Shelley, when I give you that kind of a send up that ball should end up in Tacoma."
- Tom Hamilton after waxing poetic on Shelley Duncan and Microsoft, and Shelley flied out

"Remember, on this road trip - the Indians with 19 two-out runs."
- Tom Hamilton when the Indians had bases loaded with 2 outs in the 6th

"Still no word on Roberto Hernandez [Fausto Carmona]. No point in asking anymore. [...] If anybody tells you they know, they don't know."
- Tom Hamilton

"Boy all these guys look the same with their swings. Suziki, Kawasaki, Fukudome. I wonder if anyone from Japan swings away from their heels."
- Tom Hamilton

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For You, Justin

Hey did you notice I updated the Everybody Hits box, like a few hours ago? Because everyone had a hit by the 7th inning. And it turned out to be the game-winner, too!

Crazy game tonight. West coast night games always seem crazy, just listening to baseball at midnight. The craziest part was that Justin Masterson sucked. No wait - the craziest part was that Justin Masterson sucked and we still won!

Masterson was fine for the first two innings. He had nine pitches in the first. In the third he walked a guy then gave up a homer and never seemed to recover. In the 4th he gave up 6 runs. Yeah - Justin Masterson gave up 6 runs! He walked a run in, he hit a guy to get a run in. Fucking crazy...but, hey, he's good. We know he's good. He'll get good again. He was amazing in his last game and the rest of the team lost it for him so we owe him one.

In comes Nick Hagadone for relief. Why he wasn't already up here before today, I do not know (but I'm sure people who know things knew why). I thought he was great last year. They opted to bring him up from the minors when Asdrubal had to cut out on a 6-day bereavement leave (his abeulo died. That's Venezuelan for grandpa). SMART move by whoever made that move and I was already applauding it before Masterson had his meltdown. Our bullpen is not "the bullpen" yet and a good fresh arm was just what it needed.

Anyway so Hagadone - who is from Seattle - no not acquired from the Mariners, I mean he grew up there - got off a plane just today and is back pitching in the big leagues. He pitched an inning and a third and struck out two. In that third of an inning the bases were juiced and he got out of it. Welcome back!

They had to employ the rest of the bullpen for 4 innings, which is not how we wanted to start this trip, but they did good pitching about 20 each and not giving up any runs. Chris Perez tho, man...he got himself into one hell of a pickle. Of course it was partly to blame on a grounder off Jason Donald's face but a closer shouldn't have to worry about guys on 3rd base. Yeesh!

So yeah the boys were back hitting like madmen again today. Brantley once again got on base out of the gate and was like "let's go everybody!" He was so excited he stole a base and was able to score off that move on a single from Hafner. Hafner once again hitting singles and making them COUNT! He went 2 for 5 tonight, keeping that average up over .300.

So it was scary and sad when Masterson gave up two in the third and then six in the fourth. We came up in the fifth down seven runs. Mother! That is not a deficit the first-week-of-baseball Indians could overcome. Now, it's sort of no problem for the against-the-Royals Indians to handle but as you could tell from the distinct lack of barbeque smell in the air, we were not in Kansas City anymore.

Turns out the guys brought their bats to Seattle. Even without Asdrubal and having both Donald and Kipnis in the lineup they still got it done.

Casey Kotchman did not have a home run nor did he steal a base today. Ah well, perhaps only on weekends.

Carlos Santana, on the other hand, DID have a home run. A big, beautiful 3-run home run that brought us within ONE run of the Mariners and all but erased Justin's shitty start.

After careful contemplation, Duncan walked and Supermanahan got him to third with a double (yes, good, do not send Duncan in that situation). Then Jason DONALD of all people came up and did the right thing by hitting a sac fly and got Shelley Duncan in and the game was tied.

Later on, Travis Hafner had another productive single. After careful contemplation, Shelley Duncan walked again. Tom Hamilton would later go on to say that his fielding is just fine, maybe even great. TOM HAMILTON KNOWS THE SCORE.

Hannahan and Kotchman failed to do anything, but then came Jason Donald and we all said "erp, Jason Doald." Then he proceeded to get a single and hit in the go-ahead run after graciously hitting in the tying run just innings earlier!

I will now cease mentioning his greasy hair and goofy smile because he did that. And he did not completely suck at short. But he does have weird greasy hair. And look at this shit:

Otherwise, we love you Jason Donald!

So there was that and it was only the 7th inning when that happened and we had to wait aaaaaaallll the way until the 9th inning and through 3 relievers and until 1:30 to finally hear that sweet sweet "BALLGAME!" meaning "you can go to bed happy tonight."

Tomorrow is Lowe which means good things for us because so far we have proven that he can pitch and the team can hit so it's a match made in heaven, like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I predict another 8-inning game for the old man. We're also already slipping super way behind in home runs so we need like...4 home runs tomorrow. Maybe Jason Donald will hit one!

Good night and good job to all of you who stayed up. See you later today!

Radio Chatter:
"Kevin Milwood - you can tell he's 37 years old. The fast ball is 88, 89 miles per hour."
- Tom Hamilton

"You have to earn your home runs here. There are no cheapies."
- Tom Hamilton

"We hear some boo-birds among the paying customers here."
- Jim Rosenhaus

"He's come to the right city. They just open up a vein and pour the coffee in you in this city."
- Tom Hamilton on Nick Hagadone's rush trip to Seattle

"[Seattle catcher] Montero looks like Rosie in the kitchen when his wife flips him a red hot potato from the oven."
"How do you know what we do for evening entertainment?"
- Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brought to you by Instagram

Did anyone notice that it looked as if the camera shot from the outfield, both yesterday and today, was brought to you by Instagram? Seriously, it was like this. Like someone put some sort of retro hipster filter over the camera. But it turns out they have the main outfield camera bay over the outfield fountains and - surprise - it was windy in KC this weekend so the cameras were constantly being sprayed with water. Not sure what that's all about - can anyone in KC tell us whether or not this is a usual occurrence? Why would they set it up that way?

Sorry for the late post. Most of my posts have come quite late this season but also all but one of the games has come at a weird (non-7:05) time. So I have to listen to the game and then get stuff done before I have time to sit down. That and a big Sunday win has left me energized and wanting to do stuff! If you recall most of last year's Sunday games were snoozers and losers. But today's game with all of its runs ... instead of making me want to take a nap, I did a bunch of stuff. I just now got done doing stuff!

I did stuff like clean the kitchen, mow the lawn, do laundry. I also went to pick up food at B Spot and stopped at Trader Joe's, where I spotted a Melt tattoo in the wild. I'd never seen one of them before! I felt so very Cleveland, especially wearing my #13 Cabrera t-shirt. A couple of the workers stopped me to ask about the game and I was excited to be able to say that we won. Although I was a little disappointed in both of them as one guy asked where I got an "old-school Melky shirt" and the other said "too bad it's not 1995!" I guess, though, it was still all very Cleveland of them.

Going back to yesterday's game for a moment - here's a nice montage that the Tom Hamilton Has The Best Home Run Call in Baseball Facebook page put together of yesterday's scuffles. Great job!

Ok so today's game. Ubaldo was being all Fausto (anyone can be Fausto, it seems) and randomly sucking after a great previous game. Sucking badly. No command, just throwing things. He gave up 9 hits and 4 earned runs in 5 innings. He did show his professionalism by getting himself out of some jams and not just giving up 15 runs like Fausto might have done.

I can't remember off the top of my head what Fausto's real name is and I keep wanting to call him Robert California. But he's not Robert California, this guy is.

Jiminez did strike out 5. So there's that.

After Jiminez was the bullpen (NOT THE BULLPEN!) and they did all right for themselves.

No, just kidding. They gave up 3 more runs. But we were winning by like 10 the whole game or something so it was ok.

Dan Wheeler, who is new (but older than me so really, old) was good. And Tony Sipp was NOT BAD - brought that 18 ERA down to 13.5! Raffy Perez and Asencio gave up those 3 runs so whatever.

At least we didn't have to bring in our center fielder to pitch like the Royals did. Both teams had used-up bullpens but apparently the Royals weren't interested in using theirs any more in the 9th. So they brought in Match Maier and he now has a better ERA than most of our pen.

Let's get on to the WINNING, shall we?

I think we had our best hits/LOB ratio today with 15 hits, 7 walks and only 7 LOB. People just kept getting on and then getting in.

Brantley is officially "back" and "hot." He went 3 for 6 today and now his average is a resuscitate-able .206. He got a double, he got 2 RBI,  and he was there for when Asdrubal wanted to get hits with him. In fact he hustled his ass off in the 3rd inning and got on base by a step, then we went on to score 6 runs with 2 outs because MICHAEL BRANTLEY ROCKS YOUR FACE!

'Droobs only went 1/5 today and so did the Choo, but Choo got another 2-run double (batting in our heroes Brantley and Cabrera!) and also did not get hit by any balls or start any fights. Progress!

Hafner was the DH today and he was jonesin' to get in on this hit train because dude went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a homer and 2 runs scored. So wonderful to see him out there hitting, not just Thome-ing it trying to get a homer or nothing. He got 2 singles and a walk alongside his homer - that's amazingfruit for a DH!

Shelley Duncaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!! Dude was lights out in the field, lights out at the plate. He went 1 for 3 with THREE walks. The other team has his number now no doubt. "This guy he hits homers!" And then he hit a homer! And then they walked him a bunch. He was so hot that they put Cunningham in for Choo instead of Duncan.

Casey Kotchman, who got a homer and a stolen base yesterday got a homer and a stolen base today. Kotchman has a total of 11 stolen bases in the Majors from 2004 to 2011. Now in 7 games with the Tribe he's got TWO! As for homers, he went between 7 and 14 in all his previous years, so having 2 already for us is also fantastic. Let's hope he keeps this up and perhaps we'll never speak of Matt LaPorta again.

Jason Kipnis was the last guy to make it to our Everybody Hits playground today. Although he did walk in that big 6-run 3rd inning so that was something. What was REALLY something was his 3rd home run of the year in the 8th inning, going back-to-back with Kotchman. On the first pitch too. On the radio side Hamilton hardly had a second to stop praising Kotchman and on the TV side Rick Manning was so caught up in everything he called the dude Choo.

I decided we must start something comparing Kipnis to Katniss (the main character in the current hit movie-book The Hunger Games) but I couldn't really come up with anything, not being familiar with The Hunger Games. But I know she is an archer (NPR tells me that archery is very popular now because of the movie!) and I know Kipnis holds his bat flat, so how about this?

They follow the same lines? Ugh, I suck at starting exciting trends.

Jack Hannahan was in the game today and got a hit. He also did not commit any errors (seriously - how does Jack Hannahan already have 5 errors?! WHAT IS GOING ON?!) He also did not try to beat anyone up so that is good.

Sweet Lou did not get to throw anyone out today. He also probably thinks Jiminez sucks pretty bad. He did get a hit which was an RBI double and then he himself came around to score so I think that's a pretty kickass day for Lou!

So today we got 15 hits, 7 walks and 13 runs. Four home runs and three doubles. Do you want to see who leads the league the majors in walks? Here I show you:

You might also be interested to see who is tied for first in the Majors with home runs. And see who we're tied with.

If you have a short memory that is the 2011 AL Champion Rangers and the 2011 World Champion Cardinals and the 2012 Cleveland Indians tied for first in home runs.

So now we're at .500, we're leading the league in walks and homers and we just swept a series. Travis Hafner hit a home run that was the first home run to end up in the restaurant at Kaufman Stadium. We set a franchise record with 8 runs scored in each of our first 3 away games. There was also some other record about winning the first 3 away games I believe, but Bart Swain is so fast in getting new crazy statistics out there that I can't always remember each of them.

We're starting to have real fun now, not just the sort of fun I have when I'm home alone with the radio (heynow!) I mean fun that everyone can share about the Indians, not just the negative nellies. Hits! Runs! Scores! Fights! They have it all!

They won't be having it all in Cleveland for 10 more days. In the meantime we're going to have to put up with 10:05 starts from the west coast. Last year we had a pretty amazing west coast trip, getting some wins or at least working real hard against some at-the-time fantastic teams. Let's hope we do it again!

Next game isn't until Tuesday night, 10:10 against the Mariners. Hope you had a nice weekend and see you then!

Radio Chatter:
"It's like he and Lou Marson met each other 30 seconds before the game."
- Tom Hamilton on Jiminez seemingly not getting Marson's calls

"At least this weekend will quiet the critics."
- Tom Hamilton

"Ubaldo Jiminez is not missing any bats today."
- Tom Hamilton

"The royal fans, Rosie, their patience has worn thin. And it's only their first home stand."
- Tom Hamilton
"I forgot were in Kansas city. Eric Hosmer has been given a double. Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus and he is the official scorer."
- Tom Hamilton

"...hell go to second on I difference. But knowing this scorekeeper it's probably three stolen bases." 
- Tom Hamilton

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thugs and Thumps

What's with all the hitting and the fighting, boys? On the one hand it makes me feel bad, like as a team we're like a frustrated pre-teen and are acting out because it's the only way we know how. On the other hand - I love a good fight. Apparently, so does Jack Hannahan!

Not cool when we lose our pitcher (who we shouldn't have lost) and our prize third-baseman due to fighting. Lucky for us we had another starter sitting around needing to have some work today in his schedule anyway. Luck o' the Irish, eh Jack?!

Jeanmar Gomez was doing ok, whatever, when he left. He did his thing tho and hit a guy after Choo got hit in the third (he was sent over the edge because the pitcher was the same who broke his hand thus breaking his season in 2011). There's some confusion over whether or not the benches were warned but Gomez was ejected the second he hit Moustakas in the back to lead off the bottom of the 3rd. Tom Hamilton is all pro-beaning now so high-fives all around for Gomez. Acta got tossed too and we got to see Sandy Alomar's managerial skills!

Josh Tomlin was just hanging around in the bullpen, tending to his facial hair, when they were called to finish the 3rd and do some long relief. But he didn't do too good. Neither did his un-facial-haired buddies that relieved after him. It took the scruffy Asencio and the "Brawny" Chris Perez to close it out and hold down the fort while the hitters tried their best to overcome extra innings. Again.

I was all excited yesterday for our stunning hitting but I knew it could possibly be a fluke. Also while it was exciting it was really just one inning. Today we added on to that idea by having not only one exciting scoring inning, but three more innings in which we scored.

All in all we got 14 hits, 11 runs, 6 walks, 2 homers, a triple and 4 doubles. Everybody hit tonight! THAT is some exciting baseball! Now, the Royals might have a rickety starting rotation and a too-big outfield but whatever it took for us to get some juice in our bats, now was the time for it to come.

Michael Brantley got a hit tonight, adding on to his out-of-slumpness from yesterday. He got himself a triple! This of course excited/ignited Asdrubal who promptly smacked Brantley in, starting off a 5-run streak for us in the 3rd. Asdrubal went on to get 2 more hits and raised his batting average back to "OMG!" levels.

Choo actually had a rough night, with being hit and then the fight. He was being "not Choo'd but boo'd" during his at-bats. But guess who won the game with his first hit of the night, a 2-run double in the 10th? Well it was CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Santana was nice and patient at the plate today. He ended up going 2 for 4 with 2 walks and 2 RBI.

Duncan - hitting over .300 - was platooned with Cunningham. Shelley went 1 for 3. Cunningham struck out.  So there's that.

This is awful (for me) but I couldn't help but think of this Kids in the Hall sketch any time Lopez was up to bat tonight. Which is strange because 1) Lopez is a very common name in baseball with 5 current players 2) I didn't think of this a month ago when we got the guy. But you should watch the sketch and then we can start "a thing" and maybe it will be funny. Or if nothing else you'll at least share my pain. LOPEZ!

Get it? The sketch actually goes on longer, in 4 parts. Anyway, our Jose Lopez did more of what we brought him along to do and that is to hit. He's appeared twice and gotten two hits. LOPEZ!

You know who hit homers today? It was not Asdrubal or Santana. It was Kotchman and Kipnis. And you know who stole a base? Kotchman. I think Kotchman is going to be our new Casey Blake. Except good in the field. People who casually follow the Tribe will be all "Who is that guy? I like him" and we'll all nod in agreement.

Kipnis and Donald both got 2 hits tonight (as I mentioned, Kipnis homered) which is good because they always are cringe-y parts of the lineup for me. But on a day when Everybody Hits and Jack Hannahan is in the penalty box, well Everybody must include those boys.

Today's game was fun. I mean every game is fun when you're delusional like me but it was nice that our bats can now counter-act our bipolar bullpen. It was good hitting too, extra bases and stuff.

One thing we haven't mentioned but Acta has hit upon is even though the team is (was) not getting hits, we do lead the league in walks right now. So there is patience and choosiness. Now it's just a matter of properly executing a swing when the right pitch comes down the pike.

Tomorrow is 2:10 and once again on WKYC. Cool! I wonder who will get beaned? I wonder how big on an inning we can have? I hope Travis Hafner plays and I hope Brantley stays "hot"! Whatever happens I'm pretty sure it'll be another fun one. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"The Giants weren't going to trade you Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain. They'd give you Barry Zito but nobody wants him."
- Tom Hamilton

"I'm sure the relief pitchers are 'Oh for the love of pete...' [...] They are walking back like Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking."
- Tom Hamilton after the bench-clearing fight in the 3rd

"Little Timmy Collins is up throwing. I say 'little' because he's little."
- Tom Hamilton

"My lord is there a full moon tonight or what?"
- Tom Hamilton

"He's in agony but... Suck it up let's go. The Royals have had plenty of drama tonight but haven't paid the price."
- Tom Hamilton

"CASEY KOTCHMAN has a stolen base for the Indians! Something you would not have bet the mortgage on."
- Tom Hamilton

"The way this game is going, expect the unexpected. It's been a wacky wacky night."
- Tom Hammilton

"[The Royals] have played shallow all night long and they have gotten burned all night long."
- Tom Hamilton

"Suddenly Kauffman Stadium sounds like a Sunday morning cathedral."
- Tom Hamilton after Choo's tie-breaking double

"Boy Jason Donald has put the drama back onto the throw from third."
- Tom Hamilton

Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't Need Damon

I was about to be on the fence about the possible signing of Johnny Damon (was still on the "NO!" side but considering being ok with it) but then today's first inning happened and I found myself having dug under the fence and riding a motorbike towards Sweden.

The problem with acquiring Damon is that he can either DH or play left. Well, our DH Travis Hafner is doing just fine. And so is our left fielder, Shelley Duncan. The only thing that made sense was to move the not-so-limber Duncan over to center  to replace the not-so-hitting Michael Brantley, or bench Duncan and make him a permanent pinch hitter.

The former is just silly. Shelley's not a center fielder and while Brantley is no Grady he's miles ahead of an absent Grady. The latter - benching Duncan - may have seemed like a decent proposal in March when he was hitting .170 but so far he has proven he can be an every day guy for real. He's not hitting any worse than any of the other guys (.300) and in fact is second on the team. And you know what? He can field so far, too.

But according to everyone, Damon is an Indian (pending physical). Having an ex-Red Sox/Yankee/Tiger rubs me the wrong way. Especially since he's going to be taking time away from our DUNC TANK.

It sucks, I know.
All of this movement is FUTILE!! Why? Well did you SEE the first inning today?! I am putting on my Blinders of Positivity and saying that it was AWESOME and all of our hitting woes are over and we'll go on to win many more games and get many more hits!


Not convinced? Well whatever. It was still fun as hell! We almost got to post a "Everybody Hits" star on the blog and everything!

Here's a nice video re-cap of the first inning, in which we got 7 runs off 8 hits and sent 11 guys to the plate.

Michael Brantley was clearly stoked to be hitting. He broke an 0/15 skid. His average was down to was tragic. Because he was a real solid hitter for us last year in the first half of the season. Him and Asdrubal were the one-two punch. then he got hurt and then he wasn't so good and he ended the season with a mediocre .266. He did decent this spring (.286) and even had a hit in the opener. So I'm not sure what was holding him back but he was lovin' life today and more than doubled that average (.136) so let's hope this is the start of an upward trend!

OMG ASDRUBAL had his second homer of the year today! As well as his second double! More RBI! MORE ASDRUBAL! I've always asserted that when Brantley is hitting he is hitting, so Brantley's upcoming streak (calling it!) is surely going to drive Asdrubal's ongoing streak!

Also getting two hits today was our man Choo. He's hit fairly regularly so far this season but this was his first multi-hit game and also his first 2 RBI of the season. He also successfully stole a base!

Also stealing a base was Kipnis who'd reached on an error in the 8th. But before that, in the fan-freaking-tastic first, he scored himself 2 RBI on a TRIPLE!

Kipnis and Kotchman share the A-team's lowest average right now, but Kotchman got his hit today and they collaborated on a few double plays so it's all good.

Everyone else, save for Hafner, got hits today - Santana, Duncan and Hannahan.

How do you like this? Derek Lowe got his second W today. No one else has any W's but him. And he even gave up 3 runs - which in any other game we played this year would have been a death knell. This shit always happens to Justin Masterson doesn't it? He coulda been the guy on the mound today when the offense decided to explode. But he wasn't. D'oh! Nice job by Lowe tho, keepin' it real. He went 6 2/3 and had (only) 8 ground outs. Let them boys do the heavy lifting.

Sipp came in for just a wee third of an inning and didn't let anything go, thus chipping down his ERA from 21.6 to 18. Atta boy!

Smith and Pestano came in for the last two and shut that shit down, as they are wont to do. VinneP with the two strikeouts, yeah buddy!

Really fun game today. So fun I listened twice! Tomorrow I have a lot of work to do so I can be able to plop myself down by 7:10 to get my WKYC on (huh, why is a Central Time game at 7:10?) There had better not be a rain out, that's all I'm sayin!

Speaking of rain-outs, mark your calendars for May 7 when we double up with the White Sox to play that "snowed out" game. What a month May will be - 21 games in the first 20 days! That is going to make us or break us I think...

But we can't look that far ahead. First we must replicate today on tomorrow's score card. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"This is a New Year's Eve celebration in Kansas City, but it's 10 o'clock at night, there are no more party favors, and the champagne is gone!"
- Tom Hamilton on the Tribe demolishing the Royals in the first inning of their home opener

"It has to be perfectly timed with that combo running, and the Indians got it done."
- Jim Rosenhaus on getting Escobar and Dyson out on a double play

"This ought to be a good matchup. A guy who throws over 100 miles per hour and a guy who loves to hit fastballs."
- Tom Hamilton on Herrera versus Santana

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Frozen Behind

We got some good hitting today! Most runs thus far! Hafner and Duncan went deep!

But, our starter didn't fare too well. And, surprisingly, neither did our relievers. And neither did our defense! Weird!

Before we get into the details, thought - major kudos to the 9000 fans who were out there today. There was still about an inch of snow on the ground here at game time. I can't imagine standing on concrete next to Lake Erie was any fun. So MAD PROPS TO YOU, FROZEN FANS!!!

Our starter was Masterson (yay!) but he gave up 3 earned runs in just 5 innings (boo). There were also 2 un-earned runs, all by the 5th inning (boo). At least Masterson's loss today was an effort between him and the team and not just another case of the team letting him down (yay?)

Jeanmar Gomez, who was slated to start yesterday but got snowed out, did a stint in the 7th and 8th and struck out 3 with no hits and no runs. Ascensio, who had a bad outing last time, settled in today and had a scoreless 9th so that was also nice. Not sure why we didn't see our bullpen aces (Pestano, Smith and Sipp) considering there's a day of rest between games but perhaps you just don't use those guys when the score is 10-4.

Asdrubal, Hafner, Shelley and Hannahan all had multi-hit games. Hafner with a "forget about it!" homer and a RBI-double. He also got on base but was out but it wasn't an error or something. I don't know, I couldn't follow. All I saw is that his average went down and he was safe on first. Duncan got his first homer, which surprised me. Not that he got a homer but that it was his first. Honestly I thought he had like 6 by now! Asdrubal kept it in the park but he got a double via nice heart and hustle and a dropped ball in the outfield. Hannahan got 2 singles which, so far, never happens to anyone on this team.

All those hits plus one for Kotchman...but our old nemesis was back. Team LOB. It's so nice to get 10 hits and 6 walks (yeah six!) but not if you're going to just leave all those dudes hangin'. While I love the home run (and who doesn't?) I think what I dislike more than I love the home run is the disappointment in Hamilton's voice after 2 guys get on and neither of them scores.

Amazing how unpredictable baseball is, huh? We all thought Masterson would have no problem today but he did. But we hit better than ever so we could have helped him a lot. But our been-good bullpen also faltered.

Well I guess the one predictable thing did happen - ONE guy from our bullpen had a bad time of it, and that's what did it for us, along with LOB.

Maybe this game will prove to be a turning point, though. The lineup warming up. Just need Choo and Brantley to hit their strides and we've really got a formidable bunch and Jason Kipnis. I wasn't too worried when Grady got hurt because I predicted by the time he got back Brantley would be hitting .435. I might be a little bit off if he doesn't get hot soon!

In closing - yay for Carlos Santana being signed for FIVE years! I was not a huge fan of Santana's until midway through last season when he got into his groove. This year he started good out of the gate, including behind the plate which continued to be a weak spot for him all of last season. Now he is showing a lot of progress and a lot of enthusiasm and I am really proud to have him in our uniform for the next 5 years (if it goes that way).

I wish Asdrubal got signed for 5 but I think he sees a greatness in himself that may not be suited for Cleveland. Unless he sees a greatness in Cleveland and stays here forever. I am very very glad we've got him wrapped up for 2 more years though - I would be crushed if there were any speculation on him leaving this soon.

Rest up tomorrow and let's hope that "high 78°" is an accurate forecast for Kansas City on Friday. Something needs to heat these boys up!

Have a good night off - I'll be hanging with Parliament and Kid Cudi at the Q tomorrow night. Cleveland rocks!

Radio Chatter:
"For Hafner this is a warm spring day in North Dakota, so he's out there in short sleeves."
- Tom Hamilton

"You gotta give credit to the people who showed up here today. This is miserable out here."
- Tom Hamilton

"Konerko - as it seems always against the Indians - had a big day."
- Tom Hamilton

Monday, April 9, 2012

Choo Did Not Break His Hand

The best part about this game, I think, was Choo staying in after being hit in the hand, then stealing second, then coming in to score.

The worst part about this game - that did not involve Choo's hand - was I guess Tomlin's pitching. I mean, he didn't do particularly bad for a 4th starter in April I guess but not only did he not live up to the rest of the rotation's standards, I'm not sure he lived up to the standards of his facial hair.

It looks like he's trying to rock a little Tommy Lee Jones but giving up 2 homers in the first inning isn't something Tommy Lee Jones would do now, is it?

I make this look good.
To Tomlin's credit, however, he did strike out 7 in just 5 innings which is a personal record for him. It was also more than Lowe (1) and Jiminez (3) had. So that's pretty awesome for Tomlin. And he did give up 24 homers in 26 games last year so I guess SHAME ON US for expecting anything different this year. Ok, 200% more homers is pretty unexpected at this point.

But never fear, as we've still got The Bullpen Mafia who gave us 4 scoreless innings today and that was pretty awesome of them. There was no save situation so no Pure Rage. I was waiting for him to come in just for fun anyway. Raffy Perez made his first appearance and cruised through the 9th. New dudes Asencio and Wheeler were the other two relievers and they proved to be just fiiiiine. Are you lovin' it yet??

Speakin' of lovin how about Jose Lopez? I want so bad to love him because, for example, he homered today in his first appearance with us. He also hit .327 over the spring. But apparently he's sort of shitty as a fielder - case-in-point he had a bit of a botched play today when he was playing first. But then again I think he spent all of spring learning how to play second, not sure what he was doing at first. Oh yeah - right handed. Ho hum.

You know who wasn't botching things tonight? Lou Marson! Sweet Lou didn't get a hit but he did what he does best and threw a guy out at second. Lovely leg kick there, Lou! Maybe someday he'll go on to be on Dancing With The Stars.

I take it back that the worst part of the game was Tomlin's pitching. We're going to have to go back to that old stand-by "lack of hitting." Man, the 9k fans who went to the game tonight are SUPERFANS for real. It's freezing out and we only got 5 hits. I bet those folks all love Lopez because he gave them a nice warm cheer spot in the 9th.

Really tho what we're going to take away from this game is that Choo did not break his hand. Well maybe he did break his hand but if everyone brushes their teeth and says their prayers before bed like good little children, perhaps the x-rays will be negative in the morning. Choo will play with a bruise. Hell, Choo will play with a broken hand! Perhaps a previous fracture made the thumb area stronger. That's how it works right?

More batting, boys. Tomorrow, right? We've got another one at 7:05 against these same ChiSox, presumably with a different lineup (Brantley, Kotchman and Hafner back). And the debut of Jeanmar Gomez! Cool!

Radio Chatter:
"De Aza had help from the wind on his homer. Pierzynski didn't need any help."
- Tom Hamilton

"Obviously he's not represented by Darth Vader. Scott Boros would have never let that happen."
- Tom Hamilton on Chris Sales' patience in the draft

"That's been a problem for the Indians - not capitalizing on the other team's mistakes."
- Tom Hamilton

"What a country! You could be a family without one ounce of talent and you can be multimillionaires."
- Tom Hamilton on the Kardashians

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Santana's Birthday To You!

Our first win! What a lovely lovely day! Sad we couldn't give this day to Justin Masterson but it is his lot in life to not get that W. Instead today it goes to Derek Lowe as sort of a welcome present.

Speaking of presents it was Carlos Santana's 26th birthday. Check this out from Jordan Bastian on
Over the past four years, Santana has abused an ample number of baseballs on the day he blows out the candles. The catcher has hit .556 (10-for-18) with five home runs and 13 RBIs combined on his last four birthdays. That includes his first birthday in the big leagues last season, as well as a pair of celebratory showings in the Minors.
On April 8, 2009, Santana went 2-for-4 with one home run and four RBIs for Double-A Akron when he turned 23 years old. One year later, the catcher went 4-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs for Triple-A Columbus. Both of those performances coincided with his teams' Opening Day. Last season, on his 25th birthday, Santana went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs for the Indians.

So hooray for Santana's birthday! Today he launched us to a win by getting 3 of our 4 RBI  on two homers. He now leads the team in homers. And I dare say he looked good behind the plate! After 37 consecutive innings he was in a groove and said after the game on the radio that he feels good "and I can play every day." And he's got some hops (no, that wasn't an out...?)

Also from Bastian's recap:

"You guys should tell him it's his birthday every day," [Chris] Perez said.
Santana laughed at that remark.
"I'd be an old man if my birthday was every day," said the catcher.
And witty, too!

Oddly enough the two guys who weren't good defensively were Jack Hannahan and Asdrubal. Really! Well not really...both kicked ass on the field as usual, Asdrubal even with a little Web Gem but that's rote for these fellas, while errors are not. Especially the game-changing kind like both had today. So let's hope it was just the excitement of Santana's birthday and they have it all out of their systems going forward. Cuz I am about ready to brag on this infield big time!

So back to Derek Lowe and our awesome starting pitching. Over 3 games our guys have had 22 innings pitched (7 for each and 8 for Masterson), 3 earned runs, 14 strikeouts and 31 ground-outs. Lowe was masterful with the ground-outs today with 15. Perhaps it was all those extra chances at outs that spurred Hannahan and Asdrubal on to the errors? But anyway, Lowe looked good with no earned runs over 7. He got out first win and a nice curvy ERA of 0.00.

The bullpen was all right. I mean, how can I judge them fairly on a meager 2 innings?  You saw how they did the other 15 innings in the first games! Chris Perez, man...dude was sweatin' like a pig out there today for one. Not sure how he could see with all that wet hair whipping around his face. I'd say it distracted him a bit as he gave up a single and a walk. He possibly wigged out when Asdrubal errored on what should have been a game-ending double play, as he then walked the bases loaded. But then he got Bautista to pop out into the windy vortex, forcing Asdrubal to redeem himself and follow the ball to victory. YOU ARE WELCOME ASDRUBAL. LOVE PURE RAGE.

Do you think Chris Perez is going to make 162 appearances, to prove to Cleveland that they should love him again? I don't think I ever fell out of love with him, personally. I would not mind seeing him and his beard every game, that'd be hilarious if nothing else.

Other than Santana, the team got a few hits today. Oddly enough (still more oddity!) other than Choo it was the bottom of the order getting it done. Kipnis, Kotchman (his first hit as an Indian!) and Hannahan. On paper the weakest links of this lineup, so if they can get greased and the guys who supposedly come pre-greased can stay greased then it is going to be good times all around!

I'm really stoked about facing the White Sox coming up. We spanked them 12-3 earlier in March. Plus we've got some more pitchers to see. Who isn't excited about Cleveland starting pitching?! It'll be Tomlin then Masterson is already back up again, then Jeanmar Gomez.

Hope the Easter Bunny was as good to everyone today as the Birthday Fairy was to Santana. A Sunday win is a great way to start the week - see you tomorrow!

Radio Chatter:
"If you've got a Major League batting average of .194 in parts of 7 years, it tells you you're a pretty good defensive player."
- Tom Hamilton on Toronto catcher Jeff Mathis

"That's the kind of defense a sinker-baller needs."
- Tom Hamilton

"If Jack Hannahan makes an error, it probably means we have a full moon tonight."
- Tom Hamilton

"I didn't even know it was his 26th birthday. I knew it was Easter but..."
- Tom Hamilton on Santana's birthday

"Villanueva just throws soft, softer and softest."
- Tom Hamilton

"Rosie and I over-achieved in the marriage department."
- Tom Hamilton recovering from a wife joke

"You know you're in trouble when the kids can't name the 50 states but pretty much verbatim repeat every line from Anchorman."
- Tom Hamilton, after waxing poetic about Anchorman for 3 minutes

"Boy this Blue Jay ballclub just won't go away."
- Tom Hamilton

"The next time you want to see Jose Bautista is July 13th when the Indians play the Blue Jays in Toronto."
- Tom Hamilton when Bautista was on deck in the 9th

"If we have 159 more like this, it's going to be cardiac arrest for everyone. What a weekend!"
- Tom Hamilton