Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cy-Young, Schmy-Young

"Wow!" is what I texted to my friend, and "Wow!" is what reader @twimpus tweeted to me, at exactly the same time - when Ryan Raburn hit his second homer on the night and the Tribe was up 13-2. Or maybe it was after that, when the next batter, Drew Stubbs, hit the team's 7th home run. Something like that...both times I'm pretty sure we were all thinking the same thing. "Wow!"

This Tribe team that we saw roll over David Price and R.A. Dickey was back to face another Cy Young Award winner in Roy "Doc" Halladay and it was, like, no big deal. Hallady had two bad starts but rocked his last two starts so it was assumed he'd just blow through the Indians. But the Indians had other ideas!

First, our pitching. It was "ace" Justin Masterson who faced off against the other two Cy Young winners but today was "new guy" Zach McAllister who showed the big guy up! McAllister went 7 innings and only gave up 2 runs. Of course they were homers (upping the percentages again!) but hey at least they were solo homers! He only gave up 3 other hits and just one walk. Also helping was the lack of errors in the field again. Could it be our starters are evening out?!

Nick Hagadone came in and looked a little shaky, giving up two walks before getting a guy to ground in to a "whew!" double play, and then that final ground out. Matt Albers finished the job, with his third shut-out appearance in a row. I'm getting pretty comfortable with these guys!

The team got 7 home runs tonight, which is the second most they've gotten as a team (8 was the most, which they've done twice, and had 7 one other time). This is the most home runs they've hit in Cleveland since...er, some long-ago date that you'll have to find on the radio tomorrow. Tom Hamilton was saying in the first inning that the team was on pace to hit 204 homers this year. If I did my math right, that pace was upped to 243!

Oh also, we now lead the league in homers. In fact, we're tied with the Braves for leading the MLB, with 36. At the beginning of today we would have been, like, 8th in the league. WAT!

Everybody hits today!

Michael Brantley got a home run! In fact, it was his first of the year. He only went 1 for 5 tonight but he made it count, as it was one of many 2-run dingers. Back to a 3-game hitting streak!

Kipnis was gettin' it done old school today with no homers, but instead two singles, going 2 for 5 on the night with a run scored. He also stole a base, really early on. He tried again and got caught but whatever! He's gotten on base 21 times and has stolen 5 bases and leads the team. So even if the kid isn't getting on base as much as we need him to, at least he's stretching it out when he gets there!

Asdrubal extended his hitting streak to 9 games today, going 1 for 4 with 2 RBI. His one hit was a total clutch job, dropping one in to right with 2 outs and 2 men in scoring position. Both came in to score! Mike Aviles came in for him in the 7th (because he could, I hope) and he went 1 for 1.

Carlos Santana - UNGH!!! Is this guy just the guy this year or what?? He got his 5th homer tonight, his 13th RBI, and he went 1 for 2 because he walked 3 times. So this means he still leads the league in average (by 14 points) and OBP (by 19 points) and he is just the awesome! Remember how disappointed we were in him last year? All that potential is just spilling out of him now like [picture whatever you want to picture spilling out of a person]. I am totally loving it!

Jason Giambi did NOT get a home run today but here's what he did. First, he said he's cool with gay players in professional sports and says the MLB is ready.  Then tonight he walked and came around to score, then hit a double, and in the 8th inning with the team up 14-2 he slid headfirst in to first base to get himself a single. I hope someone turns that in to an animated GIF for me to see!! Apparently it got him a standing ovation from the dugout.

Update: Here's a vid!

Anyway, I think I pretty much like Jason Giambi now, even if I don't like that I like him.

Mark Reynolds, huh?! He's got a 3-game streak going with 6 hits over those 3 games. He got his 8th homer today, which was his first since April 21. I think I called it yesterday that he was relaxing again to get ramped up! His was a 2-run homer, and that gives him 9 RBI over his last 10 games. Now he's hitting over .300 too, and he's tied for second in the league in homers!

The Chiz Kid finally got into the act today too and got himself a 2-run homer! He only went 1 for 4 but hey, keep going Lonnie!

Ryan Raburn! If I wasn't stoked enough about him last night he comes back tonight and tops himself! Tonight he went 3 for 4 with not one but TWO homers for a total of 3 RBI and 3 runs scored! Dude's got 4 homers this season and all of them came in the last 2 games. Ha!

Drew Stubbs squashed an 0-for-15 slide and went 3 for 4 tonight! In the 4th he singled and then stole a base (4 total), allowing him to score from second on Asdrubal's hit to right. Then in the 5th he singled and was on base when Brantley got his homer. Then in the 7th he got his OWN homer! It was his second homer of the year and his second 3-hit night. That's the kind of #9 hitter we need so let's hope he's back in gear to keep it up!

We've scored 51 runs in the 6 night games we've won since Meryl showed up. Just sayin'.
Let's score 51 more!
In other news, did you hear that a dude named J. Cole released a song called "Kenny Lofton"? It's true. I'm sure you heard about it if you subscribe to Kenny Lofton's Twitter feed, because a million people tweeted about it and he re-tweeted each one! I love Kenny Lofton but he's a terrible Twitizen, kind of like Bernie Kosar (who seems to have calmed down). You can listen to the song here. I'm a fan of hip-hop but I'm not really a fan of this song. I think mostly because it's not so much a song about Kenny Lofton as a song about something else that name-checks Kenny Lofton and uses his name for the title. Letdown! What do you think about it?

Clips of some of tonight's homers are already up on Tom Hamilton Has The Best Home Run Call In All Of Baseball. Check them out!

So this is 3 games in a row now where the team has been batting like we all thought they would. Does that mean there's been a permanent shift? Are they primed and ready? What does it mean that we're taking on these Cy Young winners with such ease?

We're facing another Cy Young winner tomorrow in Cliff Lee. To that we say "BRING IT ON!" right? If anyone has the swagger to go out there and face Lee on the mound it's Trevor Bauer, who'll be our starter. He is either going to be "I knew it!" good or "I knew it!" comically bad. What we need is our bats to stay hot, that's for darned sure. I wonder how many people are going to show up to see Lee? Hope it's a good number, after these 3 wins and with the good weather and stuff. I won't be there but I'll be listening!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"You leave a bottle of that around and it's going to to missing, whether you're in sports or not."
- Tom Hamilton on Adderall

"85 percent of the people in this world don't care what your problems are, and the other 15 are glad that you have 'em."
- Tom Hamilton

"The Pirates must be allergic to brats. [...] Bernie the Brewer went down that slide so many times the other night, he had burn marks on his biscuits."
- Tom Hamilton on the Pirates' struggles in Milwaukee

"Fans are now shocked when the Indians don't hit a homer."
- Tom Hamilton

Monday, April 29, 2013

This Must Be Just Like Livin' In Paradise!

As that idiot from that car commercial says "Are you KIDDING me?!" Not only did the team have two amazing nights at the plate but also Ubaldo pitched a 7-inning, 3-hit shutout? WHAT?!

There were no errors! Nine runs! Three home runs! Four doubles! A double play! Someone went 4-for-4! Did I mention Ubaldo only gave up 3 hits?!

Ubaldo Jiminez was just cruising. He was throwing low- to mid- 90s. Yep - most guys saw a 95 MPH fastball or two for each at-bat and NONE of them got hit by the ball! Not a one! Jiminez did eventually lose his stuff in the 7th inning but it wasn't in the form of hitting batters or giving up home runs. He just ran out of steam, like any dude might, and they took him out. Nice and tidy and no tears. Amazing.

Nick Hagadone came in to finish the 8th after Ubaldo's rocky start. He was awesome and got two strikeouts and a groundout, not letting anyone score. Cody Allen finished the game for us, pounding everyone at 96 MPH, getting a strikeout, popout and groundout. Ballgame!

I'd like to declare Michael Brantley finally settled in at leadoff. A couple weeks ago I was bemoaning his performance at leadoff this year and last, saying that he only hit .227 at leadoff last year and at the time of my post was still hitting around .000. Well now he's up to a respectable .285 (if I did my math right) and has 14 hits. Much, much better. Today he also got 2 doubles and scored 2 runs!

Jason Kipnis got his first homer of the season today! He went 1 for 4 with a walk and came around to score twice.

Is this it for Asdrubal? And by "it" I mean is he back? Did hanging out with Meyer cure him of all that ails him, and he's ready to face the rest of the season like the All-Star he is? I ask because not only does he have an 8-game hitting streak, but he's got 7 hits in his last 3 games. AND he didn't even play the whole game today! (Aviles came in once we were solidly winning) Today he went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI and a double. If this is really how it is I can't WAIT til I go to the game Saturday so I can cheer my butt off! OMG ASDRUBAL!!!

Nick Swisher only went 1 for 5 today, but I heard something out of the corner of my ear that he was, of course, instrumental in getting the team pumped up after Sunday's early-game loss. Something about "crankin' the tunes" in the clubhouse. Now, if you would have asked me to imagine what might have happened between games to get the guys in such spirits to kill it in the second game, I would have made up a scenario involving Nick Swisher and "crankin' the tunes" but I am 90% sure I did not make this up!

Mark Reynolds is back on the hitting horse after a short struggle. He was enjoying a string of multi-hit games and homered in back-to-back games, but has been pretty dry since Houston. However last night he got 2 hits and tonight he got 2 hits - no extra bases or anything, but he did get an RBI tonight. Really great if relaxing and not focusing on hitting for power was the key for him, and he quickly recovered. Some guys take forever to figure it out!

Carlos Santana! He has 14 hits over his last 10 games! Tonight he went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. His OBP is .456, which leads the league. His average, .386, is starting to blow away the league. His slugging is second in the league. HE IS THE REAL DEAL! Yan Gomes came in to relieve him later in the game, which is great because you want your catcher to rest and they want Gomes to play every day so that really worked out.

Ryan Raburn had a spring-training-like game today, doing the sort of stuff I expected to see him do all season. He went 4 for 4 with 4 RBI and 2 homers. You know, stuff like that! He's only played 14 games with us this yeah and only has one other RBI, but you gotta start somewhere. I wonder if he's going to be another Shelley Duncan for us - great if he can play two games in a row but a bit rusty off the bench each time.

Neither the Chiz Kid or Stubbs got hits today. But hey, someone has to bat 8 and 9. Chiz got a couple of great hits off - they just went right to a Royal!

So what does everyone else think about this? Two games in a row, the team hitting like we have been expecting them to hit since February. And not against shoddy pitching today, either. I'm not going to speculate on Ubaldo right now because I'm not allowing myself to go there, but at least he was awesome today.

This is the fifth night game in a row that the Indians have won since Meryl Masterson showed up (it's been established that her luck doesn't extend to day games). Here's what she has to say about tomorrow night's game:
Frig the Phillies!
Tomorrow the team returns home and our new hero Zach McAllister faces off against some RHP with an ERA of 5.08. I hope everyone comes out to the ballpark and is good and loud. It's going to be like 80 degrees! Yeehaw!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"If they had three guys down in Columbus knocking on the door, they'd have less patience for Jiminez."
- Tom Hamilton

"We've been in Kansas City since Wednesday and I think we've literally experienced all four seasons since then."
- Tom Hamilton

"You don't need 22 pitches if you can command 3 of them."
- Tom Hamilton

"The next time you see Billy Butler smile at a ballgame, you'd better take a quick picture of that."
- Tom Hamilton

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Let's Play Two!

Double header today! Awesome, awesome way to spend my birthday. Of course, that is not what I was thinking about 2/3 of the way through the first game. I was like "Oh man, I hope I don't have to endure two of these routings today..." but much to my JOY the second game was oh-so-much better and my birthday ended on a high note!

Justin Masterson started the first game and I'm sure that you, like me, had high hopes for that one. Because as Andre Knott said it seems like our starting rotation is becoming "Justin Masterson and pray for rain" (Hey! Stop praying for rain!) Even with Sweet Meryl looking on from last night, Justin didn't really have it all together today. He DID strike out 9 and he DID go 6 1/3 innings. But in that time he gave up 7 earned runs including a homer (solo, thank goodness). Terry Francona and Jim Rosenhaus asserted that he didn't actually look bad out there, things just went bad for him. He did give up two runs and had a wild pitch in the 7th before he was taken out, so he ended on a sour note. But heck, he's Justin Masterson - if we can't believe in him we're out of starters to believe in. So I still look forward to his next start.

Speaking of Meryl Masterson, the Indians have not lost a night game since she showed up here. Granted, they have only played five games in total since then but the three of them that were played at night, they won. Just sayin'!
You bet your sweet bippy she's staying!
Matt Albers came in to finish the 7th and he was fine. Looks like he's going to be another fine reliever for us. Just fine.

Scott Barnes, who was tapped as our Special Double Header Day 26th Man was not so fine, giving up 2 runs in the 8th in the form of a 2-run homer after a walk. So there's that. Ok see you next month, Scott Barnes!

Of course all of that is moot because there was no hitting support in the afternoon game. There were 8 hits total with 10 strikeouts. Yowza! There was only one hit or one walk in every inning. In one inning they got one hit AND one walk - and a double play. And in the 7th things heated up with TWO hits and then...nothing.

HOWEVER - the story of the first game is Asdrubal Cabrera! He was on FIRE today going 3 for 4 with a double and no errors! I am guessing that he was inspired not only by my birthday but his son Meyer (of the famous Meyer & Ashley) being at the park today. There's a couple pictures of them up on the Tribe instagram, like this one. And here's two more.
Sign him up - as a lucky charm!
If having his son around gives Asdrubal this sort of boost, I hope Meyer is immediately taken out of school and given a permanent seat on the team bench. Our pitchers can educate him between starts!

Carlos Santana is still kicking ass and taking names. His average went up to .355 after the first game where he went 2 for 4 with a double! He did strike out twice, but oh well - he is totally legit!

Ryan Raburn got a hit, and Lonnie Chisenhall had a much better game than Friday and went 2 for 4 himself. I think maybe he is relaxing and not trying to crush the ball every time - which he can do but he's got to start with the basics first. He's up to .234.

That's it for hitting! Sorry, sorry stuff - all those hits got left on base. But oh well...Sundays have never been our strong day.

But wait! The second game was like a complete 180! Of course the Royals did a 180 as well, giving up 4 un-earned runs on 3 errors, but whatever. We won by SEVEN runs so we could take or leave the un-earned ones!

Corey Kluber was called in to action as the starter for the second game. He'd only pitched 5 innings this year - one inning in relief on 4/17 then four in relief on 4/20 when Scott Kazmir caught The Awfulz. Turns out Kluber is awesome, or at least was awesome at pitching past a tired Kansas City team. Whatever the case he went 7 innings only giving up 2 runs and striking out 6. And no walks! AND NO HOME RUNS! Just a few doubles and a few singles and that was it. Is he our 5th starter now that Myers is hurt? I hope so!

Being that Kluber had such a lovely game we were treated to the 7-8 punch of Vinnie and Perez. BAM! Actually, not so bam - Vinnie gave up two walks right out of the gate, and then a single to load the bases and a run on a sac fly. But that was it and he's our golden boy so you just be quiet!

Chris Perez tried to be cool and catch a come-backer with his bare hand, and he shook it off but I hope that was a smart decision and not something we're going to hear about in August. He got the out, by the way - then he struck out the next two suckers.
You can't see me!
According to the radio guys (speaking of which, I heard tell that people were pissed that the game wasn't on TV - hope you all listened on the radio!) the clubhouse was just dead silent inbetween games. Everyone was embarrassed or something. They should be! But whatever quiet reflection happened there seems to have WORKED because the guys got 14 hits and scored 10 runs! YES!

Almost everybody hit, except Drew Stubbs, which is actually weird because he's been one of the most consistent dudes on the team as far as getting at least one hit most nights. But hey, he hustles down the baseline and makes every play close so at least he's got that going for him.

Brantley is still in leadoff. Bourn reportedly was throwing today during practice. Brantley went 2 for 4! Sadly he had ended his hitting streak at 5 by not getting a hit in the afternoon game but there's a lot more where that came from, I'm sure!

Asdrubal got bumped up to the 2-spot, with Kipnis being benched for Aviles. Asdrubal added two more hits to his tally for today going 2 for 5 in this evening game - with a TRIPLE! It was an RBI triple! So he ended up going 5 for 9 today on my birthday - awesome!! His average is FINALLY over .200 now at .208. Is this it??

Swisher had a good night batting third. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and was the beneficiary of two errors! He hit a sacrifice fly to get an RBI, and came around twice to score.

Mark Reynolds hasn't hit a home run in a week! But he did go 2 for 5 today and only struck out once.

Carlos Santana - holy smokes is he on a tear! He went 4 for 5 tonight, bringing his average up to .388. At this moment, right now, he leads all of baseball with that average. He went 6 for 9 today! With all the problems he had last year did you think he was going to be this consistent this year? Nobody really seems to be talking too much about it - because I don't think anyone believes it! Boy is it going to be huge for this team he can keep this up and his teammates can support around him.

'Cuz you know who's not hitting anywhere close to .388 right now? Victor Martinez, that's who. Go 'Los!

Speaking of Puerto Ricans (I wasn't) how about Mike Aviles and his red-letter day?! He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the evening game, and showed everyone by getting FIVE RBI!  He somehow managed to get all those RBI off just one hit - a 3-run dinger in the third. His other two RBI were from a ground out with runners on base and a sacrifice fly. This team is in desperate need of hits but we can also use at-bats like those - getting the bat on the ball and putting it in play with runners in scoring position. Well done, Aviles! Well done!

It took Ryan Raburn forever to get a hit, but he finally got one in the 9th, going 1 for 5 on the day. Yan Gomes - who is up for Marson, who is just not able to shake off the beating he got - only went 1 for 5 but he got a triple which was his second triple in just 7 appearances with the team (22 at-bats). Poor Lou...he's not doing too good and his replacement is awesome. I promise I won't make a Yan Gomes Gleemer, Lou!
Thanks, pal.
I already told you about Drew Stubbs, who didn't have too good of a game. Oh well - we won!

So we had a super great game in the evening to wipe away the nastiness of the afternoon game and the game the night before. We've got 3 more games before a break so hopefully they keep this momentum going!

Tomorrow they play the Royals one more time, at 8:10. It'll be Ubaldo versus RHP 3.20. Honestly I don't even know what to predict about this team anymore. All I can do is hope!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"If you're a minor-leaguer, there's no such thing as a direct flight."
- Tom Hamilton

"I know that Tim Belcher loves the powder-blue uniforms because they match his pretty blue eyes."
- Tom Hamilton

"The Indians locker room was as quiet as a church on Sunday morning, after the first game."
- Tom Hamilton

"You can't get away with mistakes on the strike zone, especially when you throw in the mid 80s."
- Tom Hamilton on Bruce Chen

"It's like you can't even apply to be on this Royals club unless you throw 95."
- Tom Hamilton

"Boy this guy is like hugging a cactus. He sometimes is all about Billy Butler and sometimes that gets him into trouble with his team."
"Have you ever hugged a cactus?"
"Oh yeah. At 2 or 3 in the morning. It certainlly wakes you up quick!"
"You don't want to do that in daylight."
- Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The One Where Everyone Pitched

I want my baseball back! Well I mean I wanted it back before tonight. No baseball since 5-ish on Wednesday was just tragic. Tragic! I was so crabby by the time I went to bed on Friday that I think I lost a few friends.

Friday I actually picked a game at random to listen to on Gameday Audio. It was the Cubs/Marlins game and I listened to the Cubs radio feed. It was interesting to hear another team's radio. The most striking difference was the lack of Progressive commercials. Yes they had commercials with jingles but none of them featured Flo singing. I only listened to like 4 innings but I swear I didn't hear too many repeats, either. Also, for those of you who dislike Jim Rosenhaus, I urge you to listen to some other random team's broadcast and try to tell me that everyone else in the league doesn't sound as "flat" as Rosie. It's not Rosenhaus that's the "problem" you have with the Tribe's radio team - it's anyone who's not Tom Hamilton. Seriously, guys - Jim Rosenhaus is as good as it gets after the upper echelon of baseball announcing greats. Plus he's a great reporter and statistician. And an upstanding citizen.

Anyway, today I missed the beginning of our game even though I eagerly awaited it. But I was busy entertaining some guests for my birthday, including my niece who was having her first backyard baseball practice! And eating cake. Baseball is awesome but you only get your own birthday cake once a year so I had to set aside baseball in favor of my cake for a minute.

I picked it up in the 4th inning and then in order to get my baseball blood level back up, I waited for the game to go into archive so I could listen to the first 4 innings. I swear there's nothing like hearing Hammy's welcome at the beginning of each game. So full of hope and happiness! And it being baseball, you never know what the next 9 innings will bring. Such bliss!

Of course it's kind of crummy when seconds later you realize that not only did the team lose but they looked fairly bad and you're just going to have to listen to 9 innings to get to the tortorous ending but, oh well. At least it wasn't a rain-out!

Scott Kazmir was the starter today. He wasn't leave-him-out-there bad but he still didn't make it to the 6th inning. He gave up 5 hits and 2 earned runs in 5 innings and struck out 4. Not awful but I guess he looked bad enough for Francona to want him out. He did give up a walk and a home run, which nobody likes to see.

Here's a stat for you - our starters have given up 85% of our pitching staff's home runs (23 of 27) but only pitched 66% of our total innings. We've given up the 4th most homers in the league.

Moving on...

What happened next was weird. First Cody Allen came in for the 6th and was really great - he got a strikeout, a groundout and a popout and after only 10 pitches was able to come back for the 7th. He pitched to one batter and got one out in the 7th. Then they pulled him for Hagadone, who got one strikeout and gave up a single...and they pulled him for Bryan Shaw.

Bryan Shaw had some sort of meltdown. He immediately gave up a stolen base, then threw wild, then walked a guy who then stole a base, then he walked another guy and by the time the bases were loaded, someone else was warmed up, thank Og.

Rich Hill came in and...walked a run in.

Luckilly it seems that while Shaw was melting down they had two guys up throwing, so Joe Smith came in and not only got the third out but also got the assist on the third out. Mental.

Matt Albers was back for the first time since April 8 (paternity leave) and I guess a 19-day rest isn't as stressful as a 4-day rest (Hagadone, Shaw, Hill) so he was able to have a quiet 1-2-3 8th inning. Good grief!

Now, the pitching looked sorry but at least the people in charge were able to keep the scoring damage to a minimum. A real team - and by a real team I mean this team when everybody has their heads on straight - should have no problem overcoming a 3-run deficit. But it didn't happen tonight because they were batting poorly again, back to the RISP and LOB problems. Problems becoming so typical that I don't have to spell them out for you.

One thing I will say is that I just noticed that Smiling Meryl and her Magic Cookie didn't make an appearance in our last blog entry and, I don't know - it was the first night game we've lost since she first Gleemed. I'm going to include her here just in case.
You'll get 'em next time!
So tonight the team actually got 9 hits compared to KC's 6 hits. But then again KC got 5 walks to our 1. The Tribe actually almost sort of pulled it off in the 9th inning and I was quite happy to have gripping baseball for a minute but in the end it didn't work out.

Cousin Michael, of course, had a stellar night now that he's settling in to his leadoff position. Michael Bourn got his stitches out, by the way. Brantley went 2 for 5 with those 2 hits as a double and a triple! His triple was a 2-RBI triple in the 9th to bring us not only exciting baseball but also bring us within one run! Oh yeah he also has a 5-game hitting streak and has 12 hits in his last 10 games. Never say die, Michael!

Kipnis had a good game too, also going 2 for 5. No RBI or extra bases, and he struck out all of the other 3 times but he was hitting about .130 at the beginning of the month so this is progress. Apparently he is putting the loss of the game squarely on his own shoulders because his final strikeout came in the 9th with a man on third (Brantley) and the last called strike was passed and instead of running to first, Kipnis stood still and was tagged out. He just posted this on Twitter:

Classy kid, I say.

Asdrubal and Swisher both got hits tonight, and Swisher also walked, but both of them were guilty of Egregious LOB. Swisher hit into a double play with two men on, and Asdrubal got the third out with a man on second. Five LOB between them.

Any day, guys!

Santana is still weakly hot, going 1 for 4 today. Doesn't help that he's behind Giambi who is never hot. Reynolds is after Santana but he only went 1 for 4 as well. At least he got that 1, though - he was able to score on Brantley's triple! Santana does have a nice and believeable .345 batting average (5th in the league) but although it's a fairly strong stat and a fairly accurate representation of his time at the plate this year, he's still pretty far behind everyone else at the top of the list as far as at-bats go (58 to Adam Jones' 100).

Lonnie Chisenhall is still chipping away at the game. He went 0 for 4 but he got on base due to an error and was able to come home on Brantley's triple. He did leave 4 guys on base so boo for that, Chiz. Boo!

Drew Stubbs, who is increasingly impressing me a-la Casey Blake or Einar Diaz, quietly went 1 for 4 today too.  He had the courtesy to only leave 2 on base.

So that's today's story. Tomorrow they are putting on TWO baseball games just for MEEEEEEE! I plan to spend my birthday listening to 6 hours of baseball and eating pizza and I think hanging Super Mario decals in my bathroom. I hope all of these things are well worth the wait, because I have been excited about all of them all week!

Tomorrow at 2:10 (yay I get to sleep in even LATER!) is Justin Masterson versus RHP 3.86. Super high probability of win-ness in that one, right? At 8:10 is Corey Kluber (oh!) versus some other dude who has not pitched this year. So that will be totally interesting.

I can't WAIT!!! See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"He's pitching kind of like he's in college - once a week."
- Tom Hamilton on Scott Kazmir

"If Billy Butler ever gets picked off, it would be an earth-shattering event. He doesn't run, he's a plodder, so he never has much of a lead."
- Tom Hamilton

"You should see all the kindling at home plate. It looks like someone was splitting wood for the winter and went to split a log and it went all over the place."
- Tom Hamilton

"You can hear the Royals fans. They want [umpire] Cling Fagan to immediately have LASIK surgery."
- Tom Hamilton

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Clutch No-Go

I was really looking forward to this game today! Yesterday I had my day all planned out around the game and...nothing. Darn weather! So it was nice that I didn't have to wait another 24 hours to get in a game. Except now this game was a bummer and there's no game tomorrow and Friday's game is not until 8:10 so I'm going to be waiting forever for more!

The Tribe ended its winning streak at 3 today, and it was no doubt due to poor hitting. Not getting on base and then when they did get on base, they couldn't follow it up.

Zach McAllister was the starter and he wasn't stellar. Not horrible but he only went 5 2/3 and gave up 3 runs. They were comparing him to Masterson's last two starts which also weren't "crisp" and he struggled too much to get his pitches thrown. He walked 5.

Hill, Shaw, Hagadone and Smith finished out the game. They only walked 1 between them and gave up no hits and no runs. That was pretty good and Francona was smart to be so strategic about relievers (nobody pitched a full 3 outs) but DANGIT! Why can't the offense score more runs?!

Say hey, Michael Brantley! He had the best day of anyone, going 2 for 4 a run. It's a 4-game hitting streak for him! Michael Bourn is getting his stitches out soon...not sure what that means.

Kipnis got a hit and an RBI today! Only his second hit with RISP this year. He also stole two bases. Unfortunately he didn't get to score after that because we're not playing that sort of baseball this year, but...cool. He also made a sweet play in the field, which is nice to see because I forgot we had an awesome infield!

Mark Reynolds continues to be awesome. Impressive. Useful. Surprising. He went 1 for 3 today with an RBI double. Mark Reynolds!

Mike Aviles was in and he got a hit. He's in for Asdrubal who has some sort of muscle soreness somewhere. Nice when guys can take off at the first sign of trouble to avoid further injury. Thanks Mike Aviles!

In other news, Lou Marson is back and Yan Gomes is in Akron. I love me some Sweet Lou but boy was Yan Gomes endearing. Wasn't he? I don't think we got to see him enough to know whether or not we're really getting the short end of the stick with Marson but he was fairly glittery while he was here.

In other other news, I am totally over this season's radio commercials already. I say this every year but this year I am super over it. There are not one but THREE commercials from Progressive with Flo singing. They are awful. I don't even care that her singing is bad really (that's part of her charm! Hur!) but it's just not friggin FAIR to have that many singing commercials! Doesn't anyone realize that we hear these commercials 18 times per game?! HOLY SMOKES!

Help me.

Tomorrow is an off day and then we're in Kansas City on Friday at 8:10. It'll be Scott Kazmir against RHP 2.48 and let me just say our bats need to be out that night, for real.

I'll see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"The key here is to get out of town before this White Sox team finds it's legs offensively."
- Tom Hamilton

"I'm guessing this guy has to be single. There's no way that guy's wife let him leave the house like that today and said 'This looks good on you.'"
- Tom Hamilton on a Superman-costumed White Sox fan

"That's the kind of Superman outfit that if you took it home and gave it to Nate for Halloween, he'd say 'Dad I don't think I'm going to go trick-or-treating this year.'"
- Tom Hamilton on Superman

Monday, April 22, 2013

White Knuckles

Here's a song for you for today's game, to listen to during this post. Chicago's own Ok Go with "White Knuckles," which is totally how I was yesterday and today listening to the games! (If you haven't seen the video you'll want to watch it because...dogs)

Masterson was the starter today and I really look forward to his starts now, which is refreshing. I think we looked forward to them last season but in a more of a "maybe it'll be a good one today!" capacity unlike this year where we're just going to see what damage he will do this time!

He actually had a second shaky game but we'll just forget about that lack of decisiveness there and pretend that it was an easily-pitched 2-run game. He did only give up 2 earned runs, after all. He also went 7 innings! And he threw exactly 100 pitches! it definitely didn't feel as smooth as his complete game but the whole thing on paper is stunning. Five strikeouts too, by the way!

Before we saw Vinnie, Masterson had a crazy 7th. He hit a guy so that sucked. And then he walked a guy and that sucked. But that guy got picked off! And then the next guy hit in to a double play! Oooooooh...the Sox just crumbled around him!
Like a cookie!
Vinnie came in and it was ho-hum, classic Vinnie. 1-2-3 inning. Hooray for classic Vinnie!

Perez had a bit of a whacky inning - yes he contributed mightily to the white-knuckleness. He struck the first guy out, no prob. Tom Hamilton was mighty impressed. Then Connor Gallispe, who still is drinking our milkshake, singled. The next dude hit an omg-this-game-is-over near home run foul ball. But just a foul! The next pitch he popped up and was out. Then in a replay of last night, Perez got the final batter to ground out to third but this time Lonnie was there and he threw to Perez's new best friend Mark Reynolds at first. Ballgame!

The team didn't really do much in the hitting arena today, which is why it was a white-knuckler even though Masterson ultimately had it under control. We got 6 hits and 4 walks and only ONE extra-base hit!

Michael Brantley has a 3-game hitting streak (work with me, here) so I guess maybe he's settling in to the leadoff role now. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and came in to score a run.

Kipnis, who usually does awesome in Chicago, did not do awesome tonight. He didn't do anything.

Asdrubal, on the other hand - OMG! He got the winning RBI! RBIs! We were down 1 to 2 in the 8th and had 2 men in scoring position, thanks to Drew Stubbs being fancy-pants on the bases and getting the pitcher to throw the ball away on a pickoff attempt. There were 2 outs and Asdrubal was up. He's the guy you want up in this situation, right? Well like, you want the April 2012 version of Asdrubal up. And he showed up! He took the first pitch and booped it in to center field and our speedy outfielders speedied themselves home and those proved to be the winning runs! ¡Caliente!

Jason Giambi got a single, so that was weird.

Lonnie Chisenhall...is he breaking out? He does have 7 hits in his last 4 games, with 2 doubles and a homer in that time. His average has climbed almost 80 points in that time! He went 2 for 4 tonight - good things happen when Lonnie Hits!

Drew Stubbs also has a 4-game hitting streak and he's also becoming a difference-maker on this team. I've called him mediocre in the past but perhaps I mean more "solid" now. He's making plays in the outfield and is getting on base and now tonight he proved he can make stuff happen with the steal. He's only got 3 but - hey, he leads the team!

Speaking of Drew Stubbs...I totally was so excited about all the events of yesterday's game, and focused on "What would Shelley Duncan think?" that I forgot to add in the part where Drew Stubbs hit a home run in to some guy's box of popcorn and the Astros' outfielder got buttery shrapnel spewed upon him. Observe:

What's weird is there was no reaction from the outfielder concerning the popcorn. Imagine if you went to clean out your gutters and a box of popcorn exploded forth. Wouldn't you do more than turn around and slap your hands and say "Aww, shucks?" No, you'd probably go all "ACK!" and maybe fall off the ladder! Rick Ankiel was seriously, seriously focused on that ball. I wonder if he got back to his spot and was like "Why is there popcorn in my ear?"

So the Tribe eked it out today and Masterson got his 4th win and Vinnie got his 4th hold and Perez got his 3rd save and we're all happy happy happy! You'll see that Meryl Masterson is once again included in tonight's blog, as she helped bring us home a win the last 3 nights. She's doing such a fantastic job!

Hopefully tomorrow at 8:10 Zach McAllister will feel the Meryl Mystery and get himself a win too! He'll be facing LHP 2.55. Everyone will be well-rested at the plate for the game, and just hit the ball all over the place. Right?

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Lonnie Chisenhall hasn't gotten going yet but look out when he does."
- Tom Hamilton

"Right now for the Miami Marlins, they have hope. The hope is that they get a new owner."
- Tom Hamilton on the moving around of the Marlins

"I make enough mistakes without having to tip a few."
- Tom Hamilton on drinking with dinner

"He played here one year and the best news he ever got was that he was traded to the New York Yankees."
- Tom Hamilton on Nick Swisher

"Tyler Flowers runs like a dump truck so that's why Tekotte is in there."
- Tom Hamilton on the pinch runner for the hurt catcher in the 7th

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Houston, YOU Have A Problem

I totally, totally stole today's blog title from @PureRage_Perez

But, that guy stole Chris Perez's identity so what goes around comes around. Besides, you all subscribe to his Twitter feed already anyway, don't you?

Exciting game today, lots of stuff going on! Home runs! Triples! Stunning plays! A cow in the outfield!
Ubaldo pitched today and I still don't really want to talk about him. I hope this helped "get his mind right" blah blah blah. We'll see you in 5 days.

Nick Hagadone and Cody Allen collaborated for the 6th inning and didn't give up any runs, but Hagadone walked two. Allen actually ended up with the win even though he only threw one out. Hagadone had come in and gave up a sacrifice run in the form of Jiminez's base runners, and then walked two, so Allen did do a huge service to the team by coming in and getting that elusive third out without giving up any more runs (especially since we ended up winning by one).

Everyone was excited that in the 7th inning we were in a Smith-Pestano-Perez situation! Except Joe Smith was shaky shaky and gave up 2 hits before getting 2 strikeouts and a groundout. Whew!

Vinnie P came in and gave up a single but he got the next 3 out. Good ol' boring Vinnie. Chris Perez, on the other hand - not so boring! Usually he gives up one hit and gets a strikeout or two then gets the last guy to pop out. Tonight he gave up a double then hit a guy (no warning), then a guy who totally botched a bunt in his last at-bat laid down a good one and was almost safe but he did get the sacrifice done. Then he intentionally walks a guy and the bases are loaded and it's like "WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?!"

The next guy hit a sharp grounder to Mark Reynolds...who was playing third...who fielded it with aplomb and tossed it over to first and that was the end. Are you kidding me?!

Nobody seemed to notice that Reynolds just saved Perez's ass, either. After he made the play he just sort of wandered the middle of the infield by himself.
Did anyone see that? No?
Reynolds wasn't the only one saving pitchers today. Mike Aviles helped out Jiminez with this Asdrubal-like play (he's still out with a wrist contusion). And Drew Stubbs, filling in in center, got a double play by catching a towering fly ball at the wall, with his back to home, and getting it back to first just before the runner. He's been chasing them down left and right this year. What do you think of that, Surprised Shelley Duncan?
Drew Stubbs is good!
Compared to yesterday, the team wasn't on fire at the plate. However they did rack up 4 homers, 2 doubles and a triple and came away with 11 hits. Almost everyone hit!

Michael Brantley only went 1 for 5 today, and Kipnis only went 1 for 4. Neither of them walked or got any runs.

Carlos Santana was the only other multi-year Indian in the lineup today and he was representin'! He went 2 for 5 with a capital-H Homer to Oklahoma and also a double. He's batting .380 and it's legit, with 13 hits in his last 10 games. I am guessing his bruised thumb is all fixed!

Nick Swisher only got one measly hit today, a single in 5 tries. But he was literally the most excited guy in the dugout each time a guy hit a home run! Go team!

 Mark Reynolds continues to be a stud at the plate (as well as in the field, as you saw. Third base?) getting his tied-for-league-leading 7th home run today. He's also nowhere near the top of the league in strikeouts, unlike Chris Davis (BAL) who leads the league in both! He's also tied for 4th in RBI. Reynolds went 1 for 3 today, he also had a walk.

Ryan Raburn is slowly simmering...today he went 2 for 4 with a double. He is batting .241 and while he has yet to match his regular season to his spring in terms of home runs (so far, none) three of his seven hits have been doubles. He doesn't have that many at-bats yet - he's got fewer than Aviles but more than Giambi.

Aviles wasn't feeling it at the plate today. But his play in the field was worth the spot in the lineup!

Yan Gomes, native Brazillian and good guy, is definitely beating Raburn in the homers-to-at-bats department. Today he got his second homer in just 19 at-bats. He also got a big-ass triple! Oh dear, Sweet Lou...oh dear...

Drew Stubbs - who I was just describing to my dad as "mediocre" - not only had his fancy-pants play but he got his first home run of the season today! He went 1 for 3 with a walk and is hitting a very respectable .259. Dig that Stubbs!
I dig him!
I do want to discuss something really quick here, after all this excitement - it was the most exciting, even game we've played this year (the high scorers were exciting but not even) but...should a team like this be playing games like this against a team like that? I'm appreciative of all the fun today but should we really have a while-knuckler against the Astros? Hopefully we can blame the close score on Ubaldo (oh look - we can!) and injuries but I know and I know you know that we can't play like this against anyone else. Well, maybe the Cubs. We can play like this against the Cubs. Putting two wins together and getting the bats going yesterday hopefully is a huge morale booster, and the team is ready to bust out now!

Anyway, we won the last two games after Smilin' Meryl and her cookie showed up, so here she is again JUST IN CASE. And...cookies.
Tomorrow we're right back in it in Chicago (according to @TheJK_Kid they've been there since 10:30 Sunday night) at 8:10. It'll be Justin "No Problem" Masterson versus RHP 4.70. On paper, that should be an awesome game - I like our odds!

I'll see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"For Ubaldo Jiminez, eventually he'll run out of time and his contract will expire."
- Tom Hamilton said, hopefully

"I wonder if today's code is 'WALK' because Ubaldo Jiminez and Eric Bedard are on the mound."
- Tom Hamilton on the season ticket holder special code

"The Indians would love to add some starting pitching, but nobody's going to trade you starting pitching in April."
- Tom Hamilton

"I think the FCC is closed on Sundays."
- Jim Rosenhaus fuels Tom Hamilton's dislike of station identification

"They will lead the league in Tommy John surgeries by the time the year is over."
- Tom Hamilton on the overuse of the Houston bullpen

"It went right over the head of the cow with the Houston cap on. You shoulda seen the cow roll his eyes upward."
- Tom Hamilton on the long foul ball in the 9th

"You don't get style points in this game, just be one run better."
- Tom Hamilton

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wishes Do Come True!

Didja hear? Didja listen or watch? Did you dedicate four hours to this masterpiece?!

THIS is the team we were all imagining in March, isn't it? Shaky/whatever pitching propped up by tons of big hits that kept on coming! How fun!!

Scott Kazmir made his debut and didn't do too hot. In fact, he only pitched 3 1/3 innings and didn't get the win. He gave up 6 runs on 7 hits including 2 home runs. He did strike out 4 in those few innings but uh...there was nothing much sharp or exciting about his performance. I don't want to hear crying about how long it was between each inning, either. Bob Feller's watching!

Bryan Shaw came in for a respectable 1 2/3 innings and only gave up one hit and struck out 2. He's our best new guy in the bullpen for sure, with a .93 ERA over 10 innings. Welcome, Bryan Shaw!

Corey Kluber was called on to pitch the final 4 innings and he pitched a beaut. He only gave up 2 hits and no runs, striking out 4. Pretty awesome for his second outing of the season, right?!

Our guys had 49 at-bats tonight and got 22 hits and 8 walks. They scored 19 runs (over the first 5 innings), had 3 homers and 6 doubles!

Let's start!

Michael Brantley had 6 at-bats at leadoff. At first he flied out then the team scored 5 runs and he got up again and hit a 2-run double! Later on he walked in a run and then got a single, going 2 for 6 on the night. His average is back up to .250. Aaaah!

Kipnis was back for his second game and got a hit, a walk and scored twice. He actually was the "least good" of all the lineup tonight but hey at least he was in there making a difference.

So before the game, Asdrubal was coming down the steps into the dugout and he fell. "Sprawled out" is what Francona said. He hurt his wrist - not broken, but bad enough to be annoying when he bats right. OMG....ASDRUBAL!!! Gah... Before he left the game he did go 1 for 2 and came in to score.

Mike Aviles came in for him and kept it up going 2 for 4 with a walk and coming in to score 2 runs. Pretty nice that our backup guy is able to do...dare I say more? ... than our starter. Go Aviles!

Nick Swisher had a smiley smiley good night! He went 4 for 7 with three doubles! He got 2 RBI and came in to score 3 times. Swisher - sweet!

Jason Giambi finally managed to impress me for real today, going 2 for 4 with a homer and a double. And two walks. And oh yeah - five RBI! He's still super old and has an overall crummy batting average but five RBI? Awesome!

The other big guys in the lineup followed suit with their own homers and doubles. Carlos Santana is now batting .378 and is near the top of the league in average. He went 2 for 5 tonight with a homer, a double and a walk, coming around to score 3 times. He got 2 RBI. Carlos Santana is not going away!

Neither is Mark Reynolds, it seems. He went 2 for 4 with a 3-run homer and ended up with 4 RBI on the the night. He's near the top of the league in both homers and RBI! He's batting .296, to boot. And he only struck out once which is pretty good considering he got on base the other 3 times. Woot!

Yan Gomes came in to bat for Reynolds later on, just for restees I think (I hope). He went 1 for 1! Also him and his wife (and Meryl Masterson) are lovely people!

The Chiz Kid didn't get a homer today like the big boys but he did get a double and ended up going 2 for 5, so that's not too shabby!

Drew Stubbs was super hot tonight. Maybe he knew I was finding him to be mediocre? He went 3 for 4 with a walk, 2 runs and an RBI! Cool! Later in the game he fouled a ball off his knee and they took him out and put in Raburn who did nothing but oh well.

Let's hope that Stubbs, Cabrera and Reynolds aren't hurt for real. I bet Cabrera sits out tomorrow. Stubbs might too - nobody likes a foul ball in their knee. Not sure what's up with Reynolds but if everyone is hitting home runs and doubles we sure as heck need him in there!

This is truly how I have expected every game to go this year. Maybe not 19 runs but 19 runs when we face bad teams. And it looks like we have to score 19 runs because our pitchers are giving up, like, 6. So we need to keep hitting like this forever.

I do want to point out tho, real quick, that our team has been racking up the strikeouts [pitched] lately. Today it was 10, yesterday 9, Thursday 11, Wednesday 10, Tuesday 16. Not bad, right? We're not leading the league as a team or anything but that's a bright spot in an otherwise dismal pitching record, right? (We're 2nd in the league in homers given up)

I also want to point out that last night Meryl Masterson and her cookie made an appearance in the blog in a sparkly-smiley homage gif, and tonight the team went nuts. Baseball is full of superstition, folks, and right now I am convinced the Sparkle Meryl and her cookie are a good luck charm for the Tribe, so she'll be making an appearance again tonight...just in case:
You know you want one!
Don't forget to check out the Tom Hamilton Has The Best Home Run Call In All of Baseball Facebook page for two home run calls! They're not up yet but they'll be in soon.

Tomorrow's game is at 2:10. It's Ubaldo versus LHP 7.04. If we need to score a ton of runs to overcome Ubaldo's suckitude, now is the time to do it. I hope they take tonight's momentum (minus injuries) and run with it! Deep in the heart of Texas!
See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"You're not going to see many more innings in which every member of the team hit the ball as hard as they did this inning."
- Tom Hamilton

"Even in Houston they know what a Bronx cheer sounds like."
- Tom Hamilton

"Nobody anymore can give you a word anymore that's 1 or 2 syllables when they can give you one that's got more syllables."
- Tom Hamilton on Asdrubal's wrist contusion

"Nobody up warming in the Houston bullpen, although the mascot has shed his jacket and is beginning to throw."
- Tom Hamilton in the 2nd inning

"The guy who's cringing in the Indians dugout is Houston native Michael Bourn who can't get in on the action."
- Tom Hamilton

"Kluber's one of those guys you feel should be more successful."
- Tom Hamilton

"He said he slipped and Major League Baseball said 'Yep, and your dog ate your homework. We've heard that one before.'"
- Tom Hamilton on Carlos Carrasco

"So many times you see a team score 19 runs one night then go 2 or 3 games with one run total."
- Tom Hamilton

"The Indians fans are on their feet - they're the only ones left at the park!"
- Tom Hamilton in the 9th

Friday, April 19, 2013

Do Not Want

I'm tired, boffins. Not only have I been working late nights and now I have a cold, these baseball games are simply exhausting. Nothing happens, but you gotta stick it out for 9 innings in case something does happen. Because in baseball, something can happen. But nothing ever does.

There wasn't even a slugfest tonight, on either side. Two crummy pitchers and two crummy lineups resulted in a crummy mediocre score of 3-2 Houston.

I wish I could have seen this game on TV - the Houston jerseys would have been the most exciting part of the game.
At least those jerseys are on fire!
Myers, Allen, Hill. Yawn yawn yawn. Joe Smith was back tonight and he looked a lot better than he did on Wednesday night, throwing 13 pitches and striking out 2.

Jason Kipnis was back tonight. He went 2 for 4, doubling his hit count for the season. No joke! He also stole a base, raising his SB total by 100%.

Asdrual and Swisher both went 1 for 3 with a walk. But no runs, no RBI. Both of their hits were doubles, so that's cool. Doesn't make Asdrubal's average any better than a single but whatever. Yay hit.

Mark Reynolds is still impressive! He went 2 for 3 today with two singles and a walk. I was telling my friend the other night that Reynolds doesn't get hits - he just gets home runs. They were saying something on the radio about that tonight too. He's got 12 hits and 5 of them have been homers, 4 doubles and only 3 singles.

Reynolds was on base when Chiz came up and got his second home run of the year. BOOM!

Drew Stubbs, who is going to hit between .200 and .250 no matter how the team does, it seems, went 1 for 4 tonight because that's how Drew Stubbs go.

And that's it. That's all for tonight's game. I at least stayed awake during the entire game today, unlike last night where I admit I fell asleep for a few innings.

I think Meryl Masterson commented on an old blog post the other day, one from August 4, 2012 where I talk a bit about her cookies. What do you think - is it her? I'd love to do a taste test of her cookies for y'all but I don't think I can afford the cookies + shipping. Plus, what if they're bad? The last family in Cleveland I'd want to piss off is the Mastersons. They're holding this town together! But then again what the hell am I saying? I've never met a cookie I didn't like. And Tony Sipp loves those cookies and I trust him.

Anyway, that's a nice thought to end this tragedy of a baseball game. Cookies made with love by Meryl Masterson.
Such a pretty cookie.
Ok, we're back in Houston again tomorrow night, this time at 7:10 for some reason (even though it's the Central Time Zone). It'll be the return of Scott Kazmir versus RHP 2.89. That's great - 2.89 runs. Just about what we're expected to get.

Oh well. See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Whoever designed these uniforms really likes Halloween. [...] They're like softball uniforms."
- Tom Hamilton on the Houston uniforms

"Looking at the people here you'd say 'Oh my, it must be 40 degrees!'"
- Tom Hamilton thinks the Houston crowd is freeze babies

"We're talking about the Houston Astros. If this is a lineup you can't dominiate, you've got more problems than that. There's a reason this team is expected to lose over 100 games this season."
- Tom Hamilton

"You can't win in the American League scoring 3 runs a game."
- Tom Hamilton

"You don't need to do a whole lot right now to beat the Houston Astros."
- Jim Rosenhaus

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Good Bye Red Sox and Good Riddance!

There were almost 13,000 people at the game tonight, which is 3,000 more than last night. I bet there were a lot of walk-ups due to the nice weather! The team is still rockin' the strikeouts - tonight striking out 11 (16, 10, 11 over 3 days). I wonder who won the $100 tonight?!

The Tribe gave it a go today and didn't let it get away from them, but it was a hard-fought battle that we never got too close to winning. Maybe at one point in the late innings but we're still very poor offense-wise, or reliability-of-offense-wise, so any time we got close to coming right back the Red Sox just kicked dirt in our faces. Again.

Zach McAllister was the starter and he went 5 innings giving up 3 earned runs. He struck out 7! I say he was pretty decent - 3 runs shouldn't be unsurmountable. But he might be falling to the place where Masterson was last year where 3 runs is too many when you have no run support.

Hagadone came in for the 6th and gave up a run. We can't be having that, with the way the team is batting. Shaw was in for the 7th and 8th and he gave up 2 un-earned runs thanks to an error by Cord Phelps. I'll give you a moment to moan about Jason Kipnis. There, there...

Chris Perez came in and he was awesome! He threw 17 pitches with 13 of them strikes! He totally did his job today that's for sure!

We only got 6 hits today but 3 of them were doubles, so that's pretty cool. We did manage to score 3.

Brantley was the leadoff again. He does not like being leadoff, dangit! He much prefers the middle of the lineup. This year his average is .318 when batting 5th and .000 when batting first (well, it's slightly off now since he did get a hit today). Last year it was .308 when batting 5th (where he was the most) and .350 when he was 6th, but only .227 when he batted leadoff (where he was the second most). SOMEONE PLEASE FORWARD THIS INFORMATION TO TERRY FRANCONA!

Ok, ok...I just looked at Stubbs' splits and he's no better batting first. Bourn is our guy. But then again Stubbs is mediocre up and down the lineup while Brantley clearly prefers the middle so that's another good argument to get him out of the top spot. Also, for those of you who read the blog in 2011, forget what I said about how much Asdrubal loves hitting after Michael and how well Michael does in the top spot. That was two World Series ago!

Asdrubal also got a hit tonight, going 1 for 4.  He is not one of the dudes who got a double.

Carlos Santana is one of those guys! He's batting .405 now, and went 2 for 4 on the night. It was an RBI double giving him 6 on the season...still less than half of the leader, Mark Reynolds. So nice to have 'los back and presumably healthy.

Nick Swisher is very sad that he didn't do anything tonight and if he didn't have to go buy treats for the team's trip to Houston tomorrow, he most likely would have a press conference to apologize for his poor performance. But hey, there's always tomorrow, buddy!

Mark Reynolds was the man again tonight, getting one of those doubles going 1 for 3 with a walk. He came in to score - did you know he leads the team in runs?

Mike Aviles is keeping it up! He was in at 3rd tonight and got one of those doubles (his first) going 1 for 4 with a run scored. He's a rightie and Chiz is a lefty so I guess we'll see Aviles any time the team faces a lefty pitcher. They have given Chisenhall chances against lefties both this season and last season but he's just not ready for it yet.

Stubbs didn't get a hit today holdin' down the 9-hole but he did get an RBI ground-out so that's all right with me. He went 0 for 2 with a walk.

Tomorrow we're in the west in Texas, playing the Astros, bless their hearts. They just got swept by the A's, so that's much better than facing the Red Sox who won 4 in a row before coming here. It'll be Old Man Myers versus RHP 5.63. Oh man, I hope it's a big hit-fest. Even if it's a hit-fest on both sides, I don't care...this season is so far kind of boring. Let's stir it up!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"They like to go deep in the count, and they are always flaberghasted when there is a strike against a Red Sox player."
- Tom Hamilton

"Right now Jarrod Saltalamachia feels that with his swing and this wind, Chagrin Falls is within reach."
- Tom Hamilton

"Victorino becomes the eighth hitter in this game to bark at [the homeplate umpire]. He's going to develop a complex before this game is over. Nobody likes him."
- Tom Hamilton

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm A Winner! The Tribe, Not So Much

I went to the game today. I bundled up in my winter walking boots, Indians sweatshirt and Chief Wahoo fleece scarf (courtesy of Jo-Ann Fabrics at the 2011 Fan Appreciation Day game), and took OMG ASDRUBAL!!! and drove downtown in the SUN (!!) to see my first game of the year.

I must have looked super-fanish to the Fun Bunch because as soon as I got in the gate, a young lady stopped me and asked if I'd like to be the Circle K Fan of the Game. At first I said "no" because at the end of last year I got into a situation where I was in a contest involving me having to dance in front of the camera. Now, I don't care about looking stupid in front of the camera, that's no big deal. My problem was that I was bad at it and not entertaining at all, and I felt like I wasted the contest!

Anyway, the girl said all I had to do was cheer in front of the camera for 45 seconds, and if the Indians threw 8 strikeouts during the game I'd win a $100 Circle K gift card. I actually did not fully understand the gift card deal until after I agreed to do it. Once I was done with the cheering (with direction) I was like "Wait, 8 strikeouts, really?" Really! Being that they'd thrown 16 the night before and 8 before that, I knew there was a great chance I'd win.

So I did that, then I gave Mustard a high-five, which netted me a Mustard magnet (sweet!) and finally was done entering the park. It's hard to be this popular!

My friend and I went and purchased tickets for the last home game of the year. Cool, right? Then we browsed the Team Shop and bought some junk. They had Choo and Sizemore stuff for 50% off, but no sales on cold-weather wear! I got my 2013 Topps team set, and one for my friend's kid, and a heavily-discounted 2012 for my niece who's 3 and won't notice that Nick Swisher is missing.

Check out these cards, though. I think they are really stellar shots compared to the rest of the team. Exceptional baseball cards, I say.
Kipnis, Masterson, Perez and Brantley 2013 Topps.
We bought hot dogs and fresh-cut fries, which are awesome (except if you have too many and don't often eat fried food, it's heartburn city!) And then I was hit with a bombshell: No. More. Diet. Doctor. Pepper. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man when I heard there would be $2 refills this year I immediately decided I would try to drink my weight in Diet Dr Pepper, until I realized that I could never afford that or have the time to do it. However I still meant to drink at least 64 ounces of Diet Dr Pepper per game this year. I've always loved the fact that Progressive Field is one of the few places where you can get fountain Diet Dr Pepper. Well it WAS...now, no more. Now it's just Diet Pepsi or shut up. WHAT THE HELL???

I drank 64 ounces of Diet Pepsi.

My friend and I had tickets right up against the bullpen, which is a neat place to sit IF you're not surrounded by weirdos who are begging for the bullpen crew to throw them balls. But in the two times I've sat there, that's been my experience. Both times too it was one person getting a ball then the person they're with begging for a ball the rest of the game. What? Especially bad today was the dude who was begging for a ball after his girlfriend got one (the girlfriend to whom he had to explain every facet of the game). He was begging while some little kid was standing there silently next to him. Finally one of the catchers came up and handed the little kid the ball and told the dude "I already gave your girlfriend one." HA!

I'd still sit there again, even with the weird beggars. It's neat being so close to players. We got to see a lot of Perez milling about and I had a conversation with Vinnie Pestano!

I told him we needed 2 more strikeouts as a team for me to get my $100, so please get some strikeouts if you go out. Or if not, tell your friends. He actually did have a dialog with me - he asked if I meant one pitcher or the whole team.

Joe Smith actually got me the 8th strikeout (which was sort of weird because Smith looked awful tonight for some reason but he got the K!) but when Vinnie went out he got 2 more anyway. I like to think it was from me asking! I also was joking that it would be awful if Vinnie went up with 6 strikeouts then got all choked up and gave up a bunch of hits and got NO strikeouts. But, silly me - that didn't happen!

When Smith pitched the 8th strikeout I stood up and yelped and it was eerily silent otherwise. Like everyone else had given up on the game already (it was kinda gone anyway). They put my name and hometown on the big board, and did it again at the end of the game. But they never showed my 45 second video! I am fine with that - I made a fool of myself in person, in the stands. Don't need me on the big board looking goofy. But now I'm afraid I won't get that gift card in the mail, only a blackmail letter or something. "Send us $1000 or we'll show this video to your professional circle!" Ha! Joke's on them, I don't have a professional anything!

Also, I found a Sharpie.

That was my fan experience at the ballpark today. There's always something! I'm glad my friend asked me to go because I wasn't planning on doing any games in April. Don't you know it's cold in April? But the weather was awesome and even though there were lots of boring and frustrating parts in the game, we had a lot more action than a lot of other games this year so that was fun.

Quick rundown of what happened on the field...

Masterson had a bad start but as someone on the post-game radio said "If only Ubaldo's bad starts were like this!" Indeed! He gave up 4 runs on 11 hits but also struck out 5 (yeah buddy!) and got himself out of not one but two bases-loaded jams. He also had some nice help from the guys in the field with a coupla plays at the plate. He looked pretty awful in the first but after that I'd say he was back to his previous-three-game-winning format. So, nothing to worry about here.

Corey Kluber popped back in for a visit. He pitched the 6th and gave up a run on three hits (and strikeout number 6!) He didn't look amazing but he was adequate. Rich Hill was in again and he gave up a run as well. Joe Smith...I don't know how he didn't give up any hits or runs. He did have a wild pitch. He looked crazy bad for Joe Smith but he snapped out of it and got me my 8th and final strikeout!!

Vinnie Pestano was tight and got two more strikeouts for a total of 10 on the night for the team. He shut them down hard!

Brantley was leading off tonight and he just doesn't do well there anymore. In 2011 he was the man up top but tonight he kept coming up and then letting down. And his average is going down. Oh no! I totally guessed his name right in an early-inning trivia game, though. The question was something like "Who is from Bellevue, Washington and likes to golf and fish in his spare time?" My friend was impressed at least!

I brought OMG ASDRUBAL!!! with me in hopes that today would be his breakout game but it wasn't He was up with bases loaded and two outs. It didn't happen. It was so close, boffins - like, just a few feet away from going over the wall or at least hitting it. It didn't happen. He still played well in the field, though. Well he almost had an amazing catch and that didn't happen either.

Harlem Shake break!

Carlos Santana was not at his best today either, in his second game back. He went 0 for 3 with a walk. And he got hit in the mask with a ball (or a bat?)

Nick Swisher was the big hero of the night! Not only was he in right field, throwing balls to almost every fan that asked for one, but he also had a couple sweet plays out there AND he got himself a 2-run homer! He went 2 for 4 on the night and is batting .295. He hit his homer into the bullpen. here's me reaching for it:
The red hat is me!
Everyone was disappointed because the guy who was in the bullpen and chased down the ball had to give the ball up to some dude who stuck his head in the door and asked for it. I thought it was kind of neat that Swisher (presumably) wanted his home run ball!

I kept urging Jason Giambi, tonight's DH, to please endear himself to me. He kind of did tonight by following up Swisher's home run with one of his own. But I still find it hard to care that Jason Giambi is on our team. Meh.

Now, Mark Reynolds has indeed endeared himself to me and he's a guy we can get behind! Tonight he aaaaalmost had some huge hits, but he definitely had a huge double in the third. He legged it out and the play was super close at second but I think Reynolds impressed the umpire with his moxy and gave him the bag.

Cord Phelps was in playing second and he also seems to be playing catch-up. Any day now.

The Chiz Kid over-extended himself trying to turn a long single into a double and he got caught. Drats! He did end up going 2 for 4, though, so I'm pumped about that!

Drew Stubbs was back down in the 9-hole and he did alright for himself. He went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. Sucks that the top of our lineup was shut down today! Stubbs also looked pretty good in the outfield at least once, making a big catch in the 7th. Everything else was just...well it was hit out of reach.

Whew! I think the Diet Pepsi is finally wearing off. My fire is lit once again for live baseball. I'm already making plans for the next home series! Despite the cold weather, I do kind of like it when the stadium is mostly empty. Short lines, no waiting, and I get to be the Fan of the Game!

Tomorrow is the last game of the series, and the triumphant return of our new favorite - Zach McAllister! He'll be facing LHP 1.42. This game is a good example of why I don't say opposing pitchers' names anymore. You don't need to know...you just need to know that he's left handed and the game is at 7:05.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Tim Timmons must have had a conversation with Tim McClelland in the offseason and McClelland said 'Hey look, try to keep everybody guessing at the ballpark. Dont' tell 'em if it's a ball or a strike.'"
- Tom Hamilton

"The kind of guy who, when you were in kindergarten, he spent a lot of time in the corner chair looking at the wall."
- Tom Hamilton on pitcher Alfredo Aceves

"Not to be overly dramatic but this could be your entire ballgame right here."
- Tom Hamilton at the end of the second

"The Indians had Felix Doubront on the ropes all night, but he was like Muhammed Ali, he played rope-a-dope all night and stayed on his feet."
- Tom Hamilton

"Get ready for a Leslie Nielson scene coming up here if this is anywhere close."
- Tom Hamilton is amused by the calls of homeplate umpire Tim Timmons

"Mantua? How do you get Man-too-ay from m-a-n-t-u-a?"
- Tom Hamilton is new here

"For those of you who have trouble sleeping at night, get a tape of Alfredo Aceves pitching. An instant cure for insomnia."
- Tom Hamilton

"The Indians look like the Bayonne Bleeder. They're Chuck Wepner. They're bleeding from everywhere but they're still standing."
- Tom Hamilton is a fan of boxing

"Rosie's back with pepperonis from Domino's pizza all over the front of his sweater."
- Tom Hamilton, forever intrigued by Jim Rosenhaus's eating habits

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

But Then Nothing Happened

I made a pledge not to talk about Ubaldo anymore in my posts, lest I lose the whole "positive" angle thing I've got going here. So the first two innings are moot.

Cody Allen had been rotting away in Columbus but he got to come up, and thank goodness he did because he was quite useful today! He did give up 3 of the other guy's runs, but his line looks clean. Three innings, four hits, no runs and SIX strikeouts! Everyone was kind of adjusting their ties and saying "we have no long relief" but it looks like Allen is willing and able to fill that role. Well, maybe not LONG relief - I guess that may have been 5 innings instead of 3? I don't even know - you ball players and your jive! But Allen had a great showing, hopefully he keeps it up.

In fact the entire bullpen was great and didn't give up any runs. They combined for 15 strikeouts! Nick Hagadone took over the 6th and 7th and was lights-out, giving him an ERA of 0.00 over two games now. Rich Hill and Bryan Shaw struck out six more to finish off the game.

Everyone is now adjusting their ties and bemoaning the "overuse" of our bullpen today, after such a long rest (??) but geez....four guys over 7 1/3 innings. What would Bob Feller say? (Oh, something you wouldn't want to repeat to your mother, that's for sure.)

But then, nothing happened.

Terry Francona pointed out that our team really fought back after the second inning debacle. And they did! They had the bases loaded with one out! Then the bases loaded with Mark Reynolds up! Terry noted that that was great, even though nothing happened.

I think we should call that The Cleveland Gut Punch.

Anyhow, we only got 6 hits today but we also got 6 walks. They were patient, they were scrappin, they almost got it done. There were also some really good plays on Boston's part *shakes fist*

Michael Bourn got a bunch of stitches in his hand. Pants! Drew Stubbs led off and he's not half bad. He's only half of Bourn tho, going 1 for 3 with 2 walks. Bourn would have gone 2 for 3, sucka! But Stubbs was on base a heck of a lot and that's all we ask. His friends never hit him in, though.

Asdrubal got a hit! It was only one hit, and he paired it with a strikeout, but hey man it's better than 2 strikeouts and no hits, right?

Kipnis is still out and I think they are just playing it safe with him. Why play Kipnis when it's Ubaldo on the mound, eh? Eh?

Santana was back today. They sent Santos down. Santana didn't come back with the same punch he left with but oh well. He went 0 for 4.

Good ol' Swisher was out there getting it done today, tho. He went 1 for 3 with a walk. No one on our team got any extra bases tonight but here's a fun fact: No one on Boston got a home run! Woah!

Mark Reynolds did not get us the grand slam we wanted. HOWEVER, in defense of Mark Reynolds, he did not strike out today. He walked twice, like a grown up and a good role model for Santana.

Cousin Michael is still hot hot hot! Not sure how his average dropped below .300 but .282 will do. Today he went 2 for 4 with no strikeouts. Unfortunately he was not up at the right times for anyone to capitalize on those hits. Love how he's staying hot even when the team is ice cold!

Mike Aviles is still grinding it out, too. He's at second base still. He went 0 for 3 but he did get a sac fly and got one of our two RBIs on the night.

Lonnie Chisenhall, on the other hand, is still stuck in the very rut that Asdrubal is in. This is no good because I told everyone he's the guy to watch this year. Get going, Chiz!

Ryan Raburn took over as the solid 9th batter, instead of Stubbs who was playing the exciting first batter today. He went 1 for 2 with a walk before being taken out for Cord Phelps. Hey Cord Phelps! Cord didn't get any hits.

It was just a rough game today. We did ALMOST so well against the top team in the AL East. In fact if it weren't for 1 2/3 innings of nameless baseball, we would have won. But, we didn't.

Tomorrow I'm going to the game and I'm PUMPED!! I was not looking forward to going to a cold, rainy game surrounded by a bunch of faux-Boston-fans but now I'm excited to be 1 of 10,000 fans in attendance. There will be Perez and there will be screaming. And I will be next to the bullpen so everyone will friggin hear me. EVERYONE!!

I was wondering if I should bring a whistle but I bet that is probably not a good idea. I wish I had a cowbell, I'd bring that. I might actually waltz into the Team Shop and get me some sort of clapping device. I'll be able to afford it because hot dogs are cheap. BAM!

Hmm there might be no Perez tomorrow because Justin's already up again! Huh! He's facing RHP 6.75. No contest, right?

Can't wait - see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Send that script to Hollywood and they'd say 'We're not going to use it.'"
- Tom Hamilton on the unbelieveably true story of Daniel Nava

"Unfortunately for Ubaldo Jiminez, this inning represents all of the struggles he's had in the past."
- Tom Hamilton on the 2nd inning

"'Crisp' wouldn't be the best adjective to describe today's pitching performances by Jiminez and Doubront."
- Tom Hamilton

"Homeplate umpire Lance Diaz must be mumbling to himself 'Can anyone here throw strikes tonight?'"
- Tom Hamilton

"It's like an epidemic tonight. The virus is called 'Lack Of Command.'"
- Tom Hamilton

"The only guys playing tonight are the pitcher and the catcher."
- Tom Hamilton

"John Adams is now pounding on his forehead."
- Tom Hamilton

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Momentum Halted

After the big hitting in yesterday's game, possibly on momentum from the 9th inning of Friday's game, the Tribe was held to just one run and 6 hits today.

It's kinda crazy that our pitching has been reliable for 3 games now and our hitting has been erratic. Granted, Jake Peavy is pretty good but so is Chris Sale and we beat him up! (And so is David Price and we beat him up too).

Brett Myers was the starter today and he looked great! That's pretty awesome because there was nothing remotely great about his last two starts when he gave up 14 runs off 18 hits in 10 innings. Today he went 6 innings and only gave up 2 runs, which came in the 6th. I still don't know what to make of Myers and I definitely don't trust him yet, but today he gets a big pat on the back!

Bryan Shaw came in again today and he looked good, not giving any hits and striking out two, including Conor Gillaspie who has been drinking our milkshake all weekend.

Vinnie Pestano came in for the 8th and had a very un-Pestano-like outing. He gave up a home run and a single before retiring the side. Oh well, I guess no one can have an 0.00 ERA forever! It's weird because they were touting Brett Myers' heroism the other day for pitching half of a blowout game and saving the bullpen. But then today they were blaming the lack of need for the bullpen this past week for making Vinnie rusty. You know I love our bullpen and think they're worth their weight in gold, but sometimes I get tired of how delicate pitchers can be. Or maybe they're not and the media just likes to make up excuses for bad outings.

Chris Perez came in for the 9th just to get his work and he gave up no hits and struck a guy out. So there you go.

Michael Bourn was the big hitting hero of the game today, knocking a homer off Peavy on the first pitch of the bottom of the first. His would be the only run scored of the day. He is definitely a great replacement for Choo in the lineup, with power and consistency. He might not have the same cannon as Choo, in the field, but he can steal. I mean, like, any day now he can steal a base. Soon?

Bourn went 3 for 4. In the 8th inning he hit one to first base and there was quite a scuffle as Bourn slid in to the base. Reports say he got his hand stepped on and was replaced by Mike Aviles. Let's hope having Monday off and a vat of frozen Neosporin gets Bourn back in the lineup by Tuesday!

Brantley was up in the third spot today, with Asdrubal doing nothing of interest in the 2-hole (although he still is fabuloso in the field!) Kipnis I guess is still healing his shoulder, which is cool because you don't want to rush it and make it some season-long issue. Cousin Michael went 1 for 4 at the plate.

Asdrubal struck out 3 times. I am not going to look it up, but I think he leads the team in strikeouts right now. (Ok I looked it up. He does.) Swisher didn't get anything done today either, and he struck out twice, ending his hitting streak at Progressive Field (20 games since 2008).

Swisher started in right field and Reynolds at first. Reynolds went 1 for 3 and got a pinch runner in Drew Stubbs in the 7th. Then Stubbs went to right field and Swisher to first. That's a lot of interchangeability on this team. Is that good or bad? I mean it's good that dudes can play anywhere but are they just half-assed everywhere then?

Carlos Santana pinch hit for Stubbs in the 9th and almost hit one out! It was foul though and he ended up walking. They're saying Tuesday for catching now. Yan Gomes didn't do anything today at the plate but he did catch a guy stealing. I'm ready for Santana's return.

Jason Giambi was in the lineup today as DH. Not very excited about him being on the team but Tom Hamilton keeps assuring us that he is doing the work of Moses in terms of guiding this young team towards greatness. He parted no seas today, though, going 0 for 4. Man, he's old.

Ryan Raburn was in at second again today. He went 1 for 3 with a single. Only one guy walked today, and that was Santana in the 9th. Huh.

I don't know what to say about this stretch of games so far. The team has been amazing or miserable. The weather has been horrible or non-existant (domed). The opposing pitchers have been the league's best or mediocre. Our pitchers have pitched amazingly well or horribly. As far as I can tell there has been no pattern to how the team is doing.

But, at least it's baseball season, right? (Although it's apparently also basketball season. My WTAM broadcast was abruptly cut off right at 3 PM in order to air the Cavs game. Crummy.)

Monday we've got the day off and Tuesday the Red Sox come to town. Hopefully Francona leads us to a sweep, right? Also hopefully Bourn's hand is fine, Santana's hand is fine and Kipnis's shoulder is fine and everyone decides that now is the time to start hitting. If those things happen then we've got quite a ball game ahead of us!

Slated to pitch Tuesday is Jiminez vs LHP 5.40. You know I don't know what to think about that, so we'll just get excited anyway and I'll see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Ozzie Guillen had the maturity of a 12-year-old."
- Tom Hamilton

"You'll take 6 innings of two-run baseball from Brett Myers any day."
- Tom Hamilton

"If anybody thinks the NFL players are as big, strong and fast as they are because of spinach...then we have a tale for you."
- Tom Hamilton

"If there's a no-hitter going on, usually Tampa Bay is the team getting no-hitted."
- Tom Hamilton