Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ringing Up A Sale

I watched the video highlights for today's game and the thing that stood out to me was how dramatic Chris Sale seems to be when he gives up a hit. Or, maybe it's just when he gives up double after double after double. I took some screen shots:
What? .... No. .... Awwww, geez!
I couldn't decide if I should lead off with Sale or Masterson, but Sale has much better pictures. Masterson didn't have any sad reaction shots, only "I am working very hard" shots like so:
By the way - have you ever gotten a 404 error on the MLB site? Go here, and refresh a few times. Bloopers!

Anyway - where was I? Oh yeah, Masterson was awesome today! After the series started with the worst scenario possible (the first pitcher in a 4-game series and a doubleheader not making it through the first inning), the series ended with the best scenario possible - a complete game shutout!

Even though he gave up 6 hits and 1 walk, Masterson only faced 30 batters all told - there were FOUR double plays. Previously he was known as a ground-ball-out pitcher but this year he was racking up a lot more strike outs. I guess today he had his slider going because he was back to ground ball outs, "only" striking out 8. His average is actually 9 per 9 innings.

Dude dug deep and threw 112 pitches today. He's got the most innings pitched in the AL, by the way - 124 over Shields' and Sabathia's 117. He's also 3rd in the league with strikeouts - how's that for a ground ball pitcher?

Our bullpen is going to be crazy ready on Tuesday after two whole days off!

Speaking of days off, they made Kipnis take a day today. Also, Michael Bourn is on the paternity leave list (he'll be back Wednesday in Kansas City.) Swisher also had the day off and so did Giambi (well I suppose it's more news when he doesn't. Whatever.)

So it was sort of the "B" team today, except Asdrubal, Brantley and Santana. And does Gomes ever seem "B" to you?

Stubbs was the leadoff man and he did all right taking over for his outfield buddy. Although he had 3 strikeouts, he did get 2 hits, including an RBI double. Plus he got a sweet bunt single that only Stubbs (ok, probably Bourn too) could get. 

Aviles had a rough day. He went 0 for 5.

Asdrubal is still very, very active, getting his 19th double today. No RBIs or runs for him, though.

Boy, did you forget about Ryan Raburn?! How could you? He's so good...
...He's so good that he filled in at cleanup, but also filled in at ____________!

Raburn went 1 for 3 with an RBI double AND came around to score! He scored on Santana's RBI single that followed!

Oh, Mark Reynolds, your little hitting streak is over. Tomorrow is another day!

Michael Brantley had a dad-pleasing day today, going 2 for 4 and coming around to score both times. Oddly enough, it was not on any of Yan Gomes' 3 hits, for which he got no RBI and scored no runs. What the heck?

Well, there was still this beauty of a play made by Gomes. A pickoff at first. Lookin' good!

Lonnie Chisenhall didn't do anything big in the 9th spot today but he was a team player and got himself a nice sac fly in the 5th to at least get himself an RBI.

The big stat of today was that the Indians haven't swept a 4-game series against the White Sox since 1985, and not in Chicago since 1948. To which I say...have we have that many 4-game series against the White Sox? This year we actually have 3 of them - two scheduled.

Then again, this gave us an excuse to talk about the 1948 Indians so that was all right!

We're tied for first place, you know. In fact, we have one more win than the Tigers. But they have one fewer loss than us, and their percentage is .001 higher. Hmm....numbers. Speak

Next up is Kansas City, who was neck-and-neck with us when we last met but now they're 4.5 games behind us. Tuesday at 8:10 it'll be Corey Kluber versus a RHP who has the exact same ERA as Kluber (4.16)!

No Radio Chatter today. I was painting aaaaaaall day long. But pretty soon I'll be back to a groove of sitting and listening to games instead of being active and doing things like standing.

Have a nice day off tomorrow - see you Tuesday!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Don't Trust The Happy, The Happy Are Insane

Argh, Nick Swisher! I had just outed myself as a hayter and what does he do? He goes and wins two games for us! That's the kind of junk that terminally exuberant people do. They're all "U mad, bro?" then go out of their way to do nice stuff for you until there's no way you can possibly be upset. Upset with the world or upset with them.
So yeah, whatever. I can start rooting for him now.

In other news, Ubaldo Jiminez still can't go past 6 innings. I guess we're pitching him now as a "At least there won't be blowouts anymore" starter, but definitely not as a long guy. His line was pretty busy - 5 innings, 9 hits, 3 runs, 4 walks, 8 strikeouts. Pretty nice on the strikeouts for just 5 innings. But he had to throw a lot of pitches (112!) to get those 8 outs and the other 7 outs it took to pitch 5 innings.

Lucky for us there's this dude Joe Martinez who was for some reason called up to do some relief work. Never heard of him. His AAA ERA is 6.23. He does have 56 strikeouts in 86 innings with only 21 walks, so that's pretty nice. Oh and guess what? He's got his first major league win since 2009!
He looks just as surprised as we are!
 Martinez picked up 2 innings and only gave up 2 hits, striking out one. He doesn't throw for speed - seems to top out at 92 and likes some slower stuff. Instead he seems to like to throw them where they can be hit - for outs. Fly ball outs - nothing wrong with that!

Since all of the other dudes were used up in game 2 yesterday, we got back around to Smith and Perez again today. What we got was the Original Recipe Smith and Perez, with Smith having a blank line and Perez as well! Smith got the hold, and Perez got his first save since May 11. Last night I was bragging on Perez's 5th 1-2-3 inning of the year, now he's already making a habit of it!

The Tribe was held to "just" 9 hits today, and 4 walks. They got back to their habit of hitting the long ball, though - that's how we got 3 of our 4 runs!

Asdrubal was back again at #2, and he went 2 for 4 - with a homer! OMG! Only his 6th of the season, but it's still early for him being that he missed so much time. Since he's been back he has a 4-game hitting streak, going 7 for 15 in that time. YOU HEARD ME! He's back and better than ever!

Which is just fantastic because he's followed up by SLG king Jason Kipnis, who got his 4th homer of the month today, and his 24th & 25th RBI. There's a lot of talk this weekend about how well Kipnis does in Chicago, being from there, but actually when we were there earlier this year he went 1 for 7. This time? 6 for 10! (So far!)

Nick Swisher only went 1 for 3....but it was a total clutch "one." It was a clutch "one." It was the winning RBI "one." Well done, you.

Brantley was kind of hung out to dry today. He went 2 for 4 but didn't get an RBI or a run. No one around him to help out! Santana got a nice double but it wasn't in tandem with either of Brantley's hits.

Did you know that Mark Reynolds has a little 3-game hitting streak going? Pretty awesome. He was hitting really consistently while he was homering like crazy earlier in the year. So perhaps this is a bit of a warm-up for him to explode back in to the team's home run guy pretty soon? Or heck, if he just keeps consistently hitting that's cool too.

Chiz, Aviles (pinch hitter) and Stubbs didn't get anything done today. Sucks. I'm expecting more tomorrow!

Today's game was the half-way point of the season (game 81) and tomorrow's game puts us halfway done with the Sox. Bummer, because if we played these guys every weekend we'd be tops in baseball! We've got two more 4-game series with them and a 2-gamer. Weird, huh?

As for 4-game series this year: 2 split, 2 swept, 1 lost. I would not mind sweeping another!

We're 1 game behind Detroit by the way. They are playing the Rays, who are not too shabby. The Tigers are 4-6 in their last 10 while we're 7-3. Anyway, what all this means is...we could be tied for first by the end of Sunday!

It'll be Masterson versus LHP 2.75. I dare say our guys are really going to need to be on top of their game tomorrow - if nothing else, getting through the starter as early as possible. And Masterson's going to have to pitch a classic Masterson, going long with a low score. Totally, totally can happen.

It's at 2:10 - see you there!

Radio Chatter:
"He must have forgot. 'Gosh, I thought I was supposed to do something. I guess I was going to tell people what that play was.'"
- Tom Hamilton perplexed on the home plate umpire's super-hesitant strike call

"What is that a 5.5 hour drive? Six hours? Well, for you 5.5."
"For you, 7. [...] Driving like you is like when you go up to the bowling alley and they have those bumpers up so you can't get a gutterball."
"Have we ever not gotten there safely?"
- Jim Rosenhaus and Tom Hamilton on driving to Chicago

"You gotta be careful shaking your head at [home plate umpire] Wally Bell. It's like shaking your head at your dad and the next thing you know, you're over his knee."
- Tom Hamilton

"Wally Bell, with a litle Leslie Nielson action on strike three. All he needs is a little moon dance."
- Tom Hamilton

"He continues to be public enemy number one for the White Sox!"
- Tom Hamilton on Jason Kipnis

"The only thing those guys had going for them is they had long hair and it sort of looked like seagulls."
- Tom Hamilton is totally not a fan of Flock Of Seagulls

"Most of the Indians relievers have an IV stuck in their arm, after yesterday's yeoman duty."
- Tom Hamilton

"Robin Ventura must feel like every time he looks up, Jason Kipnis is at home plate."
- Tom Hamilton

That...Was A Lot Of Baseball!

So are you still awake? Did you catch it all? About 9 hours of Indians baseball today. It was completely different than our last traditional double header, which was about 6 hours long. Oh yeah and in the last double header we scored just one run in those 18 innings. Know how many we scored today? 28. Twenty eight runs.

The first game almost seemed like batting practice! Especially in the first inning where the White Sox were just smacking Trevor Bauer all over the diamond. He gave up 6 hits and one walk, resulting in 5 runs, in just 2/3 of an inning. Notice he only walked one. Uh...go you?

Francona made the call - the very difficult call - to take Bauer out and start bringing out the bullpen guys. Hard call because A) You don't want to start using them in the first inning of the first game of a double header, yowza! and B) They kind of suck. He had to decide if Bauer was going to suck more than the bullpen. Turns out he made the right call. The bullpen did suck, but technically they did suck less because although they also gave up 5 runs, they did it over more innings.

Bauer did face the press like a man after the game, and gave a very mature (or egotistical) interview.

Matt Albers actually was pretty good. He went the longest, finishing out the first then pitching the second and third. He only gave up 2 hits and no runs.

Bryan Shaw, who used to have a reputation for not sucking, came in for the 5th and gave up 3 runs. Of course, the Indians already had scored 14 of their own runs by now, so it wasn't that big of a deal - THIS TIME.

Cody Allen, who hasn't given up a run in a while, gave up a homer to score one of Shaw's guys and one of his own. Then he came back for the 6th and gave up another one. No!

Thankfully the Tribe got some more insurance runs in the 7th and 8th, giving Smith, Pestano and Perez a lead they couldn't blow. Not having any pressure to do well - they all did well. Smith gave up a walk and Pestano 2 hits, but that was it for the three of them.

And Chris Perez, back from the DL, had a 1-2-3 inning. I kid you not - Chris Perez had a 1-2-3 inning. When was the last time he did that? Well it was only May 17, 4 appearances ago, but he's only done it 5 times in 18 appearances this year. Here's to many more!

So everybody hit today in the first game! It's kind of inevitable when you get 19 runs. The team amassed 21 hits and 9 walks. They had 8 doubles, a triple and a homer. There were 12 2-out RBIs. Only one guy had a single-hit game, and only one guy didn't get any RBI.

The White Sox brought in a position player, Casper Wells, to pitch in the 9th. He's the only pitcher who didn't give up a run. Ha!

Reynolds was the only guy with one hit, but he did walk twice and come around to score twice. Asdrubal, back for his second game, didn't get any RBI but he did go 3 for 7!

Ryan Raburn made an appearance and got 4 RBI. Nick Swisher and Lonnie Chisenhall each got 2 hits. Drew Stubbs was batting leadoff and got 2 hits AND an outfield assist!

I'm not going to go over everyone's stuff - there's so many hits, it'd be boring! But I am going to talk about Jason Kipnis now.

He went 3 for 4 with 3 walks. His 3 hits were doubles and he got 2 RBI and 4 runs scored.
  • Leads the team in runs
  • Leads the team in hits
  • Leads the team in doubles
  • Leads the team in triples
  • Leads the team in RBI
  • Leads the team in stolen bases
  • Leads the team in average (qualifiers)
  • Leads the team in slugging (qualifiers)
  • Leads the team in OBPS (qualifiers)

In the last 30 days, he's:
  • Third in the league in hits
  • Second in the league in doubles
  • Tied for first in the league in RBI
  • Tied for third in the league in stolen bases
  • Second in the league in average
  • Second in the league in OBP
  • Second in the league in slugging
  • Second in the league in OBPS
He also ripped his pants today and had a big Band-Aid on his arm, because he plays so darn hard. I've been waiting all year for the Kid to get good and he has not disappointed us! It is going to be SO exciting to watch him the rest of this season!!

That was a FUN 4 hours of baseball! Did anyone see all that coming after we were down 5-0 in the first? Not me! I thought it'd end up like 7-5 Indians or something. Not 19-10!!

After that was a rain delay I think. I honestly don't know, I fell asleep when there were 17 runs (it's been a long week). Good thing I got a nap in, though, because there was a lot more baseball to go!

The second game was crazy as well but in a totally different way. Carlos Carrasco was hot and cold, with a couple of 1-2-3 innings but ultimately he gave up 6 runs in just under 6 innings. But, he was totally a trooper about it, realizing that he absolutely had to stay as long as possible being that Bauer totally burnt through the bullpen. Six runs was enough, though - I'm glad they took him out when they did - even though it meant Oh No Not Rich Hill.

Carrasco actually only gave up 4 runs, and Hill gave up 2 more for him, because that's the kind of guy Rich Hill is. I wonder what his ERA would be if they gave him all of the earned runs that scored while he was on the mound? His ERA actually went DOWN today even though the score went UP by 2 when he was on the mount. Yes it did.

Matt Langwell came in and coughed and sputtered his way through the 8th. Baptism by fire, I guess. He gave up 2 more runs and generally didn't look good, having to throw 31 pitches.

However - the White Sox closer, who is very good, came in for the 9th and we had him throw 33 pitches, of which we scored 4 runs! That was just enough to win the game!

The Tribe had started off hot, no doubt carrying over the batting from the first game. They scored 4 runs in the first. But - that was it until the 6th, where they managed to score just one more. They finally got their second wind in that 9th and pulled it out. UNBELIEVEABLE!

They had just two prior 9th-inning wins this year, the second one coming just the other day in Baltimore. Now it seems to be becoming a "thing."

Michael Bourn had been sitting out the first game, and that was a good move because in the second game he was running his ass off out there in center. He caught a lot of stuff that regular-speed guys might have missed. Not only that but he went 3 for 5 on the night, scoring 2 runs and with 1 RBI.

Mark Reynolds was both a hero and a hindrance tonight. Hero because he hit a loooooong solo homer in the 6th to actually put us within 1 run. It was his first homer since June 15, by the way. But he also was a hindrance because in the 8th he got picked off when he shouldn't have and most likely would have scored the tying run. I dunno, he was trying too hard or something. Try less hard next time!

So, kind of ironically, I spent the morning reading 3 blog posts about how frustrating Nick Swisher is. My favorite, just for the title, was Red Right 88's "You're From Ohio? Don't Care!" Man, I wish I came up with that line hahaha There was also the more pleasant post on Waiting For Next Year, and one by England Tribe who doesn't have to see Swisher's face as much since he's not here.

Anyway I was all hot and bothered and commenting and Tweeting "Yeah! Eff Swisher!" and what does he do today? He goes 2 for 4 in the first game, then in the second game he flashes some leather and ultimately wins the dang thing on a 9th inning homer. I hope he was at least as surprised as we were!

The comeback does owe a lot to the whole lineup. Seven guys batted in that 9th inning, and they got 3 runs to tie it before Swisher sealed the deal. Raburn led it off with a single, then Asdrubal - pinch hitting for Stubbs - followed it up with a right-field single, advancing Raburn to third. Bourn got an RBI and moved Asdrubal to third, and then he scored on a wild pitch! Giambi - pinch hitting for Aviles, in his first appearance on the day - got Bourn to third and then Kipnis sacrificed him home. All that set up, and ready to go to the 9th inning all tied up after Swisher struck out and -

Come on, now...
Hey! He didn't strike out! Nor did he pop out, ground out or anything. Home run. Yay Swisher. Now, do that more.

Pretty good stuff to start off a road trip 5-1, wouldn't you say? We're already halfway done and are guaranteed to be .500 or better!

Tomorrow (uh, well in 12.5 hours) we face the White Sox again and I can't wait to bang those guys around some more. It'll be Ubaldo versus RHP 4.57 which is almost exactly the same ERA as Ubaldo's. Hopefully the White Sox are just as tired as our team is and it'll be another fun matchup where we score a ton of runs.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"This game so far has been like your neighborhood little league game. No one is involved but the pitcher and the batters."
- Tom Hamilton

"If Trevor Bauer can't learn to control his fastball he'll never pitch at the big league level."
- Tom Hamilton

"well if there was a nightmarish scenario going in to this double header - this is it."
- Tom Hamilton on the first inning

"If Bauer makes another mistake here it'll be 8-nothing and you can go cut the grass."
- Tom Hamilton

"Viciedo looked like he was carrying the Stanley Cup under one arm as he chugged towards the line in left."
- Tom Hamilton

"On the day when they score 5 runs in the first inning, the best pitching staff in the American League at home gives it up in the second inning."
- Tom Hamilton

"Those who are not wearing shirts have Stanley Cups painted on their chests, and can hardly stand."
- Tom Hamilton on spotting the Stanley Cup parade revelers

"Wherever the Indians play nowadays, rain is falling."
- Tom Hamilton

"When you have 28 hits and 12 walks all of a sudden you have a ballgame that's a marathon."
- Tom Hamilton

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bye Bye Bawlmer

Corey Kluber, after pitching like this guy in Washington:
...just did not have the same stuff today. I won't blame it on the heat because dude is from Alabama. It was just a bad outing, I guess.

He was getting in and out of jams all through the first 4 innings. Then he got to the 5th inning and it was downhill from there. Sound familiar? He gave up 6 hits and 5 runs. Holy smokes! At least he didn't give up any homers to the big-homering team. He gave up 7 runs and 11 hits all told.

His stats for the season are so weird. He doesn't seem consistent at all. But everyone attests to how he is really working his butt off to become a premier pitcher for this team and I do feel that. If he was bad all the time, you wouldn't believe he was working hard. If he was consistently mediocre, you wouldn't think he was changing. But the up and down means something's afoot...I just hope it gets here soon!

The bullpen was shockingly effective today! They rolled out the b-team: Hagadone, Shaw and Albers. Hagadone finished off that awful 5th inning with a strike, then came back for a 1-2-3 6th inning. Then there was a rain delay.

Intermission music:

Oddly enough I had cooked up this grand scheme to go to the store during the game (I have been hella busy after work, no time to shop) and decided that dangit, I was going to listen to the game on headphones while I shopped. So I was sitting in the car trying to tune my radio to 100.7 (the NBA draft was on 1100 WTAM. The NBA draft is more important than a mid-season Tribe game. AS IF!) and as soon as I tuned it they were like "Rain delay. See you soon."

So it turns out I didn't have to shop with headphones on. The delay was over just about the time I got home. Neat!

Anyway after the rain delay was Matt Albers, who had a 1-2-3 inning then Bryan Shaw who had a 1-2-3 inning. Gloriously boring outings from 3 of our relievers!

The Tribe got a lot of hits today but they got NO walks. Not a one! They also struck out as many times as they hit (10)...which can't be good. Even though they got 10 hits, the hits were all spread out enough that it only resulted in 3 runs.

Michael Bourn was back to hitting today, going 2 for 5. Waiting for him to heat back up, any second here.

Kipnis was held to just a single today, and went 1 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Perhaps this is the key to why we lost?

Brantley got a hit, finally, after being shut down for 2 games. He got his 11th double!

The man of the night, though, was Lonnie Chisenhall!! After showing up with his hustle last night, today he brought the bat and went 3 for 4, with 2 RBI, a double and a bit PHAT homer! Real nice, out of the park and on to Utah street where 69 other homers have landed since 1992.

His double was an RBI double, too. In fact it was a long single that he legged in to a double, nearly getting picked off at second. But more importantly he proved he could do stuff in the clutch, with a man in scoring position - something he's been missing almost all year.

Let's hope this is the beginning of something awesome from the Chiz Kid!

Other guys got hits today but they weren't Asdrubal or Yan Gomes, so I'm sure you're not interested. I did pick up some sort of coconut, fudge-covered Oreo cookie thing from the grocery store during the rain delay....I think that's a bit more interesting, don't you?

Ok so tomorrow is a traditional double header, I guess, being that the first game starts at 5 PM. We'll be facing the White Sox in Chicago. Trevor Bauer will start the first game and Carlos Carrasco the second. Jeebus - I don't know WHAT to expect! Bauer's ERA is kind of high in the Minors but he does have 67 strikeouts over 65 innings, so that's cool.

I'm hoping it'll be a hum-dinger of a series - Chicago is awful right now. Perhaps it'll give the team a chance to get their win on again. At least they'll be in the Windy City and not the City Of Horrible Humidity And Stickiness!

I don't have any Radio Chatter for you today, sorry. I've been painting a thing, and I'm lucky they give me a radio at all. I don't get a pad of paper to write down quotes, too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When Movin' Through Kazmir

Weird night for pitching. Despite the two starters having ERAs over 5, it was a pitchers' duel through seven innings.

Kazmir was a traveler of both time and space, cruising through the league-leading Oriole lineup like they were nothing but thoughts inside a dream. He didn't give up but one hit - a double. Did you hear me? Scott Kazmir gave up no home runs to any Oriole! Had his eyes not filled with sand there would not have been a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and thus that double would not have been able to score on a sac fly. But sure as the dust floats high in June, Kasmir had made it through 7 on only 78 pitches. I don't know how he only struck out 4 in all that time, but that's how it worked.

He actually came out to pitch the 8th but changed his mind, citing some sort of injury that I'm still not sure about. They had to rustle up Joe Smith to come in, which did not please Buck Showalter, who spent most of Smith's warmup time arguing about how Kasmir wasn't hurt and Smith should not have so much warm up time. But Buck, why would a guy in such a groove, who's only thrown 78 pitches, feign injury so the unsteady bullpen could make an appearance? Showoff Showalter, I say!

Although you wouldn't fault a guy for wanting to get out of the sticky heat of Baltimore and in to the "coffee room" (seriously - read the articles about a day in the life of a Tribe player. There's some sort of coffee room off the dugout, at least at Progressive. Probably in its' sister at Camden Yards, too.) Especially if he thought maybe he'd be covered by Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano who, when it's 2012, are our sure-fire guys.

Not so much tonight, though. Ol' Joe had the levee break on him and gave up 2 runs in a 1-run game. That's right, he gave up the tying and go-ahead run. Now I know I just got done saying how teh awesomes the Orioles batters are but also they weren't hitting for anything tonight, and Joe Smith technically rocks. Except - except - for the fact that he's given up 5 runs in his last 9.1 innings.

In an odd stroke of fate, the Indians actually did some stuff in the 9th and got ahead, and Vinnie came in with a lead! And not a multi-run lead because those are his to blow. First, he struck out Chris Davis who is this guy:
Then he had a little help from his BFF Kipnis who caught a scorcher to second. And then he struck out another guy and that was the ballgame! Well done, Vinnie! We might be able to sit back and enjoy your appearances now! Although, Perez is on his way back this week so maybe pretty soon you'll be able to sit back and enjoy your role as holder once again.

By the way - Joe Smith got the win. YES HE DID. Lulz!

Did I mention that it was a bit of a pitcher's duel today? It was. One of our runs came thanks to their pitcher. He hit Asdrubal (Hi Asdrubal!) - barely, in the foot, thank Og - and Cabby was on when Kipnis went yard!

Yesterday I was bragging on Kipnis and his stats in June, including blowing everyone away slugging-wise. Now his stats are even better! And June STILL has more days to go! Today he went 1 for 3 with a walk, and that one was the aforementioned homer. Nineteen RBIs in June, man. Woah.

I want to punch Nick Swisher in the face.

Jason Giambi...he's growing on me. I'll never see him as some iconic Indian - not like Eddie Murray or anything (well, unless we go to the playoffs and he's awesome in the playoffs then I'll call him Eddie Murray all day long). But Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus and Jason Kipnis and even Clint Fraizer keep talking about what good he's doing. And he's not completely useless at the plate, only mostly useless. Like tonight he went 2 for 3 with a walk so that's pretty cool. And he got a double in the 9th and came around to score (by proxy) the tying run so...I do not want to punch Jason Giambi in the face.

The Chiz Kid was putting everything out there tonight. He got himself a single earlier in the game, and in the 9th he contributed his speed to avoiding a double play and keeping the inning going with just one out instead of two. I'll take hustle if he doesn't have a bat, sure!

Drew Stubbs is the king of making stuff happen with speed! One out and still with the runner on third - Stubbs nearly grounded in to a double play but dude is so fast that instead a run scored and he was safe at first! That run, you guys, was the winning run! Did you know that Drew Stubbs hasn't grounded in to a double play in some 200+ at-bats? FAST.

I liked what I saw today - even though the stupid bullpen lost the game for us, some big bats coupled with our secret weapon of speed brought it back around for a win!

I didn't realize this was a 4-game series so I mistakenly called today's game a rubber match. My bad - it was just uh, a regular match. Tomorrow is more of the same in hot hot Baltimore, a chance for us to uber-win the series I guess.

Oh! The Tigers lost! We're just 2.5 games behind! I got a whole lotta love for that!

It'll be our man Kluber versus RHP 3.75. Another even match, ERA-wise, just like tonight. Maybe there will be more Asdrubal? Maybe Kipnis will get, like, two home runs? Maybe Kluber will go 9? Maybe Tom Hamilton will read his hate mail about his bashing of the color orange? Gotta tune in to know!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"The thing about Baltimore is that no team has hit more home runs, but no team has given up more home runs."
- Tom Hamilton

"I tell you what...not many people look good in orange."
- Tom Hamilton

"Curtis Danburg informs me that I have now ticked off Browns fans, Bowling Green fans and Florida Gator fans all in one fell swoop."
- Tom Hamilton

"She took it right on the head because she thought that this guy that she's having her last date with would catch the ball."
- Tom Hamilton on a fan who saved a beer but missed a ball

"You know why I was able to spot her?"
"She was not wearing orange?"
- Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus

"Kipnis is in a place where even when he's down in the count it looks like he's in control, not the pitcher."
- Tom Hamilton

"If you're afraid to pitch inside, then you can't win in this park."
- Tom Hamilton

"I'll be very honest with you folks, the Indian's defensively have not been real good lately."
- Tom Hamilton

"Joe Smith joins the parade of relievers that suddenly can't put a zero on the board."
- Tom Hamilton


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Don't Blink!

Do not blink!
This rarely happens to me, since I'm usually glued to the radio for the entirety of a game, but today I had one of those classic baseball moments when you turn away from the game for a few minutes and the next thing you know the score is vastly different than when you last looked up. It was 3-1 when I left the car radio in order to pick up my dog. By the time I visited with my folks for a minute and got the dog in to the car, Justin Masterson was being escorted from the field with a towel over his head by large men wearing sunglasses and earpieces (not really).

Ugly stuff, man. A tale of two games, really - one game that was the first six innings, in which Masterson gave up 3 hits, no walks, one run and fanned 7. Then there was that game that unfolded in the 7th, after Masterson hit a guy, gave up a homer, walked a guy, gave up a single, threw a wild pitch and gave up a 3-run homer. All of that in one inning. Ouch.

We'll give it to Masterson, because he's been tight for us this year - heck he was tight the first 6 innings! But the biggest question it mechanical or mental? Mental, fine. Have an off inning. Mechanical? Noooooo! Be healthy, bro!

Time will tell, I guess. Or Terry will tell, tomorrow.

Fun fact: Alexi Casilla, who got the 3-run homer (Masterson's last pitch), had one homer last year, and hasn't hit another until today. The last guy off whom he hit a homer? Justin Masterson.

Hagadone and Albers came in to finish the game and I like to think they were humbled by the implosion of their leader, and did everything they could to not look like idiots and give up more dumb runs through the 9th. They did good, not giving up any runs and no hits. As it should be.

The Tribe's hitters weren't really wowing them in Baltimore today, either. They had a lot of chances wasted again today - 6 hits and 6 walks, and 7 left on base. Six walks!

The top of the order was doing all the work today, but still it wasn't much good work. Bourn was back on the hit horse but it was too little too late - just 1 for 5 today with no walks. His hit was a double.

Aviles broke an 0-for-16 slide and got a hit, going 1 for 3 today with a sac bunt.

Jason Kipnis is still...dang, dude! Two more hits for the Kid today! A single and a 2-run homer. He's still over .400 for June, and his slugging for June is .638. That's higher than Ortiz and Cabrera in June, and 10 points shy of Davis in June. His slugging for the last 7 days is 1.053 - 100 points higher than Chris Davis and everyone else in the league.


Oh, if only Nick Swisher, batting after Kipnis and all of Kipnis' doubles, were playing like we paid him a bazillion dollars to play for our team!

Carlos Santana is slipping down in to lower average territory again. Michael Brantley didn't get a hit but at least he got himself another sac fly RBI.

Reynolds and Chisenhall both got hits, and they even put something together (a walk followed by a single). But they they both got out a bunch more, and ultimately Chisenhall left the team in a lurch by GIDP in the 9th with two men on. Ho hum.

That was it, man. Brantley with the sac, Kipnis with the bomb and a lot of dudes left on base. Another case of "Who lost it?" I think - after all, Masterson only put them 3 runs down, and the bullpen miraculously held it. I think it's all Nick Swisher's fault.

Tomorrow is the rubber match in sticky sticky Baltimore. Kazmir versus RHP 5.30, which is an ERA similar to his. Make sure to tune in - and don't blink!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"These are the kind of opportunities that come back to haunt you later in the game if you don't capitalize early."
- Tom Hamilton on Aviles' at-bat in the 2nd

"That's why in Baltimore they say 'Miguel who?' Chris Davis, in their minds, is every bit as good as Miguel Cabrera."
- Tom Hamilton

"Let's face it - that's not Johnny Bench behind the plate."
- Tom Hamilton on Carlos Santana

"Who ever saw this inning coming?"
- Tom Hamilton after the 7th

"I think anybody who gambles has a couple of screws loose anyway...but to gamble on baseball you're out of your mind."
- Tom Hamilton

"This guy walks by you in the cluhouse and you get sunburn."
- Tom Hamilton on Jason Kipnis

"Oh boy - here's Babe Ruth."
- Tom Hamilton on Chris Davis

"Can you imagine - the young catcher from Aruba who got to catch Chris Perez? That's the thrill of a lifetime."
- Tom Hamilton on Perez's rehab game in Mahoning Valley

"At age 42, he still gets pitched to as if he's 22."
- Tom Hamilton on Jason Giambi

"The fans are out of their seats, those who can get out of their seats and aren't sticking to them in this heat."
- Tom Hamilton

Monday, June 24, 2013


For a minute, anyway. Swisher, Brantley, Reynolds all with hits tonight. Swisher and Brantley with 2 apiece! On the other hand, Bourn was shut down and Kipnis "only" got a double.

Ubaldo Jiminez was the starter. He got the win but he still didn't go long - only 5 1/3 innings today. He did only give up 2 runs in those 5 1/3 innings so that's cool, and struck out 6 to boot. The two runs he gave up were on homers. He actually does NOT lead the team in homers given up - that would be Brett Myers with 1 ever 2.1 innings pitched. Gross! He is third, though, after Kazmir.

The Orioles do have the most home runs in the league.

Anyway, Ubaldo could have done worse. Could have done better and gone more innings, but I guess the least we can ask anymore is that he doesn't let shit get away from him.

Dare I say it - the bullpen wasn't half bad, either. In fact they were near PERFECT for 3 2/3 innings, save for one hit. This includes Oh No Not Rich Hill!! Wow! This is against the team with the most homers, the second most runs scored and the second highest average in the league. And our knuckleheads held them to just 2 runs and no runs off relief. Unbelieveable!

After Hill it was Shaw, Smith and Pestano. Vinnie apparently had one hell of a slider working, according to Tom Hamilton, but he still gave up both a walk and a hit. It was thanks to Aviles being Asdrubal-y again that the buck stopped there.  Man - look at how sweaty Vinnie is in that video. The Baltimore/DC region seems like a horrible, horrible place (in the summer).

Even though we scored 5 runs it was only on 9 hits and 4 walks, so for the most part the hits were productive. Also, they only had 2 hits going in to the 6th. But in the 6th they broke out with 4 hits in a row, and a walk, for 3 runs. Then they tacked on a couple more in the 8th!

Kipnis got his 19th double, tying him at the top of the team along with Santana who ALSO got a double tonight. Neither guy got an RBI but both came in to score. Santana safe on a play at the plate!

Swisher went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Good, do more of that Nick Swisher. Every day.

Michael Brantley was really the hero of this story (aside from the bullpen!) He went 2 for 4 with FOUR RBI! That's 4 of the team's 5, yo! He got a 2-run homer, giving him 3 homers and 7 RBI in his last 5 games. Except the 3 games in the middle of those 5 games, he did zip. Uhm...impressive two games, Cousin Michael! He also got a 2-run single because why not?

Really awesome that Brantley could be "on it" when Bourn is shut down. Now, if only the two of them were hot together! Look out! Maybe that's what we've got to look forward to tomorrow?

Speaking of hot did you know that Drew Stubbs has gotten hits in 13 of his last 15 games? He's hitting over .300 in that stretch (most of June). Tonight he went 2 for 3 with a walk, and his average skyrocketed up past his usual .240 to .245! If only Bourn were solid tonight we may have seen a few more runs.

So maybe tomorrow we'll have Bourn "on" again, Brantley staying on it, Kipnis with more hits and Stubbs staying Stubbs. And Swisher doing what he's paid to do. I think poor Mike Aviles needs a break, though - he hasn't had a hit in 4 games now. Perhaps it's time for a little Johnny Mac? Also - Asdrubal needs to come back. Hearing great stuff about his return! Any day now!

Tomorrow is Masterson looking for his 10th win (wait what? Before the break? Puts him on pace for 20! And his highest wins in the Majors is 12!) versus RHP 3.71. In hot, sticky Baltimore.

See you there!

No Radio Chatter tonight cuz I was busy power washing a playset. Power washing + baseball on the headphones - I could have gone all night.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jason Kipnis - Daaaaaaaaaang!

Could the Kid be any better right now? He's hitting .400 in the month of June (28 for 70) with 8 doubles and 15 RBI. In this series alone he's gone 7 for 11, with 6 RBI and 3 doubles. June is not even over yet!

It took him what seemed like FOREVER to heat up but the wait was well worth it - he's so locked in.

Today Kipnis went 3 for 4, with just 1 RBI but ZERO left on base. He got a double and two singles.

Michael Bourn is also kind of keeping pace with Kipinis, with 25 hits in his 78 at-bats in June (a paltry .357). He was right up there with Kipnis in the Minnesota series going 8 for 13, going 3 for 5 today. How he managed to leave 2 men on base, I don't know (well uh, yeah it was those 2 unproductive at-bats, dummy).

Since Bourn was on the DL for a month, and also never really needed time to heat up, his batting average is way higher than Kipnis - .310 to Kipnis' .283. Don't worry, Kip - all that matters is how you play today!

The only other guys who got hits today were Brantley in a pinch hit (heat up! Pleeeeeeease heat up!) and Drew Stubbs who rocked a solo homer in the 7th. And yet, the poor guy's average is just perpetually around .240. His slugging did jump 10 points today, though! Let's not forget to admire his defense, too.

I don't really feel like talking about pitching today, because I'm sick of our stupid bullpen. How is Rich Hill still up here?! Seven earned runs in 4.2 innings (his last 10 appearances)? Is there seriously no other left hander ready to go? What about Scott Barnes? His AAA ERA is 6.48 now but guess what? That's 1.10 better than Oh No Not Rich Hill. Argh!

Carlos Carrasco had his second start since he got back and it was nowhere near as good as the first (7.1 IP, 1 ER). Today he only lasted 4 2/3 and gave up 3 runs. He struck 3 guys out though, that's not too bad. I'm not ready (or qualified?) to make a call on him right now. And there was some sort of scuffle regarding the trainer and Carrasco's leg. He went on to pitch after the visit from the trainer but there may be some news within the next 5 days.

So we didn't sweep the series but oh well, we won the series anyway. Tom Hamilton had the series off from the booth, and it was weird. I know we had a lot of practice with Hammy being gone last year but it's always, always jarring. Today Mike Hargrove was Jim Rosenhaus's partner and he's pretty funny - he's more snide than Tom Hamilton, that's for sure! I definitely would love to hear a Hammy/Rosie/Grover setup on the radio, like we previously had Mike Hegan but I think Grover both enjoys having the luxury of not showing up if he doesn't want to and also not having his job in jeopardy because he wants to be snarky on the radio. So I don't know - I don't see Mike Hargrove joining the broadcast team any time soon.

Tomorrow Tom Hamilton is back and the boys will all be in Baltimore to face the Orioles who are faring pretty well in the East. In fact they're in second place. But they're coming off a 3-game winning streak so I wonder if this is their fall? We'll be happy to assist with that! Not looking forward to seeing that Chris Davis dude. He hasn't gotten a home run in 2 games so he's sure to hit about 3 during our series. Dude's got 7 more homers than Miguel Cabrera - unreal!

It'll be Ubaldo versus RHP 5.56. Sounds easy, right?  Should be a fun game, and we've got a lot of stuff on our side. Let's just hope our bats wake up after their Sunday nap.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"I bet both those guys were sweatin' it trying to get the triple."
- Mike Hargrove on Travis Hafner and Andre Thornton going for the cycle

"It's gonna be a little bitty one."
- Mike Hargrove on the Omar Vizquel bobblehead

"None of them spoke English!"
"Did they speak Texan?"
"Yeah, sometimes they did."
- Mike Hargrove and Jim Rosenhaus on talking to a multi-cultural battery

"He said 'Carlos go out there and make an out so I can get up there with 2 outs, please.'"
- Jim Rosenhaus on Raburn's 2-out prowess

"Can Toronto make it 11 straight? I'm going to say yes. [...] In the bottom of the 4th it's Toronto 9, Baltimire nothing."
"Boy you really went out on a limb there."
- Jim Rosenhaus and Mike Hargrove

"Do you think we need to apologize to the umpire about that play at first base?, it's against my principles."
- Mike Hargrove

"They'll be getting the aspirin out for him later on, holy smokes."
- Jim Rosenhaus on the Twins' catcher getting popped 3 times today

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Deceptively Complicated

You'd think that with Corey Kluber's last outing, today's outing would be a breeze. But the Twins were up 2-0 already after the top of the first!

You'd think after 5 walks, a hit batsman and 6 runs in the bottom of the first, that'd be enough to get the win. But not true!

In fact it wasn't until the last out in the 9th - a guy who represented the go-ahead run - that the game was safely in our hands. Give credit where credit is due - the Twins really kept at it today. For four hours, too!

Corey Kluber was all right but not nearly as awesome as his last two starts where he gave up 1 run in 16 innings. He gave up the aforementioned homer in the first, for two runs, and gave up another homer in the 4th. He only walked one and I think that was key to him getting out fairly un-scathed - because he did give up 8 hits and only lasted 5.2 innings. He did pretty decently after having to sit for 35 minutes, waiting out the bottom of the 1st - that homer didn't come to the 4th. But maybe that wait contributed to his less-than-OMG showing. Because they had to call in the bullpen early, and all hell broke loose.

Hagadone came in to finish the 6th, gave up a double and a walk in the 7th. Allen came in to finish the 7th, let one of Hagadone's guys score. Bryan Shaw, previously awesome, has given up 2 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks in his last 3 outings. Tonight he came in and gave up a homer first thing.

Next was Oh No, Not Rich Hill who finished the 8th without anyone scoring.

Then Vinnie. Oooooh Vinnie! He had 3 runs to give up and he went with it, giving up 2 runs in the 9th on a double, a FC and a homer. A homer! He also walked a guy after that. What's up, Vinnie?? He's losing his mother-father mind!

There was a weird, long interview with him earlier in the game, by the guys doing the Fox broadcast. During the entire interview, the other pitchers on bench were pelting him with ice cubes and sprinkling him with water. Then they put a towel over his hat, and someone (I think Kluber) poured water on his head. Weird stuff. I hope this didn't friggin' contribute to his awful showing!

Kluber did get the W, thank goodness. I don't think any of those other schmucks deserved it today.

Hey, did you see this series in the Plain Dealer? A blow-by-blow of a typical gameday of Justin Masterson, Vinnie Pestano and Jason Kipnis. I liked it!

Anyway so that was 7 shitty runs given up to the Twins, on 3 home runs. The Twins have the second fewest homers in the AL. They do have Joe Mauer who rocks your face, though. At least one of the homers was to him.

Some of our guys had big nights tonight! That includes Michael Bourn who went 3 for 4 and had 3 RBI. Three! Some say he was a big part of shaking the Twins' starting pitcher up, getting on base right off the bat and dancing around without actually stealing anything. That sounds good to me! All of his RBIs came on singles, too. He got the team's 5th and 6th runs in the first, and got the 8th run (and necessary winning run!) in the 5th.

Mike Aviles had a rotten day at the plate today. He went 0 for 3. He did get hit by a pitch in the first and came around to score. Also, he had a nice day in the field. But that was all for him.

Kipnis was back in to "Wow!" mode today. The Kid went 3 for 4 and was a homer shy of the cycle! (Last cycle - Hafner in '03) But he got a walk and a stolen base instead of getting that home run so he really was getting everything done today. Oh yeah, and 2 RBI!!

Carlos Santana was back doin' stuff today, after 2 games with no hits. Today he was 2 for 3 with a run and 2 walks. He's way ahead of everyone else on the team, with 42 walks. Next is Swisher with 32. He actually led the team last year with 91 but it doesn't seem like he did as well with walks and patience last year. This year he's hitting effectively between walks, and that's why his average is 30 points higher than it ended up being in 2012.

Reynolds walked and came in to score in the first. Giambi walked in a run, and walked again in the 5th and eventually came around to score.

The Chiz Kid had quite a night - finally! He went 2 for 4 with a double, and he came around to score. Now, he just has to do that a ton more, with consistency, and we'll be glad to have him back.

Drew Stubbs got 2 RBI tonight. One was when he walked a guy in, in that magical first innings. The other was in the 5th after Chisenhall's double. Still totally feeling that guy!

This game should have been easy, just on our walked-in runs alone, but the bullpen really gave it up. Luckilly we're a TEAM and everyone contributed to the win, not just leaving it on the shoulders of the pitchers - good or bad.

Tomorrow they go for the SWEEP so get out yer brooms! We're still 3 games behind Detroit, so the Tribe's gotta keep up this winning. Plus it's been a MONTH now since we swept a series (Mariners, 5/20). But I'm really digging all of this winning - we've won 7 of 9 since losing 8 in a row. Cool, huh?

Tomorrow Carlos Carrasco is looking for his first win, and we'll all be looking to make sure he can stay in the game of baseball. Good feelings about this! He'll be facing RHP 6.11. You heard me!

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"You can tell mark Reynolds is up there trying to hit the ball, not just touch it."
- Tim Belcher

"He's got a pitcher's umpire up there."
- Tim Belcher on PJ Walters

"Let's see if he can work that magic now on Swarzak."
- Jim Rosenhaus on Bourn leaning off first on the new pitcher

"I think Tito loved it, PJ Walters not too much."
- Tim Belcher on Baerga's rousing pre- game speech
"He has the demeanor of a state trooper."
- Tim Belcher on Corey Kluber

"Sometimes you gotta go out on a limb. Columbus did."
- Tim Belcher's hyperbole and a half on Hagadone's pitch choice

Friday, June 21, 2013

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Did that seem like our easiest game in forever, or what? Not like when we won 13-0 or 19-6 or whatever, but after all of these hard-fought won and lost games in the past month this was just a nice cakewalk for our team.

Kazmir had a leisurely day in the park, throwing only 95 pitches over 7 innings, and just one run scored. Quality start, old chap! He struck out 7 and didn't walk a one. This is all hella better than his last 3 starts, where he gave up a total of 13 runs. Our starters are just killing it this week!

In for crossing the "t"s and dotting the "i"s was Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano. Great choice for a Friday night! (26,442 there for hot dogs) Interestingly, there was only one strikeout between the two of them tonight but even though they had a 4-run lead, no runs were given up either. In fact, they both had 1-2-3 innings. How sweet it is!

The batters are definitely stirring up. Bourn had his first 2-hit game in 10 days. Finally! And that's how we scored 5 runs! (Not really - he only got one run and no RBI)

Aviles had an off night, going 0 for 3, but Kipnis did not crumble at the plate when faced with the bases juiced. Nay, our man Kipnis overcame his seemingly temporary fear of Men In Scoring Position and hit himself a 2-run single in the 7th! And lo, there was much rejoicing! The kid also had a sac fly RBI, and is slowly creeping up on Aviles as being the team helper robot.

Santana was shut down today. Two games in a row with no hits.
Michael "Son of Mickey" Brantley was back in town, though. After his two homers last night he was still making stuff happen tonight with a double and then came around to score.

Mark Reynolds was trying to make stuff happen - he's the one who got Brantley home - but he made himself look silly after getting a legit double but walking away from the base when he thought he was out (he wasn't). But, according to him he actually was out, the ump was just in a bad spot. He did end up looking bad though. Poor guy:
However! There was redemption! Later on he hit a single and stopped himself at first, then was able to come around to score in the inning. And, he also walked so he went 2 for 3 tonight. Bravo!

Hey! Lonnie Chisenhall got a hit! Hootie hoo! And Yan Gomes didn't. Wow.

Drew Stubbs was being chased by Bourn again today. He went 1 for 2 with a walk and both scored a run and got an RBI. Still hovering around the .240 mark, as usual. Love that Stubbs!

Tomorrow is the much-anticipated return of THE KLUBE, Corey Kluber, versus RHP 3.23. And it's going to be on FOX and there's going to be a lot more hits and it's going to be awesome!

No Radio Chatter tonight - Tom Hamilton off watching his son play. I think Nick, at Mahoning Valley maybe? (Too many talented kids in that family to keep track of!) Jim Rosenhaus was joined by Tim Belcher, and John Hart AND Carlos Baerga. Crowded in the booth!

Anyway, gonna be a great Saturday night. See you there!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Asdrubal Goes to the Waterpark

Off day today, but I wanted to show you these pics of Asdrubal Cabrera at Waterworks Park in Cuyahoga Falls. Yes, all the way down there!

Does that mean he lives down there? (Here. I live down here!) Or maybe in Venezuela, 40 miles away from home is some other country and he thought no one would recognize him way out in the suburbs?

We can't really bitch at him for being out messing around while he's on the DL - it is an off day for the team. Everybody's out having fun today!

So, that's all. Everyone's Facebook feed is probably blowing up with pics of Asdrubal at the waterpark today, if you're cool and friends with a lot of parents who have the day off and live near Cuyahoga Falls.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Helloooooooooooooooo Brantley!

The Tribe was getting shut down hardcore today by the Royals' starter, who has an ERA of over 4 and is not very good. They had nothing but a walk until the 5th when BOOM! Brantley breaks a no-hit streak with his 3rd home run.

In the meantime, Masterson was busy giving up 9 hits but holding the Royals to just one run. Almost like those starters are really proving to work well under pressure. Perhaps...preferably under pressure? It sort of makes for more exciting baseball, that's for sure! Is it a conspiracy?

Masterson ended up with a quality start, going 6 1/3 innings only walking 2 and striking out 8 again! That's 71 strikeouts over the last 68 innings!

What's nice is that he left with a runner on base and Bryan Shaw didn't let the runner score. Hey, that's new! (No, actually, Bryan Shaw is the best of the new guys...)

Joe Smith came in for the 9th and gave up another run. Dangit, Joe Smith! You do not give up runs! His ERA is a crazy (for him) 1.78 right now. But I guess he's just following the footsteps of the other Tribe closers - if he's got some runs to give up, he will.

All told, the three guys gave up 3 runs. The bullpen will be WELL rested after the off day tomorrow!

As I said, hitting was non-existent until the 5th inning, but they ended up with 6 runs on 7 hits.

Michael Bourn has a 4-game hitting streak - albeit with just 4 hits over those 4 games - but he's also got 4 runs scored. Oh and 3 of those 4 hits have been doubles (including tonight) - and the third hit, last night, pretty much was a double, the outfielder just got lucky. He also walked today so he came in to score twice. Probably because the rest of the top of the lineup is hot hot hot!

Aviles is setting in at the second spot and tonight he got a biiiiiig RBI single. "Big" as in it hit the wall and stuff. He started off the scoring in the 3-run 6th, and came around to score himself. Later in the 7th he got a sac fly to score Stubbs. He leads the team in sac flies with 5, and also has a sac bunt. He actually was about to bunt today when he hit that tower over Gordon's head. Sneaky!

Kipnis was back on track today, after being shut out Monday, breaking his streak. Yesterday he got a hit and then today he officially started a new streak at 2! He went 1 for 2 on the night with 2 walks. His average has jumped 20 points in 10 games!

Tonight was totally the Michael Brantley show! He had been on an 0 for 11 slide with just 9 hits in 50 at-bats in June. He has always been our "Mr. Reliable" and was doing well for a bit after his pop talked to him in May, but he was slumping again. I think I heard tell that Mickey visited with him again today, or maybe it was just speculated that he did, because Brantley got not one but TWO homers today!
Enough to make Mickey smile!
I didn't realize this but Brantley only got 6 homers total last year. I coulda swore he had more but nope, just 6. Well now he's already got 4! He got 3 RBI off them today, too. Do you think this is the beginning of another upward swing for Cousin Michael? A little over half the season left for him to climb to .333...

We're still waiting on Reynolds, who both shaved his beard (I'm not sure when) and got a hit today. But more importantly he was showing Kotchman-like skill over at first, snagging not one but two improbable line drives!

Speaking of waiting - still no Nick Swisher. However, the BROHIO shirt is gaining momentum. Now they're not just available for people sitting in the Mercedes dealer seats behind the dugout, but the Indians offered up 100 shirts for the first 100 people to buy tickets in section 117 (up in the right field corner). If they type in "brohio" as a code. What a weird thing, huh? Why not just sell these shirts, Indians?!

Whatever, though. If you want a Brohio shirt, buy a ticket for the Friday, June 21 game in section 117 and use the code "brohio."

Also, have you seen this? The Indians 3D seating chart. What will they think of next??

I forgot to mention that Lonnie Chisenhall came back yesterday, after hitting .390 in the minors. He did not get a hit. He did not get a hit today, either. Man, I thought that kid would be hitting over .300 legit this year! Can't seem to hit his way nowhere.

Drew Stubbs, in the meantime, is still holding down the fort there at 9th. He's got 10 hits in his last 10 games. He went 1 for 4 today and came in to score!

So that's 3 series wins in a row, plus another full game over the Royals for 2nd place, and also the Tigers got trounced 13-3 by the Orioles today so we gained a full game on them too. Well done, all around!

Tomorrow's an off day and then we take on the Twins at home. Dollar dogs, fireworks AND Brohio shirts! What a night!

It'll be Kazmir versus RHP 3.26. Hey, Chisenhall is 1 for 2 off this guy with a homer! Maybe it'll be his lucky day.

I'm excited for another great series, are you? See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"When Rosie and I go golfing we meet a whole lot of people, usually because we're in their back yards."
- Tom Hamilton on the joys of slicing out of bounds

"The roof has literally caved in on them."
- Tom Hamilton after the Royals lost the lead

"You go to Comerica Park sometimes and you're like 'Good lord, how much juice have they added to this gun?'"
- Tom Hamilton on pitch speeds at Comerica Park

"If you come to a ballgame as a child and sit in a suite, you're spoiled for life."
- Tom Hamilton's non-sequitor of the night

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There It Is!

Finally - back to beating good pitchers! Back to cobbling together runs! Back to late-inning magic! Good [mediocre] Ubaldo!

Also, this guy!
It takes a fat guy to one-hand a fly ball with a hot dog in the other hand. I salute you!
Ubaldo only went 5 innings today but only gave up 2 runs, in the 3rd inning. He actually struggled pretty hard in the third - 2 walks and 2 wild pitches turned in to 2 runs. But the 4th was uneventful and he had a 1-2-3 5th, so he did manage to compose himself and come back good. If this is perhaps what his "bad" games look like now, I'll soooooo take it!

Since we were scourged with Hill, Shaw and Albers yesterday, today we were blessed with Hagadone (well, whatever), Allen and Pestano. Hagadone actually controlled himself and did all right in his 1 1/3 innings. Next up was the usually-solid Allen who gave up a hit and then turned it in to a triple with a bad throw. Not so solid, dude! Of course that fella came around to score on a sac fly.

Pestano came in for the 9th and it was a weird one. Two on (boo!) and a guy hits a single. The lead runner misses the "hold" sign and comes racing around third with Santana waiting for him at the plate with the ball. He gets caught in a rundown. The other two runners advance. The guy who goofed dives in to third, at the feet of the other Royal standing there. They tag him out. No wait, he's safe, he's holding on to the bag! They tag the guy standing on third. He's out. The Royal on third tells the guy on the ground to put his hands back on the base before he gets tagged out in a double play. He does. Whew! You gotta see it for yourself. 
Is everybody here?
That play prevented a run and ultimately saved the game for us. Sad that Vinnie had so many dudes on the bag at once but hey - a win's a win!

The Tribe was low on hits again today but unlike some other games during their losing streak, they were at least stacking them up today. Just 6 hits and 4 walks, and only one extra-base hit, but they still managed 4 runs!

Michael Bourn didn't get his hit until his last at-bat in the 8th, but it was a big one! He got a big long single to left to score Raburn, who had walked and was moved over by Stubbs.

Aviles, who was 2 for 4 on the night, with a run scored and an RBI. He got the team's first RBI in the 6th with a single. In the 8th he got on base after Bourn's single, eventually coming in to score the winning run!

With 2 on and 1 out, Jason Kipnis got over his very short stint of being absolutely useless in the clutch, and instead hit a RBI double to tie the game! WA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Santana was intentionally walked after that, because he is awesome. Michael Brantley, not to go un-noticed, hit himself a sac fly to get the go-ahead run in!

Santana went 1 for 2 with 2 walks (he's tied for 4th in the league for walks, yaknow), and Brantley went 0 for 3 with an RBI.

Drew Stubbs got his hit (1 for 3) in the 6th, stole second base and then came around to score on the aforementioned Aviles single. Run, boy!

So now the team is back in second place and tomorrow they can make it further past the Royals in the standings if they get another win.

Tomorrow is Masterson versus RHP 4.08. Let's hope they keep up this stuff that made them good in the first place - hits when it matters, sticking with it through 9 and good starting pitching. I don't see anything on that list that totally can't happen tomorrow!

See you there!

No Radio Chatter tonight cuz...there just isn't. Although there was some talk about Kipnis not wanting to hug the home plate umpire. But you heard that for yourself, right?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bullpen Woes

It was a rough, rough battle. The guy who came out on top was Carlos Carrasco. Unfortunately the rest of his team - especially the bullpen - totally brought him crashing down.

Carrasco was done with his suspension (did you miss him?) and his main issue was being afraid to pitch inside. You gotta pitch inside if you're going to pitch more than an inning. Otherwise, everyone would get bored. Oh, and get hits too. Could he do it? He also had a problem with being easily flustered. Could he get out of jams?

Yes and yes!

Carrasco ended up going 7 1/3 innings with just 4 hits and ONE walk. Not sure why they pulled him after just 90 pitches - either they thought he'd lose his cool, or they're taking it easy since he technically was on the DL - but they did pull him with a runner on. And then Carrasco ended up having an earned run because some doofus from the bullpen gave up a double. Boo!

But Carrasco really looked good and confident, which is in line with how he was throwing in the minors before he came back up. He almost halved his ERA with this outing. He gave up just as many hits and earned runs as superstar pitcher James Shields, who didn't make it as many innings as Carrasco did.

I really look forward to Carrasco proving himself again (and again!) After Kluber's and Masterson's performances lately - wow, we could have a pretty scary rotation!

Except we've got dudes like Bryan Shaw and Rich Hill, who have not been consistent for us. Well Shaw has been inconsistent (usually good but losing his stuff lately). Hill has been evenly bad all season. It's a crying shame that you can't use Allen, Smith and Pestano every day!

Shaw came in and gave up that double that scored Carrasco's guy, tying the game at 1. Then he came in for the 9th and got 2 guys on base. So Rich Hill came in. I swear, that must have been the only guy remotely available for miles around, because...Rich Hill? Not the guy you want with 2 on and no outs and tied at one. David Lough hit a bunt to the mound and Rich Hill fell over trying to get it. Bases loaded. Yeah.

Then Matt Albers came in, and he's all right I guess. Better than Hill, that's for sure. He's only given up 2 runs in his last 10 appearances. Today, though, he threw a wild pitch with the bases loaded and scored one of Hill's guys. Aye caramba!

Even though our guys only mustered to score 1 run today, and left a whole heap of guys on base, it's still a game that was lost by the bullpen. There were two tough starters and an even tougher KC bullpen. It was our bullpen's game to give up - and they did.

Bourn managed to get a hit today - a big double off the wall in the 9th. He also walked twice - but oddly enough did not steal anything.

Aviles was up batting second today (I thought Francona was a guy who never messed with lineups?) and he got a hit. However, moving to third must have blown Kipnis' mind because not only did he end his hitting streak today (stopped at 10) but he choked and died with runners in scoring position - twice! And left 7 guys on base. Holy COW!!! The Kid sure has taken a huge fall.

Maybe it's got something to do with this weird article from the Akron Beacon Journal today. Is it just me or is that a poorly-written article? Perhaps I've forgotten how to read.

Kipnis is lucky we can blame the loss on the bullpen, otherwise it'd be all on his shoulders!

Santana was lookin' good, though. He got his second home run in 3 games, and it was the team's only run scored! Not for lack of trying but it was the only one.

A little glimmer of hope today from Mark Reynolds? He went 2 for 4 - and stole a base! And as usual, we say it's always nice when Reynolds gets little hits. That means he's not swinging for the fences every time, and can help out the team by just being on base.

The Tribe's in 3rd place now but whatever, it is STILL still only June. Although I heard today that Max Scherzer won his 10th game and Chris Davis hit his howevermany-th home run. Yeesh.

Tomorrow is more of the same, with Ubaldo facing RHP 2.74. Can Ubaldo go the distance, to keep us from having to see the bullpen at all? Is that asking too much? I'm not sure what's going on with this team anymore so something like that could totally happen, much to our surprise!

No Radio Chatter tonight, again. Wow, I'm slipping. But I'm trying to earn money so I'm doing all sort of hustling on the side while I listen to the game. No time to stop and write stuff down!

You'll just have to tune in to hear stuff yourself! ;)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Quiet Assassin

What is UP, Corey Kluber?! I've seen some good pitching performances so far this summer (Masterson's game against the Yankees in the first game of the double header comes to mind), and I've seen some complete games but I don't know if I've seen a performance this year as....courageous? Kluber's outing today!
Hey Washington...
First off the guy was facing Stephen Strasburg who is like the only guy to play for the Nationals that anyone outside of "the corridor" knows. He's their ace, and he pitched like one today, only giving up 1 hit to our lineup in 5 innings (he's just back from the DL).

Well, Kluber went 8 innings and while he gave up 7 hits, he struck out 8 (twice as many as Strasburg) and walked NONE. Strasburg gave up a run and 4 walks to our guys.

It's not like Kluber was mowing them down, either - and thus comes the courageous part. Only half of his innings went 1-2-3 (where he did, in fact, mow down EIGHT guys).

In the 6th he had 2 on with no out, and nearly at 100 pitches. He got out of that.

In the 7th he had the bases loaded with no outs and already past 100 pitches and he got out of that!! Wow - one of the best moments of the 2013 season thus far!

The boys made three double plays behind him, but also made two errors (Johnny Mac...ouch!) There actually would have been FOUR double plays if one hadn't been botched. Kluber pitched right through that nonsense.

Speaking of the guys behind him - they took out Swisher due to his sore arm or whatever, put Reynolds at first and John McDonald at third, just like I said they should. This didn't turn out so well, performance-wise but let's give these guys a minute to settle in at their new corners. 'n stuff.

Swisher is handing out more BROHIO shirts. Not to us, though. Just to the people in the expensive seats that have waiters (seriously, those seats have waiters. And padding.)

It was so awesome to see Kluber come out in the 8th, with 102 pitches already. You just don't see that too much anymore!  Here's a nice video wrap-up of his day.

Kluber's last outing was also 8 innings, and over 100 pitches (104). This time he had more strikeouts, fewer walks and no runs.

We got the minor-league Kluber for Jake Westbrook. You like?

Vinnie came in for the 9th and he looked kind of stressed out, but he got it done on just 11 pitches, 1 walk and no hits. Let's hope this is one of many nice closes for him!

On the other side of things today, Strasburg had our guys handcuffed too but we chased him out after 5.

Kipnis kept up his hitting streak and is now at 10 games, with 16 hits and 8 RBI. Today he went 1 for 1, because he walked twice and also had what was basically the game-clenching sac fly. He also scored what was the game-winning run after a walk, a steal and advancement on a throwing error. The Kid is making stuff happen - big time!!

Yan Gomes got a hit today and he got his first career stolen base! Hey!
Santana's RBI single was for his 30th RBI, and Kipnis's sac fly was for his 34th RBI.

Michael Bourn is the other guy who got a hit, and it was a double!

Really great outing today in front of a fair number of fans - 21k. A little low for Father's Day, or so I thought, but maybe everyone was staying home to watch the game with their dad like I was? No Radio Chatter today - I was watching on TV. But kudos to the TV broadcasters for today's blog title!

I can hardly wait til tomorrow, now! I love looking forward to great baseball!

Tomorrow we start a series against the Royals, who are sneaking up behind us in the standings. It'll be Carlos "Cookie" Carrasco versus RHP 2.79. Let's hope Carrasco is over his nerves and can pitch inside again. Maybe he'll pick up some momentum from his bullpen brethern's great starts as of late. It's crucial that something good happens, though - we're just a half game ahead of the Royals.

Can't wait! See you there!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

You Gotta Admit - It Was Fun!

Games like tonight's game were why this blog was started. It's the sort of game that you can't look at the final score to know if it was a good day or not. You have to look at the big picture, the things that got us to the final score.

Yes, pitching was unfortunate today, to say the least. Middle relief was ok. Fielding left us a little sad but how exciting was it to come back from a 5-0 deficit to get the lead?! All of it on 2 outs, mind you. Oh yeah and we got 2 homers and 6 runs off a dude who has an ERA around 2.

One thing we can all say tonight - at least we're not Alex Cobb.

Scott Kazmir wasn't too good today. Definitely his worst game of the season - 2 2/3 innings with 5 runs - but he had a similarly bad one a month ago too. Inbetween he had an 8-inning, 1-run game so...what's up? He wasn't getting hit left and right tonight. He only gave up 4 hits for those 5 runs! But that was 3 homers alongside 4 walks so....control problems much?

The middle relievers did well tonight. Albers came in to finish off the third once someone decided that whatever was going on was silly. He struck out the last batter, and then had a boring 4th inning despite Aviles committing an error.

Bryan Shaw came in to finish the 5th for Albers and got a double play. He had an uneventful 6th...once again, despite Mike Aviles committing another error. WTF, Aviles??

Cody Allen pitched the 7th with no homers and no errors. Wahoo!

Then the sad part happened. Joe Smith gave up a homer. JOE SMITH!! He's still pitching under 2.0 (1.48) but it was his 3rd homer given up this season - second this month! He gave it up to a dude who was pinch hitting, has a sub-.200 average and only one other homer this year. Ouch!

Continuing the sadness was when Vinnie came in for the 9th and also gave up a homer. It was to a dude with a dang mullet who had no other homers in the MLB. It was the go-ahead homer, that came after Swisher and Kipnis committed an error on the 3rd out. Oh-Em-Gee is all I got to say about that. Well, I will also say :(

There actually were some nice plays in the field today. Brantley beat out the speedy Bourn to snag one in center. Swisher had a good stretch at first for a critical out. Unfortunately there was no going over the wall to bring back home runs, and that's what we needed most!

Bourn went 0 for 5 which totally blows because Aviles was before him and he was hot stuff (at the plate, at least). He almost won the game. Tom Hamilton thought he won the game. He didn't win the game. That sucked.

Kipnis, on the other hand, is still red hot, baby! Kid's got a 9-game hitting streak now with 15 hits in those games. Two hits for him tonight with an RBI, a run and a walk. Oh man what I wouldn't give for Asdrubal to be on his heels right now...but, reports say it'll be soon enough!

Swisher got an RBI tonight but still fuck 'em. Not enough. Why did Kipnis get caught stealing and picked off today? Cuz he knows Swisher isn't going to move him up. Looks like Swish is hurt now too, which might be good. Let the old man sit while the quieter old man, John McDonald, plays third and Reynolds or Santana plays first. Good grief.

He did give a bunch of people the coveted Brohio shirts. Still not for sale, but at least these people don't hate him too much:

Cousin Michael had a huuuuuuuuuuuuge hit today, a 2-out, 2-run double in the 5th that was the tying and go-ahead run. Sweet!
Don't you forget about me.
Santana and Reynolds went deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep! Santana hasn't hit one since May 22 and Reynolds not since the 29th. Back-to-back, too, just like the good old days (May). Three strikeouts between them though, tsk!

Fun fact: Reynolds played college ball in Virginia with Ryan Zimmerman, who also homered tonight. Dude's got a measly 8 to Reynolds' 14, though.

Despite his 2 fielding errors (which ended up not being quite as critical as Swisher's error), Aviles was making a difference at the plate today. He went 3 for 4 and came in to score twice. Two of those hits were doubles!

So all in all, despite the disappointments, there was a lot of excitement here. How often has the team climbed back from a huge deficit in the past 2 or 3 weeks? Not often at all. This game would have been a lot less disappointing to everyone if it came at the end of the 8-game losing streak. Everyone would be all "Showed a lot of promise! Now next time we're going to win for real!" Instead since it came after 3 wins, it was more of a letdown.

I think it was a great game for anyone who went to the game today, though! Lots of excitement, a Kipnis jersey (sadly, only for 1/3 of the crowd), awesome weather and fireworks! Shout out to dedicated reader @RobFelt and my friend Dan and his fam who got to go. I was happy at home with my TV and radio, though! I got to see a terrific mullet up close.

Tomorrow is Kluber versus RHP 2.54. Kluber's coming off a good game while the opposing pitcher is coming off the DL, so that's pretty cool. The weather might be wonky so be prepared for a possible long day. It's Father's Day, tho, so you'll have an excuse to spend extra time with your dad, enjoying the Rain Delay memories with Bob DiBiasio. Or golf highlights.

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Wait til you get to be our age. You go to brush your teeth and your teeth hurt. Oh, to be 29 again!"
- Tom Hamilton on Kazmir complaining about aches with age 
"Tonight they've been like a possum, they only come out at night. Meaning they only come out with two outs."
- Tom Hamilton reaching for a metaphor

"I wish baseball would come up with a team error."
- Tom Hamilton after Swisher's missed ball error in the 9th

Friday, June 14, 2013

So Nice, I Listened Twice!

I was hanging with my nieces today during the game instead of sitting here glued to my screen, watching Gameday between reading Buzzfeed pictorials (my favorites are animals and retros!) But my brother was kind enough to let me carry around his iPad with AtBat on it, like a radio. Kind of funny because at the moment I don't have a portable radio at home per se - I have my radio plugged in to avoid having to buy batteries. So being able to bring the radio with me around the house was all kinds of neat. It's like I was visiting from 1937!

My younger niece doesn't talk yet but she kept pointing to the iPod and saying "ball?" Heck yeah little girl - that's the ballgame! My brother gave the older one a blow-up light sabre, which she sort of managed to use as a light sabre, but really she wanted me to play baseball with her. The younger one thought we were playing rugby and ran off with the ball. Fun times!

Anyway so I listened to the game with one ear and heard the finale during post-bedtime adult time but I was so happy that it was a nice winning game with some hits and good pitching that I decided to listen to the whole thing again when I got home. Ballgame!

Re-listening to the game was kind of funny because it slowly dawned on me that not much really happened and it really was a pitcher's duel. There were a few tense moments with bases loaded for both teams, but that was about it! Although, it was a nice time listening to the build-up to the final run. And, I had bought snacks.

Masterson threw 10 strikeouts today, which is 2 fewer than his record of 12. He's still looking good! And this time his line is showing it, unlike his last outing where he looked good, technically, but still gave up 4 runs. He went 7 innings today and only gave up 1 run, on a bases-loaded wild pitch. Our starting pitchers have really been tight over these last 3 wins, which is exactly what the doctor ordered for a team that is trying their darndest to hit their way out of this wet paper bag we call a slump.

Masterson was lucky to be followed up by Cody Allen and Joe Smith, two of the most sure relievers we've got. They threw 25 pitches between them over 2 innings, with 3 strikeouts. It would have been an absolute f'n shame if someone had come in and gave up a homer after Masterson's performance - so kudos to the big guys for doing exactly what we needed!

The Tribe only got 7 hits and 4 walks. They loaded the bases in the 6th on 3 walks - and nothing happened! Then they did it again in the 8th, this time with singles - and still nothing happened! The big downer in both of those bases-loaded situations was Mark Reynolds. Remember that guy who was hitting 460' homers and leading the league? He's not quite leading the league in strikeouts yet but he sure is leading the team. Sigh. Let's hope that he follows his teammates up out of this FUNK and we can get back to laughing at the teams that gave up on Reynolds because he struck out too damn much.

The big winners tonight were: Ryan Raburn, Jason Kipnis and Drew Stubbs.

Ryan Raburn got himself a solo homer today to tie the game! Did you know that he's got 3 homers in his last 5 games? And 5 RBI too.

By the way, I just realized I have no idea what Ryan Raburn looks like. LMGTFM....
There you go. He looks like Typical White Baseball Player #3271. Although from this angle he looks more..."specific." Kind of like my friend Chuck D. (not that Chuck D., I mean Typical White Guy #93, Chuck):
The guys tried their hands at getting runners on the bases one more time in the 9th, with the score tied at 1 (thanks to Raburn!) Still doin' fine at number nine was Drew Stubbs, who extended his little hitting streak to 3 games with a single. He's got 9 hits in his last 10 games, yaknow. Next up was Bourn, who got a single and Stubbs was off running on the pitch so he made it to third. And you know, with those two on base, it's just off to the races time.

Jason Kipnis was up with 2 on and 1 out. Unlike all of the Reynoldses before him, he would not be defeated! He had already had two hits on the night, by the way - a double and a single. That gives him an 8-game hitting streak with 13 hits over those games! Thirteen! He's also got 6 RBI over those 8 games now too, because he hit a grounder that the first baseman was lucky to snag and then throw home.

Except it looks like he didn't expect Stubbs to be flying home. His throw looked a little soft. Stubbs said post-game that he was just going to go on anything because whatever happened, Bourn would be on 3rd behind him so we'd have another shot (Bourn had stolen 2nd, by the way). Anyway, the first baseman threw to Kurt Suzuki at home, who is merely fulfilling the position of "catcher" in a literal sense in that he is there to catch the ball and no more. Suzuki couldn't tag Stubbs and...ballgame!

That was the Tribe's 6th walkoff win of the year! Not only am I excited that they won - now 3 in a row, AND finally got a win off Gio Gonzalez - but I'm extra excited that there were over 30,000 in attendance to watch it. And they got fireworks and dollar dogs. Hopefully now those people will be as myopic about baseball as Clevelanders tend to be and come back thinking "Hey, they are winners! Let's go to another game!"

Tomorrow is more fireworks and Kipnis jersey day. What a run-up for the Kid! Let's hope he makes it 9 games in a row, and maybe something in the way of the cycle, huh? The game is going to be on Fox (national TV? Not sure, actually...) so the whole world (or at least the non-cable-having part of the broadcast area) will be able to see all of the Kipnis love in the stands.

It's a 7:15 game with Scott Kazmir (solid!) facing RHP 2.00. Ooooh....we like a guy who's good, right? 

See you there!

Radio Chatter:
"Third base coach Brad Mills...if he gets any further away from the action, he'll have to buy a ticket."
- Tom Hamilton

"You kind of figured it would be that kind of a game tonight."
- Tom Hamilton on Masterson versus Gonzalez

"One mistake could decide this game tonight."
- Tom Hamilton

"He would not do well playing poker."
- Tom Hamilton on Gio Gonzalez

"...he was much more selective. Now it looks like he's trying to hit every pitch ten miles, and has really expanded his strike zone."
- Tom Hamilton on the changes in Reynolds