Indians Keep on Rollin': 7-1 on Road Trip

First off, I would like to say that I am combining the Seattle and Oakland Series Recap into one, since the West Coast road trip seems to mesh into one series anyway. The Indians are playing extremely well, and I will not let that go unnoticed. However, since I’m on the East Coast, I usually don’t feel like writing recaps at 1:00 am, when most West Coast games are over. Once the Indians come back home, I should be less tired, therefore resulting in more recaps. Okay, here we go…

The Indians won for the seventh time in their last eight games Saturday night, as the red-hot Indians defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-1 at the Coliseum.

Game Changer

2B Jas0n Kipnis 4-5 3B, 3 RBI

Instead of doing a game by game recap I’ll give a general update on the Tribe, with some stats and interesting facts.

-The Indians currently sit at 8-5, currently good enough for a AL Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, we’re only 13 games into the 162 game schedule.

TEAM STATS

-The Indians are currently 5th in the MLB in runs scored, even though they have played 2 less games than each of the four teams ahead of them.

-The Indians are first in the MLB in walks drawn, drawing 70 walks in 13 games. The San Diego Padres are second with 66 walks, but in 16 games.

-After a brutal start, the Indians have climbed from 30th to 16th in team batting average (.248). Due to their walks, however, the Indians are an impressive 3rd in team OBP. The Tribe have a higher OBP then any team from the National League.

-Indians pitching has had their fair share of struggles, resulting in a 4.39 team ERA (22nd in the MLB).

-Starting pitchers have only had 6 quality starts in 13 games…the Washington Nationals have 12.

-Opponent’s have .256 off of Indians pitching…at least we’re not Boston, as opponents of the Red Sox have hit .297. Ouch.

PLAYER STATS

http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/stats/batting/_/name/cle/cleveland-indians Indians battingstats through Saturday

http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/stats/pitching/_/name/cle/cleveland-indians Indians pitching stats through Saturday

-Travis Hafner (.350/.490 2 HR 7 RBI) is 1st in OBP in the AL, 3rd in the MLB. Shelley Duncan is fourth in AL OBP, Jack Hannahan is 8th, and Carlos Santana is 14th.

-Santana has drawn a AL high 13 walks, with Duncan at 12 and Hafner at 10.

-Jason Kipnis leads the team (or tied) in RBI’s (11), runs (10), triples (2), home runs (3) and total bases (25). Kipnis also has the most AB’s with 53.

-Chris Perez has recorded six saves, including three in the last three days.

-Ubaldo Jimenez is 2-0, but has struggled with his control, throwing 11 K’s and 11 BB’s.

-Derek Lowe has allowed 24 hits in 18 innings, but only 7 have come across to score.

-The Indians bullpen has a 4.67 ERA, lead by Vinnie Pestano (7.2 innings 2 ER) and Joe Smith (6 2/3 innings 2 ER). Pestano has struck out 10, while walking none.

-After Chris Perez’s Opening Day disaster, the Tribe closer has allowed no runs and only three hits in 6 1/3 innings (six saves). In result, his ERA has dropped from 40.50 to 3.86.

 

 

Browns 2012 NFL Draft Preview (Round 1)

The Browns are due to get some much needed help this upcoming Thursday at the NFL Draft, and well, they could use it. Coming off a disappointing 4-12 2011 season, the Browns hold the 4th and 22nd picks in the 1st round (Thursday, 8 ET ESPN), and Browns experts and fans everywhere have debated for months about who the Browns should pick with these selections. While “defense wins championships”, I think all Browns fans agree that we can’t win games if our starting skill position players consist of Colt McCoy, Montario Hardesty, Greg Little, and Mo Massaquoi. However, by the time next Friday comes around, I guarantee things change a bit. Although fans are not sure which skill position player they want, there is a consensus; the Browns MUST draft offense early, as they need help at WR, RB, RT, and QB. While the Browns shouldn’t reach for a QB at 4 (that means you Ryan Tannehill), we could see a QB later in the draft, possibly later in the first round. Here’s a run down of the Browns 1st round picks, and who I think we could/should take with these selections……

1st round, 4th pick……RB Trent Richardson, Alabama

Here comes the lead debate; who do you take at 4? With Richardson, WR Justin Blackmon, and CB Morris Claiborne all probable options at 4, the Browns have a chance to land an All-Pro. However, where do the Browns look for the most immediate, and long term help? I believe the answer to that question is Trent Richardson. Blackmon is an intriguing prospect at WR, and the Browns would have a solid duo in Blackmon and Little, but the Browns need a player who will get  more than 2-7 possible touches in Blackmon. At tailback, Richardson would thrive in Pat Shurmur’s West Coast offense, most likely receiving 20-30 touches between rushes and catches out of the backfield. Off the field, Richardson is class act kid, and is someone the Browns will be proud to call their own for years to come. I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him sitting out with a sore throat. I understand the Browns need a WR big time, but Richardson will be an elite back for years to come, and the Browns need some long term stability in their backfield, something we haven’t had since ’99. Draft Richardson.

1st round, 22nd pick……WR Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech

First off, I’d like to say that in an ideal world the Browns would add Stanford RT Jonathan Martin here, but I don’t think they will make that move. The Browns tried to make a play for WR’s during the offseason, but were outbid by desperate teams like the Washington Redskins. At pick 22, no one could take Hill away from them, and I think all in all this would be a good move anyway. At 6-4, 215, Hill is an athletic freak who once ran a 4.28 40 time. Hill caught 28 balls for 820 yards and 5 touchdowns a season ago in Paul Johnson’s option offense, but don’t let low amount of touches worry you. For a receiver in an option offense, Hill’s number are spectacular, and with a 29.3 YPC, Hill single-handedly made defenses more perceptible to the tricky option offense. A Hill/Little WR combo, paired with a McCoy-Marecic-Richardson backfield, improves the Browns PPG before they even take the field.

UPCOMING:

Browns-Mariners Series Recap

Browns NFL Draft Preview Round 2

Indians Minor League Game of the Week #1 (Myrtle Beach @ Carolina)

New to the blog this season will be the “Indians Minor League Game of the Week” series. Every week I will pick a minor league game within the Indians farm system, and write a full-sized (or Indians-sized) recap after the game. The recap may be of a Lake County, Carolina, Akron, or Columbus game. The first game will feature the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (6-6) @ the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) (6-6), in a battle for first place in the Carolina League Southern Division (High A).

Game Changers:

RP J.D Reichenbach 3 innings, 0 hits, 1 BB, 5 K’s

RF Carlos Moncrief 1-3 3 RBI, BB

SS Ronny Rodriguez 2-4, RBI

Recap:

Former 13th round pick Michael Goodnight took the hill for the host Mudcats Thrusday night, but one would most likely not qualify this start as a “good” one. In the first, after a balk sent Pelican Yefry Castillo to second base, Tomas Telis drew first blood off of Goodnight with a 2 out RBI single on 1-2 pitch. Goodnight struggled to find his command in the second, and after a HBP, a single, and a walk loaded the bases, Odubel Herrera hit a deep fly ball to Carlos Moncrief, giving the Pelicans a 2-0 lead. After a Jack Scole home run in the top of third gave the visitors a 3-0 lead, struggling Tony Wolters hit a RBI groundout to drive in Anthony Gallas, putting the host Mudcats on the board. The Pelicans continued their scoring ways in the fourth, adding another two runs off of struggling Goodnight. Goodnight did not receive much help behind him, however, as Wolters led off the inning with a booted ball. The Pelicans loaded the bases with no outs, and RBI’s by Herrera and Castillo gave the Pelicans an early 5-1 lead. The Mudcats fought back in the fourth though, as former pitching prospect Carlos Moncrief chopped the deficit in half with a two RBI single, driving in Tice and catcher Jake Lowery. J.D Reichenbach came out of the Carolina pen and kept the home team close, delivering 3 nearly perfect innings (3 innings, 0 hits, 1 BB, 5 K’s). The game remained at a 5-3 mark through 7 innings after a Tony Wolters strikeout ended the seventh inning, leaving the young 2B at a putrid .102 mark. The Mudcats loaded the bases with one out in the eighth for Moncrief, who hit rather routine grounder to 1B Brett Nicholas. Nicholas mishandled the play, which would have at least recorded one out, and the Mudcats each moved up one base, making the score 5-4 Myrtle. After Randy Henry came out of the Myrtle Beach bullpen, Ronny Rodriguez drove in pinch runner Delvi Cid to the tie the game, but Lowery was thrown out on the play on a nice throw from Pelican right fielder Josh Richmond. The game wasn’t tied for long though, as Henry lost control and threw a wild pitch to the screen, allowing Moncrief to score the go ahead run. Mudcat reliever Jordan Cooper remained in the game to pitch the ninth, but found himself in early trouble after a leadoff single by the strong armed Richmond. After a sacrifice bunt sent the tying run to second base, Cooper through a pitch of his own to the backstop, making the tying run only 90 feet away. Things only got worse for Carolina there as Cooper through another wild pitch to tie the game, and then put the Mudcats behind, allowing a solo shot to Odubel Herrera. The Mudcats went a quiet 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the ninth, and the Mudcats fell to 6-7 on the young season.

Notes:

-2B Tony Wolters went 0-5 Thursday, leaving his season average at .100 (5/50!) Wolters also recorded his third error of the season.

-RP Jordan Cooper took the loss after giving up the lead in the ninth, but Cooper is not Carolina’s official closer. Due to Carolina’s late rally, it seems their normal closer, Jose Flores, did not have time to properly warm up.

-Cooper was unusually wild tonight, throwing three wild pitches. The 22 year old was 2-9 with a 4.73 ERA in Lake County a season ago.

-2010 1st round pick Jake Scole hit a solo home run for the Pelicans in the third inning.

UPCOMING:

Indians @ Mariners Series Recap

Indians Down on the Farm Update (4/17)

Columbus Clippers (7-5)

Stock UP

3B Lonnie Chisenhall 19/50 (.380), 4 HR 8 RBI….4 errors are a cause for concern, however.

OF Trevor Crowe 15/32 (.469), 2 HR, 5 RBI….could be headed to Cleveland soon to replace Cunningham.

1B/OF Matt LaPorta 12-38 (.316), 4 HR 7 RBI….came back from hand injury this week….could see CLE by mid May at this point.

RP Nick Hagadone 5.1 innings 2 hits 0 ER, 1 BB: 5 K….with Tribe bullpen struggling early, Hagadone could be called up soon.

Stock DOWN

1B Russ Canzler 7-43 (.164), 0 HR 3 RBI….young slugger started camp hot, but late ST struggles have carried into April.

SP Kevin Slowey (1-2) 4.50 ERA….5.1 innings, 10 hits, 6 ER in Monday loss to Louisville….falling out of SP mix possibly.

Akron Aeros (7-3)

Stock UP

OF Tim Fedroff 12-32 (.375), 0 HR 5 RBI, 10 BB (.524 OBP)….impressive start for hardworking Fedroff.

3B Jared Goedert 13-35 (.371), 1 HR 4 RBI….much needed quick start after up and down ’11 campaign

SP T.J McFarland (2-0) 0.82 ERA, 11 innings, 8 hits, 1 ER….23 year old, former 4th round pick McFarland off to impressive start.

Stock DOWN

OF Nick Weglarz 4-30 (.133), 0 HR 2 RBI, 13 K’s….cold start continues, but Weglarz will still be given the opportunity to produce.

SP Eric Berger (0-2) 9 innings, 11 hits, 8 ER….reliever turned starter (again) struggling with move thus far (Akron 7-1 when Berger does not start).

Carolina Mudcats (5-5)

Stock UP

OF Tyler Holt 14-36 (.389), 0 HR 6 RBI….23 year old Holt off to surprisingly strong start after mediocre 2011 high A season.

SP T.J House 13 innings, 6 hits, 0 ER, 17:2 K:BB ratio….House named Indians Minor League Player of the Week.

Stock DOWN

SS Tony Wolters 5-41 (.122), 0 HR 3 RBI….scary-bad start for Wolters hitting wise, but he has shown fantastic fielding ability.

OF Delvi Cid 4-21 (.190), o HR 1 RBI, 4 SB….speedy Cid failing to live up to expectations after terrible .197 showing in ’11.

Lake County Captains (3-8)

Stock UP

SS Francisco Lindor 16-52 (.308), 0 HR 4 RBI, 4 SB….first round pick living up to hype early, even if it’s only 11 games.

OF Luigi Rodriguez 15-42 (.357), 0 HR 8 RBI….19 year old Rodriguez off to surprising torrid start.

OF LeVon Washington 11-25 (.440) 0 HR 1 RBI, 6 BB….Washington injured (hip) after an impressive six games….return TBD.

Stock DOWN

3B Leonardo Castillo 3-40 (.o75) 0 HR 4 RBI….18 year old struggling in first year out of Rookie ball…hit .303 in 208 AB’s last year.

P Kyle Blair (0-2) 20.86 ERA, 7.1 innings 15 hits, 17 ER….former 4th round pick allowed 13 ER in 3.1 innings out of bullpen in Sunday’s 22-12 loss vs. Bowling Green. Yikes.

Sweep Victory: Surging Indians Blowout KC, Reach .500

The Indians won 13-7 today over the Kansas City Royals, completing their first sweep (or series win for that matter) of the season.  Here’s a game by game recap of the weekend.

GAME 6 Indians (1-4) @ Royals (3-3) 8-3 Indians win

- The simplest recap for the simplest game of the series……you’ll see.

- 7 run first inning keys 8-3 victory…Brantley collects two hits, Choo 2 RBI’s, Kipnis 2 RBI triple

- Derek Lowe (2-0) 6.2 innings, 11 hits, 3 ER

- Choo 2-4 2 RBI, Cabrera 2-5, 2B, HR (2) , Brantley 2-5, 2B, RBI

- Much needed victory for struggling Tribe offense. However, after 7 run, 8 hit 1st innings, Indians held to 1 run on 3 hits throughout the final eight innings.

- Shin Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis each recorded a stolen base.

- Indians hit 5-11 with RISP, but all of that damage came in the first inning.

- Every Indians starter recorded a hit besides Travis Hafner, who was 0-5 with a strikeout.

GAME 7 Indians (2-4) @ Royals (3-4) 11-9 Indians win in 10

- Shin Soo Choo’s 2 RBI double in the 10th helps Tribe avoid yet another heartbreaking, extra inning defeat.

- The Indians jumped ahead 5-0 in the third inning, after a Choo HBP emptied the benches. Royals SP Jonathan Sanchez (who hit Choo a season ago, forcing Choo to miss several weeks) plunked Choo on the thigh, urging Choo to slowly walk towards Sanchez before being held back. The benches cleared, and although Jack Hannahan and several other players ran into each other, no ejections were made.

- In the bottom half of the frame, Indians SP Jeanmar Gomez hit Mike Moustakas with a 1-0 fastball to start the inning. The benches cleared once again, and this video (http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=20618487&topic_id=8879220&c_id=cle) shows it all. Gomez, a heated Jack Hannahan, who stormed over to Moustakas’ direction, and manager Manny Acta were all ejected. The Royals scored two runs after the madness subsided.

- The Indians led 9-2 in the 5th, but the Royals managed to chip away at the bullpen, and the game was tied at 9 after 9 innings.

- In the 10th, Shin Soo Choo, 0-4 at the time, came up to the plate with two men on base. Choo roped a 1-1 pitch to deep center field, and the Indians regained the lead, 11-9.

- Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, recording his second save of the year.

- Cabrera 3-6, 2B RBI….Santana 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB….Kipnis 2-3, HR (2), 2 RBI

- Every Indians starter recorded a hit besides ejected Jack Hannahan. His replacement, Jason Kipnis, went 2-3 with a home run.

- Josh Tomlin, filling in for the ejected Jeanmar Gomez, through an atrocious 3.2 innings, allowing 5 runs (4 ER) on 6 hits. Tomlin’s ERA now stands at 8.31.

- Relievers Joe Smith, Tony Sipp, and Vinnie Pestano all allowed an earned run.

- A huge win for the Tribe, as another heartbreaking loss could have devastated the team. Also, it was nice to see Jeanmar Gomez and Jack Hannahan defend their teammate Choo, who has been thrown at multiple times this season.

- After the game, Chris Perez (@ChrisPerez54) tweeted “Huge team win tonight; time for a sweep to tell the Royals it’s not “Our Time”, it’s #TribeTime. P.S. You hit us, we hit you. Period.”

GAME 8 Indians (3-4) @ Royals (3-5) 13-7 Indians win

- Indians continue surge, sweep Royals with a 13-7 blowout victory.

- Ubaldo Jimenez struggled early, and the Indians found themselves down 3-0 after 2 innings.

- With two outs in the top of the 3rd, Michael Brantley beat out a Chris Getz throw to first (or at least he was called safe), and after a Asdrubal Cabrera single, Shin Soo Choo drove in the two leadoff men with an RBI double to deep center. After Travis Hafner was intentionally walked, and Eric Hosmer dropped a relatively easy Shelley Duncan foul pop-up, Duncan blasted a HR to deep left field, giving the Tribe a 5-3 lead. Jack Hannahan added an RBI single later in the inning, scoring 1B Casey Kotchman.

- To the lead off the 5th, Travis Hafner blasted a solo home run to right field, as the ball landed in an outfield restaurant. The ball has been reported at 456 feet and at 481 feet. (Wow either way) Hafner home run video: http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_04_15_clemlb_kcamlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=cle#gid=2012_04_15_clemlb_kcamlb_1&mode=video

- Ubaldo Jimenez managed to get through 5 innings, allowing 4 earned runs on 9 hits.

- The Indians added three more runs in the 8th inning, as Casey Kotchman hit a two run home run and Jason Kipnis followed suit with his third home run of the year.

- Although Jairo Asencio struggled in the ninth, the Indians completed the series sweep with a relatively easy 13-7 win.

- Brantley 3-6, 2B, 2 RBI….Hafner 3-4, HR (2), BB….Duncan 1-2 HR(2) 3 RBI, 3 BB….Kotchman 3-4 HR (2) 2 RBI, BB….Kipnis 1-4 HR (3), BB

- After the Indians struggled to score runs the first five games of the season, the Indians scored 32 runs in three games vs. KC. If the Indians could get this production on a consistent basis, well, they’d be in good shape. Unfortunately, I think we know it’s not going to happen.

The Indians are off on Monday, as they travel to the West Coast to play the Mariners and the Athletics this upcoming week. A 4-2 road trip would go a long way for the red-hot 4-4 Indians, who currently sit 1 1/2 games out of first place Detroit.

Go Tribe.

 

~BD

 

Indians Down on the Farm Update (4/10)

The Indians may be off to a slow start in this (extremely) young season, but so far their farm teams seem to be determined to reach Cleveland one day, if not in the near future. Here’s an early look/preview of the different Indians minor league ballclubs.

AAA: Columbus Clippers (5-1)

A year after winning the AAA Championship, the Clippers have started the 2012 campaign with similar success. The AAA team is loaded with some pretty impressive talent, and on some nights they’ve been more interesting to watch then the big league club. Here are some notable players and stats to open the season.

3B Lonnie Chisenhall 8-24, 2 HR 3 RBI

1B/OF Matt LaPorta 9-26, 3 HR, 5 RBI

OF Trevor Crowe 6-14 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 SB

2B Cord Phelps 7-24, 1 RBI

SP Zach McAllister (0-0) 12 innings, 3 ER

SP Kevin Slowey (1-0) 7 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER, 6 K’s

SP Scott Barnes (0-0) 6 innings, 1 hit, 1 ER, 7 K’s

AA: Akron Aeros (3-2)

The Aeros have gotten off to a strong start, but key players like Chun-Hsiu Chen and Nick Weglarz have struggled out of the gate.

OF Tim Federoff 8-15, 3 RBI, .650 OBP

SS Juan Diaz 5-18, 4 RBI

C Chun-Hsiu Chen 2-15, 6 strikeouts

OF Nick Weglarz 0-14, 8 strikeouts

SP Giovanni Soto (acquired in Peralta (DET) trade) 5 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 win

P Rob Bryson (Sabathia trade) 3.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 ER

High A: Carolina Mudcats (3-2)

OF Tyler Holt 9-21, 5 RBI

1B Jesus Aguilar 8-21, 1 HR, 4 RBI

SP T.J House (1-0) 7 innings, 2 hits, 0 ER, 9 K’s

Low A: Lake County Captains (3-2)

Now this team has some intriguing players….

CF LeVon Washington 9-20, 1 RBI (2010 2nd round pick)

SS Francisco Lindor 7-23, 2 RBI, 2 3B, 6 runs scored, 3 SB (2011 8th overall pick)

1B Jerrud Sabourin 7-19, 2 RBI

SP Joesph Colon (1-0) 6 innings, 3 hits, 0 ER, 4 K’s

~BD

Indians Ink Santana for 5 Years

Image

The Indians signed catcher Carlos Santana to a 5 year, $21 million deal on Monday night, leaving many Indians fans satisfied with the front office for the time being. In 205 career games, Santana has hit .244, with an impressive .363 OBP, and has collected 35 home runs and 105 RBI.

Thoughts:

-The front office has made it clear that Santana is an important building block for this team going forward. At least Indians fans don’t have to worry about a Victor Martinez situation any time soon.

-How sweet does the Santana-Blake trade look now? To remind you, in 2008 the Indians traded Casey Blake for Santana and minor league pitcher Jon Meloan. While Meloan did not work out, it’s safe to say Santana’s potential and production easily outweighs anything Casey Blake could have done to help this ballclub over the years.

-If the Tribe can ink Choo and Masterson before seasons end, contract extensions (with ACab and Santana already) will make the season relatively success itself.

-I would not be surprised if Santana is moved to 1B over the next few years, however, because we’ve seen how physically demanding the position can be night in and night out.

-After hearing of his five year deal, I am now ecstatic to know that my authentic, pricey Carlos Santana home jersey will be relevant for many years to come. Good thing that LaPorta jersey was a replica.

Today’s Tribe game was postponed due to rain and snow. Can you believe that? Duh, of course you can, we’re in Cleveland. So, the next Tribe game will be tommorow at 12:05 PM at Progressive Field, as the Indians finish their series against the Chicago White Sox. Go Tribe.

Coming Up:

White Sox (2-2) Danks @ Tribe (1-3) Masterson

~

BD

Game 3- Two Santana Smashes Carry Tribe to Win #1

Game Changers:

C Carlos Santana 2-4, 2 HR (2) 3 RBI

SP Derek Lowe 7 IP 5 H 0 ER (2R)

RP Vinnie Pestano Struck out two Jays in 8th to end threat

After blowing the first two games in heartbreaking fashion, the Indians fought off another Toronto rally to preserve their first win of the 2012 season, winning 4-3. Carlos Santana, who turned 26 on Sunday, hit two home runs to carry the struggling offense, and Jack Hannahan added his fourth RBI of the season in the second inning, giving the Tribe an early 2-0 lead. However, after Jack Hannahan failed to turn a rather routine double play in the fourth, the Blue Jays cashed in on yet another Tribe blunder, and tied the game at 2 thanks to an Edwin Encarnacion RBI double and a Brett Lawrie SAC fly. Luckily for the Indians, Santana sent another Joel Carreno pitch over the right field wall, and the Indians had the lead for good. The Blue Jays did score a run off of the usually reliable Joe Smith in the 8th, but Vinnie Pestano ended the rally with two key strikeouts. In the ninth, Chris Perez recorded his first save, but he was two balls away from walking in the game tying run. Jose Bautista, the Blue Jays superstar in the making, popped up a 2-1 pitch with the bases loaded to end the game.

Scattered, yet organized thoughts:

-For the third day in a r0w, the Indians produced 4 runs. For the first time, it was enough (barely) for the victory.

-The first three Indians starters (Masterson/Jimenez/Lowe) have a combined line of: 22IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 14K. Very nice.

-The Indians are 3-18 with RISP. That explains a lot.

-The Tribe have drawn an impressive 20 walks. So far this season, that ranks them second in the MLB, only behind the San Diego Padres with 22. The Padres have played one more game.

-The Indians team batting average of .153 is second worst in the league, with only Atlanta behind them at .151. However, thanks to the walks, the Indians rank 18th in OBP.

-1B Casey Kotchman finally collected his first hit with the Tribe on Sunday, and his average currently sits at .063 (1-16). Meanwhile, Matt LaPorta already has 2 HR’s at Columbus, and is hitting an impressive .375 (6-16).

-The Indians have fielded the same lineup card the first three games. Odd, but shows the lack of depth on the current club.

On Deck for the Tribe:

Chicago White Sox (1-2) @ Cleveland Indians (1-2) Chris Sale (making his starting debut) vs. Josh Tomlin

Go Tribe.

~ BD

Indians Spring Training Update (1 of 6)- Non Roster Invitees

The Tribe have finally begun their 2012 campaign, and while most of the 2011 squad returns, the Indians front office was busy this offseason bringing in a plethora low budget role players (what a surprise). Why would we want Prince Fielder at 1B, when we could have Casey Kotchman?

Anyway, while Kotchman will be given the 1B job from day one, the Indians signed multiple “low risk- (hopefully) high reward” players, like ex-players Austin Kearns (hopefully you can stomach hearing that name) and Orlando Cabrera. The Indians have 22 non-roster invitees at camp this spring, including some old and new faces. Here’s a look at the 22 who have a chance to make the big league squad…the

Pitchers:

Dan Wheeler- Wheeler, 34, comes off a rough season in Boston, where he finished 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA in 47 games. Since entering the league in 1999 Wheeler has a 3.88 ERA,  but he has struggled with consistency. If Wheeler can put together a successful spring, I can see Wheeler being added to the back of the Indians bullpen for Opening Day. However, Wheeler also needs players like Frank Herrmann and Nick Hagadone to struggle just so there would be an opening.

Chris Ray- After 33 saves with Baltimore in 2006, Chris Ray’s career took a turn for the worst. Ray suffered multiple injuries during and following the 2007 season, and did not return to the Orioles pen until 2009, where he was 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA. However, in 2010 he put together a solid campaign with Texas and San Francisco (5-0, 3.72 ERA), which made Seattle jump a Ray during the 2011 offseason. Ray struggled with consistency as well last season, with a 4.68 ERA, and only managed to record 22 strikeouts in 32 innings. I like Wheeler more than Ray, and I think Ray will need the injury bug to strike Cleveland (please no) if he wants to avoid C-Bus.

Hector Ambriz- We all remember Rule 5 pick Ambriz, and I think it’s fair to say we don’t want him back. (sorry Hector)

Jeremy Accardo- Accardo spent the 2011 season in the Orioles bullpen, and that pretty much tells you how productive he was. Accardo had a 5.59 ERA in 37 innings, and only had 5 more strikeouts (23) than he did walks (18). The only way he makes it to Cleveland this season is if he throws lights out for Columbus.

Austin Adams- A starting pitcher for Akron a season a go, Adams went 11-10 with a 3.77 ERA. A 5th round pick of the Indians in 2009, Adams has breezed through the the farm system. While he clearly will not make the Indians rotation in April, he is a player to watch in Akron and Columbus this season, and he may get his first ML start if need be late in the season.

Chen Lee- Lee wowed in the Columbus bullpen last season, with a 2.27 ERA and a 4-0 relief record, and many fans were surprised he never replaced Herrmann in the pen. However, Lee has his chance once again this spring, and I personally believe he will be up for the challenge. With the Wheeler and Ray acquisitions, though, I think Lee is deemed to be the lead man in the C-Bus bullpen once again. Don’t forget about him, however, because I see Lee wearing a Tribe uniform at some point during the season.

Chris Seddon- A 11 year minor league journeyman, who really has zero shot at the Indians rotation. Seddon will probably join the Clippers rotation, but I’m not confident he is anything but minor league insurance. Seddon finished with a very poor 6.27 ERA in 25 triple starts last season. Not good.

Tyler Sturdevant- Sturdevant has had a solid 3 seasons within the Indians farm system (2.46 ERA in 175.1 innings), but he simply is not ready for the the big time yet. However, Sturdevant has some serious potential, and will probably battle Ray and Lee for the first bullpen callup midseason.

Robinson Tejada- Yes, this is the old KC Royal who used to give up the home runs. After spending the majority of the 2011 season in AAA, Tejada became a free agent. I don’t see Tejada having any impact what so ever in Cleveland, so honestly, I don’t see why it’s even worth writing anything more about him.

Infielders:

Jose Lopez- A former All-Star 2nd baseman, Lopez’s career has come a halt, as he hit .216 with Florida and Colorado a season ago. Lopez is still a young 28 years old, but he is not “baseball young”, as he’s played about 8 full seasons in the majors. I guess there is a chance Lopez can fall back into his All-Star ways, but it should not be expected. On the positive side of things, Lopez rarely strikes out, so at least he puts the ball in the play. Unfortunately, he just hasn’t found much green since the 2009 season.

Andy LaRoche- Once considered a great prospect, 3B Andy LaRoche has failed to produce on the big league level. LaRoche had an above average 2009 campaign in PIT, but since has struggled mightily in Pittsburgh and Oakland. The Indians already have Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall on the club, so it’s hard to see where LaRoche fits in without an injury to Supermanahan or Chisenhall. LaRoche is not the worst backup option to have, but that’s really all one can expect from him.

Christian Guzman- SS Guzman had a successful major league career from ’99-’10, and surprisingly decided to hang it up. However, after Tribe manager gave his old friend a call to give it one last try, Guzman had to say yes. While he can’t expect to pass ACab on the depth chart, he can hope to outplay Jason Donald, a player very similar to Guzman, besides their age. Guzman is the stereotypical average hitting shortstop with little pop, and for a backup, that’s just fine. If the ex-National can show that he is not too old to still play, I think he could sneak onto the club. I don’t think Guzman came back to play at Columbus.

Gregorio Petit- Petit is a career minor league utility man, with very little major league experience. I don’t think that Petit will outplay Donald or Guzman enough to make the Indians, but he will serve as a decent option for Columbus. If infielders drop like flys though, you could see Petit on the Tribe at some point this year.

Outfielders

Trevor Crowe- As the Indians former 1st round pick, Crowe had huge expectations, but he has failed to live up to them. While he may be fun to follow on Twitter, Crowe has hit a .245 clip in the majors, with only 3 home runs and 55 runs batted in 653 at bats. While he was a quality player on the terrible 2010 Indians squad, he was hurt most of last season, and only appeared in 15 games. Crowe has a chance to make the team as a utility outfielder, but I just don’t see how the team will have room long term for Crowe, or any other outfielder. With Sizemore’s injury, though, there is a chance if he outplays Carrera and Cunningham.

Chad Huffman- Huffman began the AAA season on fire, and had many Indians fans calling for him to replace Kearns (sorry again) and Duncan. However, he significantly cooled off, and only hit .246 with 13 home runs when all was said and done. Unless Huffman can hit .400 with 5 home runs during the spring, it’s back to C-Bus for the 26 year old OF.

Fred Lewis- Lewis has played six seasons in the majors, last with Cincinnati just a year ago. Lewis only hit .230 last season, but every time  he seemed to play us he was productive, even in 2010 with Toronto. Once again, as I sound like a broken record, I just don’t see how Lewis could play his way onto the roster, especially when (if) Sizemore returns.

Felix Pie- Once a top prospect with Chicago, Pie has fallen significantly, as he was a bench player in Baltimore. Pie is fast and may have his moments, but he has failed to put it all together for an entire season. Although we all love him for his name, no it’s not pronounced pie, I don’t think that will keep him on the roster. Of all five outfielders on the list, I think he may have the worst chance to stick around. Well, him and Huffman are similar….

Ryan Spilborghs- Spilborghs has played in Colorado the past seven seasons, and has actually hit a respectable .272 in 1561 AB’s. However, his lack of power and terrible 2011 season (.210) ended his long term relationship with the Rockies. Spilborghs is very well liked, and is the type of player who you’ll see signing autographs, but the Indians need hitters. If Spilborghs could hit .270 this year, and call me crazy, I think he is the best choice to take Sizemore’s spot on the Opening Day roster.

Catchers (No spots open on Tribe)

Luke Carlin- Carlin played in Columbus all of last season, hitting .213 with a .364 OBP. Carlin hit two home runs with the Indians in 2010, but even Lou Marson is a better option here because of his laser arm. Carlin seems to be a clubhouse leader in C-Bus, so I think it’s best that he stays there and mentor players before they make it to Cleveland.

Matt Pagnozzi- Pagnozzi only has 83 MLB PA’s in his career, and has only managed to hit .220 in 9 minor league seasons. Is there any need to continue? Lou Marson is looking pretty good right now.

Chun-Hsiu Chen- One of the Indians’ current best prospects, Chen has risen through the minor league ranks quickly. The 23 year old catcher may move Santana to 1st base in the future, but not now. Chen hit .262 with 16 home runs a season ago at Akron, and some people believe he could find that success in the majors years down the road. Now, however, he’s just here for the experience, and maybe the rare AB in a spring training game.

Michel Hernandez- No his first name is not a typo, it’s really M-i-c-h-e-l. The 33 year old catcher has only regularly played in one MLB season, and he still only played with Tampa Bay that year for over a month. Hernandez has played in the minors for FOURTEEN season to date, which is impressive within itself. However, his average .263 clip and below average power numbers (38 HR’s in 3071 AB’s), aren’t enough to get him on the club. I’d love to see it, and in fact I’m rooting for him, but realistically, back to AAA.

Out of all 22 players, I think 3 players with the best chance to make the team are:

RP Dan Wheeler

Utility Christian Guzman

OF Ryan Spilborghs

….with injury help, I think Chris Ray, Chen Lee, Jose Lopez, and Trevor Crowe could make the team too.

What do you think, who could make the team from this list? Put it in the comments below!

Thanks for reading.

~BD

Cavaliers Weekly #1 (Jan 29th- Feb 4th)

Cavaliers games this week:

88 Cavaliers @ 87 Celtics

93 Celtics @ 90 Cavaliers

102 Magic vs. 94 Cavaliers

91 Cavaliers vs. 88 Mavericks

In a week where the Cavaliers played four games vs. teams over .500, a 2-2 record is certainly a victory for a young Cavaliers team, led by rookie sensation (yeah, we can say that) Kyrie Irving.

Game 1: (CLE 88 @BOS 87)

Player of the Game: PG Kyrie Irving 23 pts (10-14 fg), 6 assists, 4 rebounds

The “Get that Weak Stuff Outta Here” Award (The award given to the player who should’ve spent more time on the bench): Omri Casspi 7 points (3-9 FG), 3 rebounds, 33 minutes. We want more Gee!

- Anthony Parker left the game with a back injury, and would not return to the lineup for the rest of the week

-Cavaliers edged ahead early in the 1st, led by Irving, Varejao, Jamison, and Casspi (not a misprint), but a Paul Pierce 3 gave the Celtics a 1 pt lead after the first.

-At the half, the Cavaliers led the Celtics 44-43, surprising a rather confused/upset Boston crowd.

-Despite a quick start to the 3rd quarter by the Cavs, the Celtics began to pull away, gaining an 11 point advantage with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

-4:24 to go in the 4th…87-76 Celtics…in Boston.

-Four points from Irving, four points from Varejao cut the Boston lead to three, 87-84, with 1:38 to go. After a Boston miss, Gee gets fouled, makes both FT’s. 87-86, 1 min to go.

-After a Brandon Bass turnover, the Cavs have the chance to make the go ahead bucket…..Irving holds until about six seconds on the game clock, drives past his man, flies to the basket, and lays in a beautiful bucket, capping a 12-0 Cavaliers run to end the game

-Final score: 88 Cavaliers 87 Celtics

-Up until this point, the clear best win of the season. Despite a 3-13 effort from Jamison, and a 3-10 effort from Sessions, Cavs find efficiency from Irving, Varejao, and Gee.

-Gibson (injury), Erden, Hollins, and Eyenga DNP.

Game 2: (BOS 93 @ CLE 90)

Player of the Game: C Anderson Varejao 20 points, 20 rebounds

“Get that Weak Stuff Outta Here” POG: Omri Casspi 6 points (2-5 FG), 3 rebounds, 19 minutes.

-Following a thrilling victory in Boston, the Cavs come out of the gets slowly, trailing 51-39 at the break.

-With 2:43 to go in the 3rd, a Ray Allen three pointer puts Boston ahead 75-53, sending some Cavs fans to the exits.

-The Cavs make a furious rally behind Jamison, Gee, Varejao, and Irving, who cuts the Boston lead to two with only 1:17 remaining.

-Unfortunately for the Cavs, they struggle to hit their last minute shots, and fall to the Celtics in heartbreaking fashion, 93-90.

-Although the Cavaliers lost this game, they once again prove that they can compete on any given night. If the Cavs can play every quarter like their average fourth quarter, they can make a push for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

-Irving: 21 pts (7-16 FG), 6 assists

-DNP: Parker (inj.), Gibson (inj.), Hollins, Erden, Eyenga

Game 3: (CLE 94 @ ORL 102)

Player of the Game: C Anderson Varejao 12 pts, 15 rebs

“Get that Weak Stuff Outta Here” POG: Mychel Thompson 0 points (0-6), 1 rebound, 30 minutes. Is Eyenga really THAT bad that Thompson has to play 30 minutes? (Congrats OMRI CASSPI!)

-Falling behind 18-9 early, the Cavs fight back and end the 1st quarter on a 8-0 run, led by SF Alonzo Gee, who scored a career high 20 points.

-The Cavaliers first half struggles continue, as they fall behind by as much as 15 points in the second quarter.

-Halftime: 48-37 Magic

-Behind Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Duhon, and Dwight Howard (19-16-8 blks), the Magic lead by 19 after 3.

-Like always, the Cavs make a fourth quarter push, getting as close as 5 two times behind Gee’s outstanding display.

-After “Hack-a-Dwight” worked for a couple of minutes, he begins to hit his FT’s, leading to a 102-94 Orlando win.

-Irving: 18 points (7-21), 6 assists, 4 rebounds

-Jamison 16 points (6-19), 12 rebounds

-DNP: Parker (inj.), Gibson (inj.), Thompson (inj.), Hollins, Eyenga

Game 4: (DAL 88 @ CLE 91)

Player of the Game: C Anderson Varejao 17 points, 17 rebounds

“Get that Weak Stuff Outta Here” POG: Luke Harangody 0 points (0-4 FG), 5 rebounds, -18 +/-, 15 minutes. (Dis)honorable mention: Ryan Hollins

-Despite a speedy start (8-2 lead), the Cavs trail the Mavs 24-15 after 1.

-Trailing 42-28 in the 2nd, the Cavs make a run, closing the margin to 51-43 at the break.

-Struggling Mychel Thompson nails two threes after the break, and Cavaliers are suddenly within two points of the defending NBA Champions.

-Led by Irving and Varejao, the Cavs go on a 13-0 run to take a 66-59 lead in the 3rd.

-The Mavericks fail to go away, however, as they go on a 10-0 run of their own, taking a 72-70 lead in the 4th.

-After Irving gives the Cavs the lead with a superb move and layup with 2:34 to go, the Cavs stop the Mavericks on three consecutive possessions.

-Up by 1 with 15 secs to go, Irving drives the lane and scores on a nasty two, giving the Cavs a 3 point lead.

-Jason Terry misses a three for Dallas, and the Cavs stun the defending champs, 91-88.

-The Mavericks recieved a steady hand before the game, as they defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last year.

-Irving: 20 points (9-17 FG), 7 assists, 4 rebounds

-Jamison: 19 points (6-18 FG), 9 rebounds

Where the Cavs stand now:

9-13, traveling back to Miami, where they lost only two weeks ago.

Injury Report per NBA.com:

Anthony Parker: Strained lower back (TBD)

Daniel Gibson: Soft Tissue Infection in Neck (TBD)

Tristan Thompson: Ankle Sprain (TBD)

This Week (Feb 5th- Feb 11th):

Feb 7th @Miami

Feb 8th vs LA Clippers

Feb 10th vs Milwaukee

Feb 11th Philadelphia

…tough week ahead for the Cavs, but another 2-2 week would be considered a huge success.

Go Cavs.

Thanks for reading.

BD

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