Tagged: Travis Hafner

A Sobering Win…

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   (2-7)    Indians    5
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   (5-4)    Royals    4      Final

Finally, another win! After a ‘close-but-no-cigar’ loss on Friday and another bullpen collapse  last night, this was much needed.

Sizemore had a great game, going 2-for-4 with a RBI to give the Tribe the lead which they kept for most of the game. My olny fault with his performance today is the he shouldn’t of tried to steal home on that wild pitch. There was NO chance that he was going to be safe unless the ump was blind. C’mon Grady! You know better than that!

The starting pitching and the bullpen are slowly but surely getting better. Aaron Laffey just pitched the best game of any starter thus far. The scary thing about that? He was only bought up to fill in for the injured Scott Lewis who is on the 15-day DL. Laffey went 5 1/3 innings and 5 K’s in the no decision while his relief Jensen Lewis (1-0) issued three straight walks in the bottom of the seventh but still got the win.

DeRosa now has a 5-game hit streak going and had a RBI single today. Pronk went 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run. And Wood got his first save of the season and as a Cleveland Indian. Overall, a very well played and entertaining game.

The Indians may have lost the first two games, but they’re starting the click on what needs to be worked on to win. The offense is good. The defense on the field is good. The starting rotation is (slowly) getting better. So it seems the bullpen is the main problem to focus on. This game today almost went into extras today because of a KC homer if it wasn’t for a Royal trying to turn a single into a double and getting thrown out at 2nd. The bullpen is giving up WAY to many runs and the the trends of the starters continue, we can kiss any hope of seeing the Postseason goodbye…

But, I’m going to stay optimistic. I believe the Tribe now knows how to win and is ready for the Yankees and whatever the fans have for them in the New Yankee Staduim. Tomorrow, we’ll have a battle of the last two AL Cy Young winners! Lee vs Sabathia. I’ll be doing a live MLBlog of the game tomorrow so be tuned in for that.

Until then, let’s just sit back and enjoy today’s win, Tribe… The guys on the field deserve it.
~Casey

[EDIT] OH! I forgot to mention, today was Jackie Robinson Day across Major Leauge Baseball. It was nice to see most, if not all of the players today wear #42 in tribute to the man who helped change the game for better.

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A Win for Your Easter Basket

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   (5-2)      Blue Jays    4
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   (1-5)      Indians     8          Final

The Tribe was determined to make sure the fans at Progressive Field didn’t go home with a rotten egg this Easter…

It took about a week, but the Indians FINALLY got their first win today against the Toronto Blue Jays by beating them 8-4. After getting destroyed by Texas in all three games in the season openers, losing the home opener that took WAY too long and just missing a chance to pull a 9th inning comeback yesterday, We get our first W on the year.

This means a lot to the Tribe. Not just as a boost of confidence, but many questions were answered…

Bats are awake and Pronk is BACK! Hafner hit his third Home Run in four games. Well, maybe ‘hit’ isn’t the right word… ‘Crushed’ seems more fitting. I know he won’t stay this hot all season, but it’s just great to see that his slump is over. As for the other batters, so far no real complaints. DeRosa got his first homer as a member of the Tribe. I’m very glad that whatever was holding him back at Texas seems to have let go. I just wish we could start getting base hits with guys in scoring position.

Kerry Wood can help save this team! Ok, Maybe it IS a little early to say that, but today, he stuck out all three of the batters he faced in the 9th in epic fashion! I think the Tribe will do just fine with him as our closer.

Those being said, There are still things that need to be worked on before the Indians can start seeing true success.

Fix the starting rotation.  Anthony Reyes played six innings and got the win today but a wild pitch and a badly thrown ball kept the Jays in the game until the Indians bats attacked in the 8th. But, thus far, he still had the best game any Tribe starter has had yet! Cliff did better on Saturday but still only pitched five innings. And Carl Pavano’s ERA is 81.00! I didn’t even think you could have an ERA that high!!! Let’s hope Carmona can bounce back tomorrow night at KC. I don’t want to talk about this issue all season long…

Get hits with guys in scoring position. I know I talked about this a little already, but this as been a problem for the Indians for some time now. We always seem to leave that one guy on 2nd or 3rd at the end of an inning with no runs to show for it! Thankfully, with the bats as hot as they are now, we may solve that problem soon.

I’m so happy that we won’t be falling to our worst record since 1914. This win was something we needed and we got it because of a team effort and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’ll be used as motivation for many wins to come.

…A happy Easter indeed…
~Casey

(PS: And congrats to Trevor Crowe on getting his first MLB hit and RBI today! Way to go!)

Bats Are Awake, Pitchers Still Asleep.

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   (0-3)     Indians   8   
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   (3-0)     Rangers   12            Final

Ok… I won’t lie to you, Tribe. After the 2nd inning of today’s game, I was in search of that ‘Panic Button’ I was talking about on Opening Day. I mean, I had my doubts on Carl Pavano starting today but… down 9-1 at the end of the 2ND?! DAMN!

What is it with our staring pitching so far? I can give Cliff Lee some slack for his performance. After all, He was struck by a line drive just above his throwing elbow right before he let four 2-out runs get on the board. So what was Carmona’s and Pavano’s deal? Nerves? Or was it that we just really didn’t know how to stop the Texas hitters?

Whatever the reason, Zach Jackson did his best to get try and get us out of the hole. He’s not anywhere near taking over a starting job. But, a few more games as the long man and we could see some great things from him in the future.

The good news is for the second game in a row, the Indians didn’t just just lay down and die like they did in game 1. The bats finally came alive today with 5, yes FIVE, home runs from the Tribe in hopes of getting back into the game. Grady Sizemore hit two 2-run homers, but also struckout three times. It seems as if Victor’s slump may have been snapped as he hit also homered and Pronk hit the ball so hard in the 9th it may as well had made it half way to China is the stands weren’t in the way! Kelly Shoppach was also able to touch-’em-all today

I’ll bet if they had to play one more game vs Texas, Cleveland would of won…

Bottom Line: Texas came into this opening series ready to play… we weren’t. And by the time we were, The Rangers already knew our weak points. I have faith that the next time we let that happen won’t be for a EVERY long time.

Also, It was nice to see Omar Vizquel on the field again. I miss him here in Cleveland.

The Tribe FINALLY comes home to Progressive Field (aka “The Jake”) tomorrow for a weekend series against the Blue Jays. We’ll have Scott Lewis on the mound who had a 2.63 ERA last year. Will he fair better than our last three starters? If the Indians do their job at the plate, I think so. But, just remember… Offense scores runs, but pitching wins games.

Last time the Cleveland Indians went 0-3 to start a season, they when on to win close to 100 games that year. Once when the Yankees went 0-3, they won the ALCS… Maybe getting swept on the road to start off wasn’t the way we wanted to begin the 2009 season, but at least we know it’s not the end of it… and that we get to come home tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s a new day, Tribe. A new game. A Home Opener…

Tomorrow is Opening Day again…

Let’s make it count!
~Casey

(PS: I’ll be trying to do a LIVE MLBlog tomorrow! I’ll be updating throughout the Home Opener with my thoughts and opinions about every inning or so, or whenever a big play happens. I’ll start posting about half-a-hour to an hour before the game. Be sure to check it out!)

Quick 2009 Tribe Preview…

I’ll likely go into full detail into what I think about this year’s team later this week. (I like to see or listen to a few games before I can truly give my opinions on things like this.) So, before the Tribe’s Opening Day game, here are my thoughts on the 2009 Cleveland Indians!

Grady Sizemore: I don’t think he’ll have another Gold Glove year, but he’ll deffinitly do his job in the outfield as well as in the batter’s box. I think if the #8 and #9 hitters do their work, Grady could make a run for the RBI Title.

Mark DeRosa: Sizemore’s finally getting the help he needs as the leadoff man. He played great in the WBC with a .316 AVG and I think he’ll stay hot throughout most of the MLB season and give the Indians a push when they need it. This guy is our new Casey Blake.


Victor Martinez:
I’m not sure about Vic… I’m not 100% sold on the fact that shifting him to 1st base is a good thing. I think he’ll have a much better year at bat, but not knowing where he’ll be defenseivly through most of the season worries me a little.


Travis Hafner:
I believe Pronk will have a much better year as well. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll snap out of his slump. I also think shifting Hafner to 1st and puting Vic at DH for part of the season is a better choice… But so far, every time I say that I get confused looks from everybody so, maybe I’m just crazy.


Jhonny Peralta:
I don’t really have much to say about Peralta. I just think He’ll have a year just like last and could be in talks for the Shortstop Gold Glove. (But likely won’t win it.)


Shin-Soo Choo:
I’ve always liked this guy for some reason I just can’t seem to place my finger on… The Tribe was a little worried about him in the WBC while hurt, but he played great for Korea continued to play well in Spring Training. Expect a lot of base hits and home runs from “Big League Choo” this season.


Kelly Shoppach:
Maybe Shoppach’s a better choice at 1st than Victor… I don’t know. This is another guy I have little to no opinion or predictions on. I just wish Eric Wedge knew what to do at Catcher.


Ben Francisco:
I think Ben will do OK. I just see more defense rather than offense coming from him.


Asdrubal Cabrera:
Remember that Unassisted triple play he pulled off last season? It’s a bit of a stretch to say that he’ll pull something like that off again, But I think it’s save to say that the Indians are good at 2nd base.


Cliff Lee:
I honestly believe that last year’s Cy Young winning season was a fluke for Lee. Not to say he won’t have a good year this year, but if you’re looking for him to pull off another 20+ win season, you’re crazy. I think he’ll get somewhere between 15 and 18 wins this year.


Fausto Carmona:
This kid has what it takes if he could just learn to settle his nerves. I think he’ll finally figure that out this year. I can see him getting at least 14 wins this season.


Kerry Wood:
I’m not going to lie… when ESPNews broke the story that Wood was traded to Cleveland, I got the biggest grin on my face! He is the final piece to our bullpen puzzle. Wood can definitely get the most saves in the AL this year.


Final Thoughts:
After our heartbreak in 2007 and the disappointing season last year, I think we really have a chance this year if the Tribe can stay healthy. The AL central will be a battle between the Tribe and the Twins… with whoever coming in second winning the Wild Card.


Bottom Line:
The Indians have what it takes and the tools to win. Our road to a World Series starts now!

Man, I can’t till tomorrow!

IT’S TRIBE TIME NOW!
~Casey