The Indians went 3-4 this week, with the first game of the Twins series being postponed (to be made up in September). Tribe leftfielder, Michael Brantley, hit what appeared to be a three run home run in the fourth inning. Twins coaching staff disaggreed and Ron Gardenhire, came out to argue. After further review, the home run was reversed to a ground rule double, costing the Tribe the game in a 4-3 loss. The Tribe plays the Royals and Tigers in the upcoming week.
The red hot Tribe finished the week at 5-2, having swept the Orioles. Grady Sizemore went yard in his season debut for the Indians earlier today to complete the sweep of the Orioles. Sizemore was a happy man to be back on the field. “He’s always smiling,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He was so happy the whole day.” Sizemore’s return came almost 11 months since he injured his left knee and underwent micro fracture surgery. The Tribe have travel to play the Royals for a four game set, deciding who will remain on the top of the AL Central.
After losing 2 straight to start the season, the Indians are 7-2. They lost the series to the Chi Sox 2 games to 1, but after that the Tribe has swept the Bo Sox and Mariners. On Friday, Cleveland scored 10 in the fourth against the Mariners that led to a 12-3 victory. Carrasco pitched 6 strong allowing only one earned in his first victory in 2011. The Tribe then out pitched Seattle with a 2-1 victory where Justin Masterson pitched 6 and 1/3 allowing an earned run. Earlier today, the Tribe put up, 2 runs in the first and second inning and 1 run in the 3rd and 4th, putting them up to a comfortable 6 run lead. The Tribe ended up winning 6-4. You couldn’t ask for a better start to Cleveland’s season.
The Indians avoided the sweep today against the Chi Sox at home. On Friday, the Tribe lost in a 15-10 slugfest that was blown open in the 4th, with Indians pitching allowing eight runs. Yesterday, with only a small fraction of fans compared to Opening Day, the Tribe lost 8-3. In today’s game against the Chi Sox, Tribe pitching only allowed one run and also turning a triple play that started with a popped up bunt. Not the best start to a season that could be asked for, but the Tribe avoided the sweep with bats and strong pitching earlier today.
As the regular season approaches, starting jobs begin to emerge for players. Jack Hannahan was just named the Indians starting third baseman. Hannahan was invited to the Tribes Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. With Jason Donald sidelined most of this month with a left hand injury, Hannahan was able to show manager, Manny Acta, his glove and improved approach at the plate. Acta said he’s played “terrific defense” and had a very good offensive Spring Training. Grady Sizemore doubled in yesterday’s loss against the Giants. He is receiving more and more play after his knee surgery. He also dove and caught a ball in centerfield, a good sign his knees are feeling good.
Veteran middle infielder, Adam Everett, joined the Indians spring training camp as a non-roster player on a minor league contract. He was aiming to win the back up positon behind Asdrubal Carberea. His chances may have slimmed after Saturday’s game against the Angels where he sprained his left thumb attempting to steal second base. Everett was “a little dissapointed” at the way Aybar covered the base with his leg, but said that it’s just the way it goes. With Jason Donald having a small crack on his left middle finger, he will no longer be the Opening Day starting third baseman. Jack Hannahan is ready to take the temporary open spot at third, saying he came to Cleveland becauase he thought there would be opportunities for him to play. Donald is likely to return after rehab in late April, early May.
The Tribe’s starting pitching rotation after ace Carmona is still up in the air. Yesterday, Josh Tomlin pitched 3 shutout innings against the Angels, leading the Tribe to a 2-1 victory. Tomlin is having a productive season, and it is looking like he will end up a starter come season time. Other good news for Tribe fans includes Grady Sizemore running bases for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee in June. Though manager, Manny Acta, is hesitant to give possible starting dates for Sizemore, it could be as early as March 20, if the rehab program goes according to plan.
Indian’s left-hand pitcher, David Huff, talked with Johan Santana in the off season to get input on his change up. Hitters were taking advantage of Huff’s change up because it was too fast. Yesterday, Huff recorded three shut out innings in a Spring Training game against the White Sox. Though it is very early in the season, Huff is confident that his new change up will fool the hitters, with the same arm speed as a fastball, but a much slower pitch. It also seems that Jeremy Bonderman, a starting pitcher free agent, will not sign a minor league contract with the Tribe. An ESPN source close to Bonderman said he will likely take this season off to focus on workouts because he doesnt have enough energy to try and make a big league squad this season.
The Indians get ready to play the Reds today in their Cactus League season opener. There are still questions about who will be filling in some vacant holes that are still in question. There are 5 pitchers in the mix for the open 5th starter spot. Josh Tomlin, Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff, Aaron Laffey and Anthony Reyes are the pitchers going after the spot. Against the Reds, Tomlin will start, and Laffey is scheduled to make a relief appearence. Tomlin had 12 starts with the Tribe last season going 6-4 with a 4.56 ERA. Laffey was 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA in 29 appearences with only 5 starts. Tribe manager, Manny Acta, says he will narrow the list of the above 5 down after the first couple weeks of games. Look for some good pitching from the Tribe in these first couple of weeks of Cactus League ball.
Spring Training is finally underway. The Tribe hopes that their infield defense improves with the pick up of Orlando Cabrera. As for the pitching, it looks like Fausto Carmona will be locking up the ace starter, and Chris Perez will be closing out the games. Fausto, who is making $6.1 million this season with a $7 million option for next season, has not always been consistent throughout his career, but Tribe manager Manny Acta is optimistic that he will produce this season. Carmona spent time in the minors working on his mechanics and mental side of the game. He finished 2010 with a 13-14 record and a 3.77 ERA. The Tribe’s closer, Chris Perez, finished the 2010 season with 23 saves. In 63 innings, he struck out 61 and held his opponents to a .182 batting average. Perez recorded a 1.71 ERA last season, the second lowest amoung relievers in the American League. If Carmona stays consistent this season, and Perez stays on point as their closer, the Tribe will have a great starting-closing pitching duo between the two of them.
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