There's one thing the Indians did by beating the Twins on Thursday afternoon. They did avoid a sweep, but that isn't what we're concentrated on right now.
September 20th, 2012 F/10
Minnesota Twins - 3
Cleveland Indians - 4
W: Esmil Rogers (3-3) L: Anthony Swarzak (3-5)
What we really care about is the fact that with one more win, which shouldn't be too hard given that there's 12 games left and half of them are against the Royals, the Indians will avoid 100 losses.
Oh yeah I know, what's so significant about 100 losses? What is the big freakin' deal man?
There's really no big deal other than 100 losses is ugly. So, to avoid the being ugly, we must see one more win.
Which is very more doable now. And the Indians pulled even with the Twins in the standings, so there's also avoiding last place.
It's cause for celebration! Which the Indians got to do after the win on Thursday because it was a walk-off win and yet another game against the Twins came down to the wire. Their second extra-innings affair of the series, the Indians had an excellent opportunity, much like the one they squandered Tuesday, to win things.
Double for Choo to lead off and Kipnis, although he recorded an out, made it productive by Choo getting to third. That would lead to two intentional walks and the position of Casey Kotchman being put in to come through with, not even a hit, but just something semi-productive to get the run home.
This is normally the point where I sigh and bemoan the lack of production and the inept response to the hitting situation the Indians were put in.
But this isn't normally, which is fantastic. Casey Kotchman came through, not just with a productive at-bat, but a hit. Two pitches, a solid single to center, ball.game. And for him, it kind of helps make up for a little bit of the disappointing season he's had.
"I didn't hold up my end of the bargain," he said of his season. "It's just nice to get on this flight with a win and have some fun," Kotchman said. "Winning makes everything a little bit better."
Kotchman had a brilliant day as a whole, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and another additional RBI and a double. I mean it isn't total redemption, but it was good to see for him. I'm not sure I'd overly complain about 50-RBI really. If only the lineup around him was a little better, you could afford to have that kind of production from your first baseman.
Another story for later on though.
Like when the season is over.
The man who started this game? Corey Kluber, who I think keeps growing with each start despite whatever numbers are out there. For one thing, he's walked just four hitters in his past four games, which to me is perfect. If you are averaging right around a walk-per-game, that's great. He was averaging more than two in his previous six.
He's walking many, he struck out five, yeah he gave up three runs, but I can't say I haven't been impressed by how much he seems to be growing and adjusting to the big leagues.
"I thought, overall, it was solid," Kluber said of his outing. "There were a couple instances where I fell behind some guys and they put good swings on it, but all in all I think I'll take the positives from it."
It was solid. It was worthy of keeping his team in the game and in the books, it is a quality start. So you take it and you take the chance he gave you.
What ultimately kept them in the game though was that bullpen. Manny Acta was practically salivating about the four guys he used after Kluber exited.
"It was nice to see those four power arms," Acta said, "back-to-back-to-back-to-back to shut them down at the end and give us an opportunity to win the game."
He has a reason to salivate as they came in and shut things down. Two hits, one walk in four innings. No runs of course. They struck out four hitters and Rogers picked up the win. Pestano struck out a pair, Allen and Rogers also had one. They shut things down and they put the Indians in that position to win. So hats off to them of course.
Asdrubal Cabrera sat out with his sore wrist issue as he exited on Wednesday in the loss to the Twins. So yeah there's that again.
Travis Hafner also sat out, but that was scheduled and should have been expected given the fact that it was a day after a night game and I can't really see them playing him two games in a row a whole heck of a lot over these remaining few games.
Here's a positive RISP number for once. They went 5-for-9, which is as efficient you can get in scoring four runs. Of course not every hit with RISP can result in runs scored, which is why they had more hits in that situation than they had runs scored. Jack Hannahan singled in the fourth inning, but it was Kotchman at second and he wasn't available to go any further. Which is unfortunate due to the subsequent Thomas Neal double play groundout.
Was Vinny Rottino really leading off? Yeah, I have nothing much I can say there, your guess is as good as mine.
The Indians did out-hit the Twinkies though. Thanks in part to multi-hit games from Brantley, Kotchman, and Jack Hannahan. Add in the fact that Carlos Santana walked twice, Kipnis was on twice, Lillibrdige was on twice and Brantley actually was on three-times thanks to walk, then you had plenty of good opportunities.
And plenty of times that they came through. So, no complaining here.
One thing Kluber did in this one? Avoiding the first inning disaster, which has happened to him many of times. He's given up 14 runs in the first inning this year. That didn't happen yesterday, which is perhaps a reason for him turning in a good start.
One can safely assume that part of the reason that Zach McAllister has seemingly tailed off as of late has been the normal standard things you would guess for a young pitcher who has success and then struggles. The league adjusts to him, the work load starts to wear on you, things just need to even out. We are now into uncharted territory for McAllister, who's usually used to the season being over by now and has now pitched more total innings than he has become accustomed to in a single season.
"It's very late in the season," Acta said. "He could be fatigued. Some of these guys are playing an extra month than they have played in the past. We're still very impressed with the way he's gone about his business here every five days."
McAllister will not use that as an excuses and even notes that his current innings, 176, is right around the 172 he worked last year. If anything he's right, he wouldn't start to feel effects, if he did, til a little bit later on. I would actually venture to say it could be a little bit of unfamiliar territory, but mostly the league making adjustments to him and what he brings and who he is as more less of a surprise.
So it is now up to him. I think he has a spot in this rotation in 2013, regardless, he's earned that and there are no better options that present themselves right now. It can be a new slate for him to start fresh and come in with proper adjustments made.
Normally at this time of the year, a player, let's just call him for this particular instance, Vincent, comes up to a team. Let's just call them, the Wahoos. The Wahoos are at a dead point in their season where, things are bleak. They are out of the race and looking towards next year. They don't have a whole heck of a lot of money and would like to fill holes with cost-effective options. Vincent is a player who has a lot of experience in the minor leagues. He's never really had a full-time shot at the big league level, but he has some talent.
While he has talent, most of his value and his success is based off, let's just call them intangibles. He hustles, he plays hard, he may be even versatile. In fact, his manager now, let's just call him, Manuel, may even say something like this.
"We like what he brings," Manuel said. "He's very versatile and plays hard. He does all those little things that help you win games -- things you can't teach."
He may be a little older as well, but he did something at the previous level that may translate regardless of age. Maybe Vincent gets a chance with the Wahoos to play regularly in September and he impresses. So the question becomes. Does Vincent deserve a shot to play for the Wahoos in 2013?
"We like him. That's why he's here," Wahoos Manager Manuel Aguilar said. "Some people might second-guess a guy his age being up here in September and all that, but 32 is not old, and we like what he did in Triple-A."
Okay, I'll cut it out. I'm clearly talking about Vinny Rottino, the Cleveland Indians, and Manny Acta. But did you see what I did there? In fact this same scenario can be used for many other teams just replacing the teams and the names. In fact you could replace the names and keep the team really. Shelley Duncan? I mean, I love the guy but the same debate was waged. While I was on his side, ultimately the Indians didn't feel as if he was someone you could have fully committed to.
Do they feel the same about Rottino? It certainly doesn't sound like it. It sounds like they like him, but how much do you like him? How much can you expect to invest in him and to do what? I really don't know.
Which is why I'm telling you right now...one more ellipses for emphasis...NO! NO NO NO NO NO! Stop thinking about it, stop formulating, don't get attach. Don't watch Vinny Rottino, don't put ideas in your head. Don't get attached.
You get attached, you will be heart-broken. This is not the avenue that the Indians need to be exploring. Just because he stole a base after walking? So many people do that. I wish particular people on this team would do it more, but just because Rottino does it once means we should keep him around. There's a reason he's spent years in the minor leagues and is just now finding a way to the majors at 32-years-old with a team that is deprived of depth and you get the picture.
ALSO. We have Vinnie Pestano, and I can't be bothered having to spell out the name both ways they spell it out and Pestano is better so, yeah.
That's not a real reason, but it is funny.
Nino has a blog! Give it a visit at The Tribe Daily, because Shin-Soo Choo will certainly be dancing 'Gangnam Style' somewhere there.