Yesterday the Cleveland Indians defeated the Phoenix Snakes 6-2. No Zach Dukes were harmed in the process of this game, but one should have been.
June 29th 2011
Cleveland Indians - 6
Arizona Diamondbacks- 2
W: Carlos Carrasco (8-4) L: Zach Duke (1-3)
Zach Duke's Final Line: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Maybe I'm being greedy considering the game was one, but Duke flirted with danger enough to have been burned and the Indians couldn't burn him. It took innings of relief from David Hernandez and2005's Yhency Brazoban for the Indians just to tack on two more runs.
Okay I'll stop. The Cabrera's had big days at the plate. Orlando Cabrera was tattooing the ball, including off the face of the most tattooed man in baseball, Ryan Roberts and his face. No truth to the rumor he visited the local tattoo parlor to get the imprint tattooed with Orlando's signature next to it.
"I'm just going out there and doing what I've always done my whole career," Orlando Cabrera said. "Right now, I really need to step up."
And bust some faces. FACES.
Orlando ended the day with four hits, including a double that help set up one of those runs late. So did his nephew Asdrubal Cabrera, who was hot early going 3-for-3. Pinch-hitter Travis Buck went 2-for-2 including a double as well, and that was largely all the damage done. Michael Brantley had a big RBI early in the game and I supposed Lou Marson reaching base three times is good news.
But when you looked at this lineup 5-through-9 before the game started, you would be mortified. If they were facing anyone other than Zach Duke, who knows what the result may have been. But Acta returned to the strategy that worked earlier in the year, getting to play a "B" sort of lineup against a left-handed starter with one of his best pitchers on the mound. It ended in a win and although you were hoping for more, it got the job done.
"We had a good hitting plan against [Duke]," Acta said. "Guys jumped on him early and we were able to capitalize and score a couple runs right off the bat. And the very next inning, we did the same thing."
Lou Marson and Jack Hannahan, as terrifying as it looked to see them sandwiched between the pitcher and the dynamic duo of Duncan and Kearns in the 5th and 6th spots, can actually hit left-handers. So all in all, when all things are considered, a pretty poor looking lineup was actually set up to produce.
Expect for Austin Kearns hitting sixth. That would make me want to punch myself in the face if I had to fill that lineup card out.
As mentioned though, it was calculated for Acta and worked out perfectly as Lou Marson would have started this game regardless because of the guy on the mound, who is just on fire. Is it hard to believe that Carlos Carrasco is already to eight wins? Seems like just the other day we were wondering if he'd get sent down to Columbus if he had a few bad starts coming off the disabled list.
But Cookie was was great. Aside from two solo home runs (surprise surprise, home runs!) he gave up two hits and didn't walk anyone. Through his run of success he's limited the damage, those home runs haven't come and when they have, they're solo shots because he isn't walking hitters
"Carrasco was outstanding," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "On a day where our bullpen was short, he went as deep as he could and pitched outstanding."
"His confidence is sky high," Acta said. "He looks out there like, 'Hey, they're not going to hit me, I'm on top of my game,' and he's been looking like that for seven or eight starts now. It's good to see."
He did have two other guys on base because he hit them, but again the damage was limited and controlled.
And with a team like Arizona, who pretty much is a homer or strikeout team, the punch outs are going to flow, as he racked up seven of them.
So now, the Indians hit the road to travel back to Ohio. But it isn't quite home. Acta said that home is Progressive Field when Travis can play full-time. A sweep would let the Indians finish this trip 5-4 and of course that would be great. Two out of three is 4-5 and that's still okay too given the circumstances.
Either way... The Indians guaranteed themselves a .500 record in Interleague play. I'd like to see an above .500 record though.
Rebound for the Bullpen Mafia on this one. Vinnie Pestano wasn't seeing Kelly Johnson triples and he pitched a clean eighth. And Chris Perez, who we haven't seen get a whole heck of a lot of work in as of late, got to pitch an inning.
And it had a little more significance than just him pitching in a four-run game. Perez was pitching with a heavy heart after the passing of his grandmother yesterday morning. Hearts out to him and his family and big ups to him for going out there and getting it done with that on his mind.
Maybe the bullpen had some good karma going with Tony Sipp distracting the hitters with his tower of hats.
Travis Hafner was on base again, getting hit by a pitch in this one. One has to wonder if he should have been used a little earlier. With Hannahan walking in the top of the seventh to load the bases, it brought up Carrasco to hit. At the time, he had 90 pitches, but only completed six innings. With the bullpen being used heavily last night, you could feel Manny Acta wanted Carrasco to get through seven.
And even perhaps with a left-handed reliever on the mound, using Hafner at that spot wasn't ideal. But the bases were loaded. You wouldn't use a Chisenhall (his bugaboo in the minors this year) and you already had Duncan, so he was pretty much your only option. Still, the bases were loaded. I'm not sure I wouldn't have used Hafner in that spot. The chance to add more runs was appealing. Thankfully they would add more and Carrasco wouldn't make Acta regret the decision as he got through the seventh.
Even though he struck out in that spot, Carrasco battled in that at-bat. He did a good job fouling off some pitches and putting some good swings on the ball. He contributed in this game with a pair of sacrifices too. He's no Josh Tomlin, but he was productive at the plate.
Asdrubal Cabrera was caught stealing for the first time. It didn't make sense to me to run when he did, so it could have been avoided. With two outs and Duke on the mound, why are you trying to steal third? You should score on most hits from second anyway.
Tim Welke, the umpire at second base blew two pretty big calls. One was with the Indians on the bases and one with them on defense. The one where they called Marson out at second on the Hannahan grounder was a little tougher, but Johnson didn't have full control of the ball when he was on the bag.
The second one was a little more unforgiving as he called Ryan Roberts safe at second on a steal. The video showed him clearly looking right at the play. Laser Lou delivered a perfect strike and the tag was applied rather visibly to Roberts on the side the umpire was on. So how he missed it is beyond me.
[MAN-CRUSHING ON TOMLIN]
One thing we haven't seen much of is Charlie Nagy, who is the Arizona Diamondback's pitching coach. And of course not only is he thee Charlie Nagy, he was the Columbus Clippers pitching coach last season. And he worked with Josh Tomlin last year. So he knows as much as anyone how remarkable it is to see him do what he's doing.
"He's one of those kids that's a great story," Nagy said. "He just goes out, pitches, and he's very good at what he does. And he showed that [on Tuesday] night.
"Boom," Nagy said. "We needed somebody to start games, he did and just took off from there. Got called up, and just kind of seized the opportunity."
It's crazy because I don't think people realize where Josh Tomlin started last season. He was actually more of a relief option than he was a starter. A majority of his time in Kinston was being Paolo Espino, someone who was more of a swing guy than a full-time starter. He did start in Akron, but in 2010 he was pegged as a relief option.
And now he's going five innings in 28 straight games to start his Major League career. Guys like Tomlin find ways to stick around in the major leagues. Why? Because the guy knows how to pitch. I've said it many times. There will be no one that "figures" Tomlin out. He's not really a guy you can adjust to because he places the ball where it's supposed to be eight times out of ten. And he makes the proper adjustments that he needs to make.
I mean, just look at him go up and take hacks. He's resourceful. Sure he had background as a hitter and an infielder before he was drafted, but he does what he has to do to get the job done. Is it pretty all the time? No, but it happens.
"The ball looked like a marble," he said. "The first couple pitches he threw, I couldn't see it. So I was just going by sounds."
"It looks smaller, they throw a lot harder, it's more deceptive and not easy to pick up at all," he said.
Man, this guy... I said it yesterday, but this guy is awesome. Cowboy, yeehaw.
[PEREZ V. HOYNES]
I've called out Plain Dealer beat writer Paul Hoynes on several occasions. Usually it's for the fact that he straight up makes no attempt to hide his hatred for his job (that I would love to have) and the fact that he has some similar hatred for the Cleveland Indians organization.
When you let something like this get published with those kinds of errors at a credidible newspaper, it really shows how much you care. And he cares very little at this point. He's been in it for awhile now. He should probably go onto something else if he's that miserable, but of course, it's the newspaper industry, it's a dying business (Hi, I'm Nino and I'm a Journalist!) so he probably doesn't have much of a choice.
And in turn, we suffer as readers because he's not really working hard for the scoop or the information. And he asks brainless questions that anyone knows the answer to.
But hey... I'm not the only one that thinks this. And now he's got the players attention, because Chris Perez not only called "Hoynsie" out on some of his garbage, he actually called it to his attention.
"I read your tweets and it's like u want us to do bad and lose so you can write a column that bashes us. Why don't you stay neutral?"
I think my work is done here. Who said he doesn't sure Pure Rage off the mound? That's some FIRE right there. Some absolute fire mixed in with a hard shot of truth.
Grady Sizemore did not play, but he is not hurt as of result from crashing into the wall on Tuesday. I think it was more of a left-hander issue more than anything.
I'm a little worried about Sizemore. Got a chance to watch him on some of the defensive plays the past two games and... Should he move out of center? It's clear he isn't the best outfielder on this team. But his defense is starting to costs some runs. The dive on the ball Drew hit in the game on Monday? That was pretty bad. That should have been a single and nothing more.
Jordan Bastian said that "no one knows for sure" as to who started Bullpen Mafia. Well, I know for sure, because I started it. But that's besides the point.
The Mafia is making their name through Twitter. And that can only be positive for the organization.
"Social media affords us the ability to create deeper connections with our fans and span generations," Shapiro said during the spring. "We are incredibly cognizant of social media's growth, and have developed a comprehensive social-media strategy to address it."
A lot more people know of the Bullpen Mafia now because of Twitter. Because of their popularity on Twitter, they got invited to the FanCave and they put on an entertaining skit. And that got them some more attention. That can't be a bad thing. So, continue the movement.
And you are welcome for the identity, you don't owe me a dime, just a World Series.
This really has nothing to do with the Cleveland Indians, but Charlie Sheen talked to Sports Illustrated, mostly about Major League and how there is hope for a sequel (or is it the fourth? Because there was more, and they all sucked compared to the first, right? Right!) and how everyone is in.
Oh boy... If there is, I'm not sure if the Indians are going to be on-board. But heck, you never know. The interview is pretty damn funny though. Mostly because Charlie Sheen's face time due to his insanity has sort of run out and he's still going around calling people warlocks.
Oh and he admitted to using steroids during the filming of the movie. Who knew?
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Because I'm quite simply out of Archer videos.....
Nino's TV Reference of the Day: Charlie's Kitten Mittens - Always Sunny
Try KITTEN MITTENS!
Days Without a Tweet: 42
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets about Derek Jeter's stupid fans. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.