Wake up! WAKE UP!
August 9th, 2011
Detroit Tigers - 2
Cleveland Indians - 3
W: Frank Herrmann (3-0) L: David Pauley (5-5)
It would be one thing if this game went into the 14th inning with no rain delay.
But my god, I'm sitting here in the morning watching the whole replay. I'm an an old-young man who has an early bed time these days, I can't make it that long. First pitch was at 7:05 and six hours and 46 minutes later, the game finally ended.
I'm sorry, but after two hours, I would have trashed this matchup. The starters were long gone and they had only gone two innings. It hardly seems fair to put both of these teams in this position. Now both bullpens are pretty much exhausted after being emptied in a game that lasted til damn near two in the morning.
Whatever, I guess? This one started out looking like the starters were going to have some issues. After Fister's hiccup in the first, Masterson came back in the second. But after two complete, the rain came. If you were in Northeast Ohio, you know exactly what kind of damage was done with that storm. It came down heavy and it was hardly a quick shower.
And then, after all the criticism the Mafia has taken the past week for really, blowing all four games that the Indians lost, they stepped up big time. A total of 11 shutout inning with everyone having a part in it. It all started with Chad Durbin facing the minimum by only giving up one hit and getting that erased on a strike-em out throw-em out.
That really set the tone if you ask me. From there, it was a game of do your job. Durbin did his, so you couldn't be the one to fail. I think the key moment came in Tony Sipp's seventh inning. After the Avila single, Ramon Santiago popped a bunt up into the air that Sipper snagged and threw to first for the double play. That's when it seemed like everything was on the Tribe's side in this one.
Jason Kipnis made a pair of stellar plays diving up the middle, a very good one in the 14th inning that really helped save Herrmann's bacon.
Overall, a huge tip of the cap to the entire bullpen on this one. They were the reasons for this win.
"We were just going back and forth and back and forth," said Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano. "This is the longest game I've been a part of and it's certainly one of the most important, given the circumstances of playing the Tigers."
Vin-man went on to say that it was a big win, regardless of the month and that tells me a lot. It tells me that this club really needed this one and since they got it, it could be a big shot in the arm that pushes them forward.
Shot in the arm? How do you get a shot in the arm to pitch at one in the morning? Well, for Frank Herrmann, it's five Red Bulls. Pestano always has a cup of coffee before the game and then he had a Red Bull in the sixth. But Herrmann, he really had to try and stay amped to come in when he did. Even more credit to him to do that. For that, I think the third victory he got is well, well deserved.
This game could have been over way before Kosuke Fukudome got hit in the arm with the bases loaded in the 14th inning. That was a fitting ending to an incredible weird and funky game.
But in the eighth, gamble Acta went for it all with a suicide squeeze. Acta pushed the correct button on the pinch-hit for Lonnie Chisenhall, as Jason Donald doubled to lead off the inning. After a Zeke ground out, Donald was at third with one out and Michael Brantley was at the plate.
"I take full responsibility for it -- I called for it," Acta said. "When it works, a lot of people like to call me smart. So when it doesn't work, I take full responsibility for it."
Brantley tried, but the ball wasn't really the right pitch, Brantley couldn't make contact and Donald was toast at home. You win some, you lose some. If you have a guy like Santana or Cabrera up there, you let them swing for a sac-fly. But when you have a quicker guy like Donald at third and someone who can bunt like Brantley, that's a good thought.
Unfortunately it wasn't a thought that worked because of the pitch, so you top your hat and move on to the 14th inning. Damn.
It just kind of fell a part for Detroit after Kipnis struck out. Asdrubal got on, Hafner with a very solid single that got Cabrera to third, and that was it. Santana was intentionally walked with one out and it was up to Pauley to make the pitches to Fukudome. That's a great situation to be in if you are the Indians and they didn't even have to get the right pitch. Pauley came to them by hitting Fukudome and at two in the morning, you'll take it.
Josh Tomlin was warming up in the bullpen, but Tim Belcher said that Frank Herrmann had at least another inning, maybe two in him before they needed to consider Tomlin. It was Josh's side day.
Fukudome didn't have a single hit in six at-bats. He struck out four times in fact. Not every day the guy who nabs the winning hit strikes out four times in the same game.
With Hafner not the winning run, someone want to explain to me the logic in pinch-running Kearns for him? He was walked to second, so, there's not much worry about a double play with Hafner involved. Seems kind of dumb to take away one of your best hitters in case the situation didn't come out.
Tigers bullpen was just as good, they walked two hitters, twice and then Zeke. The Indians pen surrendered three walks. The Indians bullpen also gave up more hits, but they really went into damage control. There wasn't much traffic for the Tigers pen, and whatever traffic the Tigers created for the Mafia, was shot down with good defense and lock-down pitches.
Super important now for Ubaldo Jimenez to go deep into tomorrow's game. Perez can go another inning for sure, and luckily that off-day on Monday means the pen was well rested. Rafael Perez only pitched an inning and he has the rubber arm so he'll be available. The only ones that I'm sure Acta will want to avoid using are Joe Smith (pitched two innings) and Chad Durbin after the three he pitched.
Look at this orange and purple sky. Oh my.
Carrying on the theme of introducing some of the other lesser-known prospects since the Jimenez deal went down, every day we'll learn a little more about one of the prospects in the Indians system.
So there's this guy. He pitches in Akron and he throws really hard. A week ago, I might have been talking about Drew Pomeranz, but this week, I'm talking about Austin Adams. Adams will sit in the low maybe mid 90's, but he's reported himself that he's hit 100 on the gun a few times this year. He can do that in a relief role if he's just raring back ant throwing. It's not something he wants or can do with regularity, but that just shows you the velocity that Adams possesses. The right-handed starter was drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft, so he's got some potential and the Indians like him.
He's performing well in Akron this year, to the tune of a 9-8 record with a 3.81 ERA and 105 strikeouts. He isn't Drew Pomeranz, but with Pomeranz gone, Adams moves up the ladder and is someone you most definitely need to keep your eye on.
Well, like I always say, because like every MLB manager says, these things have a way of working themselves out. And Carlos Carrasco worked himself out of the rotation with elbow inflammation. The injury will sideline him likely longer than the bare-minimum two weeks he was out earlier this year when he had elbow inflammation, and that has something to do with his suspension.
Now Carrasco's suspension is on hold completely as his placement on the disabled list is retroactive to after this last start. So the Indians will have to activate him about six games prior to when they want him to start next. That's a little monkey wrench, but it will likely not come until September, which shouldn't present many issues.
So Carrasco goes down and that means after just one Columbus start, David Huff gets his opportunity to return. As I said, Huff will get another opportunity and while I didn't think it would be this quickly, he's going to get it now. Don't disappoint Huffy. He'll go Saturday when the Indians need him to make the start in place of Carrasco. It could mean Shelley Duncan gets called-down again, but with September approaching, that means it won't be long before he returns.
The return of Shin-Soo Choo is nearing, but it probably won't be until next week as his timing is really in need of work. Acta said Choo will take a week to rehab and where he goes once Lake County hits the road on Saturday is beyond me. Akron, Columbus, and Lake County are all on the road and Kinston, well, that defeats the purpose.
Choo was 0-for-2 in the suspended game for the Captains last night as the DH. He gets a day off today where he'll be evaluated and probably back in the lineup on Thursday.
While they expect Choo to get back in a week, Grady Sizemore won't be back until at least September. He will begin baseball activities, in the very early stages like playing catch or something simple like that, this week. That will of course present problems as the minor league regular season will end very early in September. There will likely be Columbus Clippers playoff games that Sizemore could participate in, but if not, I'd imagine they'd do something with him in Arizona in terms of a rehab assignment.
Anthony Castrovince said the stakes are high for Ubaldo's home debut tonight. They are also even higher now that the bullpen is exhausted. Of course it's more important for the long term and the rest of this season than it is for just saving the bullpen for one night, but let's just proceed.
"I'm really excited about my first start in Cleveland," Jimenez said. "But then especially pitching against Detroit. We're competing against them, and we have to do everything we can to stay close."
Victor Martinez said he faced Ubaldo Jimenez while he was with Boston in 2010 and he simply said, Ubaldo was untouchable. And that's the Ubaldo the Indians are hoping they acquired. Of course that isn't the one they need, they just need one who will help headline their rotation.
And while I'm sure Tim Belcher is hoping for that, he's also looking at someone else to get a boost from the Ubaldo trade.
"For the last couple years," Belcher said, "Fausto has been looked at like a top-of-the-rotation guy. Now, all of a sudden, this guy comes in, a former 19-game winner just like Fausto was one year, a Cy Young Award candidate just like Fausto was for one year. Maybe Fausto will say, 'Hey, this is my rotation. I'm supposed to be at the top.' I think it could be healthy. Don't deny that there's competition there. Because I've lived it. I know."
August 15th is approaching. That of course is the date that Drew Pomeranz will need before he can be traded, but it is also the date that the Indians need to have their draft picks signed by. They inked 14th rounder Cody Anderson, 38th rounder Yhoxian (call him Chippy) Medina, and 41st rounder Brian Ruiz to kick that off. Expect second rounder Dillon Howard to sign and the hope is he'll be joined by fellow HS arm 20th rounder Dillon Peters.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Your Minor League Tweet of the Day on Tuesday would have been this gem from LeVon Washington, commenting on Shin-Soo Choo being with the team. Your MLTD for Wednesday also involves Choo and the Captains and it comes from pitcher Jordan Cooper...
Thanks for the dinner tonight Choo! Big league meal. #clutch http://t.co/pxjPaot
in regards to last night's marathon, Joe Smith called anyone who stayed up nuts, Chris Perez said, it was a "HUGE effin win" and Vinnie PEstano thanked everyone. Love those guys.
I'm also a little concerned that Nick Johnson's twitter handle is "sexyfeet24". Sexy feet? Also follow Jerad Head.
Days Without a Tweet: 78
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets before midnight. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.