Jason Kipnis is no longer on his way. He's here and he's here to stay. Ubaldo Jimenez is no longer just a trade acquisition. This is all becoming very real people. Get on.
August 10th, 2011
Detroit Tigers - 3
Cleveland Indians - 10
W: Ubaldo Jimenez (7-9) L: Rick Porcello (11-7)
We Are All Kipnisses? Ubaldo Mania? The Kip Show? The Big U's Home Debut?
I'm in an internal debate with myself which one of these stories should be our headliner.
Let's go with the rook!
Jason Kipnis just kept breaking records as he advanced through the game and got a new hit. He started off as the first rookie since Coco Crisp in 2003 to collect four runs and four hits. Then he became the first Tribe rookie to collect four runs and FIVE hits since 1952.
Okay so he's hot. He's scorching hot. This isn't going to continue, it can't, he's just a rookie and even more so, he's human, so he'll come back down to earth. But just because he's hot doesn't mean he's really really good. It takes some special people collect five hits. He was hitting anything and everything thrown his way and he looked real good doing it.
"It was a little bit infectious today," Kipnis said. "Everyone was hitting. Everyone was having good swings tonight. It went down the order, one through nine, and everyone contributed, so it was a lot of fun to hit tonight."
Jim Leyland said that him being impressive is an understatement and that he's a good-looking young hitter. Uh, I think so. Kipnis is really giving this offense a spark. He's hitting in the two-spot and not just doing his job as a two-hitter by setting the table (four runs) he's knocking them in whether there are people on base or not.
And while I think we all had an idea he was good, this was his coming out party for the rest of the league. If they didn't hear about Jason Kipnis before, they surely have heard about him now. Just a triple short of the cycle, a 5-for-5 night with four runs and three RBI. That will get people talking. Keep it up Rook!
And then we have this big Ubaldo guy... What more can you say about Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up three earned, but really shouldn't have? The lone blemish was that fourth inning. After recording ground outs from Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez hit a sharp ball to shortstop. Of course Asdrubal fielded it and delivered a solid throw to first, that was in-time with a slow-footed and sort-of-hobbled Martinez.
If only, Carlos Santana didn't drop it. I'd have ruled that one an error, even though it was a solid swing by Victor Martinez and it took a great by Cabrera to filed and throw, that wasn't Jimenez's fault. He got the ball he needed to get out of that inning.
From there, Triple, walk, double, 4-3 game and Ubaldo has three earned runs that really, shouldn't be charged to him. He threw extra pitches he probably didn't need to throw. Still, he went eight innings, giving up three runs (not really) off six hits (really four) and one walk (really none). He threw 117 pitches, which is something he probably won't do every night, but it was really needed after the bullpen's effort the night before.
Not only do the Tigers feel like they have a good chance of wining today's game, the Indians probably feel like they are up against a tough-task as well because of who's pitching. Look at the mentality they have with a guy like Ubaldo on the mound for them.
"When you have a guy like that," Indians manager Manny Acta said, "before the game starts, you feel like you have a chance to win the ballgame. You have a guy that can dominate any type of lineup."
And Jimenez lived up when they needed him to. Thankfully, he's no stranger to the situation.
"I've been there before, especially in the playoffs," Jimenez said. "So I know how it's just an unbelievable experience. You come to the stadium every day expecting to win. Everything counts. Every pitch. Every out. Every inning. It's really fun."
Jimmy Leyland calls it "equipment" but most people call it stuff or pitches or whatever. Ubaldo has the equipment and I was real impressed with it last night. So he isn't hitting the 96-97 he was last season, from what the people say. But he was consistently hitting 95 in the first inning with his fastball. And I'm not sure if it was his slider or what, but he was throwing something else really hard.
So needless to say, the dip in velocity, and sure there is a little small dip. But who cares? He's really really effective and he got the job done and he did it when the Indians needed it the most.
Two games, two wins. They've got Verlander today and this is why they moved him up. They have a chance of letting up a third game and letting the Indians get within one. The goal is to keep it at a three-game lead and the idea is Justin Verlander gives you high odds to do that.
Let's bust those odds up. Carmona has been pitching well as of late and this team is riding all sorts of momentum offensively. Fingers crossed. Do it.
Tribe-Tigers game over by 10? Yes please.
Not a whole lot at the game last night, but somewhere around 27K. A nice boost from the Ubaldo-factor, with 7,200 sold game day at the stadium. So decent walk-up that got them well over 20K.
What is it though about Tigers game late in the year and chanting names? I remember back in 2007 the crowd chanted the names of everyone that was on the mound or at the dish late in the game against Detroit. It was the one where Casey Blake hit the walk-off. It was nice and cool, but what gives in this one? It started with Ubaldo and Kipnis getting chants, but then even Austin Kearns got an "Austin Kearns! Austin Kearns!" I mean, that's not necessary now, is it?
Everyone hit last night and there were quite a few hard-hit balls. Zeke Carrera even had one to center and he even riffled a double down the left field line. Heck, a lot of people doubled last night. Seven doubles, six different players, and it was probably Lou Marson's that was the biggest. After the Santana drop and the three-run fourth, Marson led off the bottom of the frame with a double that set the tone and started what was the Indians biggest inning of the night.
Jason Kipnis had a great night, but Lonnie Chisenhall also got two hits. He doubled and then got thrown out stretching a single into a double.
Frank Herrmann got to throw his third inning. Way to go Harvard.
Fukudome with a little bit of momentum offensively after the walk-off-hit-by-pitch the previous night. Three hits turned around that four-strikeout game. Travis Hafner also quietly putting things back together. Look out people.
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.
Houston's Michael Goodnight has the perfect name for a closer. But right now, he's a starter for the Lake County Captains. One of the big right-handers drafter in the 2010 class, Goodnight was selected in the 13th round and has put together a solid year in Low-A Lake County. The Captains starter has gone 5-11 but has struck out 94 hitters in 109 innings over 23 starters with a 4.45 ERA. Goodnight turned 22 in June and has fastball-slider combo. He also throws a curveball.
He's a wily guy, so he could translate better into the bullpen, but so far, he's doing well as a starter. How great would he be in the Bullpen Mafia though? Mr. Goodnight? I mean, yeah, perfect.
The last time the Indians bullpen put up the effort they did on Tuesday was back in 1981. It was also the longest streak of bullpen scoreless innings in the American League since 1993 when Minnesota did it to Cleveland.
"That was remarkable, especially considering the way these guys had to battle in those seven games against the Red Sox and the Rangers," said Tribe manager Manny Acta. "It was unbelievable. ... For these guys to go through those guys for 12 innings, I can't say enough. It was fantastic."
It was fantastic and after last night, no addition will really be needed and the club can continue onward. That's a lot of innings for a bullpen to pitch, but they're going to make it out okay. The Tigers weren't so lucky, but odds are they'll be okay too, because we all know who's pitching today.
I mentioned on Twitter yesterday about Manny Acta saying it would have been Josh Tomlin after Frank Herrmann, who had another inning in him. But it was also mentioned that after that, Jack Hannahan would have pitched in an emergency situation. Manny Acta put in Andy Marte in a massacre against New York last year, but he did so very reluctantly and had a lot of disgust after the game for having to do so.
And he was very adamant that he didn't want to have to use Hannahan. What is it with those backup third basemen? And, is there anything Super Mannahan can't do?
As Herrmann said, the finish to Tuesday's game was anti-climatic, but who cares? Kosuke Fukudome had to earn it the hard way, but he and Acta were both glad he got plunked.
"I told him after the game that that's the first time ever that I've been happy that one of my players had gotten drilled," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "And he told me likewise in Japanese through his interpreter that it was the first time he was happy he got hit, too."
It really is a weird way to win a ball game, but I'd much rather win a game that way than lose a game that way. That's for sure. Either team could have and deserved to win that one, both played good.
Michael Brantley sat last night and it was mostly due to resting his wrist. It is also not 100% that he'll be in the lineup tonight against Verlander. He was wearing a special wrist band in the dugout last night and so far, it's only days of rest, and not an extended disabled list stint, surgery, or anything like that.
Hopefully this isn't a lingering issue. It hasn't really shown in his performance, but I have wrist soreness and have since March due to a bowling injury, so it's not any fun and it's definitely something that can linger. And I'm not swinging a wooden bat every night.
More Draft Pick News: The Indians signed 43rd round LHP Geoff Davenport out of Arkansas. Davenport is recovering from Tommy John surgery, so he dropped in the draft. They also signed 7th rounder Eric Haase, a high school catcher that had committed to Ohio State. Haase was a big signing and really adds to the catching depth that is already really deep.
Shawn Morimondo, the 19th round left-handed high school pitcher tweeted that he'd be in Cleveland Thursday. Not sure what that means, but it could be a clue as to any mutual interest in signing.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
I'm not sure if he really has heard that many National Anthems, but T.J. House probably knows what he's talking about. Baseball players in general probably hear the National Anthem more than anything and when you play for years in the minors, you probably hear a lot of bad ones. That has spurred today's Minor League Tweet of the Day.
I've heard 114 national anthems so far this year, and this one might of scared me a little #tomanybravepeople
Days Without a Tweet: 79
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets about The Big U! You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.