You win some you lose some. At the end of the day, the Indians only gained one game on the Tigers in this series. The upside? At least they didn't lose any more ground.
August 11th, 2011
Detroit Tigers - 4
Cleveland Indians - 3
W: Justin Verlander (17-5) L: Fausto Carmona (5-12) S: Jose Valverde (33)
It really is a big thing when you can go into the final game against Detroit having already won the previous two and Justin Verlander is pitching the finale. You'll have to take a morale victory, even though you want to make up games in the division and get closer to Detroit.
Does it sting a little more since the Indians were able to notch three runs off Verlander? Yeah sure, but what did you want from Carmona? Did you expect him to out-pitch Verlander? He kind of, matched him. Although he gave up four, one was unearned. The second inning was ultimately the inning that doomed Carmona, but he gave up a run in the first after another Santana miscue.
We'll talk about Wednesday's miscue in a second, but Lonnie Chisenhall got a little high on the throw on an Austin Jackson grounder. It should have brought Carlos Santana off the bag at first, but Santana stayed and tried to reach for it. It was going to be an error regardless, but Santana compounded it by not jumping for the ball and letting Jackson get to second. Carmona recorded outs after that, but of course, outs that advanced and scored Jackson.
That, set Asdrubal Cabrera off. He was likely yelling at Santana for being lazy. Because really, that was two games in a row now that he's just come off as lazy at first base.
And for Acta, well, that was fantastic.
"I like it. That means people around here want to win," Acta said. "Asdrubal just confronted Carlos about not catching the throw, and Carlos didn't like the way he talked to him. That's fire. I like it. People care, and that's all I can ask for."
Santana is the young guy, and furthermore, the first baseman. You do what your shortstop tells you. Especially since, as Acta said, he has kids at every other position on that infield. He's the leader and he took charge of that situation.
Santana said after the game that they are friends, "so everything is good" and was something that happens when two motivated people disagree about something. It's perfectly fine, and really, it's awesome. Acta had it right. They care, really much. That's fire. And whether that lit Carlos up enough to hit that home run off Verlander, who knows, but it happened.
We'll probably forget about it after today, but that's fine. If it sparks Santana, that's cool, but it really showed us that we've got a leader on this team, one that I think this club has waited for and thought they may have in Cabrera. Grady Sizemore was always looked upon to step up in the leadership department, but that's not his personality. Travis Hafner is a leader, but it's more of a veteran presence than a full-blown, he's our leader type of a thing.
Not since Victor Martinez left has this team had a guy that was the pulse of the squad. Cabrera is it and it showed in his spat with Santana.
The home run Carlos hit was just the first of three runs. The Indians were able to add on in the third with a pair of runs off a two run hit by Asdrubal. A pair of walks by Marson and Kipnis set the stage for a two-out double for Cabrera. It brought the game within one, but of course Verlander didn't give in and the Tigers bullpen contingency closed it out with ease.
It's interesting because Verlander said this was one of his toughest nights all year.
"It was a really tough night for me all around, probably the toughest internal battle I've had all year with myself, my mechanics and everything," Verlander said. "Probably the worst I've felt."
Man if that's him at his worst, I'm glad we didn't see him at his best.
Big point in the game. Bases loaded, one out, Carlos Guillen with a hard line out to Kipnis, who threw to Cabrera to notch the double play at second to get Carmona out of the jam in the third. That was pretty much the last big Tiger threat, and it allowed Fausto to continue and finish this one out with another quality start, seven innings, three earned runs (four overall).
Of course in the end, it didn't matter. What really mattered was that first inning unearned run. If that doesn't happen, even if the Santana miscue doesn't happen. The error is fine. The error isn't what caused the run to score. It was the fact that Santana didn't protect the ball. That let Jackson get an extra base, which means they had an extra out to move him and score him.
Had that not occurred, this is a 3-3 game and we have a whole different story this morning.
Acta is happy with the outcome of the series though and so should you. There are plenty more games against the Tigers coming up and this was a good start. They've also got a lot more games against the Central, which is a perfect chance to make a run, especially since the team seems to be getting hot at the right time. We saw how good they played against three division leaders, so you shouldn't be anything other than optimistic about what can happen from here on out.
Kipnis didn't get a hit, sadness, but he did score again off the Cabrera double. He's now scored a run in nine of his 10 games in the month of August.
Two straight starts behind the plate for Lou Marson and two straight games at first for Santana. Marson starting may be for Carmona's benefit. Acta and Belcher like Marson calling games, obviously because he's better at it, but also because he is more aggressive. That's what they want Carmona to be and it really shows out there. I would think you could see a little bit of a pairing there with Carrasco out. It shows you that Acta isn't afraid to catch Marson two days in a row though.
Attendance cracked the 30K mark, which is great for a game like that one. But really, it's August! This team is in it. I remember in 2007 when there was a series against Detroit and I was there and it was packed. The team was in it, there was an energy. Get to the park!
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.
Hey, it's T-Holt! The Florida State product, Tyler Holt, is a speedy and scrappy outfielder playing for the Kinston club this year. He's hitting .255 with a pair of home runs, but he's more of an on-base and speed guy. Holt has got on at a .364 clip and has scored 52 times, stolen 26 (out of 31 attempts) bases. He's the perfect leadoff hitter and is showing that hitting atop the K-Tribe's lineup all season long.
The 10th Rounder in the 2010 draft needed a good signing bonus to not return to college for this season and he ended up getting it and going right into the system. Holt plays a solid outfield and stands a chance at being an option for the Indians in years to come.
[SNOPENING DAY RETURNS]
It's baaaaack! The days of the winter that most, really didn't care a whole heck of a lot about, will return to a Progressive Field diamond near you. But with a twist!
Snow Days will indeed be back, starting on November 25th (after Thanksgiving and on Black Friday) and running all the way through January 16th.
Ice skating, the batter horn, all that will return. But there is an addition, one that I'm downright shocked the Indians were able to pull off. There was talk of playing a hockey game, but it sounded like it was going to be two local colleges or something like that.
No, it will be the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. Now i'm not sure how good Ohio State's hockey team is, but Michigan's is pretty good, so this is a big time rivalry (not necessarily in this sport) with a major player involved.
The Frozen Diamond Faceoff will occur on January 15th between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines.
"You have avid fans from Michigan and Ohio State," Indians president Mark Shapiro said. "You have a rivalry that's meaningful. You also have a unique event that will draw some event-goers just to come in to the ballpark. It'll be the first time in the state of Ohio and be a very special atmosphere. So I think when you combine all those things, it's our hope that there aren't any seats open."
This is really cool. Now this is something. This is going to possibly be a nice little additional revenue source. It's also probably very low cost since you already have the rink there. You sell tickets (which you will probably sell because Michigan fans will no-doubt come to the game) and you have a good chance of coming ahead on Snow Days.
And seriously, there are some diehard hockey fans that will go to this game, regardless. Hockey has that kind of following. The casual Indians fan may not care, hell the casual Ohio State fan may not even give a rats tail, but people will go to this.
Shapiro knew Snow Days couldn't stand to be profitable once again all by itself without changes. So kudos to him and the Indians for getting in a nice attraction to beef up the event.
Great news about the game on Wednesday. Rightfully so, the three earned runs charged to Ubaldo Jimenez were changed to unearned runs after they ruled the Victor Martinez hit an error on Carlos Santana for a missed catch. So Ubaldo rightfully sees his ERA lower by a whole heck of a lot and he is credited with eight innings and no earned runs.
The other day Tim Belcher said Jimenez could have a positive impact on Fausto Carmona and he expanded upon that idea after Jimenez went out and tossed those eight innings of baseball.
"I think the addition of Ubaldo is really going to help [Carmona]," Belcher said. "I think that's going to create a little bit of friendly competition within the rotation that's going to help him, especially, and the others. Fausto's kind of been the guy here for the last few years since CC [Sabathia] and Cliff [Lee] have gone other places. Now, all of the sudden, someone is here with top-of-the-rotation stuff."
It would definitely be nice to take any sort of pressure off Carmona from having to be "the" guy in the rotation. Of course all of that doesn't matter unless Carmona rights himself and comes out to try and pitch the same way every game. Not get ahead of himself and focus on the task at hand. None of that has to do with Ubaldo, but if Jimenez's presence can help Carmona in regards to not feeling pressure, then I guess that's one less thing he has to think about.
Belcher went on to say in response of Rockies fans calling him "Cybaldo" last year that they would like to see him the next few years, but the next few months would be fine too.
On the subject of big stars, Jason Kipnis drew a comparison from me the other day to Ian Kinsler. I really like that one because Kinsler does a little of everything. Meanwhile Manny Acta compared the type of player he is (not exactly the skill-set or production) to that of a Chase Utley or a Dustin Pedroia. Which is spot-on really. Maybe even more so. Acta called Kipnis a dirtbag, which is baseball talk for someone who's always getting dirty and doing the gritty work.
"A 'dirtbag' is one of those guys that runs through a wall to win every single day," Acta said. "He throws himself around, is always dirty, runs every ball out, just does whatever it takes to win. That's what we call a dirtbag in baseball. [He's] really not concerned about how he looks on the field, just getting it done."
He probably won't ever be the home run hitter Utley is or the AL-batting crown contender Pedroia is, but like I said, he can do a bit of everything and be more of an Ian Kinsler type. Kipnis said he's been called a dirtbag before and there's an interesting thing to bring up in these comparisons.
Kinsler and Pedroia were both ASU products like Kipnis. Both second baseman too, and while Kipnis wasn't there as a second baseman, the fact the the Sun Devils have churned out so many good second baseman the past few years is incredible.
I believe there was a stat out there about Kipnis joining the likes of Kinsler and Pedroia as one of the last few players to have five hits, three RBI, and four runs. So there you go.
Asdrubal Cabrera found his way into the lineup once again, still having missed one game all season. You can't even take him out period. Despite limping around and putting on noticeable grimace faces while on base the other night, he stayed in after getting hit by a pitch. That won't work with Michael Brantley though as Acta has preferred to give him the day off, which might have been for the best with Verlander pitching and it hurting Brantley to swing and miss at a ball.
Brantley should be back in the lineup tonight against Minnesota.
Shin-Soo Choo probably won't be in the lineup against Minnesota this weekend, but he was in the lineup again for the Captains last night after a day off on Wednesday. Choo played the entire game in right field, was 0-4 with a RBI and a strikeout.
Two releases in the system. One, Anthony Reyes, who had been trying to return from Tommy John surgery over, what feels like a million years ago for the fifteenth thousandth time (hyperbole). Reyes was just not making any progress through the system this year because of all the starters this team had. He really had his chance last year, but he wasn't quite there with his recovery. He's also had set-backs this season.
Also Connor Graham, who has not thrown a pitch in game at all this season due to an injury all the way back from the start of the season before it even got underway. He was with Akron and had been there ever since being acquired in the Rafael Betancourt deal with Colorado.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
In tradition with Twitter's Follow Friday, here is your one account to follow, on this Friday.
Just do me a favor and watch Archer, and follow @codenameduchess the account for Sterling Archer and his AJTTOTD. Your sense of humor will thank me later!
Days Without a Tweet: 80
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.