Pesky Juan Pierre. The universe didn't plan for this. I certainly didn't. Wonder what Carmona will do tonight?
August 16th, 2011
Cleveland Indians - 7
Chicago White Sox - 8
W: Jason Frasor (3-2) L: Chad Durbin (2-2)
Where do you start with this one? Ubaldo Jimenez started right? It didn't seem like the same game, but that is indeed the case.
The new ace didn't even complete the fifth inning. He was run off after giving up four earned off nine hits and a walk. It was not a good night for The Big U. His early exit gave way to the Mafia, who, after Frank Herrmann, did a really good job.
Jimenez, for whatever reason, fell under the spell the White Sox seem to have over the Indians. The White Sox now not only have have more wins than the Indians do, they have beaten the Tribe seven out of eight times this year.
I'm not going to blame the umpires. Was it umped real well? Of course not. It flat out sucked last night. The C.B. Bucknor strike zone among things was ridiculously inconsistent.. But that is certainly not why the Indians ended up losing.
When you are giving up home runs to Juan Pierre of all people, there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
"As a pitcher, you want to give your team an opportunity to win," Jimenez said. "You don't want to put the team in a bad position like I did today. The bullpen had to throw a lot of innings because I wasn't able to pitch good."
This was a playoff type game. The Indians offense certainly didn't give up and you could feel like the stakes were high. Jimenez didn't come up when the Indians needed him in a big way.
The offense and the bullpen certainly did. There is only so much you can do when you empty your bullpen into the 14th inning. Joe Smith, Rafael Perez, Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp, and Chris Perez did a fine job. The team as a whole gave up 22 hits, but they did their job. Even Chad Durbin pitching two scoreless frames. Acta tried to push for a third and he got into trouble in the 14th after recording the first out.
By the time Huff came in, it really was pointless. That is a no-win situation to come into with runners on first and third and one out. A double play gets you out of it, but when you let up a stolen base, that effectively takes your best shot to get out of the inning away.
Despite the ugliness of the 20-some baserunners the Indians pitching staff put on, you have to tip your hat to the bullpen. They dealt with a lot of traffic, but to go as long as they did after Jimenez put them in that hole and the offense battled back, that took something.
It is quite a way to begin a 44 day swing.
"Fourteen innings on the first day of 45 in 44," said Cleveland's Chris Perez. "It's days like this I'm glad I'm a closer."
The Indians offense didn't do much after the ninth inning. Even after the speed contingency got on and set up Choo to knock in the tying run, Asdrubal singled and gave Travis Hafner the chance to knock in the go-ahead run. Of course the Indians shouldn't have even been in that situation with Beckham botching the grounder. He got the out at second, but all he had to do was tag Brantley and throw easy to first to get Choo to end the game. You could probably even argue that Brantley may have been able to score from second with two outs and the blooper Cabrera hit. But that is a moot point.
Beyond the ninth inning a Jack Hannahan one-out double in the 11th, was the only other chance the Indians besides the 13th when they loaded the bases with one out and both Choo and Cabrera couldn't come through. Those are really agonizing to not come through in, but what can you do? Every team does it, you just hope your team doesn't do it in a spot like that one.
You win some, you lose some. Right? Against the White Sox, you lose all of them.
And now Carmona with the White Sox waving the "deed" to Carmona's domain in the other dugout. This could get dicey.
The fact that they didn't call interference on that Choo hit in the fourth inning was totally bogus. You kidding me? Choo would have been at second and Brantley might have just scored instead of only going to third on that hit, but he was basically tackled by Alex-I Ramirez. Whatever. I would have blown my top more than Manny Acta did in this one. Of course, when you look like you are doing the Fonz in a picture, all can be forgiven.
Five triples hit by the Chicago White Sox last night. None of them belonged to Juan Pierre.
One home run hit by the Chicago White Sox last night. It was hit by Juan Pierre.
Juan Pierre is now four home runs away from tying the immortal Andy Marte in career home runs.
He is also one strikeout away from tying the immortal Andy Marte.
I've exhausted my Juan Pierre jokes. Clearly.
But really? Juan Pierre and Alejandro De Aza with six of the White Sox htis and combining for four of the RBI and three of the runs scored? There was only two run scoring plays they were not a part of.
Chris Sale has been impressive, so much so against left-handers. Travis Hafner hit the first home run by a left-handed hitter off Sale.
Back in action, Michael Brantley was a real bright spot with a 3-for-6 night. One of those was that blooper in the ninth that set up Choo to knock in the trying run. How about the call, whatever it was, to put Zeke in motion. Whether it was a steal for Zeke or a hit and run, it worked real well. Perhaps Brantley was just trying to protect, but with the Zekester moving
3-plus hours to handle nine innings? Then a grand total of five hours and 20 minutes for the whole thing? Tomlin and Buehrle would get it done in two hours tops. What ever happened to the good days of Jake Westbrook and Mark Buehrle getting this stuff over within two hours?
[HERE COME THE KIDS]
It was a big day on Tuesday for the Indians in draft pick signing. It was going to be a big day regardless, because whether Francisco Lindor signed or not, it would have been a story.
Lindor signed, but not without some 11th-hour fear of him possibly not inking a deal. It took $2.9 million to get the job done, but eventually, the high school shortstop out of Florida signed his deal. It is just short of the $3 million given to Jeremy Guthrie, an Indians record for a draft pick and slightly more than last year's fourth overall pick Drew Pomeranz. Lindor was picked later, but with dealing with a high school talent and a deeper draft pool, this is the result.
Lindor wasn't the only signing. The Indians also signed their second round pick a little before, Dillon Howard, another high school prospect. Howard, the right-hander out of Arkansas was a much needed sign with Pomeranz and Alex White no longer in the system. Granted it's a high school arm that is still years away, the Indians needed some more power starters back to replenish. They couldn't get the other Dillon, the left-handed high schooler Dillon Peters, but one is better than none.
The other high school prospect they missed out on was eighth rounder Stephen Tarpley, who wasn't that much of a given anyway. Instead of Peters, the Indians went ahead and signed 18th rounder, RHP Shawn Armstrong out of ECU.
It finished the Indians effort off with 29 of their 50 picks and 15 of their top 16 picks signed and in the system. We'll see what the damage is in terms of total money for this draft, but with the $2.9M given to Lindor and the near $2M given to Howard, the Indians definitely top the $6 million mark and likely is nearing the $8 million mark. Don't forget the big bonus given to some of the Latin players that the Indians usually don't splurge on. So really, the Indians doled out a lot of dough again on the player development, something very encouraging to see.
What's crazy is that this Lindor deal took until the deadline, like it mostly always does. Thankfully, this process is done for and the whole "last minute" negotiation tactics will go away after this year.
"There's always a question, there's always doubt," Grant admitted. "But, at the same time, we always were confident. We knew Francisco wanted to play professional baseball and this was a priority in his life."
The Indians quite frankly know what they are willing to go to. Lindor knows what he wants. They probably had some negotiations up until this point, but because of the fact that there is just "suggested slotting" and teams can give players whatever they damn well pleased, you are going to get this.
Also, a good story on the local product, Brian Ruiz, who has a good friend in the manager of the Indians, Manny Acta.
With the draft pick deadline passing, that also mean it has been a full calender year since Drew Pomeranz signed his professional contract. Meaning he has now officially been sent to the Colorado Rockies organization. Pomeranz had been throwing bullpen side sessions and simulated games in Arizona since the deal.
It was called baseball's worst kept secret for the past few weeks and now it is a reality, Pomeranz is a Rockie.
"Drew basically just maintained his arm strength leading up to his transfer out to Tulsa," Hawkins explained. "It definitely was less than ideal, but I think all three parties -- Drew, us and the Rockies -- were able to work it out well. We got him out to Arizona.
"We and the Rockies felt like that was a good spot for him to not necessarily be in the spotlight, and also for him to be able to just continue his development out there until he was ready to move on."
That brings up the controversy of the August 15th deadline, and why doesn't it coincide with the trade deadline at the end of July. It also brings up the idea of why isn't there draft pick trading as well, of course that probably won't happen any time soon.
It also brings up the fact that the Indians have someone in their personnel department named Carter Hawkins. Okay, so what? Who the hell is Carter Hawkins? What game are you up to Nino? Frisky Dingo reference, you likely wouldn't understand. That video contains some offensive material, but also contains three of the five best lines in animated television history, Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy all be damned. Worth it. Bup Bup!
We say good luck though to Drew Pomeranz, who leaves Cleveland with no ill-will after saying he'd rather play in Denver than Cleveland, with the exception of some people. I will still unfollow him on Twitter.
It's just an Ubaldo kind of night I guess. Since we are on the topic of that trade, please take a look at a post published by fellow Tribe blogger Lewie Pollis. He took the time to survey a bunch of Indians writers and bloggers around the internet to find out how they felt about the Ubaldo deal. It's a very interesting piece and brings together a lot of the best within the Tribe Blogosphere. Thanks to Lewie for asking me to take part.
"The median grade was a B+, and only two writers graded the deal a C+ or worse. That might not be enough to make the honor roll, but at the very least consensus seems to be that the trade was worthwhile."
Hey, so how are the rest of the trade pieces doing? Alex White is still on the disabled list going through his rehab with Tulsa, He last pitched four shutout innings on Saturday. Gardner meanwhile has made two starts, last one coming on Friday where he went five innings and gave up two runs. He's 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA.
Matty McBride, he's really only played in one game on August 8th. Not sure really what's up, but hey. Ubaldo isn't the only one not delivering to the fullest so far.
And now for the feel-good story of the year. At least in my opinion. It circulated last night on Twitter after I re-tweeted it from David Brown, the author over at Big League Stew, one of my personal favorite blogs.
I don't think any of us knew that Jack Hannahan's son was born premature, but that in fact was the case. Jumpin Johnny Hannahan was born two months premature and Hannahan getting back to Cleveland was quite a task. He was in Boston at the time with the team and there were no more flights back home. He wasn't going to make it if he waited til the next morning.
So the idea was to charter a plane, but it cost what could really be two weeks of salary. I know, well big deal, he's making half a million this year. He's still a ball-player getting paid on a weekly basis, that's not exactly something he can just drop 35K down on. So after overhearing what was going on, Justin Masterson checked in and told Hannahan to book it.
Then Masterson pulled in the money among his teammates and Hannahan was back with 15 minutes to spare.
Overall, a big tip of the hat to the Indians players for doing that, but an even bigger tip of the hat to quite possibly the nicest and most caring guy on the team in Justin Masterson, who as Brown pointed out in the post, makes less money than Hannahan. (Special shout out to C. Trent Rosecrans who did the initial reporting on the story.)
Things like that make me feel good to not only be a fan of this team, but just to be alive. That's just a good old fashioned great story that warms the heart.
Injury updates.. Obviously, Michael Brantley was back in the lineup and not on the disabled list last night.
"We feel that he's ready to play," Acta said on Tuesday. "He's had enough time, especially with the rainout. ... He hasn't had any issues in batting practice. It bothers him when he misses. Those guys, they don't swing and miss often in batting practice. We only noticed in the past, he's grimacing and all that when he's swung and missed at certain pitches out of the zone."
Trainer Lonnie Soloff confirmed that it was some inflammation, which can definitely cause some discomfort. Again, I know, I've dealt with it myself. But Brantley looked good in there and not really any noticeably different swinging the bat.
Still not back in the lineup though is Jason Kipnis, who is probably itching to play now that he's back home in Chicago.
"I've been wanting to come back to my hometown and play in front of everyone," Kipnis said. "But you've go to put the team first and put myself second. It stinks if they come and I won't be able to play, but we don't want two games to turn into 28 or anything like that."
Kipnis was in the outfield playing catch with the skipper and hit in the cages, but wasn't deemed ready to play last night. Evaluation will take place tomorrow, so it really is unknown if he'll be a possibility for tonight's lineup. Thankfully, it looks like he will avoid the disabled list, but it will still be nice to get him back in the lineup sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, Grady Sizemore has returned to baseball activities. That means he's playing catch and hitting a baseball off a tee. That's a good progression with sports hernia surgery as well as the knee issues.
Bryce Harper is in Akron this week facing the Aeros with the Harrisburg Senators. Planning on taking a trip to Canal Park on Thursday with nothing else going on for once in my life during a weekday. I shared Stadium Journey with you awhile ago when they reviewed Classic Park. They now have a review up on Canal Park.
I don't feel responsible for Jim Thome hitting his 599th and 600th home runs on Monday, but I kinda mentioned it was very unlikely that he'd return to Progressive Field later this year without having hit two home runs. Of course, it became unlikely he left Monday's game without reaching the milestone. Congrats to big Jimmy and of course, thanks for beating the Tigers in that one.
[RAFAEL PEREZ TWEET WATCH]
Today's Minor League Tweet of the Day comes from Captains reliever Owen Dew, who is totally pumped about Mike Rayl getting some "face time" for striking out 11 hitters the other night for the K-Tribe.
Haha that a boy Rayl... Getting some major league face time. http://t.co/dSKJjBr
Days Without a Tweet: 85
You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he tweets through five hour games, as long as they don't go past his bedtime You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.