I dont believe what I just saw (last night)

One of the best baseball play by play calls of all time was the call by Jack Buck, a Lakewood, Ohio High School graduate in the 1988 World Series for the homerun by Kirk Gibson.

 

Last night, the Cleveland Indians brought back the 1990’s for the franchise. This play, even though I was there helped me flash back to Jack Buck in 1988 because I really did not believe what I saw live on the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. This play, this team is something truly special. Due to this blessing from God, the Indians were able to score a FRANCHISE record for wins in April. As their promotion will tell you, they were established in 1901. That’s right, in 110 years, the Indians have never won 17 games in April and we still have 1 more day to go. Stay tuned.

Having a Royal celebration from another Indians sweep

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The Cleveland Indians are playing like it is Christmas in April. They gave their fans a Royals sweep. As a franchise, Manny Acta is getting the team to rise up to the challenges daily. It is really exciting.

I tweeted the following to Manny Acta on Tuesday. The team responded positively.

@MacTriber_11 hey tell the team, there is a “Royal Wedding” this Friday. Anyone royal doesn’t need anything else to celebrate this week.

The Cleveland Indians stats look like this currently:

They lead the American League going into tonight’s action in runs scored (129), on-base percentage (.342) and batting average (.272) Winning 16 games in April ties the most wins in April and 10 in a row at home is the most since 1996 when the team won 13 in a row.

It is my hope that this celebration can continue. Fireworks are tonight and the debut of Alex White happens tomorrow. There is a true buzz around Progressive Field these days. The pitching continues to amaze with quality starts and the offense and defense are all clicking very well. This Week In Baseball will highlight the Cleveland Indians debuting tomorrow.

If one saw the Royal Wedding this morning, the crowd there too was buzzing and very happy. It is my hope that this type of crowd will be join me tonight down at Progressive Field. This team is truly exciting and worth spending money on to watch.

What a difference a game makes!

Sunday night was a low point for us Indians fans but I refused to get sour with them. We just lost to the Twins. Carlos Carrasco was rumored to be certain to go to the DL after leaving the game with elbow tightness adding to Mitch Talbot, already being there. The Indians had lost their third in a row and had been swept by the Twins, the team picked by most, I have read, to win the AL Central again. The Indians were just not playing good baseball. Should I jump off this bandwagon too? Instead of joining many fans, I tweeted the first comment to Manny Acta and the second comment to the fans.

@Mactriber_11 Hopefully the day off and the home cooking will help turn things around. Hang in there! It was much better than yesterday.
#Indians fans, the next homestand is a great opp. for #winning in the division against the #Royals and #Tigers. #GoTribe2011 #dontgiveup
I really believed that this week would tell a lot about the Tribe and wanted them to seize the opportunity to defend their current 1st place status and not just dismiss it as a fluke. I did not want the fans to just give up this early after a slight fall. I thought the Indians were playing well enough to win in most of their games. They could actually be much better than the 14-8 current standing. I believe most fans agree with this.
Last night, the Indians showed the fire that has made them 14-8. With Kansas City and Detroit breathing down their neck and their 1st place status all but over, they came out and gave the performance they needed to give.
Aggressive in the first three innings, they grabbed the lead, a stat that proves to be victorious for the Indians almost every time. The Indians offense was also aided by the homerun, 5 in total including 2 by Jack Hannahan, who I affectionately label Jack “themanwhocan”, on Twitter. Grady Sizemore was hitting extra base hits like crazy, with a homerun and two doubles. Thanks to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the following information: Grady now has as many extra base hits in 8 games as he had in 2010 in 33 games. Shin Soo Choo and Matt LaPorta also added homeruns. The highlight for me came in the pitching however.
There was the news pregame that Wednesday (today) might prove Carlos Carrasco to be okay. This helped Indians fans like me to feel better. During the game, the pitching shut down the Royals for the first three innings with ease. However for me, the highlight of the game came when Vinnie Pestano came in with the score 7-4 and the bases loaded full of Royals and none out. Vinnie retired the Royals in order without giving up a run.
This performance by Pestano was for me the overall reason why the Indians deserve to be 14-8 atop the AL Central Standings, something for the moment that I truly hope can last.

Thoughts about the 2-4 road trip and the week ahead.

For as wonderful as the fast start has been, the Cleveland Indians have shown so far that the American League Central is not their favorite division. The Cleveland Indians, in their latest road trip, played all division foes. They finished 2-4. Add this to the previous series against the White Sox and they are 3-6 in the American League Central.

Add this to the ugly reality that the bullpen has proved to be mortal, blowing a save this past week to the Royals and not protecting a lead yesterday to the Twins and panic for some has set in.

Yesterday also, the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco had elbow tightness and will have to most likely miss some time on the DL. If this happens as expected, he will be added to a list that already has Mitch Talbot, another successful key to the 2011 rotation.

With all these negative outcomes from the road trip, it is no wonder that the bandwagon feels much, much lighter. It is easy to bash this team and get crazy with pessimistic tweets. However I read this quote that put me into a better mood and helped me learn something. “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all”…G. K. Chesterton

So many Indians fans can get emotional over a 8 game winning streak and get as or more emotional over the current 3 game losing streak because the outlook is now sending us into this hopeless feeling that all these media bashers of Cleveland are indeed right. (5th place, 4th place…no better…lucky but this wont last…this team stinks…85-100 losses easily) This town deserves better.

Let us fans, hope! Look at the fact and the possibilities! The Cleveland Indians are still in first place. For as rough as the road trip ended, we still are on top. We have an opportunity to win some games in the division at home where we are 7-2. Carrasco and Talbot may be hurt but we have Huff and Gomez. Gomez kept us in the game yesterday and we had opportunities to score. Huff is capable of filling in for Carrasco. This will give Huff and Gomez a chance to prove they are worthy of being up here in the majors.

The team needs to rise up to this challenge and get back to playing FUN-da-mental baseball. It is easier to hope but hard to to realize. It is my hope that this team, in between the raindrops, can get back to winning baseball games. Opportunities are here and must be grasped to do this. Let us cherish this, Indians fans, and not dismiss it.

FIRST PLACE is on the line!

When the season prognosticators came out with their predictions, many picked the Royals and Indians, including myself, for fourth or last place in the American League Central. Yet, tonight, these two franchises are going to begin a four game series in a battle for first place.

Its like an episode of the Twilight Zone

The Twins, White Sox and Tigers are all saying it is early. The Royals and Indians will come down to Earth soon and then the season will be back to normal. For myself, I hope it stays like this all year long. This is some outstanding baseball to watch so far.

OFFENSE

The Kansas City Royals have a team batting average of .275, 148 hits, and 82 runs scored in 15 games. The Royals are lead by Alex Gordon who has a .365 batting avg., 23 hits, 8 of which are doubles, and 11 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support for the Royals are Billy Butler, Jeff Francouer, Melky Cabrera, and Chris Getz.

For the Cleveland Indians, as a team, have a batting average of .265, 132 hits, and 79 runs scored in also in 15 games. The Indians are lead by Travis “Pronk” Hafner who has a .354 batting average, 17 hits, 4 of which are homeruns and 9 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support are Asdrubal Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera and Michael Brantley. Add the reemergence of Grady Sizemore and the promise of Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo and you have a powerful lineup. Still at this point in the season, I have to give the offensive edge to the Royals of Kansas City.

PITCHING

The Royals pitching staff has a 3.70 ERA, giving up 63 runs, 59 earned runs and 145 hits in 143.1 innings pitched. They are lead by Bruce Chen 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. The Royals bullpen has Joakim Soria who is 4/5 in save opportunities The Cleveland Indians pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA, giving up 50 runs, 48 earned runs and 107 hits in 136.2 innings pitched. They are lead by Justin Masterson 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and Josh Tomlin 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA. The Indians also are consistent in the bullpen with the reemergence of Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and 5/5 in saves for Chris Perez. I think the advantage in pitching goes to the Cleveland Indians so far.

I do not know who will win this series. However, if the Indians pitching holds to form, I think the Indians will have the advantage. After all, the old saying is good pitching beats good hitting. Let us buckle up and see how this will help see who wants to be a factor in the AL Central in 2011. It should be fun and intense for the next 4 days. Hopefully the Indians can do well.

Random thoughts about the Tribe so far

The Indians, in impressive fashion added another series win to their young 2011 season resume. Entering the weekend series, I was very impressed by the Orioles starting staff and this caused me concern. This past Wednesday we had just lost two and were recovering until Friday night from losing a tough one when Durbin blew it extra innings. The responses by fans were none too kind to Mr. Durbin.

This series, the Indians have done well putting together solid, timely hits and putting runners on putting pressure on the Orioles pitchers and defense. Single after single, walk, bunt, double, homerun. Anything that is needed to help the team score is being addressed right away.

The lineup will have a shakeup that has been well-anticipated with the return of Grady Sizemore. The questions posed have been who will be going down to AAA Columbus when he is activated and where will he bat in the lineup. I think Acta does not want to tell until he has to tell, similar to how he handled the announcement of the 5th pitcher in the rotation, the 4th starter, Josh Tomlin. I hope that Sizemore will continue to do what is needed to make the lineup better and, whatever the case, have the lineup not skip a beat whether he bats 1-9 in the lineup.

The starters for the Tribe have gotten ahead by attacking the strike zone. This is no secret. What has been nice is that even though occasional runners get on and a run may cross the plate, the Indians are avoiding the big inning from their opponents.

The defense is getting lead runners, double plays, keeping the runs from scoring in bunches. We are getting outs when we need to get them. This is truly encouraging. The bullpen also is showing up and doing the job every night. It is becoming a formula that every team wants and we currently have.

We have had consistency from our bullpen, our designated hitter, our offense, getting the lead fast and keeping the opponent from retaking the lead. We have had FUN as fans watching and can tell so far that the players are having fun too.

Still, the Royals too have a formula and are winning too. We will need to play smart as we go forward and not take any team, especially any division rival, for granted. It will be interesting to see how we match up against the Royals and then the Twins this week. I, myself am looking forward to it. Go Tribe!

Thanks Jackie!

On this date in baseball history, Jackie Robinson debuted for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Also on this date in 1865, the 16th President, Abrham Lincoln, who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that made all slaves free in the USA. April 15th is a great day that helped us to live in a better nation and made baseball a better sport.

Thanks to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and Jackie Robinson, tonight when I sit down to watch the Cleveland Indians against the Baltimore Orioles, I will have the opportunity to see the best nine players for either team, no matter what their race or creed. I will want only for my favorite team, the Cleveland Indians to win. This is the joy of baseball, the joy of America’s pastime. If one plays for Cleveland, they will be cheered. The opportunity that Branch Rickey helped created and Jackie Robinson agreed to helped all teams become better and allowed my Cleveland Indians to have the first African American ballplayer in the American League as well as the first African American manager.

Tonight thanks to the efforts of the 2011 Cleveland Indians, I will see two winning organizations battle it out. Granted it is early but to see winning baseball in Cleveland is a wonderful opportunity, an opportunity I will be lucky to experience tonight. So when I see the game tonight, I will realize that the winning could not be possible unless a man named Jackie played 64 years ago. Thank God for this day, a day that makes us all happier.

Game 11 2011 reminiscent of 1995 Game 6 World Series

The Cleveland Indians are now 8-3. What did it take to beat the Indians? It took better pitching. It reminded me of 1995 in the World Series where we lost to the long ball 1-0, when David Justice took Jim Poole deep. 1-0 That was the difference. They had a lights out pitcher in Tom Glavine that night. When it is the World Series, everything gets magnified and rightfully so.

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Still when the Indians, winners of 8 of their first 11 games, start off the season winning 8 in a row and lose tonight 2-0 to the long ball and get shut down due to great pitching, it too gets magnified because of how much effort it took to beat our young team. We will win more than lose with efforts like tonight. Something to build on.

Remember our team is still rebuilding and learning to win. We did not spend $200 plus millions on payroll to try to buy the World Series title this year like the 2-9 Red Sox whom we swept last week or the Phillies who lost tonight to the Nationals 7-4. The key for our team is to get right back up and compete like we did tonight with decent starting pitching and enough offense. Let us see how we do. Ervin Santana will be our opponent. Let us see how the Indians approach the game. remember with any successful team, winning series and winning in the division are two goals. The Indians averaged 5.1 runs scored before tonight’s 1 hit shutout.

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Games like these are going to happen in a 162 games season. Best case scenario: If they win tomorrow, it will be their fourth series win in a row. Another series won is a great thing. We have the opportunity to make this happen. Worst case: we lose tomorrow and have a 4-2 road trip. This would put us at 4-2 at home and 4-2 on the road. I will like the best case scenario more but will also like the worst case scenario as it stands. We need to continue to compete and improve. I as a fan must improve in supporting this team. I have gone to two games already. I will go Friday. Will you?

Indians pitching from top to bottom continues to shine.

Monday afternoon I was scouting Tyler Chatwood on YouTube and saw that he had a pretty good sinker and wondered if the Indians would not benefit from going up against a rookie. Luckily, I was wrong. The more I read about Chatwood as impressive as he looked and was on the Angels’ depth chart, the more I remembered Cleveland Indians’ history.

It was 1986 and a highly touted prospect of the Indians was then Greg Swindell. He was called up to make his debut against the 1986 Boston Red Sox. That team kicked Greg “the Flounder” around and won 23-5 by sitting primarily on a fastball. Back to the present day, it was Tyler Chatwood’s debut. On the radio, the play by play announcer, Tom Hamilton, said that while the Indians did not have a deep scouting report on Chatwood, the hitting coach prepared the batter by telling them to sit on the fastball. They did sit on the fastball and took full advantage of it to run their winning streak to 8 games and an 8-2 start.

Asdrubal Cabrera started off the scoring with a homerun to deep center field to make it 1-0. Austin Kearns hit a double off the wall at right field to score Orlando Cabrera who hit a line drive single to centerfield to start the offensive onslaught in the second inning. Matt LaPorta added a two run shot to right field that scored him and Kearns. Now the score was 4-0 and a rout seemed to be in place especially with the starting pitching that the Indians have been showing so far in 2011. However, there would be no more scoring. 4-0 was the final score.

Tonight, the Indians will go against Dan Haren, who I always have seen as a true threat, a true ace. The Indians however, with an eight game streak are meeting the challenges they face with such professionalism. On paper, they still are young, inexperienced and yes, shocking even me. Hopefully Fausto Carmona is up to the task of keeping the team in the game and the offense can do well to score just enough. This one can only hope.

On the lower end in A ball, the Lake County Captains, a Cleveland Indians affiliate pitched a no hitter. Three pitchers Trey Haley, Francisco Jimenez and Clayton Ehlert combined for the first no hitter in minor league baseball for 2011 against the Dayton, Ohio Dragons, an affliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The game was the first one at home for the Captains since winning last year’s Midwest League Championship. What a homecoming it was. To read the article go here. Things are really getting exciting as the Cleveland Indians are adding much needed depth.

Stats spell success so far for 2011 Tribe

The Cleveland Indians have WON 7 IN A ROW! This is remarkable since the season start looked bleak after an 0-2 start. How have they done it so far?

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1. Starters The starters have avoided the big inning. In the two losses to begin the 2011 season, the White Sox had a big inning scoring 8 in the 4th inning on Opening Day and 4 in the 2nd inning of Game 2. Since then the big inning has been nonexistant. The starters since Game 2 have allowed, in the 7 wins, 9 total runs. In the 2 losses, the starters have allowed 17 total runs.

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2. Bullpen The bullpen has been very consistent. Coming out of Spring Training, the general consensus has been it was the strength of the team. So far, this has proven to be true. In the 7 wins, the bullpen came in with the lead and never allowed the opposition to tie the score. In the 2 losses the bullpen surrendered a total of 6 runs. In the 7 wins, a total of 5 runs have been surrendered. For a bullpen to be successful, it needs to have a lead to protect. In the two losses, the bullpen added to the chaos caused by the starters. In the seven wins, the lead was never surrendered.

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3. Hitters Anytime a lineup is pressed to score a bunch of runs and come from behind, it makes it very hard to win. In the 2 losses, the Indians at one point found themselves behind 14-0 on Opening Day and 5-0 in Game 2. For the 7 wins, they were only behind in two of the games by the score of 1-0. Otherwise, they scored first and never surrendered the lead. 39 runs scored 13 runs scored in the two losses. They scored 12 in Friday’s win alone. Leading the way is Travis “Pronk” Hafner. He is not relying strictly on the long ball for his offensive production. He is 10-27 with 2 homeruns and had gotten a hit in every game he has played in this season and has a .370 batting average so far. Overall, the team has has a .285 batting average, 6th among all in Major League Baseball, 11 homeruns, tied for 6th in MLB, 86 hits, 6th in MLB and 49 runs batted in, 6th in MLB.

All in all, these consistencies have helped the Tribe to have a successful start to the 2011 campaign. Let us hope these trends can continue to improve as the season continues.

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