Found July 10, 2013 on Fox Sports Ohio:
1) A few days before the Tigers series started, my good friend Dave from Westlake (hes the guy who used to correctly predict the Browns drafts) texted to ask how many games the Indians would win in the four-game series. One or two was the pithy response. This guess was based on the Tigers starting pitchers, the Indians starting pitchers and the Tigers lineup, which is very reminiscent of the Indians of the 90s in attitude and relentlessness. Lo and behold, the Tigers slapped the Indians around pretty good the first two games, then came up with the finale in dramatic fashion to win three-of-four. If the Indians are disappointed about anything with the series, it shouldnt be the last game. That was an excellent, exciting game that could have gone either way. Instead, they should be disappointed that they took two games to actually start playing. The first two games the Indians pressed. It took a team meeting ran by Jason Giambi to get them to wake up. Had they won the finale, it actually would have felt like they won the series given how badly they started it.2) Some of the Indians strategy in the Tigers finale drew raised eyebrows as it happened, especially when Terry Francona did not have Lonnie Chisenhall try to bunt Drew Stubbs to third with nobody out in the ninth and when he did not pinch-hit for Mike Aviles against right-hander Joaquin Benoit in the 10th. The knee-jerk would be to second guess, but in both cases the numbers and the logic favored Francona. Asking Chisenhall to bunt would have been asking him to do something he cant; it goes against the grain of Franconas belief system, which is to maximize what players do well and minimize what they dont do well. Put them in position to succeed, not to fail. Chisenhall has one sacrifice bunt attempt as a major leaguer, and that was two years ago. In 2,441 professional plate appearances, Chisenhall has tried three sacrifice bunts. Asking him to do it Monday would have been asking him to do something he couldnt. In the ninth, Francona had Carlos Santana and Giambi on the bench, but he knew that righties were hitting .208 against Benoit, lefties .203. He also knew that Giambi was 2-for-12 against Benoit, Santana 2-for-15. Santana had a home run, but he also had five strikeouts. Aviles had only seen Benoit three times, but he had one hit. Francona went with Aviles. And the old bromide again turned out to be true: When moves work, they look smart; when they dont work, they dont.3) Now. if the debate centers on whether a major leaguer should be able to bunt when hes called upon to do so, thats another story. Earlier this season, Francona asked Ryan Raburn to bunt, but after seeing his first attempt he took the bunt off. He didnt even try with Chisenhall, figuring a left-hand hitter should be able to pull the ball to move the runner, which of course Chisenhall didnt. The bunt has lost favor as sabematricians and the dont give up an out folks have taken over baseball, but at times its needed. And Monday it might have come in handy. Move a runner to third with one out and there are several ways he can score. Wild pitch, fly ball, squeeze, heck even a plain old hit. Alas, it did not happen.4) Chisenhall went 0-for-7 after being recalled from AAA in June, but has hit well in the 15 games since, hitting .315 with two home runs and nine RBI. Francona has kept Chisenhall from hitting tough lefties, for good reason. For the season hes still just 3-for-32 against left-handed pitchers.5) Michael Bourn ran a long way to track down Victor Martinezs game-winning hit Monday night, but said he just couldnt catch up to it. Bourn said he was playing a little shallower than usual, because with Miguel Cabrera on second he wanted a chance to throw him out on a base hit. Martinezs two-out drive to dead center sent Bourn scrambling back. He hit that really well, Bourn said. Bourns only chance was to get close to the ball and hope he could jump against the wall, a la Kenny Lofton. But he said he simply did not get close enough to it try.6) It didnt take long to see enough of Carlos Carrasco, notwithstanding Franconas unbridled optimism about his players. Carrasco was tough to watch, and he seemed to compound one mistake with two or three more. Which is why the Indians sent him down, which clearly was a sign that they were fed up with him. Francona said that Carrasco needs to not be tentative -- read: afraid -- once he finds some trouble. Limiting damage, slowing the game down, however you want to say it, Francona said. Carrasco is 26 and coming off Tommy John surgery. When he talks, he doesnt exactly sound like the most intense guy in the world, but that could be a product of language (Carrasco is from Venezuela). Hes big, throws 96 mph and has stuff that makes Francona drool. Or at least he says it does. The further he gets away from this surgery, and the more he pitches we are at some point going to have a really good pitcher, Francona said. Its just been a little inconsistent at this point.7) Danny Salazar will start against Toronto on Thursday in the spot vacated by Carrasco. Not Carrasco. And not Trevor Bauer, who shocked everyone by pitching out of the stretch in a doubleheader fiasco in Chicago. Salazar, who will make his major league debut.8) Michael Brantley has hit in every spot of the lineup this season, one through nine. Hes had 100 plate appearances leading off, 81 hitting fifth, 58 hitting seventh and 50 hitting cleanup. Brantley doesnt seem to be a cleanup hitter, but hes driven in nine runs there. His best batting average is hitting third (.400), but he gets the most production from the fifth spot, where he has four home runs and 13 RBI. His best OPS is hitting third: 1.038. Most hitters prefer to be slotted into a spot in the lineup consistently, and Brantley is probably no different. But Francona has needed to move him around use him fourth given the shoulder struggles of Nick Swisher and the inconsistency of Mark Reynolds. Brantley has accepted the juggling, and produced. Ideally I like to have one guy that you can bounce around that keeps everybody else in order, and it doesnt screw (that guy) up, Francona said. And (Brantleys) that guy. He does it willingly. And it doesnt get in his way and it helps our entire lineup. How has Brantley responded? Hes hitting .387 with runners in scoring position. Among players with at least 50 at-bats in that situation, hes seventh in all of baseball, and second in the American League. Brantley has 46 RBI, 37 when runners were in scoring position.9) The pitcher who, by Franconas own admission, is most like Brantley? Cody Allen, a tough-as-nails guy who is afraid of nobody. Allen has pitched in all kinds of roles, and with Vinnie Pestano taking a break from the setup role, Allen moved into the seventh inning Tuesday night and had a quick and effective inning. Allen is 24 and only in his second season, but in 37 games he has a 2.45 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 37 23 innings. He has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.75 to 1, and hes given up just 1.064 walks and hits per inning pitched. Allen says he does not expect to be in the seventh inning role long because he expects Pestano back -- Vinnies been one of the best setup guys in the league for years -- but he has earned the admiration of his manager. Weve kind of pitched him all over and hes very valuable because he can come in and he can throw strikes, Francona said. He can get swing-and-miss, and he competes. Hes done a terrific job and hes just gonna get better. Allen said he honestly does not care when he pitches, that every inning is important no matter where it is in the game. With his fastball, his approach and his attitude, Allen seems like a future closer in the making.And since the Tigers game went extra innings, we go 10 as well 10) Wonder what Giambi said at the team meeting? He was asked. His answer: I dont remember. Clearly, whats said in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

The case for trading Asdrubal Cabrera

After losing the first two games of a four game series in spectacular fashion to the Tigers, and then ultimately losing three of the four games in the series, Indians fans at least subconsciously recognized what they already suspected: this year’s Cleveland Indians are not at the same level as the Tigers and will be hardpressed to win the AL Central. There is no question that the...

A brilliant oral history of the 1989 Cleveland Indians

Oral histories have started to run their course a bit when it comes to reliving past events through the thoughts of others. This one, however, is simply beyond words. Just read it. You won’t be sorry.

Guilmet riding command into big leagues

In the midst of a stellar season at Triple-A Columbus, relief pitcher Preston Guilmet has finally been given the opportunity that he has sought since being selected in the ninth round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft  - a shot in the majors. After right-hander Carlos Carrasco was optioned back to the Clippers following his disastrous outing against the Detroit Tigers on...

Indians blank Jays 3-0 on solid pitching from Jimenez

Quality starts have been few and far between for Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Tuesday proved different for the right-hander, as he and the Indians shutout the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0 for their eleventh shutout of the year. “This was a nice bounce back win,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We didn’t do a lot offensively, but we played a crisp game and again, it starts...

Botched opportunities lead to Indians one-run loss

CLEVELAND -- One out, one pitch, one swing.A nine-inning game in baseball sometimes comes down to just one element, and Tuesday night for the Indians there were several times when the result would have changed had the Indians completed one task.Because they didnt, a winnable game turned into a loss to Toronto.The first of the key moments came when manager Terry Francona tried to...

Cleveland Indians: A Diehard Fan’s Tale

When someone asks me where I am from, I will proudly proclaim that I am from Cleveland, Ohio. Home of the Browns, Indians, Cavaliers, Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, Pro Football Hall Of Fame just around the corner in Canton, Playhouse Square, Public Square.. you name it! The response to my answer is always “Oh, I’m sorry”, or “Gee, that must stink!”. To the outsider, it does...

Report: Perez had pot in his house

New details have emerged about the evidence against Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez, who is facing misdemeanor drug charges following a search of his home last month. Police searched Perez's home in Rocky River, Ohio, on June 4, just days after a couple of suspicious packages addressed to his dog caught the attention of the U.S. Postal Service. The Plain Dealer reports...

Tribe goes for series win with Masterson on mound

Even when he's struggling, Cleveland's Justin Masterson can usually be relied on to pitch deep into games.In his last start, the right-hander failed to provide even that.Masterson tries to bounce back from one of this worst starts of the season by continuing his dominance over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night in Cleveland.After tossing a six-hitter in a 4-0 win over...

Around The Farm: July 10, 2013

Around the Farm takes a quick look at some of yesterday’s performances by Indians prospects throughout the system. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in yesterday’s game. Note that Columbus' game was suspended due to rain and Mahoning Valley was rained out. Akron was off due to the Eastern League All-Star game. Alex Lavisky (C, Carolina): 3-for-6...

Nick Swisher had a night to forget with the Cleveland Indians (Video)

Your browser does not support iframes. Nick Swisher had one of the most embarrassing nights of his career on Monday night, and it may have cost the Cleveland Indians the game against the Detroit Tigers. As you can see from the video above, Swisher forgot the words that every Little League coach tries to drill [...]

AZL Padres clobber lackluster AZL Tribe, 11-3

Editors note: Be sure to follow all the AZL Indians action on their team page here at the IBI: http://www.indiansbaseballinsider.com/rookie/ GOODYEAR – The AZL Indians were flat from the first pitch to the last Monday night, as the visiting AZL Padres took a dominating 11-3 victory.  It could have been the 100+ degree heat or the fact that they have played six games in as many...

Sailing with the Clippers: 7/4/13 to 7/10/13

Slowly but surely, the Clippers seem to be improving as of late, going 3-4 over the past week. The pitching seems to be coming around from both the starting rotation and the bullpen. The biggest problem lies with the offense whom was shutout three times over the previous seven days and has dropped to last in the International League in team batting average at .247. Nevertheless,...

Tribe tops Blue Jays 4-2 in series finale

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Rookie Danny Salazar pitched six superb innings to win his major league debut, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Salazar, who began the season in Double-A ball, allowed just one run and two hits. The right-hander didn't give up a hit until the sixth and struck out seven. The hard-throwing 23-year-old was shocked...

7/10 Recap: Blue Jays 5 - Indians 4

Player of the Game Justin Masterson pitched 6.2 innings, throwing a no-hitter through the first 4. He allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits in his no decision, giving him 9 POG awards this season. Feathers Up Milestone Alert: Justin Masterson placed himself a little higher in Indians history today, breaking into the top 50 Indians pitchers as far as innings pitched is concerned...

MLB Trade Rumors: Indians eying Matt Garza, Yovani Gallardo

The Cleveland Indians are in search of rotation help as trade deadline nears, and are specifically tied to a pair of National League arms in Chicago’s Matt Garza and Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo. Jon Heyman from CBS Sports reports that Indians general manager Chris Antonetti is not only looking to add an arm, but is focusing his efforts on a top-of-the-rotation starter to pair...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.