Found April 08, 2013 on
Waiting For Next Year:
It is finally here. An exciting off season for the first time in a long time put a big circle on this date for months. The Home Opener. Our Indians holiday every year. (And while I realize it isn’t technically opening day, I’m using the phrase. It’s opening day for the city.)
Every year at this time we have hope for our beloved Indians. Hope that the season won’t be over by mid-July. Hope that the team can compete into September or day we say October. Hope that we will have another “post season to remember” as Tom Hamilton eloquently put it so many years ago.
This year there are reasons for optimism. Yes, there are plenty of concerns and question marks about the 2013 version of the Tribe, but what better day to dwell on the positive than Opening Day in Cleveland?
Top Ten Reasons for Opening Day Optimism-
10- Have you seen the blasts coming off of Mark Reynold’s bat? These are not fly balls that just manage to squeak over a short porch. These have been dead center mammoth blasts. Yes, he is also going to strike out. We knew this. But when he makes contact, that ball is scorched. Consider this- Reynolds has six base hits on the season (.300 average so far) and four of them have been home runs. Another was a double. That’s five out of six hits for extra bases.
He’s fourth in the league in slugging percentage. His seven RBI also put him among the league leaders in that category, and only two players have hit more home runs in the first week of play.
No, he won’t keep this pace up, but he will provide power, and from the right side of the plate which we haven’t seen in a while. Maybe today a lucky fan in the bleachers will get his first home run at home.
9- You also have to like what Michael Brantley has done. It isn’t just the high average (.353), it’s that he is a tough out in the middle of a group of free swingers. Brantley is using the entire field so far, and when he does that he is locked in. It’s like having another lead off man for the bottom half of the order.
8- DEFENSE. We thought that this outfield had the potential to be great. We’ve seen a few hints at how much ground they can cover. Stubbs made a play on a ball in the Toronto series that Choo never gets to. I have a feeling we’ll be saying that all season. Let them play a few more weeks and really get comfortable next to each other. Let them figure out how much space the others need.
What I didn’t realize was the quality of first base play we would get from Nick Swisher. He has made some nice plays that your average converted outfielder doesn’t make. He is no handicap on the defense out there.
7- Carlos Santana. He’s on a hot streak no question about it. But this year there is so much less pressure on Santana. You watch the line-up and see legitimate hitters up and down the order. You don’t watch Cabrera and Santana and then hope the Indians score the next time the top of the order is up in a couple innings. This could be his star season. The year he breaks out. Optimism.
6- No Sabathia. A four game series with the Yankees that doesn’t include CC Sabathia? Sign me up.
5- Speaking of the Yankees, what happened to the super-power? Fortunately for the Indians, they limp into town without their biggest guns healthy. But even when healthy, this team is stocked with players that are on the down side of their career. Andy Pettitte is 39. Ichiro is 38. Youk is 34. Vernon Wells is 35. Derek Jeter is 38. Yankee fans are used to seeing an All-Star team in pinstripes. They still do, except it’s the 2002 All-Star team.
4- Depth. The Indians have some options finally. Aviles and Raburn are legit options to go to late in a game or for a start. And they are versatile. Raburn could play either corner outfield spot, and Aviles could play some left field as well. Both can play multiple infield positions as well. Reynolds can also play first base.
There are also pitching options in Columbus should our pitchers (cough, Myers, cough, Ubaldo) struggle early on. How soon the Indians would be willing to go to those options remains to be seen.
3- It isn’t a bright spot for today necessarily, but Justin Masterson has looked good early. In his first start he wasn’t particularly sharp early on, but some nice defense got him out of jams and in the win column. Yesterday was a big game for Masterson and the Indians. They had a chance to come home with either a 3-3 or 2-4 road trip and Masterson really put the clamps down on the Rays. One of the biggest keys to this season is going to be Masterson or another pitcher becoming that number 1 starter. I feel it needs to be Justin, and he took his first steps toward that beating both reigning Cy Young award winners in his first two starts.
2- Cabrera, Kipnis, Swisher and Stubbs. None of them have really gotten it going offensively yet. And yet the team is 3-3 and fifth in the AL in runs scored. Your 2-4 hitters are batting .132 and you are fifth in the league in scoring runs? That’s a nice problem to have. Players go through dry spells at the plate, everyone knows this. That is why seeing the team compete and score runs while these three are struggling is so encouraging.
1- It’s Opening Day. Who can’t get jazzed about the home opener? Go Tribe!
To celebrate, we’re giving away a Wahoo Red and Blue WFNY shirt. Leave a comment before the end of this game telling us why you are optimistic about the Indians today. We’ll pick a random winner from the entries.
BEST OF MAXIM
Some news, notes and thoughts from my Indians notebook…
The Indians have now played five games and each pitcher in their starting rotation has made their first start of the season.
Not that a lot was going to be taken from one turn through the rotation, but through five games the rotation has been as advertised as a volatile unit that is a complete wildcard for...
Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana exited last night’s
contest against the New York Yankees in the ninth inning after he was struck on
the thumb by a pitch from teammate Chris Perez, according to Jordan Bastian of
Correction: left thumb (not wrist) contusion for Santana. No update on X-rays yet. Will more know Tuesday.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April...
The Akron Aeros got off to a stumbling start to their title defense this past week, dropping their first three games to the Binghamton Mets. The offense struggled, only mustering seven runs in those three games.
Akron bounced back in the final two games of the week, though, winning both games to salvage a 2-3 record for the week. Manager Edwin Rodriguez preached patience throughout...
CLEVELAND — New Indians manager Terry Francona said he got lost making a two-block walk to Progressive Field for the home opener.
Francona, who is living in downtown Cleveland during the season, was thankful there were people on the streets Monday morning “because I got lost three times.” Francona joked that he doesn’t have a good sense of direction and was glad someone finally...
Smoke Signals is back on the cyberwaves tonight from 10:00pm – 11:00pm EST. The one hour show airs every Tuesday and is hosted by IndiansBaseballInsider.com’s Tony Lastoria and Jim Pete and is brought to you by the Akron Aeros.
In tonight's show, Jim and Tony breakdown the first full week of the season for the Indians and give some early thoughts on anything to date that...
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco has been ejected in the fourth inning after hitting Kevin Youkilis in the shoulder with a pitch.
Carrasco, who recently finished serving a five-game suspension for throwing at Kansas City's Billy Butler in 2011, had just given up a homer to Robinson Cano, giving the New York Yankees a 7-0 lead Tuesday night, when he drilled Youkilis with his next...
We’ve waited a long time for the much anticipated 2013 Cleveland Indians season to begin. The complete makeover of the team, a culture change if you will, has been universally lauded across our fair city. It starts with manager Terry Francona. I think it was a good thing that the Indians started on a tough six-game road trip to AL East beasts Toronto and Tampa Bay. Because of...
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Indians have placed catcher Lou Marson on the 15-day disabled list with a neck strain sustained in a home-plate collision.
Marson was bowled over Saturday night at Tampa Bay by Desmond Jennings. Marson did not suffer a concussion, and manager Terry Francona said the backup was making progress. However, the team placed Marson on the DL for the first time in his...
Terry Francona’s always been known for having an up-to-date
managerial style inside the clubhouse. Some Red Sox fans might find it a little
lax but in the end Francona knows how to deal with today’s superstars and their
egos. The same can’t be said for his use of technology.
If Francona put the same amount of effort into utilizing
Google maps, GPS or an iPhone he could...
Terry Francona must have felt as if he was in a maze Monday morning.Why? Well, the first-year skipper of the Cleveland Indians reportedly got lost on his way to work.Francona, who lives about two blocks away from Progressive Field, attempted to walk to the stadium this morning ahead of Cleveland's home opener against the New York Yankees beginning at 4:05 p.m.Unfortunately, he...
The landscape of how we watched sports has been forever changed by the Internet and social media. Twitter in particular has made sporting events even more of a communal experience, especially with fans spread throughout the country (and the world for that matter).
I love being able to see what people inside of a stadium or an arena have to say about the game as it happens. Getting...
Joe and Mike recorded another episode of Burning River Radio for your listening pleasure:
On this episode they discuss the Indians first week of baseball, including Ubaldo Jimenez's first start, Mark Reynolds power streak and Trevor Bauer's Indians debut. There is also an in depth discussion on the difference a manager can make in the game and how to quantify it...
Player of the Game
With one at bat, Mike Aviles took the Player of the Game award from this miserable baseball game. As a late game defensive replacement, Aviles got one chance and hit a two run home run for a score of 4.50. Ubaldo Jimenez had the second worst game of any Indian this year with a final score of -7.63 for his 6 runs allowed in 4.1 innings.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Mark Reynolds and Lonnie Chisenhall hit three-run homers off AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, Justin Masterson pitched seven strong inning and the Cleveland Indians hammered the Tampa Bay Rays 13-0 on Sunday.
Carlos Santana had a career-high five hits, including a home run and a pair of doubles.
Price (0-1) gave up eight runs, 10 hits and three...
Carlos Carrasco hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since 2011. After allowing a grand slam against the Royals, he threw at the head of Billy Bulter and was tossed and suspended for 5-games. However, he did not serve it … Continue reading →