April 2011

Game 7: Tribe at M’s lineups

In light of Manny Ramirez’s retirement, here’s one of Orlando Cabrera’s favorite “Manny being Manny” moments from their days as teammates with the Red Sox.

“He’d be the first person you’d see watching the videos,” Cabrera said. “He’d just watch them quiet, like he didn’t want anybody watching him studying the pitchers.”

Once in New York, Cabrera saw Ramirez studying Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina. Ramirez was not watching his at-bats, though. Instead, he was breaking down at-bats of other No. 3 hitters who faced Mussina that season. Curious about the approach, Cabrera asked Ramirez about his plan.

“I said, ‘Hey, what are you going to do?'” Cabrera recalled. “He goes, ‘Second at-bat, third pitch, I’m going to hit a curveball. Home run.’ He goes, ‘Dont tell anybody.'”

On Sept. 24, 2004, Ramirez strolled to the plate against Mussina in the third inning. He only saw two pitches in his first at-bat of the game. The next pitch released by Mussina sailed out of Fenway Park for a two-run home run.

“Third pitch. Breaking ball. Boom,” Cabrera said. “I was like, ‘That’s why I cant be like you. That’s incredible.’ I tell that story and people don’t believe it. I saw it.”

For more reaction from Cabrera and Sandy Alomar Jr., check Indians.com later.

Indians (4-2) at Mariners (2-4)
at Safeco Field, 10:10 p.m. ET

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-1, 9.45)

SEATTLE
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 3B
3. Milton Bradley, LF
4. Jack Cust, DH
5. Justin Smoak, 1B
6. Miguel Olivo, C
7. Adam Kennedy, 2B
8. Brendan Ryan, SS
9. Ryan Langerhans, CF

Pitching: LHP Jason Vargas (0-0, 1.35)

–JB

Game 6: Red Sox at Tribe lineups

Red Sox (0-5) at Indians (3-2)
at Progressive Field, 12:05 p.m. ET

BOSTON
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Pitching: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 8.44)

CLEVELAND
1. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Shelley Duncan, DH
6. Austin Kearns, LF
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Travis Buck, CF
9. Adam Everett, 3B

Pitching: RHP Fausto Carmona (0-1, 30.00)

–JB

Game 5: Red Sox at Tribe lineups

Red Sox (0-4) at Indians (2-2)
at Progressive Field, 7:05 p.m. ET

BOSTON
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Jason Varitek, C
9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Pitching: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Travis Buck, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Mitch Talbot (0-0)

–JB

Game 4: Red Sox at Tribe lineups

After Sunday’s 7-1 win over the White Sox, a game in which Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo went 0-for-3, a Korean journalist wanted to know if Cleveland manager Manny Acta was concerned at all about his star player’s rough weekend.

“Choo was not good in three games,” said the reporter.

He wasn’t wrong. In the three games against the Pale Hose, Choo went 1-for-12 with just a sixth-inning single on Friday night. On Saturday, he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Very un-Choo. Meanwhile, despite his offensive struggles, the Tribe poured out 20 runs in the three games.

“It’s just three games,” Acta said. “Choo is still the best hitter on our team. It’s too early. It’s always good when you can win when your best player is still not on top of his game. It’s only been three games, so we’re not worrying about Choo at all.”

“At all?” asked the reporter.

At all,” Acta repeated with emphasis.

It was a fitting summation of how some people tend to overreact at this point in the season. No, Nelson Cruz is not going to hit 162 home runs. No, the Red Sox are not going to go 0-162 this year. And, no, Choo is not going to hit .083 for the season with no homers and no RBIs.

Take the early results for what they’re worth. In the first three games, the Indians’ pitching has been inconsistent and their offense has shown some versatility. The defense has looked solid. That is what you should take out of the first three games. Don’t start overanalyzing the box scores just yet.

In a couple weeks, or maybe a month or two in, that’s when you’ll start seeing potential trends. There are 162 games in a baseball season for a reason.

Here are today’s lineups, featuring those hapless Red Sox.

Red Sox (0-3) at Indians (1-2)
at Progressive Field, 7:05 p.m. ET

BOSTON
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
6. David Ortiz, DH
7. J.D. Drew, RF
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
9. Marco Scutaro, SS

Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (0-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Josh Tomlin (0-0)

–JB

Basketball diaries: Acta edition

With the Final Four upon us — you guys all had UConn vs. Butler like I did, right? — it seemed fair to ask Indians manager Manny Acta if he was following the NCAA tournament at all. Sitting in the home dugout, Acta shook his head.

“No, man,” Acta said.

But, is Acta a basketball fan?

“That was my passion before baseball,” he said. “But I haven’t followed it in a long time.”

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Acta loved basketball, especially the NBA. While everyone else was jumping on the Chicago Bulls’ bandwagon, though, he decided to pull for another team. His choice?

“Seattle,” Acta said. “It was easy to root for Michael Jordan and the Bulls. I liked Seattle.”

And his favorite player?

“Detlef Schrempf,” Acta said.

Acta said he was a shooting guard with a dream of one day playing in the NBA. That was until his dad pointed out how rare it was for a kid from the D.R. to make it as a basketball player. To date, there have only been five Dominican-born players to make it to basketball’s highest level.

“My dad said, ‘Now look how many Dominican players are in the Major Leagues,” Acta said.

So, Acta decided to hang up his sneakers and he dedicated himself to baseball. Things did not get off to a smooth start, though. When Acta went for his first tryout with a professional organization, he was not signed.

“I came home and walked right by my dad, bouncing a basketball,” Acta said.

Things worked out in the end.

Here are today’s lineups…

White Sox (2-0) at Indians (0-2)
at Progressive Field, 1:05 p.m. ET

CHICAGO
1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Adam Dunn, DH
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rios, CF
6. Carlos Quentin, RF
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Omar Vizquel, 3B

Pitching: LHP John Danks (0-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Travis Buck, LF
8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
9. Lou Marson, C

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (0-0)

–JB

Game 2: Sox at Tribe lineups

White Sox (1-0) at Indians (0-1)
at Progressive Field, 1:05 p.m. ET

CHICAGO
1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Adam Dunn, DH
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rios, CF
6. Carlos Quentin, RF
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Brent Morel, 3B

Pitching: RHP Edwin Jackson (0-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Travis Buck, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-0)

NOTE: Apologies for the lack of bloggage in the past couple of days. You may have noticed my byline absent some on the Opening Day coverage, too. Been dealing with a MLBastian family emergency and that has consumed much of my time. Everyone is OK, so no worries there. I have a couple nice Indians anecdotes saved that I will share with you here in the next few days. Thanks for understanding.

–JB

Opening Day lineups

And so it begins…

White Sox (0-0) at Indians (0-0)
at Progressive Field, 3:05 p.m. ET

CHICAGO
1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Gordon Beckham, 2B
3. Adam Dunn, DH
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Alex Rios, CF
6. Carlos Quentin, RF
7. A.J. Pierzynski, C
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Brent Morel, 3B

Pitching: LHP Mark Buehrle (0-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, C
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Austin Kearns, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Fausto Carmona (0-0)

–JB

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