Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

“What a month.”

What a month, indeed.

In fact, in the entire 111-year history of this Cleveland Indians franchise, no team had enjoyed an April like the one this band of Tribesmen just turned in.

The Indians wrapped up April with an 18-8 record — just like we all predicted they would, right? The previous club mark for April wins was 16.

“To me, you remember the teams of the ’90s and all the success here,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “And in 111 years, this is the first time this club wins 17, now 18, games in April. To me, it’s pretty amazing.

“I told my coaching staff [Friday] night, ‘No one can take that from us as a team.’ It’s amazing if you look back at the great ballclubs that have been in Cleveland for 100 years. It’s historic.

“We’re always going to cherish that. The season’s not over, but what a month.”

On top of that, the Tribe entered May with the best mark in the American League and the team was tied with the Phillies for the best record in baseball. Cleveland’s 12-2 ledger in front of the local fans? Best in the business. The team’s attendance ranks last, but that has not affected the performance so far.

Here’s a glance at the past month as we head into May…

Offense:

141 runs – 1st in the AL
242 hits – 3rd in the AL
34 homers – 3rd in the AL
381 total bases – 2nd in the AL
135 RBIs – tied-1st in the AL
.272 average – 1st in the AL
.294 average at home – 1st in AL
.344 on-base – 1st in the AL
.447 slugging – 3rd in the AL
.791 OPS – 3rd in the AL
86 extra-base hits – tied-3rd in the AL
100 runs with RISP – 2nd in the AL
.322 average with RISP – 2nd in the AL
.313 average vs. LHP – 1st in the AL

Pitching:

18 wins – 1st in the AL
3.49 ERA – 4th in the AL
18 quality starts – 2nd in the AL
80 walks – tied-4th in the AL
.237 average against – 2nd in the AL
316 total bases allowed – 3rd in the AL
16 homers allowed – 2nd in the AL
1.24 WHIP – tied-3rd in the AL
3.79 pitches/PA – 3rd in the AL
3.71 starters ERA – 4th in the AL
3.04 bullpen ERA – 5th in the AL
13 wins by starters – tied-2nd in the AL
.211 bullpen avg against – tied-4th in the AL

Defense:

3 unearned runs – 1st in the AL
13 errors – tied-3rd in the AL
.987 fielding percentage – 4th in the AL

The Ledger:

Record at home: 12-2
Record on the road: 6-6

Streaking:

8-game winning streak (April 3-11)
12-game home winning streak (April 3-30)

Bastian’s April Awards:

Player of the Month: Asdrubal Cabrera
Comment: Cabrera hit .262 with five homers and 17 RBIs, mixing in four doubles and a triple while playing strong defense. When Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana were slumping hard early, Cabrera provided some much-needed pop out of the lineup’s second spot. He also has formed a solid combo up the middle with second baseman Orlando Cabrera.

Pitcher of the Month: Justin Masterson & Josh Tomlin
Comment: Hard to give the nod to one over the other. Masterson went 5-0 with a .218 ERA, striking out 22 and walking 11 over 33 innings. Tomlin went 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA, striking out 18 and walking eight over 33 innings. Masterson has looked unhittable at times. Tomlin has been downright baffling. With Fausto Carmona’s inconsistency early on, and injuries to Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco, Masterson and Tomlin have been integral in the Tribe’s April success.

Comeback Player of the Month: Grady Sizemore
Comment: I couldn’t make him my Player of the Month with only 11 games played, but Sizemore certainly has a case: .378 with four homers, a team-high eight doubles and nine RBIs. His swing has looked smooth, his power has been impressive and he hasn’t looked like he’s missed a step on the bases or in center field. No stolen bases yet, but those will come (Grady actually did swipe one, but a missed call turned it into a caught stealing).

Biggest surprise: Jack Hannahan
Comment: We all knew he could man the hot corner and he has done so fantastically with highlight-reel plays seemingly on a daily basis. What we didn’t expect was him to hit this well. Hannahan entered May hitting .273 with four homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs for the Indians. He’s played so well that the Indians opted to option Jason Donald to Triple-A Columbus when he got healthy. Hannahan has been solid on the field and in strengthing the lower third of the lineup.

Rookie of the Month: Vinnie Pestano
Comment: OK, so he wins this award by default by being the lone rookie on the roster. Yeah, I know Alex White is a rookie as well, but he’s only made one start. I declare him ineligible for this honor. Besides, Pestano has a 0.82 ERA over 11 innings in 12 games. The righty has 13 strikeouts and only four walks and five hits allowed. He has not looked like a rookie at all out there and that’s been a big boost for the back end of the bullpen.

Plays of the Month:

Hard to pick only one, so here are four…

1. April 29: The Slam – Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, one out, tie game. Could it have been set up any better? Carlos Santana works into a good hitter’s count and makes the Tigers pay with a bullet into the right-field seats for a walk-off grand slam. Watching the highlight hasn’t gotten old, especially seeing Santana toss the helmet and do his stutter-step while smiling wide as he runs into the mob at home plate.

2. April 7: The Squeeze – In the bottom of the eighth inning against the Red Sox, Asdrubal Cabrera layed down a perfect squeeze bunt down the third-base line with one out. Adam Everett scored and the Indians beat Boston, 1-0. It was an early sign that this Cleveland squad will go small if that’s what it takes to win.

3. April 3: The Triple Play – The White Sox had pounded the Indians relentlessly in the season’s first two games. In the fourth inning of the third game of the year, Alexei Ramirez attempted a bunt. He popped it up and Santana, playing first for the first time in his big league career, dove head-first to catch it for an out. A quick to toss to first base, and another to second and the Indians had a triple play. They went on to win, 7-1, for the first ‘W’ in an 8-game streak.

4. April 17: The Return – In his second at-bat back with the Indians, after a long rehab from microfracture surgery on his left knee, Sizemore launces a home run into the right-field stands. The Indians win in his first game back, 7-6, over the Orioles. Sizemore then goes on an offensive tear to help bring some more energy to an already-hot Tribe team.

Quote of the Month:

“It seems like nobody else wants this division, so we’re going to take it. Why not, right?”
–Orlando Cabrera

–JB

Game 22: Royals at Tribe

Are you worried about Shin-Soo Choo?

Indians manager Manny Acta certainly isn’t. Acta said again on Tuesday that it is still far too early to make too much of Choo’s uncharacteristic .207 batting average. The Tribe’s cool, calm and collected skipper said he will only start having some concern if Choo’s average is still in the .200 range come the All-Star break.

I’ve seen enough ball to know not to get overly worked up over less than a month’s worth of stats, too. Then again, I also covered Aaron Hill and Adam Lind for a few years. They went from Silver Sluggers in 2009 to Tin Cans in 2010. Pitchers began to approach them differently, and they struggled to adjust.

Here’s hoping Choo does not fall into that category.

It is worth noting that Choo has had his share of tough slumps before. Early-season woes tend to stick out more on the stat sheet.

Last year, Choo had a 29-game stretch from April 30-June 2 in which he hit .233/.331/.397. He also hit just .230 from Aug. 26-Sept. 16 last season. In 2009, Choo had a 22-game run between April 14-May 8 in which he hit .234/.378/.390. In ’08, he hit .195/.292/.312 in a 25-game period from June 14-July 18.

From 2008-10, Choo finished with an average of .309, .300 and .300, respectively.

Like Acta said today, though: “Batting average isn’t evertyhing.”

Fine, turning to our friends at Fangraphs.com, you’ll see that Choo has a Z-Contact % of 77.9 so far this year. Wait, a Z-what-now? That’s the percentage of times a player makes contact with pitches in the strike zone. Last year, Choo was at 87.1 and he put up an 83.1 in ’09. In fact, the current figure is his lowest ever.

You’ve got to figure, like his average, that rate will increase.

Choo’s swing percentage is basically down across the board right now. He’s swinging at fewer pitches outside and inside the zone. He’s swinging at 41.2-percent of pitches overall — down from 45.1 overall last year.

Being more selective? Maybe. But it’s worth noting that Choo is seeing 60.4 percent of first pitches for strikes. That’s the highest that rate has been for him since 2006. Right now, pitchers are not afraid to pound the zone to get ahead on Choo early. And when he’s swinging at said strikes, his contact rate is down.

That’s not a good early trend.

But, again, I can’t emphasize this enough, and neither can Acta…

It’s still early.

Here are today’s lineups…

Royals (12-10) at Indians (13-8)
at Progressive Field, 7:05 p.m. ET

KANSAS CITY
1. Mike Aviles, 3B
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
7. Alcides Escobar, SS
8. Matt Treanor, C
9. Chris Getz, 2B

Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (2-2, 5.12)

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

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (4-0, 1.71)

–JB

Game 18: Tribe at Royals

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti understands the perception. Players with big salaries, or nearing free agency if they’re performing well and there’s a market for them, hey, Cleveland will probably be looking for some trade partners come July.

That’s what they did with CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, etc;…

Right?

Well, not so fast. Antonetti, in Kansas City with the ballclub this week, took some time to clarify some things. Antonetti says perception is not necessarily reality. Had the Indians been in contention in 2008, for example, Sabathia would have likely stayed in a Tribe uniform for the entire season.

The team’s position in the standings has played a large role.

Here’s what Antonetti had to say…

“Going into the 2008 season, we had every expectation of contending. We were coming off a 96-win season and were one game away from the World Series. We traded CC that year, not because we wanted to trade CC, but because we weren’t a contending team.

“Had we been contending, CC would’ve stayed the year and finished as an Indian, and then gone to free agency. It was our competive position that really dictated those trades. Stepping back a year to 2007, when we were a contending team, we ended up acquiring guys.

“We acquired Lofton right around the deadline. Going back to ’05, when we were competitive, but not at the top of our division, we made the decision to keep guys. We had Kevin Millwood, who was leading the league in ERA at that point, we had a number of other veteran guys.

But, because we were a competitive team, we made the decision not to trade them. I think when you actually look at what has transpired in the past, our competitive position has largely dictated our activity at the deadline.”

That is why fans should not be expecting the Indians to be shopping guys like Fausto Carmona, Grady Sizemore or Travis Hafner at the Trade Deadline if Cleveland continues to perform at its current level. If anything, the Tribe might be more of a buyer come July if the team continues to have success with a shot at the top spot in the division.

Then again, it’s still too early in the season be be anointing the Tribe a “buyer” or “seller.”

“If the team is playing well,” Antonetti said, “we’d have to see where we were at that point, what our needs are, and what’s available. And, what the acquisition cost would be in terms of players and dollars. All of those things go into that decision.”

Antonetti said he hardly waits until July to approach ownership about the possibilities.

“We talk about different scenarios all the time,” Antonetti said. “It’s important for us, as we align and prioritize our scouting coverage, that we try to anticipate all the possible scenarios as best we can.”

Here are the lineups, a bit belated…

Indians (12-5) at Royals (11-6)
at Kauffman Stadium, 8:10 p.m. ET

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

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (3-0, 1.33)

KANSAS CITY
1. Chris Getz, 2B
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
6. Mike Aviles, 3B
7. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
8. Matt Treanor, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (2-1, 4.21)

–JB

Game 16: Battle at The K

Peering out of the visitors’ dugout at Kauffman Stadium and across the field to the other side, Indians manager Manny Acta sees a lot of similarities between his club and the Royals.

This goes beyond the one game that separates them for the top spot in the American League Central standings.

 “I dont care how early it is,” Acta said. “I’m excited for my ballclub and I’m happy for the Royals. I’m very happy for both towns, both franchises and the young players that we have. This is good for baseball. This is the way it should be.

“We are kind of in the same situation. We started a couple years ago. They have a lot of talented players, and a lot more coming.”

Entering Monday’s four-game series, the surging Tribe boasted an 11-4 record — the team’s best start since 2002. The red-hot Royals were 10-5. For a pair of clubs predicted to finish fourth and fifth in the division — and, hey, they still might — it has been a refreshing change of pace.

The last time the Indians and Royals were in first and second place (in any order) at the same time after playing at least 15 games was May 31, 1999. Admittedly getting a little ahead of ourselves here, but the last time they finished first and second in the division was 1995.

“I’m excited,” Acta said. ” That’s what baseball is all about. I know that last year at the end, we were fighting for fourth place. Now, three weeks into this season, we’re playing a series for first place.

“It’s early, yes. But I don’t care. I’m happy. I’m excited about my club and I’m happy for them.”

Here are today’s lineups…

Indians (11-4) at Royals (10-5)
at Kauffman Stadium, 8:10 p.m. ET

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

Pitching: RHP Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 5.03)

KANSAS CITY
1. Mike Aviles. 2B
2. Melky Cabrera, CF
3. Alex Gordon, LF
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
6. Jeff Francoeur, RF
7. Wilson Betemit, 3B
8. Matt Treanor, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: RHP Kyle Davies (1-1, 9.00)

–JB

Game 15: Sizemore, Talbot, lineups

Guess who’s back?

The Indians activated some guy named Grady Sizemore from the disabled list today. He’s going to play center field and hit out of the leadoff spot, a couple of roles he’s filled nicely in the past for the Tribe.

In a surprise move, though, it was right-hander Mitch Talbot who was removed from the active roster to vacate a spot for Sizemore. So Travis Buck and Shelley Duncan — both with options — can breathe a little easier. For a couple more days anyway.

Talbot was sent to the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain. Only a couple days ago, Indians manager Manny Acta indicated that Talbot was feeling fine and slated to pitch Tuesday in K.C. Chatted with Talbot today, and even he thought he might be able to go Tuesday as recent as a couple days ago.

So what was the change?

Well, the Indians got the results of an MRI performed on Talbot’s pitching elbow. They found a strain — no structural damage — and the pitcher is expected to be sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks. Acta said today that righty Jeanmar Gomez is expected to get the call from Triple-A Columbus to take Talbot’s place on Tuesday.

Right now, Cleveland is operating with 14 position players and 11 pitchers. The team will go back to the normal 13-12 alignment once Gomez joins the club. That likely means either Buck or Duncan will be heading to the Minors.

Buck got the nod in left field on Sunday after a 3-for-4 showing in Saturday’s win. It’s just a day off for Michael Brantley, who has served as the leadoff man and center fielder in Sizemore’s absence. Brantley will be the regular left fielder now that Sizemore is back with the ballclub.

Here are today’s lineups…

Orioles (6-7) at Indians (10-4)
at Progressive Field, 1:05 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Vlad Guerrero, DH
5. Luke Scott, LF
6. Mark Reynolds, 3B
7. Felix Pie, CF
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching: RHP Brad Bergesen (0-1)

CLEVELAND
1. Grady Sizemore, 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 Fausto Carmona (0-2)

–JB

Game 13: O’s at Tribe

Ever wonder what goes into a lineup decision or sit there trying to decipher why a manager went to such-and-such pitcher to face so-and-so in a late-inning matchup? Well, for the most part, you’ll have to just keep wondering.

But, when it comes to Indians manager Manny Acta, I can provide you with some insight. When the time comes to consult statistics to help in the decision-making process, here is what Acta typically does…

“I don’t use last year or lifetime. I use the last three years,” Acta explained. “It really doesn’t do me any good if some guy was really good against a guy seven years ago. Or, if his lifetime is .300, but over the last three year’s it’s .210, I’d probably go more with that. Everybody has a preference. Some people use lifetime. I use the last three years.”

Now, understand, this line of thinking is not across the board. For instance, catcher Carlos Santana has a day off tonight for a couple of reasons. First, the man has played every game up to this point. Time for a breather. Second, he’s in an 0-for-20 slump. Good to time to clear his head.

There are times that Acta will consult stats, though. And he is a big believer in that approach.

“Everything is important. I take every single one serious,” Acta said. “I take very seriously the reports we get on the other pitchers and the stats to see which count a guy likes to throw over, which count a guy likes to throw certain pitches. That helps me in certainsituations where, ‘What’s the best time to put a play on?’

“We’ve got plenty of them, plenty of statistical analysis in the game nowadays. I look at as many as I can. I’m sure every team does the same thing to us.”

Acta laughed when asked if the Indians had any secret in-house stats.

“I don’t think there are secret stats anymore,” he replied. “It seems like every month a new one comes out. Me? I like them, but I don’t get caught up in every single one of them. It’s impossible. A lot of them, I don’t even know how they come up with them.”

On to today’s lineups…

Orioles (6-5) at Indians (8-4)
at Progressive Field, 7:05 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE
1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Vlad Guerrero, DH
5. Luke Scott, LF
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Mark Reynolds, 3B
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching: LHP Zach Britton (2-0)

CLEVELAND
1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Shelley Duncan, LF
5. Travis Hafner, DH
6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
7. Matt LaPorta, 1B
8. Lou Marson, C
9. Adam Everett, 3B

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (2-0)

–JB

Game 10: Tribe at Halos lineups

Indians (7-2) at Angels (5-4)
at Angel Stadium, 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 Mitch Talbot (0-0, 4.15)

LOS ANGELES
1. Maucer Izturis, SS
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B
3. Bobby Abreu, DH
4. Torii Hunter, RF
5. Vernon Wells, LF
6. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
7. Mark Trumbo, 1B
8. Hank Conger, C
9. Peter Bourjos, CF

Pitching: RHP Tyler Chatwood (MLB debut)

–JB

Game 9: Tribe at M’s lineups

When Orlando Cabrera arrived at Spring Training, fresh off signing a one-year contract with the Indians, he made it clear from the start that he saw great potential in Cleveland’s young roster.

A little more than one week into this season, the Indians are off to a strong start, providing one of baseball’s early surprises. Cabrera, who has been to the postseason in six of the past seven years, has been impressed with his new ballclub, but the veteran infielder is quick to point out that the season is still young.

“It’s still early,” Cabrera said. “It’s too early to judge anybody in a good way or a bad way. But we’ve battled. We’ve got great hitters. They get up there and they try to do their job. We execute plays and our pitchers are throwing strikes, which is important. We’re playing defense behind them.

“Let’s see where that kind of game is going to take us. We can never anticipate what is going to happen in the future, but if we keep playing the way we’re playing right now, we can do a great job.”

The Tribe carried a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s tilt against the Mariners and, for the first time since the end of the 2007 tour, when Cleveland was 96-66, the Indians were at least four games over .500. After suffering through back-to-back seasons of at least 90 losses, Cleveland’s players are loving the fast start.

“It’s fun, man,” Indians closer Chris Perez said. “Especially being over here at the end of ’09 and all year last year, we didn’t have many streaks like this. And it’s not like they’re giving us games.”

For more on this and other topics, check Indians.com later.

Here are today’s lineups.

Indians (6-2) at Mariners (2-6)
at Safeco Field, 4:10 p.m. ET

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

Pitching: RHP Josh Tomlin (1-0, 1.29)

SEATTLE
1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 3B
3. Adam kennedy, 2B
4. Jack Cust, DH
5. Justin Smoak, 1B
6. Ryan Langerhans, CF
7. Luis Rodriguez, SS
8. Michael Saunders, CF
9. Chris Gimenez, C

Pitching: LHP Erik Bedard(0-1, 5.40)

–JB

Game 8: Tribe at M’s lineups

Not sure how I didn’t see it before, especially since I snapped this photo (right) and posted it on Twitter during Spring Training.

Look closely.

Notice anything odd?

That’s Indians closer Chris Perez. The right-handed stopper at the back-end of the Tribe’s bullpen. Right-handed. Right. Hand. Right?

Wrong.

Turns out that Perez is actually left-handed. That’s why he’s pictured there, signing a baseball with his left hand. It’s why he was in the visitors’ dugout prior to today’s game doing the same. It also explains his goofy personality and why he is such a natural fit for the oddball existence of a Major League reliever.

I asked Perez, “How does that happen?”

He shrugged between autographs.

Told him he should’ve tried throwing lefty.

“Yeah, I’d probably throw 150 mph with that arm,” he replied.

Here are today’s lineups…

Indians (5-2) at Mariners (2-5)
at Safeco Field, 9:10 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. Travis Buck, LF
8. Matt LaPorta, 1B
9. Jack Hannahan, 3B

Pitching: RHP Justin Masterson (1-0, 1.29)

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. Michael Saunders, CF

Pitching: RHP Doug Fister (0-1, 3.18)

–JB

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

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