Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

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

Bastian’s 2011 Predictions

I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning, or 3 a.m. according to my body’s clock, which was still on Arizona time. Once my morning coffee was in hand, and I had some tunes picked out for the car, I made the two-plus hour drive from my home to Columbus.

Now, where I live, there’s not really a direct path to I-71. And I’m not against taking scenic routes, so I opted for some country roads due south.

Even passed the Magical Farms and saw hundreds of alpacas munching the morning away in the fields. Gotta say… didn’t expect that.

Eventually made my way to Huntington Park, which is a beauty of a Minor League stadium. Seriously. If you’re within driving distance, come see this park. They did a tremendous job. Unfortunately, after two innings were in the books, the Father Winter decided that he had seen enough baseball for one day.

The Indians and Clippers played to a 1-1 tie after 2 1/3 innings with a little over 5,100 fighting the elements so they could see a little ball. After the game, the Indians officially set their roster. As expected, Grady Sizemore, Joe Smith and Jason Donald landed on the 15-day DL. Trevor Crowe and Jared Goedert were put on the 60-day.

Goedert was technically recalled from Triple-A before being de-activated. The demotion of Jensen Lewis, the trading of Jayson Nix to Toronto and the 60-day trips for Crowe and Goedert cleared four spots on the 40-man roster. So, welcome aboard Travis Buck, Jack Hannahan, Justin Germano and Adam Everett.

As today’s title suggests, now is as good a time as any to roll out my annual predictions. Last year, I nailed one division winner (Philadelphis) and two other playoff teams (Braves and Yankees). Among award winners, I correctly predicted both Cy Young Award winners (Felix Hernandez and Doc Halladay).

So, hey, I got 31% of my predictions right. I don’t think that’s too shabby.

Let’s give it another go…

AMERICAN LEAGUE

East
1. Red Sox
*2. Yankees
3. Rays
4. Blue Jays
5. Orioles

Central
1. White Sox
2. Twins
3. Tigers
4. Indians
5. Royals

West
1. Rangers
2. A’s
3. Angels
4. Mariners

NATIONAL LEAGUE

East
1. Phillies
2. Braves
3. Marlins
4. Nationals
5. Mets

Central
1. Reds
*2. Brewers
3. Cardinals
4. Cubs
5. Astros
6. Pirates

West
1. Rockies
2. Dodgers
3. Giants
4. Padres
5. D-backs

*indicates Wild Card pick

WORLD SERIES

Phillies over Red Sox

(Same prediction as last year. It’s GOT to be right this time)

AWARD WINNERS

AL Most Valuable Player: Robinson Cano, Yankees
AL Cy Young Award: David Price, Rays
AL Rookie of the Year: Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays
AL Manager of the Year: Ozzie Guillen, White Sox

NL Most Valuable Player: Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
NL Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
NL Rookie of the Year: Brandon Belt, Giants
NL Manager of the Year: Jim Tracy, Rockies

So there you have it.

Debate away…

–JB

Your 2011 Cleveland Indians

Monday morning was Decision Day for the Indians. One by one, the players remaining in position battles were called into manager Manny Acta’s office. There, he and GM Chris Antonetti delivered the news. Some good. Some bad.

The five spots still open were filled. The players who got the nod came with their own unique background.

There was the rookie (Vinnie Pestano). The undrafted free agent out of Harvard (Frank Herrmann). The veteran mulling retirement (Adam Everett). The non-roster reliever two years removed from pitching in Japan (Justin Germano). And the former top catching prospect and a key chip in the Cliff Lee trade (Lou Marson).

For every congratulatory high five, however, there was a handshake of support.

Shown the door were infielders Luis Valbuena and Jayson Nix, catchers Luke Carlin and Paul Phillips and reliever Jess Todd. All will likely head to Triple-A Columbus, with the exception of Nix. He is out of options and can decline an outright assignment. Before Nix is designated for assignment, the Tribe will try to find him a big league job via trade.

Your 2011 Cleveland Indians are as follows:

STARTING ROTATION

1. Fausto Carmona
2. Carlos Carrasco
3. Justin Masterson
4. Josh Tomlin
5. Mitch Talbot

“In order for us to have the success that we’re anticipating, we can’t afford to have one or two of those guys to go backwards in their development.” — Acta

BULLPEN

Closer: Chris Perez
Setup: Tony Sipp
Setup: Rafael Perez
Middle: Chad Durbin
Middle: Vinnie Pestano
Long: Frank Herrmann
Long: Justin Germano

“It should be a good mix. It gives Manny the opportunity to not only match-up right, left, but different styles of hitters, too.” – Antonetti

LINEUP (tentative)

1. Michael Brantley, CF
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Shoo 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

“I feel a lot better this year because, going into the season last year, we had three guys in the lineup who were going to play for the first time in the big leagues on an everyday basis. We don’t have that case right now.” – Acta

BENCH

Outfield: Travis Buck
Utility: Shelley Duncan
Utility: Adam Everett
Catcher: Lou Marson

“The flexibility gives Manny more options. It gives him the ability to take advantage of putting each guy in a position to be successful, whether it’s an individual matchup with a particular pitcher or to help complement our pitcher that’s on the mound. We have the ability to go a number of different ways.” — Antonetti

DISABLED LIST (unofficial)

INF Jason Donald (fractured left hand)
CF Grady Sizemore (left knee injury)
OF Trevor Crowe (right rotator cuff)
RP Joe Smith (strained abdominal)

“It’s Spring Training. Inevitably, when you have 60 guys in camp, I’m sure that there will be a few guys that have some bumps and bruises along the way. Hopefully we can minimize the extent of those and the duration of those.” — Antonetti, earlier this spring

Check Indians.com for more.

Also, I appreciate your patience while I got the blog up annd running again. Had some technical difficulties over the past week or so while we were transitioning to a new blogging system. And, this is my last day in Arizona. I am flying back to Cleveland tomorrow and I will be back providing coverage from the exhibition in Columbus on Wednesday.

Stay tuned for more.

–JB

Morning maneuvering

The makeup of the Indians’ Opening Day roster became a little more clear on Friday morning, when the club made a handful of roster moves and decisions.

Cleveland named right-hander Josh Tomlin the team’s fifth starter, putting him in a rotation that also includes Opening Day starter Fausto Carmona, Justin Masterson, Mitch Talbot and Carlos Carrasco.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti noted that Orlando Cabrera will open as the team’s second baseman and Jack Hannahan (not currently on the 40-man roster) will make the club as the third baseman, barring any roster setbacks in the final days of camp.

Antonetti also indicated that outfielders Travis Buck and Shelley Duncan are in the plans for the Opening Day roster. Outfielders Jordan Brown and Chad Huffman — while still technically in Major League camp — are expected to be sent to the Minors to open this season.

Reliever Joe Smith (strained abdominal muscle) is “more likely” to open the season on the 15-day disabled list, according to Antonetti. That would leave Justin Germano, Frank Herrmann, Vinnie Pestano and Jess Todd battling for the three vacancies in the Tribe’s bullpen.

Like Hannahan, Buck and Germano are in camp as non-roster players. The team’s 40-man roster currently stands at 39, so two subsequent moves would be required if both Buck and Germano made the Opening Day squad. Antonetti said such moves would need to be completed by Thursday.

David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez, who were competing against Tomlin for the fifth spot, have been optioned to Triple-A Columbus, along with outfielder Ezequiel Carrera. Right-handers Anthony Reyes and Doug Mathis have been re-assigned to Minor League camp.

The Indians’ remaining decisions involve the bullpen, the backup catcher and the utility infielder role off the bench. Lou Marson is competing against Paul Phillips and Luke Carlin for the reserve role behind the plate. Adam Everett, Luis Valbuena, Jayson Nix and Cord Phelps are infielder still in camp.

–JB

The home stretch

Thumbnail image for ducks.jpgWhen the calendar flips to Wednesday, there will be one week left in Arizona for the Indians. The time has come for the club to get all its ducks in a row.

Cleveland likely has a pretty good idea who will be heading north with the big club, but a lot can change in a hurry. Pretty soon, though, the Opening Day roster will be finalized.

On Tuesday, the Tribe further trimmed its spring gathering by outrighting right-hander Jensen Lewis to Triple-A Columbus. He cleared waivers and was not able to decline the Minor League assignment.

That reduced the field vying for three available bullpen spots by one. Up and down the roster, there are decisions left to be made (or announced anyway). There are favorites, but holes remain at third base, on the bench and at the back end of the rotation and bullpen.

Here is a breakdown of what we know right now.

POSTION PLAYERS:

1B – Matt LaPorta
2B – Orlando Cabrera
SS – Asdrubal Cabrera
3B -
C – Carlos Santana
LF – Austin Kearns
CF – Michael Brantley
RF Shin-Soo Choo
DH Travis Hafner

Breakdown: The favorite for the starting third base job right now is veteran Jack Hannahan. He’d be a favorite for a utility infield role due to his ability to play all four infield spots with plus defense, but the left hand injury to Jason Donald has Hannahan as the top contender for the vacancy at third base. Other options include Jayson Nix and Luis Valbuena. Technically, the Indians have not said Orlando Cabrera is the starting second baseman, either. But clearly the signs are all there.

BENCH:

C-
OF-
INF-
UTIL-

Breakdown: Yep, it’s still wide open. Lou Marson is up against Luke Carlin and Paul Phillips for the backup catcher role. Travis Buck is the favorite for the extra outfield job. The Tribe could go a couple ways with the last utility role. They could carry a fifth outfielder who can double as a first baseman or DH, or they could carry an extra infielder. With Hannahan now pulled into the starting lineup mix, it’s not clear which direction the Indians are leaning.

ROTATION (not necessarily in this order):

1. Fausto Carmona
2. Justin Masterson
3. Mitch Talbot
4. Carlos Carrasco
5.

Breakdown: The Indians are on the verge of revealing their rotation and it says here that the fifth spot will go to Josh Tomlin. That said, Cleveland has not made anything official and David Huff and Jeanmar Gomez are still in the mix, as far as public knowledge goes.

BULLPEN

CL – Chris Perez
SU – Tony Sipp
SU – Rafael Perez
MR- Chad Durbin
MR-
LR-
LR-

Breakdown: Joe Smith (upper abdominal strain) is doubtful for Opening Day and Lewis is at Triple-A. That leaves Justin Germano, Doug Mathis, Vinnie Pestano, Frank Herrmann and Jess Todd battling for three spots. Germano and Pestano look to be leading the pack and Herrmann is right in the mix as well. Mathis and Todd are still under consideration as well.

Things to consider…

LIKELY HEADED TO DL:

OF- Grady Sizemore
OF- Trevor Crowe
INF- Jason Donald
RP- Joe Smith
SP- Anthony Reyes

OUT OF OPTIONS:

INF- Jayson Nix

NOT ON 40-MAN ROSTER:

C- Luke Carlin
C- Paul Phillips
INF- Adam Everett
INF- Jack Hannahan
INF- Cord Phelps
OF- Jordan Brown
OF- Chad Huffman
OF- Travis Buck
RP- Justin Germano
RP- Doug Mathis

Why do those things matter?

For Nix, he would have to be passed through waivers in order to be sent to the Minor Leagues. While on waivers, he’d be up for grabs for other teams. With Donald out, putting Nix on waivers risks losing a layer of depth for 2B and 3B. Before Donald’s injury, Nix looked to be on the bubble. Things might be different now. Depth is important.

As for the non-roster players, the Indians would need to make a subsequent transaction in order to add them to the 40-man. Now, the roster is currently at 39 due to the Lewis move, so there is room for one player (Buck? Hannahan? Germano?). Designating a player for assignment (i.e. removing them from the 40-man roster) first exposes them to waivers. Also, if a player is placed on the 60-day DL (Trevor Crowe is a candidate), that would free up a spot on the roster.

All of these things factor into the final makeup of an Opening Day roster. And, remember, the Opening Day roster only matters for one game. The roster could easily change a few days into the season and it will go through changes all season long. April 1 is only a date on the calendar. That’s why guys like Smith and Sizemore aren’t rushed back just to be in the lineup on Opening Day. It’s more important to be available for the bulk of the season, not for just the first game of the year.

Time to play GM again. Based on the current options and situation, how would your Opening Day roster shake out?

For the rest of the day’s news, check Indians.com.

–JB

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