"I like Christian rock. It's very positive. It's not like those real musicians who think they're so cool and hip!"
You know it’s a big night when Pillar is in the house.
Who is Pillar? They are a Grammy-nominated Christian rock band from Oklahoma. They are in the “nu metal” genre, which is invigorating. They have just worked out a deal with MLB to use their song, “For Love of the Game,” in advertisements. They are buddies with pitcher Paul Byrd. And most importantly, their guitar player, Noah Henson, hasn’t had a haircut in 12 years. No joke.
The Pillar sighting is about all that’s happening at the moment, because this game won’t be starting on time. As of 6:23 p.m. ET, it is raining heavily and the tarp, of course, is on the field.
The rain should give me some time to peruse Byrd’s new book, “Free Byrd,” which comes out Tuesday. Byrd gave reporters a review copy pregame, so expect to see an article up on the site about it Monday. The book includes Byrd’s first comments about his HGH use since just before Game 7 of the ALCS last year. Juicy.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s interstate action. I imagine that during this rain delay, the Indians will be huddled in a circle, looking each other in the eye and reminding each other that “This one’s for the Ohio Cup!” But that might just be my imagination…
INDIANS (35-43): CF Grady Sizemore, 2B Jamey Carroll, LF Ben Francisco, SS Jhonny Peralta, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Casey Blake, DH David Dellucci, 1B Ryan Garko, C Kelly Shoppach. LHP C.C. Sabathia (5-8, 4.06 ERA).
REDS (36-44): SS Jerry Hairston, DH Adam Dunn, RF Ken Griffey Jr., 2B Brandon Phillips, CF Jay Bruce, 3B Jeff Keppinger, 1B Joey Votto, LF Norris Hopper, C David Ross. RHP Daryl Thompson (0-0, 0.00).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Fausto Carmona (strained left hip) played catch today and reportedly felt fine. The Indians will see how he feels Saturday and go from there. He’s expected to throw out to 120 feet in the coming days and hopefully be ready for a bullpen session in the next seven to 10 days, according to Eric Wedge. This puts his timetable for a return to the Tribe shortly after the All-Star break, if all goes to plan.
- Travis Hafner, meanwhile, is still progressing slowly with that strained right shoulder. He had a strength test performed today, and his right shoulder only has 40-50 percent of the strength of his left shoulder, according to Wedge. The Indians want the right shoulder at about 75 percent before they’ll consider having him do baseball activities. Long story short: It’s going to be quite a while before we see Pronk again.
- According to Elias, Cliff Lee is just the fourth Indians pitcher in franchise history to start a season 11-1 or better. Johnny Allen started out 12-0 in 1937 and 11-1 in 1938, Gaylord Perry was 11-1 in 1974 and Charles Nagy was 11-1 in 1996. Lee is first in the AL in ERA (2.34), first in winning percentage (.917), tied for first in wins (11), eighth in average against (.237) and eighth in strikeouts (90).
- No Indians player has hit a home run since Sabathia’s solo shot against the Dodgers last Saturday.
- The XM All-Star Futures Game rosters were announced, and the Indians’ organization only has one participant. Right-hander Hector Rondon, who is 5-3 with a 3.45 ERA in 15 starts for Class A Kinston, has been named to the World roster. He is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in June.
- The Indians have scored three runs or less in seven of their last 11 games.
- As bad as the offense has been, the bullpen might be worse this year. Consider that in 210 2/3 innings this season, the relievers have allowed 324 baserunners via hit or walk. Not good.
We’re going blogless Saturday and Sunday. See you Monday in Chi-town.