May 17th, 2009
About that eighth inning today…
First off, for anybody wondering, the Ryan Garko double out was not a reviewable situation. Only disputed home runs can be reviewed. So while the replay clearly showed the ball hit the wall, not Carl Crawford’s glove, once the umpires decided it was an out, that’s it. It was an out. And the Tribe got hosed.
As for the near-melee in the bottom of the inning, I think the Indians were in the wrong there. While Kerry Wood didn’t own up to purposefully pitching inside to B.J. Upton, Victor Martinez’s comments seemed to indicate that that was indeed in the intent.
“You don’t see nobody stealing when it’s 9-0 in the sixth or seventh inning,” Martinez said.
Martinez was referencing Upton’s two swiped bags in the bottom of the sixth on Thursday, when the Tribe was up 9-0. But in my view, he had no right to be upset about that. The Rays were trying to take advantage of their speed to generate some offense, and that’s just what they did. They made it a 9-6 game, and the Indians held on for an 11-7 victory.
This is what Rays manager Joe Maddon had to say:
“It was really obvious that Wood came into the game to try and hit B.J. I know there’s all these unwritten rules in baseball. But to me, when the other team stops trying to score runs, that doesn’t mean you have to stop trying to score runs also. … The book was written when the ball wasn’t as lively. Scores change rather rapidly these days. So there’s a lot of pages from the book that need to be burned, extracted, whatever you want to call it.”
I can’t disagree with that, but Victor sure did.
“[Maddon] needs to worry about teaching his players to play the game the right way,” he said.
Victor’s frustrated. Everybody in that Tribe clubhouse is frustrated. But if the Indians were indeed trying to send a message to Upton, they just added unnecessary silliness to an already ridiculous series.
It’s our last day in the Tampa Bay area, and I’ve somehow resisted the urge to drive over to Winter Haven for chicken fajitas at El Norteno and a milkshake at Andy’s Igloo.
Then again, the day is young.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- With the Indians wrapping up a stretch of 17 straight games and Grady Sizemore having played in 16 of them, Eric Wedge is taking advantage of Monday’s off day to give the struggling Sizemore a two-day break to clear his head. “He’s been wearing it, like all our guys,” Wedge said. “He’s a great player, and he puts a lot of responsibility on himself.”
- Sizemore is batting just .167 (.167) over his last 11 games, and he only has one extra-base hit in that span. He’s batting .232 since April 15. Wedge said he doesn’t see major mechanical flaws in Sizemore’s swing. “You look at now versus before, and there’s not a great deal of difference,” Wedge said. “He’s just going through a tough time.”
- What’s also troubling is Sizemore’s stolen base tally. Even when he’s getting on base, he’s too often running himself off them. He is just 6-for-12 in attempts after going 38-for-43 last year. “I think he’s forced a couple of them,” Wedge said. “When the team is struggling, everybody tries to do too much. That’s the case with him on the bases.”
- With David Huff and Greg Aquino now on the club, that’s 20 pitchers employed by the Indians already this season, including eight starters. I might have guessed that eight starters would be used by the end of the season, but not by the end of May. What a year.
- Wedge said Aquino was a “little erratic” in Spring Training. Aquino is just another example of the Indians’ desperate attempts to find somebody to get outs up here.
- Aaron Laffey has done that. In four relief appearances, he’s given up just two runs on seven hits over 10 innings. Just as he did with the rotation last month, Laffey has boosted the bullpen. “He’s really been aggressive on the plate, and his stuff has been good,” Wedge said.
- Laffey won’t be available today after tossing three innings yesterday, and Wedge said he’ll have to see how he feels Tuesday in Kansas City.
- Laffey is now the only left-hander in the bullpen, and he’s obviously not a matchup guy. So let the Rafael Perez watch begin. Perez, optioned to Columbus on May 6, has worked four scoreless innings for Clippers, giving up four hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
- The Indians’ 4-2 loss to the Rays on Saturday was the 500th loss of Wedge’s managerial career. He picked up his 500th win on April 18 in New York.
- Victor Martinez’s .409 average, entering today, is historic for this club. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Indians haven’t had a player with a batting average that high at least 149 at-bats into a season since Tito Francona was batting .410 (96-for-234) in August 1959. Martinez has nine three-hit games this season.
- Shin-Soo Choo is fifth in the league with a .422 on-base percentage.
- Hector Rondon gave up another run in relief for Double-A Akron on Friday, but he got the hold.
- C Carlos Santana was back in the Akron lineup Saturday after missing several games with a forearm issue.
- The Indians traded Double-A reliever Randy Newsom to the Pirates organization for a player to be named later. Newsom himself was the player to be named later in the 2006 deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston. Newsom went on to become Akron’s all-time saves leader with 48.
Today’s 1:38 p.m. ET game at Tropicana Field will be broadcast on WKYC Channel 3 and WTAM. Haven’t spoken with the manager yet, so I don’t know if this is a standard day off for Grady Sizemore or something more newsworthy.
UPDATE: Wedge is giving Grady a two-day mental and physical break, coupling today’s break with tomorrow’s off day.
UPDATE No. 2: Well, this is an oddity. For those not tuning in at home, the Rays submitted a lineup card with two 3B on it — Zobrist and Longoria. Zobrist took the position in the first, Wedge pointed it out to the umpires between innings, and, after a 13-minute delay, the umps ruled that Sonnanstine must bat in Longoria’s place. Sonnanstine was actually 12-for-32 in his career at the plate, coming into the game.
UPDATE No. 3: The Indians were on the other side of this type of snafu once. On July 22, 1999, against Toronto, manager Mike Hargrove submitted a lineup with Manny Ramirez at DH and Alex Ramirez in right field. The wrong Ramirez went out to right in the first inning, and Blue Jays manager Jim Fregosi took notice. Because Manny had played the field, the Indians forfeited their DH spot, so Charles Nagy was forced to bat seventh. He went 0-for-2, and the Indians lost, 4-3.
INDIANS (14-24): SS Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B Jamey Carroll, C Victor Martinez, RF Shin-Soo Choo, 3B Jhonny Peralta, LF Ryan Garko, DH David Dellucci, 1B Mark DeRosa, CF Ben Francisco. LHP David Huff (debut).
RAYS (18-20): CF B.J. Upton, LF Carl Crawford,
DH Evan Longoria Andy Sonnanstine, 1B Carlos Pena, 3B Ben Zobrist, SS Jason Bartlett, RF Gabe Kapler, 2B Akinori Iwamura, C Michel Hernandez. RHP Sonnanstine (1-4, 7.27).
In addition to purchasing the contract of Sunday’s starter, David Huff, and outrighting right-hander Masa Kobayashi to Columbus, the Indians have also purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Greg Aquino and optioned left-hander Tony Sipp back to Triple-A Columbus.
Kobayashi has accepted an assignment to Columbus, so he’ll remain in the organization.
Aquino joined the organization as a Minor League signee and invitee to Spring Training camp. He has 135 Major League relief appearances under his belt with the Diamondbacks, Brewers and Orioles, compiling a 2-4 record and 5.40 ERA with 17 saves. He’s struck out 132 and walked 72 in 138 1/3 innings.
The 31-year-old Aquino had some shoulder issues at Columbus this year but allowed just one run on one hit in eight innings over eight outings. He saved four games in as many chances. Triple-A batters hit just .042 (1-for24) off him, and left-handers were 0-for-12. He was on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis from April 16 to May 6.
Sipp appeared in nine games for the Tribe since his April 22 callup from Columbus. He provided a boost to the bullpen early in his tenure with the Tribe but has battled control problems in his last three outings. In all, he compiled a 4.26 ERA in 6 1/3 innings of work, striking out nine and walking eight.
UPDATE: To make room for Aquino on the 40-man, Scott Lewis was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.