Fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Man, this recession is brutal. Hope you enjoyed this year’s budget-conscious installment of the Rock ‘N Blast Fireworks.
I kid, I kid. The real thing takes place postgame. As for pregame, here are your news and notes.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIA OF THE DAY…
- Kelly Shoppach at DH? Believe it. Travis Hafner was in need of one of his routine days off, Shoppach is 13-for-his-last-41 (.317 average) and the Mariners have a left-handed starter on the mound in Luke French. “It was a good opportunity to get [Shoppach's] bat in there,” Eric Wedge said.
- Really impressive bounceback start for Justin Masterson last night after a rough one in Minnesota last week. “He has a nice tempo to him,” Wedge said. “Obviously, he’s big and strong, and he does a good job mixing in his changeup, breaking ball and slider. He’s consistent with his command. There are a lot of good things we saw.”
- I was surprised to see Masterson allotted 110 pitches already. He threw 83 in his previous outing, 61 in his first start and 46 in his last relief appearance.
- Left-hander Scott Lewis made his first start with Triple-A Columbus last night, and it was a brief one. Lewis gave up four runs on five hits with a walk and two strikeouts in two innings. To clear up Lewis’ injury situation, he has calcium deposits on his ligaments in his left elbow, and that’s causing him discomfort that he’s going to have to pitch through. Lewis was activated from the 60-day DL and optioned to Columbus earlier this week. He’s certainly a candidate to come off the 40-man in the coming months.
- Wedge heaped praise on Jamey Carroll today, calling him “invaluable” to this team. “He’s a consummate pro,” Wedge said. “He’s somebody his teammates can look to for guidance. In a season that’s been very hectic, he’s been the one constant.” Wedge compared Carroll to Casey Blake, in terms of clubhouse presence and the willingness to take up any position at any time.
- Wedge said it’s too early to determine which positions are locked up for next year, though obviously Grady Sizemore, Peralta, Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are solidified at their spots. As for the other spots, “We’re going to hold off until we watch these young kids for another five or six weeks,” Wedge said. “I think we have to.”
- It seems fairly obvious that C Lou Marson, one of the acquisitions in the Cliff Lee trade, will be a September callup. “I want to see him myself at some point in time,” Wedge said. “The reports have been consistent on him.” Marson has hit in 11 of 14 games since the trade, batting .360 along the way.
- Speaking of trade acquisitions, right-hander Bryan Price, one of the Victor Martinez acquisitions, had a rough one at Class A Kinston last night. He gave up eight runs on eight hits, including three homers, in two innings. He is now 3-7 with a 6.10 ERA on the season at the Class A level.
- Three other recent acquisitions — Carlos Carrasco (Columbus), Connor Graham (Akron) and Jason Knapp (Lake County) — are all making starts tonight.
- The Indians and Dick’s Sporting Goods helped out 32 members of the Boys and Girls Club’s Lorain and Cleveland branches this morning with the annual “Shop With A Pro” event in Crocker Park. Each kid was given a $100 gift card and was accompanied by a Tribe player. David Huff, Jhonny Peralta, Chris Gimenez, Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey, Trevor Crowe, Tony Sipp and Wyatt Toregas all took part. “They all used their money so wisely,” Gimenez said. “They were so conscious of how much stuff costs. I had a lot of fun with them. I got a kick out of it.”
- In another community endeavor this afternoon, the Tribe gave a $150,270 check to the Cleveland Baseball Federation to honor Cleveland’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) tournament teams. The senior girls team ages 15-19 finished runner-up to Hawaii in the World Series championship game, which will be aired this Sunday at 1 p.m. on MLB Network.
- One last community note: The Tomo Ohka Dream Tour appears to be a success. The four disadvantaged children Ohka invited to the States from Japan have attended Tribe games and visited Berea Children’s Home and Family Services today. Tomorrow, they’ll visit Amish Country, which ought to be a unique experience for them. Smiles abound as they watched BP on field today. Ohka, who came from a single-parent home, has been doing this tour for nine years.
- The best thing about the Dream Tour? The Japanese kids aren’t forced to sleep in somebody’s dresser, hunt for celebrities from the “Super Terrific Happy Hour” or eat nothing but oranges. (And if you don’t get the reference, I don’t know what to tell you.)
- The Tribe’s home and road records are currently identical — 26-34.
- Still waiting for a homer at home. It’s been nine games – the longest such stretch since the end of the 1991 season. The Indians have hit 49 homers in 60 home games this season, while their opponents have hit 50.
- Add Dan Mendlik of the Indians’ information systems department to the growing list of those committed to the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band show at the Q in November. The show is just 81 days away, not that I’m counting.