"Even Rocky had a montage!"
Mother Nature must have a magnet schedule.
The Indians have had a lot of rain this season, but not a single rainout. This morning, I thought that streak was destined to end, as it was coming down enough to fill those outfield fountains at Kauffman Stadium. Sure enough, the rain held off just in time for the grounds crew to clear the tarp and prep the field, and it now looks like we’re on schedule for the 2:10 p.m. ET first pitch.
The only thing off-schedule today was the arrival of the Tribe’s team bus, which was sideswiped by a vehicle that hydroplaned on Blue Parkway, not far from the ballpark. Eight players and assistant GM John Mirabelli waited for town cars to arrive to take them to Kauffman. No one was hurt, and, unlike in 2004, no one was shot.
If that’s not enough minutiae (plural) for you, here’s the rest.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- September callups are coming. Who’s coming up? Well, Carlos Carrasco and Lou Marson, for sure. Hector Rondon is a possibility, if the Tribe goes with a six-man rotation in September. Jordan Brown, if he fully recovers from the shoulder injury that recently landed him on the DL, could get a look in left field. Greg Aquino and Jose Veras have been pitching well since their demotion to Triple-A, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Indians give them another look. Jason Donald probably would have been a callup, had he not recently gone on the DL with back spasms.
- Regarding Brown, who recently returned to the Columbus lineup, the Indians have made the decision to leave him in left field, where he has more of a potential future in this organization.
- The Indians rank third in the league in strikeouts, with 943. They trail the Rangers (984) and Rays (976). The Rangers might be uncatchable, but after last night’s performance, the Indians are almost within a whiff (pun intended) of second place. Go get ‘em, men.
- Justin Masterson threw 110 pitches against the Angels last week, which seemed odd, considering it was just his third start since converting from relief work. On Tuesday night, Wedge evened things out a bit by pulling Masterson after 98 pitches. Masterson said he’s holding up well physically, and he still felt strong when he was pulled against the Royals. “The Lord’s blessed me with a big old body,” he said proudly.
- Here’s the worry with Masterson: right-handers are batting just .125 (5-for-40, three walks, 10 strikeouts), but left-handers are hitting .354 (17-for-48, 10 walks, eight strikeouts). Are the Indians concerned? “I think he’s going to be OK,” Wedge said. “That changeup is a good pitch for him. He used it more as [Tuesday's] game wore on, and it helped him. He’s a smart kid, and he’s very aware of what he’s doing out there. I see a lot of encouraging things with him.”
- The changeup, remember, is the pitch the Indians wanted Masterson to work on as he transitioned to starting work. He used it more as Tuesday’s game went on, and his outing improved as he did so.
- In my limited exposure to Masterson so far, he seems like an outstanding guy. But he also has this weird habit of addressing himself as “we.” Last night, for instance, it was, “We fell behind in the count.” Now, he could be talking about himself and the catcher, but he uses it so often that it can be a bit disconcerting. I’m 99.9 percent certain he doesn’t have split personalities and is speaking on both of their behalves, but all the “we” usage accounts has to account for at least a fraction of a percentage point of doubt.
- Mirabelli talked about some of the recent trade acquisitions. Carrasco, he said, has come a long way from last summer, when Mirabelli felt he didn’t trust his fastball enough. “He’s all business on the mound,” said Mirabelli, who watched Carrasco last week. “His body language and the way he gets after it, I like it.”
- Mirabelli said Jason Knapp will have to work on his changeup to emerge as a Major League starter. Obviously, Knapp is just a kid, so he has time to tinker with it. The guy that really stands out to Mirabelli at Lake County is Nick Hagadone, who is consistently at 94 mph and can touch 98. “He has a chance to be real special,” Mirabelli said. “He’s going to need some length and some innings [after Tommy John surgery in 2008], but I can see him coming real quick.”
- Bryan Price, who has struggled some at Class A Kinston, was a reliever at Rice who is trying to make the conversion to starting. If it doesn’t work out (namely, if he doesn’t develop a changeup), the Indians could move him back to relief.
- Luis Valbuena has an eight-game hitting streak in which he’s batting .367 with three homers and seven RBIs.
- Former MLB.com and Indians.com senior writer Justice B. Hill has launched a blog with commentary about the world of sports. You can check that out here.
- Before today’s game, the in-house sound system at Kauffman played “Sports Training Montage” from “South Park.” That’s awesome. Much better than the Nickelback we’re saddled with back home.
- I’m not making the trip to Baltimore, so I’ll catch up with you next week in Motown.