4/8: Indians at White Sox

A hot time in the old town tonight? Nope, not tonight. It’s freezing. Play ball.

cle2.gifINDIANS (1-1):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, C Marson, LF Brantley. RHP Masterson.




cws3.gifWHITE SOX (1-1):
DH Pierre, 2B Beckham, RF Quentin, 1B Konerko, CF Jones, C  Pierzynski, LF Rios, 3B Teahen, SS Ramirez. RHP Floyd.


Pierre at DH?!?

Pierre at DH?!?

It is an odd feeling to look at a lineup that has the same players in the same order playing the same positions. I thought there was no way this could be the right lineup at first.

the umpires from the last 2 nights should be fired.

Mark this is actually our 3rd different lineup in 3 games, which is why the number of lineups doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t show that Valbuena was hurt, and Redmond taking his normal spot when Carmona pitched.

this truly is poor scheduling by MLB. 8:10 pm central time game followed by a 1:05 pm est game for an opener?? Nice. At least we will get a look at Marte, maybe Kearns and Redmond as well. I think having Redmond catch Huff is a mistake but a necessary pairing for this game if only to get Marson more than 12 hours rest.

Instead of going with Redmond, they should call up Carlos Santana. I see he went 4-5 with 2 HRs and a double.

Tony Sipp and Joe Smith continue to struggle but it was just one game I suppose. Jensen Lewis was desperately needed and quite efficient while C. Perez was nails. You have to be happy with this outcome.

On a different note, did anyone else think that it was looking totally downhill when Matt Thornton came in to face the hefty lefities in Sizemore, Choo and Hafner? I realize it might be too early to thrust LaPorta into the hard of the order but we really need a right handed bat somewhere. Peralta has shown an ability to his 4th but certainly not during April or early May. We will continue to see this issue arise throughout the season.

ST, I guess his hamate bone has healed…

Where to even begin with these guys? How ’bout that bunting? How ’bout that Jensen Lewis, who got hosed on some calls but still came up big.
And I realize it doesn’t really matter that much beyond the first go round, but shocking that Grady is knocking in runs like this after being moved down in the order, isn’t it? I’m beginning to wonder if they have Brantley batting last just so they can see how the Brantley-Cabrera-Sizemore order works without actually giving the lead off spot to a rookie.
Tomorrow should be interesting, particularly because I can’t see Huff going too many innings. It was smart to give Laffey the night off and use Lewis as much as we could.
Anyone notice Marte was in again as a defensive replacement? That’s crazy.
Oh, and after LaPorta made that nice pick on the throw from Jhonny, there was a pitching change, and LaPorta went up to Jhonny at the mound and gave him a fist bump. That’s the kind of stuff I love to see.
The Tribe had WAY more enthusiasm the second two games than the White Sox. They looked like zombies.

Nothing like seeing one bad call after another…but we won anyway…good for us.

yeah AM, Hafner’s held his own against lefties so far, but Sizemore and Choo have looked bad, which in Sizemore’s case is pretty much what you’d expect. What I wonder, is where does that leave Branyan? He’s been hitting well on his rehab, but you can’t really bring him up to replace Laporta or Brantley, who’ve been big parts of both of these wins. And really I’d rather have Marte on the bench with his right-handed bat and defense than Branyan … Sipp wasn’t that bad AM, his line was really 2 strikeouts and 1 walk, the 1st walk was actually a strikeout, and only a walk in the confused brain of the umpire. The 4-pitch walk to start the 7th was bad though. I don’t think Smith will ever be a shut-down type guy. He didn’t look bad, one bad pitch on a 1-2 count that was hit for the HR and then he struck out the next 2 guys. When Wood comes back, that was a spot Chris Perez might be pitching in instead of Smith. It’s probably good that guys like Laffey and Smith are getting experience in pressure situations though. That can only help down the road. So far, no Hellpen, and Jensen Lewis has looked good, though it was the White Sox, who as it was pointed out above, had Juan Pierre at DH … The umpire was ridiculous. He called a strike on Valbuena on a pitch that was 6 inches outside and around his shoulders, and then did the same thing on Choo. Masterson’s based loaded walk looked to be on a pitch belt high down the middle of the plate. The White Sox got screwed on some pitches as well.

Comment from Tom Hamilton last night about the umpiring:

“give Bruce Dreckman and Bill Hohn (home plate umps Thursday and Wednesday, respectively) some credit, they are consistent… they consistently miss the right call, oh my lord”

ST, you nailed my displeasure with Sipp, 4-pitch walk to open an inning. Ugh. As for Joe Smith, he’s a waste to me as there is practically no need for a righty specialist. I realize that I’m biased. I never liked the guy from the word go as I viewed him as “the guy” that Shapiro wanted so long as he dumped Franklin Gutierrez (rather than Ben Francisco at the time).

Hindsight is 20/20 I realize this but I was against that trade from the first moment (check the threads). There is a reason Seattle wouldn’t make the trade without getting Gutierrez. The Wedge-Shapiro conglomerate flat-out screwed WAY too many players here in Cleveland and you can add Franklin to that list. I also realize that we got Valbuena in that trade as well and his stock appears strong but it can’t be a good thing that the FO was seriously looking at the declining service of O-Dog for 2010 AND 2011 not to mention dealing for Jason Donald.

I wasn’t completely sold on Valbuena last year and obviously I wasn’t the only one. I’m not sold on Donald to stay healthy and produce offensively. Carlos Rivero is a very young slick fielding SS who looks over-matched at the plate against older pitchers and therefore seems destined to be traded b/c he’s blocked by Cabrera. So who’s left at 2B? Maybe Cord Phelps?

Kipnis is supposed to be a very good 2b prospect, albeit a couple years out. I don’t think the Gutierrez trade was a bad trade. He obviously wasn’t going to take over CF from Sizemore. I think it’s a trade that worked out well for both … and yes, I think it was actually Juan Pierre that Sipp walked too, right, which should never happen. You can throw it down the middle of the plate to Pierre, the worst thing that can happen is a single so who cares? Sipp did a nice job the previous inning though, I thought they were screwed when the umpire blew that strike call and Sipp “walked” the guy, but then he came back and got another strikeout. The Indians I think were confused about who Pierre was, Sizemore was obviously playing WAAAY too deep when Pierre dropped the popup in front of him. Pierre hit 26 doubles … in the last 2 years. If Sizemore had made that play, Masterson probably would’ve been able to come out and pitch the 6th in what would’ve been a 2-0 game.

Kipnis was a center fielder in college if I remember correctly and I remember the FO stating he could move to 2B but he’s listed as a first baseman on Kinston’s roster. He is supposed to be an athletic kid that could have gone late in the first round or sandwich so I know we got value with him in the 2nd rd.

Good points on Sipp, Kipnis and Pierre. As expected, we see Redmond, Kearns and Marte. Great hit by Hafner to turn on that pitch. Vintage.

Yeah, if nothing else, on a symbolic level it’s nice to see our first homer of the season come from Pronk, and nice to see our RBI leader is Grady.
Rough one for Huff today. He looked good and far better than I think most of us expected.
Anyone else surprised that so many of regulars were out there on the infield or, more specifically, that Grudz wasn’t? I actually assumed he’d be at second today, when Valbuena was left in last night to hit.
That’s got to be a tricky decision, figuring out which regulars to sit. Obviously, the rookies made the most sense, and mixing in 3 new guys to the roster was probably more than Acta would have liked as it was.

Too bad Peralta blew that game. I caught the 1st 4 innings and Huff looked great. This one was on the hitters more than anything though. Choo needs to quit striking out every at bat. He was doing so well in spring training and no he can’t even make contact … That is weird about Kipnis being listed at 1b. IPI definitely was saying he was going to be at 2nd, and the Indians don’t need any more 1st basemen.

I always lurk on this blog but am usually too lazy to sign in and leave comments. Perhaps I shall change my ways this season! Anyway, maybe this idea has already been talked about or maybe it’s not feasible for one reason or another, but Russell Branyan has played third base in the past. I just compared Peralta and Branyan’s fielding percentages and they are similar (not that great…), but Branyan will likely drive in more runs than Peralta. Yes, not like we can really get rid of Peralta in return for anything–I know we’re stuck with him for now. But as for my theory–that way, we don’t have to worry about what we’re going to do with both LaPorta and Brantley.

Hey, tribechick, welcome to the discussion! You mention exactly what I was going to bring up, which is: what do we do with Branyan?
The way I see it, there are two obvious choices to drop from the roster if/when Branyan gets the call (assuming that Brantley and LaPorta perform as hoped): Kearns and Marte.
If they drop Kearns, LaPorta would become the 4th outfielder/platoon 1B. If they drop Marte, Branyan would serve as platoon 1B and maybe 3B, although I’d be more inclined to believe we’d see Grudz there as needed.
Either way, Marte’s time is going to drop something crazy. If I knew for a fact Marte would clear waivers, I’d be okay with that, given the apparent lack of a 3B in Columbus right now. That would, in theory, allow Jhonny to create some value for himself and give us a replacement to call up at mid-season (who, in my perfect world, is replaced by Chisenhall in AAA).
And, wow, Satana is certainly starting off like we all hoped in Columbus! Imagine that bat in our line-up down the line…

Eh, I figure I should start commenting on the CastroTurf blog as well, as I’ve been lurking here for the last year or so and kept quiet. All in all, I’ve somewhat been alright with what I’ve seen from the Tribe this year, though the first bits of our rotation have been shaky. I was happy with Huff and his 1 ER and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Talbot can do today after a strong spring.

As for Peralta’s defense yesterday, my brother somewhat summed up what I was thinking at the moment, that the Indians should be allowed to have both Marte and Peralta patrolling third and that might equal a decent defensive third baseman.🙂

Also with Branyan, if he’s a healthy Branyan from the first half of last year, then it would be a good power bat in the middle of the order on what so far seems to be a powerless team. But I don’t want to see the young guys loose spots to him in the lineups, I want Brantley and LaPorta in, LF and at 1B respectively, unless they play to loose those spots. It’s an interesting thought having him at third, but with his back issues, I seriously doubt that we’ll see him there any time soon.

At least Talbot got his work in … It goes to show, spring training does indeed mean nothing, where Huff looked bad and Talbot looked good, and now the regular season’s here and the first time through at least Huff looked like the best pitcher on the Indians’ staff and Talbot looks awful. Here’s where Laffey in the bullpen breaks down. How much better would it be to have Laffey as the 5th starter, rather than having the 5th starter go like 2 innings and waste the entire bullpen.

Well, my snarky comment on Facebook about Talbot after the first inning notwithstanding, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt going forward. He managed to get out of a big jam in the 3rd and just pitched a great 4th, which makes me wonder if he was overthrowing to start the game. I’m not going to write him off just yet.
In this case, as well, the Laffey situation becomes a matter of six of one, half dozen of the other. Talbot’s at 92 pitches going into the 5th. Sure, it only took 8 pitches to get through the 4th, but odds are even if he gets through the 5th, he’ll be well over 100 pitches. Having Laffey in the ‘pen will be huge for the next few innings, particularly if we’re able to put some runs up.
With such a young rotation, this is a team that desperately needs a long relief guy — and a good one, at that. I’m not sold on Jamie Wright, but I am sold on Laffey. And with all the arms we have in Columbus, we’re much worse off for long relief options than we are for starting options.

Since it’s never to early to start questioning your manager…
Someone at the Let’s Go Tribe board had a good question: Why was our line-up ordered like it was today? It went switch hitter, 3 lefties, 4 righties, 1 lefty. Now, I realize there’s something to organizing guys on how they hit, but, as many have pointed out, once you get past the first inning, batting order becomes pretty arbitrary — your clean-up hitter could end up your lead-off hitter at some point during the game.
This does beg the question: should we think about moving Pronk down a spot? Because the streak of lefties (and righties today) doesn’t seem like a good thing.
Better yet, why is Brantley batting last? Why is Marson ahead of him in the order, when just moving Brantley up would have broken up that string of righties?

yep, really the biggest problem with the lineup so far though has been Choo, who’s striking out nearly every time he goes up to bat. Last year Choo was decent against lefties, right now he’s just not hitting anyone. I’m sure that will change and they’ll start doing better. But yes, I don’t know why you’d want to make it so easy to the opposing manager to go to his match up relievers the last few innings. For the short term I’d probably bring Brantley up to the leadoff spot, and then go Cabrera, Sizemore, Hafner, Laporta, Choo, Peralta. Breaks up the lineup and hopefully allows Choo to relax a little. I do know what this lineup doesn’t need. Another left handed batter who strikes out all the time. I know what this lineup does need: switch hitting, contact and power hitting Carlos Santana. Really Marson has looked not very good defensively. Santana’s hand injury obviously isn’t affecting him. I know they’re not going to make that move this early, but they could use him. If not for bad defense and worse hitting, they’d by 4-1 right now.I think in the near future, the Indians actually do need to consider trading one of their outfielders, and picking up a right handed power bat. The balance is just going to get worse with the lefty prospects they have in the pipeline (Chisenhall, Weglarz, Kipnis). Maybe sign Jayson Werth as a free agent after this season, and then pull off some other deal, Choo and maybe another prospect or 2 for a good starting pitcher–Werth strikes out a lot but has very good numbers against LHP–he actually has numbers that are similar to Choo’s across the board except he’s right handed. He’d probably be fairly expensive, but Choo will be expensive eventually too. Either way, I don’t think they should keep both Sizemore and Choo. Too left-handed, too many strikeouts.

I still don’t think that you can thrust LaPorta into the 5-hole this quick into the season but Peralta is anther option despite his early season woes. The problem with the lineup is that the lefties we have are typical middle of the order bats. Obviously by the end of the season I’d like a lineup of Brantley, Cabrera, Sizemore, Hafner, LaPorta, Choo, Peralta, Marson, Valbuena. Moving Choo to the 6-hole simply b/c of a need for balance kinda seems like a demotion of sorts. I’m not going to put too much stock into only two series of a sample size (to steal Acta’s line) much in the same way that I’m not going to get too perturbed about one start each from the SPs.

Choo has K’d in 50% of his at bats so far. I’m sure he’ll turn it around, but I don’t think a “demotion”, even if its temporary, is necessarily a bad idea. It would not be just to balance the lineup, it would be to try to get Choo to relax and quit trying to do too much

I agree, ST, moving Choo down (regardless of his homer today) would work on two levels.
What’s the deal with R. Perez? Acta went with Laffey in a situation that I thought was perfect for Perez, particularly since it was more or less a one out situation — maybe four outs, if he kept him in for the 8th. But Laffey only faced on guy, which seems like waste to get him warmed up and in there.
It just doesn’t seem like Acta has a lot of faith in Perez so far and I wonder why.

seriously, time to call up Santana. Marson is incapable of blocking pitches, and Santana has 3 more home runs in AAA than Marson has hits.

it doesn’t help Laffey’s case that he walked the guy though. R. Perez looks frantic and desperately trying to get the ball over the plate. His pitches are getting too much of it. I like this move to bring in C. Perez for the 4-out save so long as he doesn’t have to struggle with getting the last out in the 8th.

Yes, Choo might need to be moved down in the order. But then I ask, why do you move into the 3-hole, Peralta? Still maintain that LaPorta is too new for that type of pressure this early. Cabrera, Sizemore, Peralta, Hafner, Choo, LaPorta maybe?

I think Acta wants R. Perez to be the set-up man…not so much after today, I’m thinking.
I think ST was saying that you move Brantley to lead-off, which puts Grady in the 3-hole, which I’d agree with. Heck, at that point you can leave Pronk at #4 as long as you’ve got a righty behind him — then you’d actually break up the clump of lefties.
Yeah, Marson had had some troubles and I’m sure it doesn’t help that pretty much everyone is counting down until Santana arrives.
If we’re going to get excited about what Santanta’s doing in Columbus after four games, then we should also be worried about what the relievers down there are doing. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of bullpen help on the horizon, at least not this year. Then again, Pino K’d 5 today and Carrasco is a K machine, so ST might have a good point about converting some of the AAA starters.

Oh, and while it might pain me to agree with this idea, I think ST could be on to something about eventually dealing Choo. The simple fact that he’s a Boras client is enough to make the idea a valid one. The problem, of course, is where do we put a right handed bat, assuming we get one? Heck, Chisenhall’s a lefty, so at some point we’re going to add another lefty to the line-up. If we’re thinking long term, perhaps a right handed DH would make the most sense down the line particularly since, as ST pointed out, we’re left heavy in the outfield for years to come.

They would need a right handed bat in the outfield to replace Choo (or Sizemore). This assumes of course that Brantley does well this year and is still in the outfield next year. Then they’d have right handed bats at 1b (Laporta) and OF (player X–it would have to be a proven performer like Werth, since they should be aiming at contending), and switch hitters at C and SS. The problem with DH, is they have a fairly logical internal replacement for Hafner in Weglarz (since Laporta will hopefully have 1b covered, and Weglarz isn’t going to be an improvement defensively on anyone already in the outfield). I figure Chisenhall’s probably at 3B next year, so if they don’t move anyone, they’re pretty much guaranteed to have 6 lefties in the lineup next year and 2012. The only right handed, highly-rated prospect they have is Abner Abreu … It’s a little absurd that they said the only reason they’re holding Santana back is so he can work on his defense (when I’m sure the real reason is service time clock, as with Brantley), so we’re stuck with light-hitting Marson, who’s also been been inept defensively. And I think we should be excited by what Santana’s done the past 2 years and 4 games. The only question about this year was whether the broken bone in his hand would cause issues because that injury’s been known to cause a dip in power for a while for some players. 4 games and 4 HRs is enough to say the hand is obviously fine … As for the atrocity that was the game today, I had a feeling all game that the bullpen was going to blow it. Bad bullpen management though too, not keeping Joe Smith in to open the 8th was an obvious mistake. Why bring in R Perez to face Miguel Cabrera, when Smith is brutal against right handers? The 8th is where they lost it, because of the 2 runs but also because they let enough guys get on base to bring Ordonez and Cabrera back up in the 9th. If Joe Smith had opened the 8th and retired Cabrera (no certainty, but I like the odds better), they would’ve won the game.

I didn’t know the plan for Weglarz was DH; I thought he was considered an outfielder for the future.
Ultimately, I think a lot of this is irrelevant if the line-up isn’t changed up. We could have 5 of one and 4 of the other, but unless they’re being mixed up, it doesn’t change things.
But I suppose, as AM said, they’re waiting to move LaPorta up, and the addition of Santana will help, too.
I guess having so many lefties isn’t a bad thing, if we could count on our righties in other spots in the order.

I think having 6 lefties in the lineup would be a bad thing regardless, it’s impossible at that point to balance it out … They haven’t said anything about Weglarz being DH, I’m just saying it makes sense. Obviously it depends on whether he develops into a talented major league hitter. I’ve read that he might eventually be converted to 1b, I’m just basing DH on the fact that 1b and the outfield are already occupied by young players. It’s the same as Laporta in the outfield–where would Weglarz fit when they already have Choo, Sizemore and Brantley? (and if they trade one of those guys, like I said, I’d want to see them replaced by someone who bats right handed) The real nice thing about the Indians minor league situation, is that our two really highly-rated prospects are at the only 2 positions we have a real need–3b and C. Guys like Weglarz and Jordan Brown don’t really have a place unless something kind of unexpected happens.

You mean after Jhonny’s gone? Because right now we’ve only got 5 lefties. Sure, one more righty would leave us with four and four and Cabrera, but I think we can live with 5 if we mix guys up. The problem, obviously, comes if/when Chisenhall is our third baseman.
I think Weglarz has a spot in the outfield, either replacing Choo or (and I hate saying it as much as the next guy) Sizemore — although I would assume he’d just be replacing Grady on the roster, as it would be Brantley who would move to center. But, again, we’d still have an entirely left handed outfield, unless we lose both Choo and Sizemore, which is a ways out.
That’s the problem — we seem to have a decent amount of depth that’s all left handed. I would expect the biggest openings to come at second, since Valbuena still has something to prove, and DH, since Hafner’s contract is so insane.

while I’m not happy about some of the results I will temper my remarks until we’ve gotten further into the season than 6 games. We expect to lose this season so today’s game was symbolic of what might happen to a young team. I saw a stat on STO the that Indians FMR was the second youngest.

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