4/14: Indians vs. Rangers
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Went to church earlier this week, and the priest made mention of the obvious attendance falloff from Easter Sunday to the following Sunday. The place had gone from standing-room-only to sit-anywhere-you-want.
The same kind of thing will happen here at Progressive Field tonight. Unless a few cruise ships full of baseball fans pull up to North Coast Harbor in the next couple hours, less than 10,000 people are expected here tonight.
Only one good thing can come of this attendance projection, and it’s a stretch. The thousands of you content with just watching the Tribe from the comforts of home can check me out on the SportsTime Ohio pregame show around 6:45 p.m. ET.
Hey, I told you it was a stretch.
On to the lineups. Grady and his back are back. For the Rangers, C.J. Wilson was scratched because of illness.
INDIANS (2-5): SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, C Marson, LF Brantley. RHP Justin Masterson (0-0, 1.80).
RANGERS (4-3): CF Borbon, 3B Young, LF Hamilton, DH Guerrero, RF Cruz, 1B Davis, C Treanor, 2B Arias, SS Andrus. RHP Colby Lewis (1-0, 1.29).
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY...
Check out Indians.com for notes on Grady Sizemore's return to the lineup, Chris Perez's struggles in the closing role, Kerry Wood's rehab recovery and more.
- A note on Wood: I wouldn't rule out the possibility of him being back with this club before the end of the month, which would put him on the short end of the six-to-eight week spectrum announced at the time of his injury. After all, Wood doesn't need to get stretched out to pitch more than an inning, so a Minor League rehab stint might not be necessary. It all depends how his arm responds to increased activity and how effective he is in finding the strike zone against live hitters in simulated sessions.
Manny Acta on the erratic offensive showing thus far: "We're fine. We've been in pretty much every game. Do I want everybody to be hitting .330 with 20 RBIs already? I think so. But that's impossible. We've been in every game, we're putting up quality at-bats, even in the games we haven't won. It will take time before some guys will be clicking. But not everybody can be at full cylinder every day."
A couple developments down in Triple-A Columbus... Hector Ambriz (right elbow tendinitis) initiated his rehab assignment and has tossed two scoreless innings thus far. The assignment can last up to 30 days, at which point the Indians would have to decide whether to add Ambriz to the roster, offer him back to the D-backs or try to work out a trade for his services. Also, Jeremy Sowers was activated off the Columbus DL. "He will be out of the bullpen," manager Mike Sarbaugh told the Columbus Dispatch. "He won't throw for a few more days."
Here's yet another sign that the Indians are under a new regime: A pitchers' fielding practice is scheduled for Friday afternoon, before batting practice. I've covered this team for five years and never seen that in-season.
The Indians created a Social Media Deck at Progressive Field to embrace users of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. and give them what amounts to their own press box. It's an interesting development in this always evolving industry, and it's a way to engage fans in what is expected to be a rough year, attendance-wise (witness tonight's empty seats). Scott Sargent of the Waiting for Next Year blog wrote up his review of his Opening Day experience on the deck.
And here's a link to an audio interview with Eric Wedge on an Internet sports talk show in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Various items that Tribe players loaded on the truck from Arizona to Cleveland are lined up in the hallway outside the clubhouse. I found it remotely interesting that Mitch Talbot, traded from Houston to Tampa Bay in 2006 and from Tampa Bay to Cleveland this past winter, is still using an Astros luggage bag. That thing has some miles on it.
Remember the Batter's Eye Bar beyond the center-field wall? It's now known as the Rigid Jobsite Bar. Catchy.
UPDATE: The Indians announced that 10,071 tickets were distributed for tonight's game. That's the smallest attendance total in Progressive Field history.