4/20: Indians at Twins

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

targetfield.jpgGreetings from brand-spanking-new Target Field, where the Indians and Twins will kick off a three-game series at 8:10 p.m. ET.

My feelings about this place haven’t changed since I toured it last September. It has jumped near the top of my list of Major League facilities, ahead of that behemoth they built in the Bronx. Those of you prone to pilgrimages need to check it out.

As far as the lineup is concerned, Russell Branyan is set to make his 2010 debut, with Austin Kearns notably starting in left field over Matt LaPorta. LaPorta is taking fly balls in the outfield for the first time pregame today.

cle3.gifINDIANS (6-6): SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B Branyan, LF Kearns, 2B Valbuena, C Marson. RHP Justin Masterson (1-0, 2.45).

 

 

 


min2.gifTWINS (9-3):
CF Span, 2B Hudson, C Mauer, 1B Morneau, RF Cuddyer, DH Kubel, LF Young, SS Hardy, 3B Harris. RHP Kevin Slowey (1-1, 3.48).

 

 

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Thursday’s game between the Tribe and Twins will be on the MLB Network. Previously, it wasn’t scheduled to air in Cleveland.
  • Manny Acta said activating Branyan today was the “plan all along.” He had told reporters last week that the Indians wanted to see Branyan play back-to-back days at first base in the Minors, but he made it clear he said that so that we wouldn’t be bothering Michael Brantley about the imminent possibility of getting sent down. That’s all well and good, I suppose, but the notion of having Branyan play in consecutive games before activating him off the DL didn’t seem like the worst idea in the world. Obviously, the Indians are confident in the condition of Branyan’s back.
  • That said, Branyan is not ready to tolerate more than four games a week, Acta said. So you’ll probably be seeing Matt LaPorta bounce back and forth between left field and first base. LaPorta, as you know, has not only not played a game in left field this year; he hadn’t taken so much as a fly ball at the position before today’s pregame activity. Acta said LaPorta will get some work at the position again on Wednesday and play Thursday.
  • Brantley had a stellar spring camp, and he has a lot to look forward to at the big-league level. But the need for some more development time was pretty glaring the first couple weeks up here. All of his hits — and there were only five of them in 24 at-bats — came against right-handed pitching. Acta said the Indians could have kept Brantley up here in a part-time role, but there’s obviously not much sense in that.
  • Speaking of performances against lefties, Grady Sizemore is batting .056 (1-for-18) with five strikeouts.
  • Kerry Wood (strained back muscle) threw to live hitters today and felt good. He’ll either throw another simulated game Thursday or head out on a rehab assignment in the Minors. Acta made it clear he wants Wood to pitch in some games before joining the Tribe, because he only appeared in two games this spring.
  • The All-Star ballots were released today, and you’d have to imagine Shin-Soo Choo will get some votes after his AL Player of the Week heroics. Choo won a watch from Game Time Watch Shop for his efforts. “When I won Player of the Month in Sept. 2008, I got a 52-inch TV [from Sharp],” Choo said. “I still use it.”
  • Entering tonight, Choo has either scored or driven in 48.9 percent of the Indians’ runs. So, yeah, you could say he’s a big reason they got back to .500.
  • But how about the pitching? The Indians have been outscored 50-45, but they have, entering tonight, the fourth-best starters’ ERA in the AL (3.40), and their bullpen has allowed just three of 29 inherited runners to score (leading the AL and ranking second in the Majors).
  • The Cleveland Indians Charities High School Hardball Classic takes place Friday and Saturday at Progressive Field. For more information on the six games, visit indians.com/community.
  • Tonight marks the Indians’ first outdoor game in Minnesota since a May 10, 1981, game at Metropolitan Stadium. I was negative-11 days old.
  • I could write thousands of words about the various features that make Target Field such a wonderful place to watch a game, but all of that is available elsewhere. What I do want to tell you about covering a game here is that my favorite feature has to be the men’s restroom in the press box? Why? Because it actually is a men’s restroom… with multiple urinals and everything. At the Metrodome, the press box bathroom was a unisex unit with one toilet and a door that may or may not have locked.

~AC

17 Comments

HOLY $%@#!!!! I am so #%$@in’ mad right now! Can anybody guess what inning the game is in?

I think it was the easiest inning-ending groundball doubleplay in the world that went through Cabrera’s legs and led to 4 runs.

I just got home from work, so I didn’t get to see the inning I’m guessing you’re talking about, Fargokyle. Is it Masterson’s errors that are upsetting you?
Speaking strictly from the line score, I have to wonder if those Friday fielding exercise for pitchers are doing any good…

You can say that again, ST. I think I’m still in denial.

Hello folks… John Gordon here…. it’s the top of the 10th inning…. still a 1-1 ballgame. Russell Branyan steps up to the plate. And the pitch from Duensing… MY OH MY Branyan belts one over the right field porch for the go-ahead score.

Bottom of the 10th for the Twins last chance… Chris Perez on the mound to close it out for the Tribe. And he strikes out the side to record his 5th save of this young season. Tribe wins!

Seriously… I would expect that Ol bull$#@% from Peralta… but not Cabrera. What a tough pill to swallow tonight

Okay, let’s try this again and see if my post gets eaten…
I think tonight’s performance opens up a frequent — if not extensively talked about — topic of conversation, one that perhaps even ST and I can find some common ground on: what’s Masterson’s future?
So far, it would seem like the bullpen is calling his name. Now, I really pushed for him to be a starter, but we’ve got some other options in Columbus (some of whom have gotten shelled to start the year, but still) and it might be nice to see them get a shot over the next few months. I’m guessing we’ll have at least one open spot after we trade Westbrook, anyway, so perhaps mixing guys in over the course of the season will help us find a solid 1-5 for next year.
Sadly, our lack of dependable lefty seems to have locked Laffey in the bullpen, although I do think he’s great there.

Masterson could really go anywhere and I don’t think he’s proved anything so far other that he can have a rough day and still battle pretty well. He couldn’t control many pitches and yet it was the errors that did him in, not his pitching overall. (That and another game where we lacked offense.)

It’ll be interesting to see what they do with the starters when they feel someone in AAA is ready to come up. I don’t know if they’ll trade Westbrook or not, as there is something to e said to having a vet there with all the young kids.

Speaking of such things – Laffey seems to be getting the old Westbrook treatment. Never knowing if he’s a starter or reliever from year to year until at one point they need him to start and he puts an end to it. Laffey, when the opportunity comes up the year, will have to grab it and run like Westbrook did years ago.

Yo, AC…. tell me that Redmond will get the start today. I honestly don’t know how much more of Lou I can handle. It’s nice to see an occasional frozen rope out of the guy… but they are always right at somebody. Last night it was a rocket back to the P. Besides…. it would be nice to see Red in the lineup against his former team.

Even if Lou is getting the start…. maybe you could humor us by putting Santana in your daily lineup update?

yeah, I agree with norwalkemo, it’s too early to say with Masterson. Right now the rotation has looked good and the bullpen has looked like they could use some help, but that could change quickly (like, when Wood comes back and Rafael Perez is released–Perez hasn’t fooled anyone so far this year) If there’s any team that Masterson matches up badly with it’s the Twins, but he still should have been pitching in the 5th of a 1-1 game last night, if not for Cabrera, and he at least handled Mauer well. He likely couldn’t have gone more than 5 innings with his pitch count up but I’d certainly take 5 innings, 1 run as a “bad” performance. He also still struck out more guys than he walked, something the rest of the Indians’ staff struggles with. I liked the 2nd inning when Masterson walked a guy to load the bases so he could face Mauer with 2 out and get him to ground out: he must enjoy a challenge … This season reminds me a lot of 2008, but with a slightly better bullpen, where they started out with dominant pitching but couldn’t score runs, and then eventually the pitching collapsed too, except for Cliff Lee. Grady looked clueless last night, struck out on a check swing on a pitch around his head, and Choo struck out swinging at a couple of those as well. The only guy who looked somewhat competent in the lineup was Cabrera. I thought they’d start to come around against the Twins pitching but if they keep up the awfulness of last night, they might as well have Tomo Ohka in there

see, the Indians should have called Santana up, that way he wouldn’t have injured himself today in AAA

AC – if you find yourself lacking for things to do in the Cities, let me know… plenty of ideas for you. I’ll be at the games tonight and tomorrow. While I’ve already seen Target Field once (at the Cards/Twins preseason exhibition), I’m looking forward to seeing it during a night game.

sounds like he’s fine. IPI reported he fouled a ball off his leg today and had to be helped off the field, but they didn’t even have X-rays taken. I was having visions of having to watch Marson strike out on 3 pitches and not block balls in the dirt all year

ST…. details please. I can’t find anything about Santana. What happened?? What should I do?? I feel like a helpless parent right now.

Phew! Is it June 1st yet?

seriously. I liked the 1st at bat Marson put up last night, when Slowey blew three 90mph fastballs by him that looked to be down the middle of the plate, I think he only swung at one of them, and of course didn’t make contact. The only 2 times Marson hit the ball reasonably hard this year he hit it off the pitcher’s leg and recorded an out … speaking of which, memo to Indians hitters: you are actually allowed to swing at the first pitch. Especially against Minnesota, who are known for pitching to contact and 1st pitch strikes. I feel like every team knows the Indians never swing at the first pitch. How many times has Grady sat with the bat on his shoulder for 2 strikes down the middle and then swings at something around his shoulders for strike 3? Same with Hafner. Marson and Brantley were taking 2 strikes every at bat. At least Peralta swings, it may look awkward, but it’s nice to see the bat leave someone’s shoulder prior to the count running to 0-2 or 1-2. The only guy who will often swing 1st pitch and get a hit is Cabrera. But basically a little leaguer would be able to go out and get most Indians batters into an 0-2 count.

I just ask that when they bring up Santana that his first game be at home and not when the team is on the west coast.

For those wanting Redmond he’ll play one of these two days with the day game tomorrow.

hello i m cristina i think that Astronomer Branyan steps up to the position. And the move from Duensing… MY OH MY Branyan belts one over the rightmost set porch for the go-ahead conquest.

Depression of the 10th for the Twins finish hazard… Chris Perez on the structure to thick it out for the Nation. And he strikes out the select to tape his 5th reserve of this youngish toughen. Folk wins!
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i m cristina i have not too much knowledge about this but when i read your article on CastroTurf is very effective.
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