4/30: Indians vs. Twins

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on STO and WTAM.

UPDATE: Here are tonight’s Beat items.

cle9.gifINDIANS (9-12): SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, C Redmond. RHP Fausto Carmona (3-0, 2.96).

min5.gifTWINS (14-8): CF Span, 2B Hudson, C Mauer, 1B Morneau, RF Cuddyer, DH Kubel, LF Young, SS Hardy, 3B Harris. RHP Kevin Slowey  2-2, 3.42). 

18 Comments

What the heck is going on in that Tribe logo? Racist or not, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen Chief Wahoo look…well, kind of creepy!
Comments from the other thread that I’m just now getting to:
AM, buddy, you might need to switch to decaf.
ST, it looks like Smith got one of the hooks. I would suggest that Perez’s last outing might have helped him (much needed double play ball). If they’re going to send a lefty down, I would expect it to be Sipp, mostly because he’s got options. Wright is definitely an option at some point, too.
As for starters, I would think they’d call Scott Lewis up before moving Laffey back to the rotation. I don’t know why, I just get that sense. Lewis has been mowing people down in AAA by the looks of things.
I’m concerned about LaPorta, sure, but I have to say that I’m not sure what they’re going to do with him. As nice of a surprise as Kearns has been, the only way LaPorta is going to improve is if he’s in the line-up every day, and it’s becoming clear that’s probably not going to happen in Cleveland. Maybe it would be smart to send him down and call up Crowe although, again, I believe their rationale in picking Kearns over Crowe in spring training was so Crowe could play every day in Columbus.
Anyone else getting the impression that Jake Westbrook is suffering from Jeremy Sowers syndrome? I just looked at his splits, and for pitches 46-60 people are hitting .444 off him! Even worse, for pitches 60-75 they’re hitting .750! Every time I think he’s going to have a good start, he makes it to the fifth or sixth inning and it all falls apart.

Scott Lewis is back on the DL as of a couple days ago … I’m not that surprised by Smith. They’re still in “we’ve got to hang onto Rafael Perez” mode. I have a feeling that will change. Perez has a WHIP of 2.10, he’s actually been doing worse than last year.

Perez did not improve on that tonight, and now his ERA is more in line with his actual performance. Didn’t watch this game, but once again it looks like they’re getting on base a lot but not scoring runs. 9 hits in 5 innings should’ve amounted to more than 3 runs. Looks like, as expected, Laporta and Valbuena are 2 of the biggest culprits with 6 LOB, with Choo also unexpectedly contributing to the suckiness. I actually also think they might as well call Donald up now. As a right hander, he’s a better long term fit for the lineup, and really other than last year he’d outperformed Valbuena in the minors and was a higher rated prospect … And as expected, once the offense has started scoring a few runs, the pitchers are starting to struggle

It’s like Jhonny’s bat realized he needed to get a few hits on the last day of April for things to equal out. .224/.708 is really close to his career April averages: .221/.672. I’d expect something around his .293/.848 for May

LACF, why decaf? Did I stick my foot in my mouth with the duanekuiper comment?
ST, release Hafner… ARE YOU SERIOUS or is that simply what you want to see happen so we get a look at Brown? Never gonna happen.
I’m quite surprised that they made the move for Ambriz a week early but he can’t be any worse than Smith.
Raffy Perez is a shell of his former self. He has a case of the yips that rivals Chuck Knoblaugh.

What I’d want to happen with Hafner is that he hits at least at the level he did last year. If he keeps hitting like he has so far this year, they will have to just bite the bullet and release him though. What other choice would they have? The only thing worse than paying a guy $20 million to not play is paying him $20 million to hit .210 and cost your team lots of runs

ST, we all agree (in hindsight) that the Hafner signing has been lousy to the nth degree. There were us commenters that questioned the timing of the deal considering he was playing hurt. I still think that the Hafner signing sealed the fate of contracts for future free agency players (i.e. Sizemore and Choo). We take it as it comes and go from there because we’re not the chief yahoo in charge.

If Hafner ended 2007 healthy and performed in 2008 to the present like he did in 2004-2006 then I would say he’d be a bargain at $11.5M. Bottom line is the Dolans have a specific agenda in terms of salary and my guess would be that despite the $400K MLB minimum for a young player I could never envision the FO/Dolans simply releasing Hafner, eating his contract and then paying a rookie to take his place.

Now, would the FO be interested in an Alex Rios waivers scenario? Perhaps.

AM, you seem to be vastly underestimating how bad Hafner’s been this year. As a DH with a .664 OPS Hafner is a useless player. You could take pretty much anyone off the Columbus roster and they could produce at or above that level. Granted its only 20 games this year, and Sizemore’s performed no better, but if he keeps this up I 100% guarantee you that they would release him, they would have to … and until Sizemore starts performing above replacement level himself, let’s quell the talk of signing or not signing the guy to a contract extension. With the way he’s played last year and so far this year, Sizemore’s been more like an okay 4th outfielder/platoon player, not someone who’s going to get a massive contract when he becomes a free agent.

Marson’s safe if he’s reasonably competent at running the bases, and looked to the 3rd base coach instead of stopping to look at the ball and yeah I don’t get why he didn’t try sliding. And Valbuena would have been safe by a mile had they pinch run. Amazing that they actually ended up winning that game

Correct me if I’m wrong… but isn’t Marson safe if he slides?

Yeah, sorry, AM, I was just joking about the decaf, and it was about your post on the other thread. Then again, I kind of avoided the entire Donald vs. Valbuena debate.
Good win tonight, although I’m basing that on the box score as I didn’t get to see it and only got to listen to the radio broadcast of the last two innings.
Jhonny Peralta is a freak. How do explain how consistently he does this? What is the mental tic makes him suddenly able to hit when the calendar switches to May?
Didn’t see the play at the plate, but Marson was 2 for 4 with a walk tonight. Sure, he’s still only hitting .200, but he’s now 6 for 11 over his last three starts — that’s a good sign.

has he played poorly, yes but he’s no different than the rest of the hitters outside of Kearns. Does he deserve a benching, yes. Or a mysteriously “injury” to get on the 15-day DL to build confidence in the minors… maybe so. But you cannot and they will not simply release him just b/c he’s a huge sieve in their payroll.

And I wasn’t saying they should extend Sizemore right now, just saying that he and Choo will have a hard time getting serious dollars out of the Dolans considering what unfortunately transpired with Hafner and Westbrook. Just my opinion though.

I don’t think Hafner’s issue is “confidence” … who knows. I’m not sure why you think he’s unreleasable. If he’s not capable of performing at a major league level he will be released regardless of salary. If Hafner’s top level of performance is something like a .700 OPS obviously it makes no sense to keep him, when you could have someone like Weglarz in there in short order putting up at least an .800 … Marson may have gone 2-4 but he continues to show he’s not ready for the majors on any level, base-running, hitting, or anything. He cost them a win in the 10th (or Acta did, by not subbing Valbuena) and then Cabrera bailed him out from costing a win a 2nd time with his bases loaded strikeout

Or Cabrera did, as he was on deck and should have signaled to Marson to slide, although having now seen the play I’m not entirely sure he would have scored had he done so.
Given that there are possibilities for that play that have nothing to do with Marson, his caught stealing percentage would be 4th in the AL if he had enough games to qualify, he’s a rookie, and he’s started hitting on a team that’s not hitting across the board, saying that he’s not major league ready at any level is overly harsh.
Santana’s not coming, ST. You should probably just accept that. For that matter, Redmond and Marson are actually hitting at a higher clip than Grudz and Valbuena, so it’s not even the position giving us the most problems (and that’s not even counting DH).

LACF, the problem, other than Marson being slow, was that he stopped running for no reason as he was going to 3rd. He would have scored easily had he not done that. And yes, Valbuena/Grudz, Laporta, Marson, Sizemore and Hafner have pretty much shown equal levels of awfulness, though Marson and Laporta have been about the worst of the worst offensively. And as for Valbuena/Grudz, I said a few days ago they should just call up Donald now. He can’t really do any worse, right? … Marson’s 0 RBIs after 15 games is really quite amazing though. It’s like he and Laporta are having a competition to see who can drive in the fewest runs. How many times have they come up with a guy on 3rd and less than 2 outs and failed to get the run home? Probably at least 6-7 between the two of them … I imagine we’ll be seeing either Crowe or Brown replacing Laporta very soon, Donald replacing Valbuena or Grudz, Santana replacing Marson in about a month … promotion across the board at 2b would seem to make sense, with Kipnis crushing the ball at Kinston, Phelps at Akron, and Donald at Columbus. Maybe call up Donald to replace Grudz, have Valbuena slide into a utility role, and have the other two move up a level.

Not saying anything new here — but let the kids play. And that includes some time needed to err. We can afford that this year. Given all the changes of the last year, it’s like the whole team is recovering from a major surgery, so to speak. Time is needed to recover and blend together, imho.

Longtime lurker. I enjoy this site and the level of dialogue here.

ST, Hafner IS unreleasable because we are monetarily tied to his massive contract.

It took Valbuena a while to get it going last year too. Everyone was clamoring for him to be sent down (myself included), Eric Wedge was adamant about giving him playing time (or Shapiro made him) and when he turned it around Wedge had a nice little “I told you so” moment. Give all of them time, at least 200 ABs.

When a team is collectively hitting poorly it’s like a virus. It’s infectious and it spreads. The same thing can be said about 2-out hits with RISP. Sometimes it takes just one big hit to get everyone on track… like Cabrera’s hit last night perhaps.

But they already view Donald as more of a potential long-term solution at 2b, or at least as a gateway to Kipnis, and Valbuena as more of a future utility player. Or that’s what I’ve read. And going into last year, Donald was the higher-rated prospect, and it looks like from his performance so far this year that Donald’s struggles last year were just due to the injuries. Having Donald starting and Valbuena on the bench would at least give them a little more speed than having Grudz out there. I still like Valbuena ok, but he’s been given an opportunity this year to show he can be a consistent major league performer and he has not shown that. No reason not to go with Donald, who is also a young prospect. In Laporta’s case, it looks like he needs some more time to recover from his injuries, he should be doing that in AAA … They would still have to pay Hafner if they released him, but like I said, if the best he can do is something like .700 OPS, then he is a waste of a 25-man roster spot. Really if the best he can do is .700 – .750 that’s the case, since he can’t play defense. Hopefully he can hit like he did last year, at least, but I’m saying in the case where he doesn’t, and continues hitting like he has this year and ’08, which is also possible, they will have to release him if there’s no reason for him to be on the DL.

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