April 2010

"Radio is a sound salvation, radio is cleaning up the nation"

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

radio.jpgFor the purported “Rock ‘N Roll Capital of the World,” Cleveland sure has some lousy radio.

Some will dispute or disprove what I am about to write, but I stand by the belief that if it’s not entirely accurate, it’s at least emotionally accurate, and that’s half the battle:

If you turn on your radio in Cleveland right this moment and do a quick scan of every station, you will hear at least one John Mellencamp song.*

Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait.

*While I’m waiting, I’d like to point out that no disrespect is intended to Mellencamp, whose music I generally enjoy. But just once, I’d like to hear something rare off the “Scarecrow” or “Whenever We Wanted” albums — maybe “Minutes to Memories” or “Love and Happiness” – instead of the 1,382,958,134th local airing of “Jack and Diane.”

Now that you are properly pumped by the catchy chorus of “Authority Song,” I’ll bring you the good news: I finally found a Cleveland radio station I like, or, dare I say, love.

I don’t know how long it’s been on the air (I’m usually late to the party with such things), but if you have any self-respect and dignity, you’ll tune in to V107.3 FM. Since my return from Spring Training and discovery of this station, I’ve already heard some live U2, a little Lucinda Williams, some Neil Young, the Raconteurs and some rare Dylan. Stuff I have never heard on any Cleveland station. Ever.

So at the risk of sounding like a pitchman (and an unpaid and unprompted one, at that), do yourself a favor and check it out.

But before you do, read this…

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Shin-Soo Choo was the hero of the homestand, capping it off nice with today’s five-RBIs effort and his second career grand slam. He became the 25th Indians player to drive in five or more runs in a game during the month of April. The Indians are 25-0 in those games.
  • Choo is on some kind of a tear. Over the last seven games, he’s batting .545 (12-for-22) with four homers and 12 RBIs. “He was a one-man wrecking crew,” Manny Acta said.
  • Obviously, Choo can’t possibly keep up that pace. But this homestand was big for him, because his slow start, in which he struck out nine times in his first 21 at-bats, was eating at him. He leaned on the likes of Travis Hafner, Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Redmond for advice on not putting too much pressure on himself. “I feel like I played this way in Spring Training,” Choo said. “I didn’t put pressure on myself [in the spring]. The first three or four games, I put pressure on myself. But I talked to some guys and the hitting coach and they told me not to worry too much. I’m trying to see the ball and hit the ball.”
  • Choo is just the second player in the AL to drive in five or more runs in a game this year. The first was Carlos Quentin, who drove in six in Toronto last week.
  • Speaking of driving in runs, Mark Grudzielanek did that in a big-league game today for the first time since July 29, 2008. The only 11 games Grudzielanek played in last year were in the Minors.
  • The Indians’ four-game winning streak is their longest since a five-game streak in late July last year. The Tribe has won five straight overall against the White Sox, and they swept the Sox in Cleveland for the first time since 2003.
  • Not many people were here to see the sweep. Only 10,564 tickets were distributed for today’s game. After drawing 42,061 for the opener, the Indians drew 54,169 over the last five games of the homestand.  
  • The consistency we’ve seen from Fausto Carmona has to be encouraging to the Indians. Has he been dominant? No. But he’s been effective in limiting the damage off him, even when he quickens his tempo a little much and loses some control. In 20 innings, Carmona has walked 12 and allowed 12 hits, but only eight runs have scored on him. Today, Acta pointed out that Fausto threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the 25 hitters he faced. We, uh, didn’t see much of that last year.
  • You know who we might see this year? Yohan Pino. I remember Torey Lovullo telling me how much he loved this guy at the tail end of ’09, and the new coaching staff and Lou Marson quickly developed an appreciation for Pino’s stuff in spring camp. In two starts for Triple-A Columbus this year, Pino is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA. Since joining the Indians in the Carl Pavano trade, he is 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts, striking out 25 and walking four in 26 innings. The Indians didn’t protect Pino in the Rule 5 Draft over the winter, and it’s looking like they dodged a bullet.
  • The inimitable Bob Feller on the way injuries are handled in today’s game: “The DL’s the worst thing that’s happened to baseball since the Black Sox scandal,” he said. He was asked if they had the DL in his day. “Hell no,” he said. “If you got hurt, you didn’t play.” And a gallon of milk was about 40 cents. Those were the days.
  • That’s all for today. For the off day, I’ll have a new edition of the Indians Inbox on Indians.com. And a Choo feature is in the works for Tuesday morning. I’ll catch back up with you Tuesday from Target Field.

~AC

4/18: Indians vs. White Sox

The Cavaliers could be on their way to a clean sweep of Chicago, if yesterday’s game is any indication, and the Indians are looking for the same in today’s series finale against the White Sox at Progressive Field.


cle.gifINDIANS (5-6):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, DH Grudzielanek, C Redmond, LF Brantley. RHP Carmona (1-0, 3.21).

 

 

 


cws.gifWHITE SOX (4-8):
LF Pierre, 2B Beckham, RF Kotsay, 1B Konerko, C Pierzynski, CF Rios, DH Teahen, 3B Vizquel, SS Ramirez. RHP Floyd (0-1, 4.50).

4/17: Indians vs. White Sox

It is bone-chillingly cold in Cleveland, and the Cavaliers are next door beginning their race toward 16 playoff victories and some sort of trophy, from what I understand.

So while I’m not positive, it appears it might not be a sellout crowd this afternoon at Progressive Field.

But those of you watching, either in person or on TV, will be treated to a view of possibly the ugliest Tribe caps in existence. They’re made of recycled materials to raise Earth Day awareness, so you can respect the idea behind them. But wait until you see these burlap beauties.


cle2.gifINDIANS (4-6):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 2B Valbuena, 1B Marte, C Marson, LF Brantley. RHP Westbrook (0-1, 7.45).

 

 

 


cws3.gifWHITE SOX (4-7):
DH Pierre, 2B Beckham, RF Quentin, 1B Konerko, LF Jones, C Pierzynski, CF Rios, 3B Teahen, SS Ramirez. RHP Peavy (0-0, 8.44).

4/16: Indians vs. White Sox

The tarp’s on the field and BP was called off, but, as of 5 p.m. ET, it’s no longer raining at Progressive Field. Whether the weather will change remains to be seen, but I’ll let you know if tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch is in jeopardy.

UPDATE (5:30 p.m.): Tarp’s off, and radar’s clear. Play ball.


cle6.gifINDIANS (3-6):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, 3B Peralta, DH Hafner, 1B LaPorta, LF Kearns, 2B Valbuena, C Marson. RHP Talbot (0-1, 7.20).

 

 

 


cws4.gifWHITE SOX (4-6):
LF Pierre, 2B Beckham, RF Quentin, 1B Konerko, DH Kotsay, CF Rios, C Pierzynski, SS Ramirez, 3B Teahen. LHP Buehrle (2-0, 2.40).

 

 

 

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Today marks the 70th anniversary of Bob Feller’s Opening Day no-hitter against the Sox. Read all about it here.
  • You might have noticed the Indians have had some trouble with Mark Buehrle lately. He hasn’t allowed a run to them in his last 14 2/3 innings. So why isn’t catcher Mike Redmond (12-for-39 against Buehrle) in the lineup tonight? “We need to play Lou Marson here,” Manny Acta said. Acta obviously values the importance of Marson’s development time.
  • And yet, Acta is playing the hotter hand in giving Austin Kearns consecutive starts over the slumping Michael Brantley. Kearns enters tonight’s game with a .286 average (4-for-14, two doubles) in four games, whereas Brantley is 1-for-his-last-12. Acta went with Kearns against the left-handed Matt Harrison and Buehrle. Said Acta: “Kearns has swung the bat well, and we want to put Michael in a position where he can be successful and help him get through a little slump.”
  • Brantley’s days up here could be numbered, as Russell Branyan nears his activation from the DL. Branyan’s rehab assignment was transferred to Double-A Akron, where he’s scheduled to play nine innings at first base tonight. He has yet to play back-to-back games, but that’s supposed to happen sometime next week.
  • Kerry Wood will throw his third bullpen session Saturday and could face live hitters early next week. If all keeps going well, he’ll be back soon.
  • The pie-in-the-face routine, which became a post-win ritual (a bit of a tired one, I might add) in 2007 came back Thursday, when Jensen Lewis got David Huff in the middle of his postgame interview with SportsTime Ohio. But this wasn’t even a pie. It was shaving cream on a towel. We know payroll has been slashed, but have budget cuts come to the Tribe clubhouse? Where are the pie tins and Reddi-wip? “These guys make enough money,” Acta said with a smile. “They can probably get a pie every day.”
  • Speaking of Huff, that was some impressive stuff Thursday. He had just one 16-pitch inning and five innings with 12 pitches. He threw 104 pitches, 71 of which went for strikes. You’ve got to like that ratio.
  • Huff has sped up his routine by getting to the mound as quickly as possible following the last out of the Indians’ half of the inning. Pitching coach Tim Belcher felt Huff was taking too long between innings and encouraged him to hurry up. Belcher believes that will encourage umpires to give Huff those close calls later in games. They like guys who hustle.
  • Speaking of which… Thursday’s game was played in two hours, three minutes (which automatically makes it one of the greatest baseball games I have ever covered). Umpires’ room attendant Jack Efta tracks such things and informed me that was the 41st game played in less than 2:20 in the history of this ballpark. Efta posts the “pace of game” procedures in the room and the list of the quickies underneath it. Umpires who aren’t on the list are encouraged to remind themselves of the procedures. On Thursday, Derryl Cousins became the first ump to complete the “hat trick” of being on-hand for three of the under-2:20 games.
  • Here’s a sign of the times: Huff’s complete game was the 75th tossed by a Tribe pitcher in this millennium. By comparison, the Indians had 77 complete games in the 1954 season alone.
  • One last note on Huff: He’s made 25 starts at this level and won 12 of them. That’s another nice ratio. Fausto Carmona also started his career that way.
  • After a rough first week, Shin-Soo Choo has reached safely in 10 of his last 13 plate appearances. “He’s slowed everything down,” hitting coach Jon Nunnally said. “He was getting a little anxious and wanting to do big things. Now, he’s nice and easy and under control and letting his hands do the work.”
  • Tonight’s game starts in about 10 minutes, and the crowd tonight doesn’t look any more promising than it did Wednesday (10,071 announced) and Thursday (10,198).
  • I was just handed the promotional item for Saturday’s “Earth Day Awareness” game. It’s a green Tribe cap made from recycled bottle caps. I’m too dumb to know how that works, but the hat seems all right. Even if you don’t wear it, you can use it as a grip for twist-off bottles, bringing everything full circle.

~AC

4/15: Indians vs. Rangers

In honor of Tax Day, I am only going to give you two-thirds of today’s lineups. The rest is available at IRS.gov.


cle4.gifINDIANS (2-6):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, DH Hafner, 1B LaPorta. LHP Huff.

 

 

 


tex3.gifRANGERS (5-3):
SS Andrus, 3B Young, CF Hamilton, DH Guerrero, RF Cruz, LF Murphy. LHP Harrison.

 

 

 

(All right, fine, if you must know, it’s 2B Grudzielanek, 3B Marte, C Redmond for the Indians and 1B Garko, C Treanor, 2B Blanco for the Rangers. But let’s keep this under the table, all right?)

4/14: Indians vs. Rangers

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

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.


cle5.gifINDIANS (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).

 

 

 


tex2.gifRANGERS (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.

~AC

 

UPDATE: The Indians announced that 10,071 tickets were distributed for tonight's game. That's the smallest attendance total in Progressive Field history.

"In the room where fortune falls"

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

rallybuck.jpgIf you’re scoring at home, the official attendance tally at today’s home opener was 42,061 fans and one fake buck.

That’s him on the right. It’s the “Rally Buck,” brought to the Tribe clubhouse by backup catcher Mike Redmond.

The buck is an archery target. His belly is filled with holes left behind by arrows that hit their mark. (This is where the negative among you are supposed to insert some lame joke about the ones that didn’t hit their mark scooting past Lou Marson.)

The buck stops here, ostensibly, to inspire some good luck for the 2010 season.

“I might throw a uniform on him,” Redmond joked.

Alas, the buck luck was nowhere to be found in today’s, 4-2 loss to the Rangers. But the minutiae flows freely, all the same.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Not sure how serious this Grady Sizemore back issue is, but anything serious enough to pull him out of the home opener is nothing to scoff at. That said, manager Manny Acta is also taking advantage of Tuesday’s off day to give Grady three consecutive days off, so we’ll see if he’s back in there Wednesday.
  • Fausto Carmona went eight innings today and became the first Tribe starter to see the seventh inning this year. The early exits in the first week put a tax on the bullpen, but pitching coach Tim Belcher didn’t sound overly concerned. “If the bullpen’s not getting the ball until the sixth or seventh, then seven [relievers] is more than enough to get it done,” he said. “But one inning can make a huge difference. Going to the bullpen in the fifth versus the sixth changes the whole dynamic.” That’s only happened once so far, on Opening Day.
  • Closer Kerry Wood (strained back muscle) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session off a mound before today’s game. Still too early to say when, exactly, you can expect Wood to return. But pitching coach Tim Belcher said the Indians still hadn’t decided whether Wood would even have to go out on a rehab assignment in the Minors. Wood is scheduled to throw another bullpen on Thursday.
  • Meanwhile, temporary closer Chris Perez said his performance the past two days has been “unacceptable” and admitted he’s not long for the closer role if this keeps up. He’s been falling behind in the count, just as he did in spring camp.
  • Russell Branyan (lower back rehab) was in Columbus’ lineup against Louisville today, at first base. He also played last Thursday at DH and Saturday at first base.
  • In the ninth inning today, Rangers closer Neftali Feliz caught Redmond looking on a called strike three that was clocked at 101 mph. Even if you assume the standard mph-bump that comes with these ballpark boards, that’s some serious heat. “He’s got a great arm,” Redmond said. “And I’m sure he was pumped up and put a little extra on that one.”
  • Poor Redmond got all kinds of beat up in the fifth. A Carmona fastball hit him in the left knee when Taylor Teagarden pulled back a bunt attempt, and three other pitches were fouled off and hit him in the knee, shin or groin. “I’ve gone through 13 years of this,” Redmond said. “It’s my own fault. I signed up to be a catcher. Unfortunately, I love it.”
  • Shin-Soo Choo hit his first homer of the season Sunday. “Better than a strikeout,” he said. Choo knows strikeouts a little too well so far, as he logged nine of them in his first 21 at-bats. His No. 1 goal for improvement this season was to keep his strikeout total under 100, so the early showing frustrates him. “I’ve been over-swinging too much and swinging at bad pitches,” he said. “In Spring Training, I didn’t swing at bad pitches.” Not long after he said this, Choo took the field and punched one out again, taking Rich Harden deep for a solo shot in the first. Choo had a nice day, aside from forgetting how many outs there were in the third.
  • Luis Valbuena’s grand slam Sunday was the only one in the AL in the season’s first week.
  • Umpire Joe West called the pace of last week’s Yankees-Red Sox games “pathetic” and “embarrassing.” Acta, for one, said he has no problems with MLB’s pace. “I follow all the rules about pace of game,” he said. “I like baseball because of its pace. I like that I can go to the restroom between innings. I like that there’s not a stopwatch. I don’t see anyone leaving their seats at those Yankees-Red Sox games, or at the Cubs’ games.”
  • Triple-A Columbus catcher Carlos Santana’s season is off to a scorching start, and he’s got the first International League Batter of the Week award of 2010 to show for it. Santana hit .438 with four homers, eight RBIs, six extra-base hits, a 1.313 slugging percentage and 21 total bases in his first four games at the Triple-A level.
  • Nick “The Canuck with Pluck” Weglarz hit a fourth-inning grand slam in Double-A Akron’s win over Binghamton on Sunday. He’s batting .400 with two homers in the early going.
  • Lonnie Chisenhall went 8-for-16 in the Aeros’ season-opening series.
  • Left-hander T.J. House struck out 10 Winston-Salem batters in five innings of work for Class A Kinston on Sunday.
  • Our old friend Ryan Garko is here with the Rangers, who picked him up when the Mariners cut him loose on waivers a few weeks back. Garko will probably be in the lineup against David Huff on Thursday. This is his first trip back to Cleveland since he was traded last July. “It’s great to be back,” he said. “I have a lot of great memories, and it’s great to see the guys. I loved it here. We won a lot of games…I played hard and left it on the field, but it will be weird coming out of the other dugout.”
  • Today was the 110th home opener in Tribe history. The club is 58-52 all-time in home openers.
  • Bob Feller threw out the ceremonial first pitch before today’s game, commemorating the 70th anniversary of his Opening Day no-hitter against the White Sox on April 16, 1940. Feller leads the franchise with four wins in home openers.
  • The Indians were 1-8 against the Rangers in 2009.
  • New Browns president Mike Holmgren was at today’s game. He got a rousing round of applause from the crowd when shown on the scoreboard. He also had a nice view of Travis Hafner barreling into Teagarden on a play at the plate in the seventh, with Teagarden somehow managing to hold onto the ball. So if either of those guys is the seventh overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, now you know why.
  • You think there are some fair-weather folks in the stands on Opening Day? You should see the press box. It was quite a horde that filed into manager Manny Acta’s office after today’s game, as every newspaper and TV station from here to Terre Haute was credentialed. “I expect to see all of you on Wednesday,” Acta joked when the interview was over.

~AC

4/12: Indians vs. Rangers

opener.jpgBad cover tunes are blaring on Gateway Plaza, thousands of healthy people called in sick this morning and my buddy Josh is about four vodka tonics into his day.

So it’s your typical Monday afternoon in downtown Cleveland.

But the real festivities kick off at 3:05 p.m. ET, when the Indians take on the Rangers in the 2010 home opener at Progressive Field. Here are today’s lineups (with the notable absence of Grady Sizemore, who remains day to day with mid-back tightness):


cle.gifINDIANS (2-4):
SS Cabrera, CF Brantley, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B LaPorta, 2B Valbuena, LF Kearns, C Redmond. RHP Carmona (1-0, 4.50).

 

 

 


tex.gifRANGERS (3-3):
CF Borbon, 3B Young, LF Hamilton, DH Guerrero, RF Cruz, 1B Davis, 2B Arias, C Teagarden, SS Andrus. RHP Harden (0-0, 2.45).

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.

This one's all right, Jeff. Nothing too special, but worth a click if you've got a few minutes to kill.

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

apt.jpgWas sitting in my friend’s overpriced Wicker Park apartment during Tuesday’s off day when a 16-coach train came rumbling through the basement of the unit.

Wait, upon further review, that wasn’t a locomotive. It was a laundry washer finishing up its spin cycle.

Then I heard the sound of a grenade being set off in the courtyard outside.

No, wait, upon further review, that was merely the sound of the unit’s main door slamming shut.

Then I heard the sound of bells — like Santa’s sleigh passing overhead, jingling all the way.

Turns out that was just my friend’s wife carrying her set of keys. There are six of them for the apartment — one for the outside gate, one for the main door to the unit, one for the deadbolt on their door, one for the main lock on their door, one for the back door and, of course, one for the mail. She had duplicates of these keys made at Home Depot. The bill was $36.

In Cleveland, $1,200 a month buys you the peace and prosperity of a penthouse suite.

In Chicago, $1,200 a month buys you the soundtrack that slowly leads to insanity.

Looking forward to getting home.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…

  • Some Indians.com links for you: Luis Valbuena made his 2010 debut and is targeting more time against lefties, Russell Branyan hits the rehab trail Thursday in C-bus, Manny Acta says Jake Westbrook’s Opening Day wild pitches weren’t the fault of rookie catcher Lou Marson and the Indians still can’t believe that Mark Buehrle flip.
  • It was a miserable day in the Windy City — cold, rainy and dreary. But the groundskeepers here at U.S. Cellular Field told Acta there was a “window” in which tonight’s game could be played, and they were right. “I don’t know if it was Windows ’98 or Windows 2000,” Acta joked.
  • Acta called White Sox ace Jake Peavy (who insisted on Buehrle getting his now-traditional Opening Day nod) a “tough hombre.” The Indians made him work tonight. He threw 106 pitches in five innings.
  • The goal for the Tribe batters this season is to work the opposition for at least 150 pitches per game. The thinking is that if they work into that range, they’re going to exhaust the opposing starter early on a regular basis. That’s what you saw tonight against Peavy.
  • Until the Indians erupted with a three-run fourth inning off Peavy, they had spent the first 12 innings of the season batting .146 (6-for-41) and hadn’t reached third base. Asdrubal Cabrera had three of those six hits.
  • Reason No. 38,497 why Spring Training stats are meaningless: Fausto Carmona walked two batters in 26 innings in Arizona. He walked six in six innings of work tonight. It was a weird one-hitter. 
  • Team Marketing Report, based here in Chicago, does an annual Fan Cost Index (FCI) for all 30 MLB teams. The FCI comprises the prices of two adult average-price tickets, two child average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least expensive, adult-size adjustable caps. Taking all this into account, the Tribe’s FCI of $180.49 ranked 15th in the game, falling below the MLB average of $195.08.
  • That average, for the record, went down 0.6 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to TMR’s research. The Indians’ average ticket price of $22.12 (league average is $26.74) and average premium ticket price of $61.62 (league average is $88.38) did not change from last year.
  • The Minor League season gets underway Thursday, with Triple-A Columbus, Double-A Akron, Class A Kinston and Class A Lake County all having their openers. Let’s take a look at their respective rotations, shall we?
  • Columbus: RHP Carlos Carrasco, RHP Hector Rondon, RHP Yohan Pino, RHP Jeanmar Gomez, LHP Scott Lewis.
  • Akron: RHP Zach Putnam, LHP Scott Barnes, RHP Connor Graham, RHP Paolo Espino, LHP Ryan Edell.
  • Kinston: LHP Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP Nick Hagadone, RHP Alex White, LHP T.J. House, RHP Alexander Perez.
  • Lake County: RHP Trey Haley, RHP Joe Gardner, RHP Danny Salazar, RHP Austin Adams/RHP Marty Popham, RHP Clayton Cook.
  • Speaking of the Minors, SportsTime Ohio will air two Clippers games this month: April 13 against Louisville and April 29 against Charlotte. Both games are at 6:30 p.m. ET.
  • And speaking of STO, tonight they debuted a “Web Wednesday” segment on the pregame telecast featuring yours truly. I’ll be on each week to discuss goings-on with the Tribe and promote the Indians.com content. So tune in and watch me try to figure out where to put my hands.

~AC

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