May 2010

5/11: Indians at Royals

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at Kauffman Stadium will be on WMMS 100.7 FM and STO.

cle2.gifINDIANS (11-18):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 3B Peralta, 2B Grudzielanek, C Marson. RHP Jake Westbrook (0-2, 5.74).




kc2.gifROYALS (11-21):
RF DeJesus, LF Podsednik, 1B Butler, DH Guillen, 3B Callaspo, 2B Aviles, C Kendall, CF Maier, SS Betancourt. RHP Brian Bannister (1-2, 5.03).

"Sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky"

By Anthony Castrovince/

pearljam.jpgHeaded over to the Q to catch the Pearl Jam show tonight, and that has me pondering my Top Five PJ tunes:

5. “Glorified G”
4. “Rearviewmirror”
3. “Hail Hail”
2. “Dissident”
1. Has to be a tie between “Given to Fly” and “Party in the U.S.A.”


  • Today’s save was Chris Perez’s first this season against a team other than the White Sox. And it could be his last for a little while, as Manny Acta announced postgame that Kerry Wood is officially ready to resume the closing duties Tuesday in Kansas City. Wood blew a tie game in the seventh inning Saturday and only faced one batter Sunday. But Acta wanted to see him pitch on consecutive days (something Wood didn’t do in Spring Training or on his rehab assignment) before targeting him for the ninth inning.
  • We might start to see Mark Grudzielanek steal playing time away from the struggling Luis Valbuena, who has looked lost at the plate all season and lost in the field the past week (four errors in three games at shortstop). The Indians don’t appear ready to pull the trigger on a move bringing up Jason Donald, but Valbuena, who was on the bench today, has clearly been overmatched. Grudzielanek saw increased playing time the past week with Asdrubal Cabrera on the pine, and he had a three-hit game today. He’s batting .326 (15-for-46) with seven RBIs over his last 12 games.
  • Lou Marson came through with his first RBI of the season today. Sure, it was an infield single to third, but it’s progress, all the same. That was just the fourth RBI out of the catching spot for the Tribe this year.
  • The 7-9 spots of the lineup were a combined 5-for-10 with six RBIs today.
  • The Indians are 9-4 when scoring four or more runs and 9-2 when scoring five or more.
  • As one Twitterer pointed out to me, the Tribe is 6-2 with Andy Marte in the lineup and 5-16 with him on the bench. I have no idea what this means.
  • But I do know that Marte now has a pair of three-RBIs games to Jhonny Peralta’s zero. Peralta has 10 RBIs in 109 plate appearances, whereas Marte has seven RBIs in 32 plate appearances.
  • Travis Hafner appears to be coming back to life. He has reached base safely in 12 of his last 17 plate appearances and is batting .583 (7-for-12) with a homer and two RBIs in his last four games. He also hit that three-run homer that didn’t count, Friday night against the Tigers.
  • Grady Sizemore also hit a homer in that game that didn’t count, and he’s now batting .213 with a .583 OPS on the season. It’s reasonable to wonder if he might benefit from moving down from the No. 2 spot of the lineup (not that there is a long list of candidates to replace him). “We need to get our guy going,” Acta said, referring to Sizemore. Lefties are punishing Sizemore to the tune of a .116 (5-for-43) average against.
  • Back to the bullpen, we’re seeing more and more prominent opportunities for Tony Sipp, who has rebounded from a rough spring and a rough start to hold the opposition to no earned runs over his last nine appearances. In those nine innings, he’s struck out nine, walked four and allowed three hits. Acta listed Perez and Sipp as his primary setup men, now that Wood is back.
  • Promising lefty Kelvin De La Cruz has been promoted to Double-A Akron. He was 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA in six starts for Kinston.
  • How about our old buddy Jody Gerut hitting for the cycle?
  • On the off chance you haven’t seen it already, this is a Bruce Drennan rant of epic proportions.


5/9: Indians vs. Tigers

A very Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Manny Acta’s gift to you is Asdrubal Cabrera, back in the Tribe lineup for today’s 1:05 p.m. ET game, which will be on WMMS 100.7 FM and STO.

cle.gifINDIANS (10-18):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, DH Hafner, LF Kearns, 1B Branyan, 2B Grudzielanek, 3B Marte, C Marson. RHP Mitch Talbot (3-2, 2.88).




det3.gifTIGERS (17-13):
CF Jackson, LF Damon, RF Ordonez, 1B Cabrera, DH Boesch, 3B Inge, C  Avila, 2B Sizemore, SS Santiago. RHP Max Scherzer (1-2, 6.47).

5/7: Indians vs. Tigers

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game, weather-permitting, will be on WMMS 100.7 FM and STO.

Asdrubal Cabrera remains out of the lineup with left quadriceps tightness. He is now expected back Saturday.

cle7.gifINDIANS (10-17):
2B Grudzielanek, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, DH Hafner, 3B Peralta, 1B Branyan, C Marson, SS Valbuena. LHP David Huff (1-4, 4.60).




det.gifTIGERS (16-13):
CF Jackson, DH Damon, RF Ordonez, 1B Cabrera, 3B Inge, LF Raburn, 2B Sizemore, C Laird, SS Everett. RHP Jeremy Bonderman (1-1, 5.74).

5/5: Indians vs. Blue Jays

Aquí están las formaciones de Cinco de Mayo.

cle.gifINDIANS (10-16):
2B Grudzielanek, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, 3B Peralta, DH Hafner, 1B Branyan, LF LaPorta, SS Valbuena, C Redmond. RHP Fausto Carmona (3-1, 4.05).




tor2.gifBLUE JAYS (15-13):
LF Lewis, 2B Hill, DH Lind, CF Wells, 1B Overbay, SS Gonzalez, 3B Bautista, RF Snider, C Molina. RHP Brandon Morrow (2-2, 5.46).

5/4: Indians vs. Blue Jays

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game will be broadcast on WTAM and STO.

A couple noteworthy developments tonight…

  • Jake Westbrook nearly didn’t make this start against the Jays. He was bothered by some back tightness Monday, causing the Indians to have Carlos Carrasco make the trek north from Triple-A Columbus, just in case he was needed to replace Jake. But Westbrook came to Progressive Field early today and threw in the indoor cages to ensure his back is ready to tolerate the grind. The Indians still must monitor his condition in-game, but Carrasco’s services won’t be needed.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera is out of tonight’s lineup and will be out tomorrow, as well. He has been dealing with soreness in his left quadriceps for a few days and had to be pinch-hit for in the ninth inning last night. Manny Acta said he expects Cabrera to be back in the lineup Friday.


cle2.gifINDIANS (10-15): 2B Grudzielanek, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, 3B Peralta, DH Hafner, 1B Branyan, C Marson, SS Valbuena. RHP Jake Westbrook (0-2, 5.53).




tor3.gifBLUE JAYS (14-13):
LF Fred Lewis, 2B Aaron Hill, DH Adam Lind, CF Vernon Wells, 1B Lyle Overbay, SS Gonzalez, 3B Bautista, C Buck, RF Snider. LHP Ricky Romero (2-1, 2.25).

"I want it all or nothing at all"

By Anthony Castrovince/

Let’s talk about Indians media relations assistant Matt Whewell’s brunch yesterday.

As the Tribe’s 1:05 p.m. game against the Twins began, this is what the 6-foot, 182-pound Whewell was putting down in the press box:

1. Bacon-filled scrambled eggs
2. A heaping mound of hashbrowns
3. Three sausage links
4. A lemon poppyseed muffin
5. Iceberg lettuce with cucumbers, black olives and croutons, topped by a chicken breast drizzled with ranch dressing
6. A bowl of tortilla chips covered with chili, nacho cheese and salsa
7. A brownie

But Whewell drank water. No pop. Gotta watch those calories.

And he’s threatening to top his performance tonight.


  • The Indians will tinker with their rotation slightly coming out of Thursday’s off day. Huff will bump up a spot and start Friday night against the Tigers, with Justin Masterson going Saturday. When Masterson was in the third spot, the Indians had three right-handers in a row (Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona being the others) who relied predominantly on their sinker.  
  • If you haven’t already, start the Jason Donald watch. He went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs in Columbus’ 3-2 win Sunday and has hit safely in 13 of his last 16 games. he’s batting .377 with eight doubles, a triple, two homers and 15 RBIs for the season. He’s third in the International league in on-base percentage (.454), tied for third in doubles and fourth in walks (16).
  • In a related story, Luis Valbuena is batting ninth today. He had a rough spring, and that’s carried into the season. The Indians demonstrated this winter that they view Valbuena more as a utility guy, or else they wouldn’t have aggressively pursued Orlando Hudson. And you can’t discount the positive PR that comes from a prospect acquired in the Cliff Lee trade coming up and contributing. For now, Valbuena appears to have Manny Acta in his corner, but this would be a good time for Valbuena to start rewarding that confidence.
  • Travis Hafner was on the bench for the last three games against a left-handed starter, but Acta insisted there is “no platoon whatsoever” at the DH spot (he pointed at me when he said this, no doubt having read what I wrote in this space yesterday) and proved as much by playing Pronk tonight against lefty Brett Cecil. Still, the point remains that it’s troubling to see a healthy, full-time DH with an $11.5 million contract protected from left-handed pitching. But Hafner, 2-for-his-last 20 overall and 4-for-30 against lefties this season, is back at it tonight and the Indians obviously have a lot riding on his improvement.
  • Shin-Soo Choo has three outfield assists to his credit already, thanks to an incredibly strong and accurate arm. Acta has said that sometimes Choo is overly aggressive with when he chooses to throw home, saying, “Ninety percent of the time an outfielder thinks he can throw a guy out, he can’t.” Choo agreed with this. “Maybe it’s second and third with one out,” he said. “It’s a routine fly ball. I throw home, but the runner is safe, and the other runner goes from second to third. That’s happened a couple times … Sometimes I try too much and overthrow.” Still, there’s no denying that when Choo chooses correctly and nails a guy at the plate, as he did when he nabbed Justin Morneau in the first inning Sunday, it’s a thing of beauty.
  • Lou Marson’s batting average has increased from .088 to .224 in his last four games. He has notched four consecutive multi-hit games. He is still a rookie, of course, as evidenced when he dropped a routine force out at the plate yesterday and had that baserunning gaffe Saturday. But he’s no longer an automatic out, and that’s a start.
  • Not sure how serious this is, but Columbus outfielder Michael Brantley jammed his wrist Sunday and was out of Monday’s lineup. Brantley is batting .333 (16-for-48) in 11 games since his demotion.
  • Right-hander Alex White, last year’s No. 1 Draft pick, tossed seven scoreless for Class A Kinston on Sunday. He allowed just two hits, one walk and struck out five. White is 1-2 with a 2.81 ERA over his first five professional starts.
  • Right-handed reliever Frank Herrmann has been impressive at Columbus. He is 1-0 with two saves and a 0.75 ERA in nine appearances, striking out eight and allowing just a .171 average against in 12 innings.


5/3: Indians vs. Blue Jays

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field — the biggest game on Gateway Plaza — will be on STO and WMMS 100.7 FM.

cle3.gifINDIANS (10-14):
SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, 3B Peralta, DH Hafner, 1B LaPorta, C Marson, 2B Valbuena. RHP Mitch Talbot (3-1, 2.05).




tor.gifBLUE JAYS (13-13):
LF Lewis, 2B Hill, DH Lind, CF Wells, 1B Overbay, SS Gonzalez, 3B Bautista, C Buck, RF Snider. LHP Brett Cecil (1-1, 3.55).

5/2: Indians vs. Twins

By Anthony Castrovince

Today’s 1:05 p.m. ET rubber match is on WKYC Channel 3 and WTAM 1100.

cle5.gifINDIANS (10-13): SS Cabrera, CF Sizemore, RF Choo, LF Kearns, 3B Peralta, 2B Grudzielanek, 1B Marte, DH LaPorta, C Marson. LHP David Huff (1-3, 4.10).




min4.gifTWINS (15-9): CF Span, 2B Hudson, RF Cuddyer, 1B Morneau, DH Thome, LF Young, SS Hardy, C Ramos, 3B Punto. LHP Francisco Liriano (3-0, 0.93).





  • Kerry Wood’s rehab assignment begins Monday at Double-A Akron. He’ll get at least two appearances before he’s activated off the DL.
  • Chris Perez has been routinely ripped by fans for those two rough outings he had early in the year and his postgame complaints about Lou Marson’s blocking of wild pitches and Howie Kendrick’s game-winning bunt single the other day. But Perez is 4-for-5 in save situations, hasn’t allowed a run over his last 4 2/3 innings over seven appearances and looked downright nasty in the ninth last night. I’d say he’s filled in for Wood admirably, all things considered.
  • The Indians have four wins when trailing after the seventh inning this season. They had just eight of those all of last year.
  • Travis Hafner, 2-for-his-last-20, is once again benched with a left-hander on the mound today. The Indians obviously aren’t paying Pronk $11.5 million to be a platoon guy… and a light-hitting one at that. His start to the season and subsequent diminished playing time is certainly a troubling development.
  • Austin Kearns’ hot start has taken some playing time away from Matt LaPorta, who is batting just .217 with two doubles and an RBI. LaPorta isn’t yet deemed ready to play seven days a week, just like Russell Branyan. Branyan’s status and the Pronk platoon afford Manny Acta ways to give LaPorta adequate playing time, but his development as a Major League hitter is one of the more important things the Indians need to get out of this 2010 season. Thus far, it’s not going particularly well.
  • The Indians would love to have a guy hitting .414 with a 1.148 OPS. Alas, those are left-handers’ numbers off Justin Masterson, through five starts.
  • Third-base coach Steve Smith got aggressive sending Lou Marson home on that Grady Sizemore single in the 10th inning last night. But Marson was not nearly aggressive enough. He stopped to look at the play in center and make sure the ball wasn’t caught, rather than trusting the instincts of his coach. And he might have been able to slide in safely and catch the corner of the plate, but instead went in still standing. Chalk it up as rookie running.
  • Marson nearly gave Twins manager Ron Gardenhire a heart attack on that play at the plate. Joe Mauer was unavailable to Gardy. Had backup Drew Butera been taken out on that play, Gardenhire would have had to go to an emergency scenario. He said he might have used Orlando Hudson, if only because he would talk the opposing hitters to death. The Twins called up Wilson Ramos to handle the catching duties today.
  • I can’t help but wonder if the Indians will give Saul Rivera a look in their bullpen this month. He has an out in his contract on May 15, and he’s been dominant in Columbus. He’s posted a 1-0 record and 0.82 ERA in 11 innings over 10 appearances. The only negative is that he’s walked seven guys.
  • Jordan Brown, recently recovered from knee surgery and activated off the DL, cranked out six RBIs in Columbus’ win over Syracuse last night.
  • Chris Gimenez, playing primarily in right field for the Clippers, has a 1.048 OPS and four multi-hit efforts in his last six games.
  • It’s a clean-shaven, short-haired David Huff taking the mound today. After two rough starts, he cut all the hair off. He’s a superstitious guy when it comes to the mane. When he was rolling in the Minors a couple years back, he grew his hair long and topped the look off with a heroic ‘stache.
  • Don Felder was in attendance here the other night. You might know Felder from his work with the Eagles. Or, more importantly, his work in a high school band with Indians guest services supervisor Rik Danburg. Also in that Gainesville, Fla., band, The Continentals, was Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash.