"Things got real quiet real fast"
By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
We are back to normal here at Progressive Field, now that the Stephen Strasburg Circus has left town and there is no longer a merchandise stand dedicated to an opposing player.
Being around here for as many green-seat specials as I have the last couple years, it was certainly fun to see such an electric atmosphere at a non-opener for a change. Maybe it’ll get electric again when knuckleballer R.A. Dickey gets the starting nod for the Mets on Thursday.
In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for Johan Santana.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- Tonight marks the first time the Indians are facing Santana since the 2007 season, when they (well, not the current crop of “they,” obviously) became the first team to beat a reigning Cy Young Award winner five times. Santana was 0-5 with a 4.38 ERA in six starts against the Indians that year and is 7-7 lifetime against them.
- Rafael Perez has leapfrogged Tony Sipp as the go-to lefty option in the back end of Manny Acta’s bullpen. These two have moved in completely opposite directions in recent weeks. Sipp has now allowed an incredible 15 earned runs in his last 2 1/3 innings, walking five and serving up 14 hits. He’s ERA has gone from 1.40 to 7.48. (I actually considered breaking form and putting an exclamation point after that sentence.) Acta, though, still thinks Sipp can work out his struggles at this level. “We’ll keep running him out there,” Acta said. “If he can’t [work it out], we’ll worry about other alternatives.”
- Perez benefits from Sipp’s demise. “We’ll trust him in those [tight] situations because we know what Tony’s going through,” Acta said. Perez has had a brutal year, but he’s allowed just two earned runs over his last 10 appearances (three strikeouts, two walks, 10 hits in 9 1/3 innings) and no runs his last five appearances, covering 5 1/3 innings.
- Acta is facing the team for whom he served as third base coach in 2005 and ’06. He said he is eternally grateful for that experience of being a part of a team on a major stage and the pressures that come with it. He’s also grateful to have been a member of the ’06 team that fell one win shy of the World Series. “Every time I lie on my couch or drive my car, I think of the Mets,” Acta said with a smile. “I bought them with the playoff money I got in ’06.”
- Acta said Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera are here at Progressive Field every day getting treatment. Speaking of Sizemore, he said, “He obviously can’t stand to watch us play. He wants to be out there. But he’s in good spirits and getting better every day.”
- ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, with some help from Inside Edge and pitch f/x, compiled a list of all known instances since 2002 in which a player homered off a fastball of 100 mph (or higher). There are six of them: Travis Hafner off Stephen Strasburg on Sunday, Jonny Gomes off Ubaldo Jimenez on Aug. 1, 2009, Corey Patterson off Joel Zumaya on April 10, 2007, Chris Shelton off Brandon League (101 mph) on Aug. 19, 2005, Luis Gonzalez off Billy Wagner on June 18, 2003, and Mike Sweeney off Bartolo Colon on May 9, 2002.
- Hard to imagine the man known as Pronk getting around on a 100 mph fastball in 2008 or ’09, when his shoulder woes slowed his swing. And the pitch Hafner hit was a tough one to hit, even by 100 mph fastball standards. It was low in the zone, and Pronk had to scoop it out. “A lot of it is just seeing the ball out of his hand,” Hafner said. “I’ve felt a lot better over the last week or so. I’m just trying to shorten up my swing. If I get the barrel to stuff, I’m going to be more successful.”
- The Indians’ six complete games this season are the third-most in the Majors, trailing only the Angels and Phillies (seven each).
- Saturday was Shin-Soo Choo bobblehead night, and “Big League” received about 10 cases containing somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 dolls. He’s planning to keep a few for himself and his parents and planning to bring the rest to South Korea in the winter to sign and sell to members of his fan club to raise money for charity. Choo liked this year’s bobblehead version of himself much more than last year’s, when the doll depicted him in a white “Miami Vice”-style suit for an 80s weekend promotion. “I never wear a white suit,” Choo said.