August 2010

"Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com

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I’m no doctor, so I don’t pretend to know the implications of Bob Feller’s leukemia diagnosis. I do know that he appeared to be in good spirits Sunday in his return to the Progressive Field press box after a week and a half of treatments, and I do know that he was going back to the Clinic for an evaluation today. 
I also know that as I look to my left and see an empty seat in the place where the 91-year-old Feller is usually perched to check in on his beloved Cleveland Indians, I hope that seat is filled many, many times in the future.
I’m not old enough to have ever seen Feller pitch. In fact, he’s been classifiable as an “old man” for my entire life. But through this job, I have had the honor and the pleasure to get to know the man behind that sometimes-brash and cantankerous personality and see a guy who loves the game, loves discussing it and, yes, loves to rile us up from time to time with his remarks.
From his roots on an Iowa cornfield to his glorious baseball career to his service in the Navy during World War II, Feller is a living legend and a veritable walking American history textbook. Having access to his insight, his instincts and his humor has been a real treat, and I hope to see Feller come out victorious in yet another battle.
Best of luck and best of health, Bob.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
  • Though seeing him come out of Sunday’s game with an injury to a surgically repaired area raised a red flag, it doesn’t sound like Matt LaPorta’s hip injury is serious. The Indians weren’t even planning to have an MRI taken on the hip. LaPorta is expected back in the lineup Tuesday.
  • Manny Ramirez is obviously the story of the day around here, as his first week with the White Sox will feature visits to his old haunts, Progressive Field (where he has a lifetime .312 average, 132 homers and 436 RBIs in 493 games) iand Fenway Park. This is such a momentous acquisition that MLB.com has placed me on White Sox coverage for this series. I’m filling in for the inimitable Scott Merkin, who, quite unfathomably, would rather see the Eagles in concert than Bruce Springsteen (seriously, Merk?). Should be a fun change of pace, aside from the difficult process of trying to transcribe Ozzie Guillen quotes.
  • Speaking of Guillen, this is what he had to say about Omar Vizquel, who has been a nice addition for the Sox (yes, the Indians pursued him, to no avail): “Awesome. Oh my God. Omar? You want to talk about somebody’s savior, Omar has been a savior for the White Sox for a long time. We never thought Omar was going to be playing this long, this good, this many days. I’m very proud to be managing this kid. A kid who is three years older than me. He’s unbelievable. I never thought he would be this good for us, and he really, really picked us up.”
  • Things have gone so well that Vizquel, who is batting .288 for the season and .333 over his last 40 games, is no longer viewing this as his final season. “The numbers are telling me that maybe there is another good year left,” he said. “I feel good about myself, my body feels good. No adjustments at all. I play the game the same way I was before. I just keep working out, which is the main reason I’m here and am going to be here next year. I keep my body in shape in order to play another year.”
  • Though the Indians weren’t able to woo Vizquel last winter, they’d be remiss not to try again this offseason. He’d be a practical addition to this team, particularly now that he’s proven himself to be an asset at third base, too. And not that people come to ballgames to see utility infielders, but at least Vizquel would provide some measure of marketability in what should be another tough year for attendance.
  • In the meantime, the 1990s Indians reunion so many fans clamor for is happening in the White Sox locker room this week. “It’s going to be fun to have Manny around again,” Vizquel said. “I haven’t played with Manny for about 12 years, and a lot of things have happened since. But it’s always nice to have a guy who can change the outcome of the game with one swing of the bat.”
  • You know who can change a game with one swing of the bat? Andy Marte. Or at least, that’s what Bruce Chen thinks. When asked about serving up that dead-center blast to Jason Donald yesterday, this was what Chen had to say: “I don’t want to say anything [negative], but you imagine that [Donald] would not go to deep center field. If you think of a guy on that team, you think of Hafner, LaPorta and Marte.” Rare love for Marte. 
  • Still waiting on word on September callups. The Indians are waiting to see how Triple-A Columbus’ season shakes out. Aaron Laffey is not guaranteed to join this team in September, given that he is still not 100 percent in his recovery from left shoulder fatigue. If Laffey does come back, it will be in the bullpen. But he’ll have to show a lot of progress in the next couple days to convince the Indians he’s ready.
  • Fausto Carmona has tweaked the grip of his changeup, which has Acta encouraged. In Sunday’s loss to the Royals, Carmona’s changeup was clocking in around 85 mph, giving him a nice separation of speeds from his sinker. The Indians were concerned that his changeup speed was getting too close too consistently to the fastball speed.
  • Acta said Carmona has been throwing his changeup more often this season. According to data on Fangraphs.com (one of Acta’s favorite web sites), Carmona is definitely throwing less sinkers (67.8 percent, as opposed to 72.2 percent last year and 80.9 percent in ’08) and more sliders (18.3 percent, way up from 7.6 percent last year and 8.8 percent in ’08). The changeup is at 13.9 percent, according to the site, which is actually down from 20.2 percent last year but way up from 2.6 percent in ’08. Obviously, this data is not guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate, but Carmona is definitely deviating from the sinker with more regularity.
  • Speaking of Acta’s favorite web sites, he told me the other day that he just noticed, for the first time, the tagline at the top of this blog: “Manny Acta’s favorite Indians blog… or if it’s not, it ought to be.” That’s been up there, I believe, since the day Acta was hired. That it’s taken him this long to notice doesn’t bode well for that tag line being accurate.
  • Russell Branyan trade acquisition Ezequiel Carrera is batting .375 over his last eight games at Columbus, with five multi-hit games.
  • Columbus closer Vinnie Pestano has a 0.81 ERA and eight saves in eight opportunities over his last 21 appearances. He’d be an intriguing September callup option.
  • Best of luck to media relations intern Vince Gerbec, who is working his final series before heading back to Athens, Ohio, the Navel of the Universe and the Land of Milk and Honey, for his senior year at Ohio University. See you at my bachelor party, Vince.
~AC

An exclusive interview with two Chris Perezes

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A long, losing season needs its subplots and surprises to keep things entertaining. And if you’ve been following the 2010 Cleveland Indians on Twitter this year, you’ve probably found entertainment in the recent creation of closer Chris Perez’s Twitter alter ego, @PureRage_Perez.
The real Chris Perez is on Twitter at @ChrisPerez54. But as of this writing, the real Perez has 54 less followers than the fake one.
Thanks to the cooperation of both Chris and Pure Rage, I was able to gain unprecedented access into the minds and lives of both men, and it is my pleasure to share the results with you here. Below are 13 questions I posed to each Perez, followed by their respective answers.
Your job, as reader, is to distinguish which answer, A or B, came from the real Chris Perez. I’ll post the answers in the comments section below. An early hint: Pure Rage is addicted to grape Gatorade, while the real Chris Perez prefers red.
1. This whole thing started because Chris Gimenez said you showed “pure rage” in a save you converted against the Yankees a few weeks back. Are there other situations in life in which you show pure rage?
A. Not really. I’m pretty easy-going. Not happy-go-lucky, but I roll with the punches. Except when it comes to baseball, when I get on the field. I don’t get mad in traffic or mad at my dogs when they chew up stuff. But on the field, I take it personally. Pitching is one of the most selfish aspects of baseball. It’s up to you. If you give up that big hit, that’s on you, because you made the pitch. It sucks. You feel like the whole world is watching you. So I take it personally.
B. A better question would be are there other situations in life in which I refrain from showing Pure Rage? And the answer is no. As a side note, going forward I would like Pure Rage to always be capitalized.
2. What do you do to get fired up before an appearance?

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A. Nothing gets me fired up. I’m pretty calm before I pitch. But I take my warmup throws, and my last one I try to throw as hard as I can. I grunt as the catcher’s throwing it back. That kind of gets me in the zone. 
B. Do you remember in the movie Pearl Harbor, when the bomber dudes had pictures of the boats they were to destroy? I do something similar with pictures of the opposing players. Except I pay a cartoonist to draw little discussion bubbles coming out of their mouths saying mean things about me.
3. Any rituals that get you ready for a game and an appearance?
A. I really don’t have a ritual. I don’t have a stretching ritual like Mariano. I sit down in the bullpen, watch the games, watch the hitters. I’m in the bullpen the whole game. I never understood closers who stay in the clubhouse until the late innings. I like to get a feel for the game and what the umpires are calling and what the hitters are doing, rather than having the bullpen coach or bullpen catcher telling me. If it’s a close game after the sixth, I cut out talking to anybody and just focus. 
B. As has been well documented, I fuel up on mass amounts of Grape Gatorade. I occasionally get into Slim Jims if it’s really needed. Usually this is done in complete darkness while listening to either Pantera or Elton John. I also do my best to dominate every single game we play out in the bullpen, especially Monopoly. (I use the thimble as my marker by the way.) I have yet to lose any game we’ve played, except when Raffy Perez brought Ouija. I don’t mess with that witchcraft crap.
4. Is there anything that opposing players do while you’re on the mound that makes you angry?
A. If a hitter does a fake bunt kind of a thing, trying to get a first-pitch ball, that makes me mad. And sometimes a guy… well, one guy, in particular, [Nick] Swisher takes forever to get into the box. He has his whole routine down pat. It doesn’t matter if he’s coming up with the bases loaded or leading off the inning. He just takes his time. That kind of gets me mad.
B. No, not really. Well, I guess I get a little riled up when they take practice swings, adjust their helmet, adjust their batting gloves, look at the third base coach for signs, blink, breath, stretch, rub dirt on their hands, ask the umpire a question, talk to my catcher, try to bunt, swing away, take a pitch, hit a foul ball, look at me or call timeout. I guess I am a pretty tolerable guy!
5. What angers you more? Walking somebody, or giving up a hit?
A. I’d rather walk a guy than give up a hit. To me, giving up hits means they’re actually touching you and can beat you. When you’re walking people, it’s on you. If you walk a guy or two, it feels like you’re just a mechanical adjustment away.
B. I’d say C: Letting the batter live.
6. What is the key to being a good closer?
A. Just living in that moment. A lot of stuff can happen quickly in a one-run or two-run game. You just have to be able to bear down and live in that moment. It also helps to be a strikeout pitcher who can pitch away from contact. A lot of times you can’t afford to give up a fly ball or a groundball. Some guys can be closers, but they don’t have the stuff where they can miss bats late. And obviously, you have to be able to bounce back from tough outings. 
B. I guess having good pickup lines. You can’t close on a woman unless you have a good opening line. I don’t really understand why you are asking me this question, I am already married.
7. Does intimidation come into play?
A. I think there’s something to that. I know when I first signed and got in pro ball, I was taught that the hitters can pick up when you’re going good and feeling it, and they can pick it up when you’re going bad and hesitant. You don’t want the hitters to be comfortable. Anything can disrupt that comfort. If somebody’s worried about this guy coming in with this hair and beard and that distracts him, that’s an advantage that I have. 
B. Absolutely. Unless you intimidate and scare those workers at Subway, you are not getting any extra pickles.
8. Do you ever peek at your velocity while you’re on the mound?
A. I do. It’s not every time, but some days when I don’t feel I threw that good in the bullpen, I want to make sure I know what I’m working with. If I have my best stuff, I can challenge guys and go right after the big part of the plate, whereas some days, if I don’t, I need to know I have to hit the corners and throw more sliders. Also, if I throw one really good, I like to look back and see what it was. It’s easy at our place. I can just turn around, look like I’m getting some rosin, and it’s right there.
B. Don’t have to. I usually just look at the urine stains on the batter’s pants for reassurance.
9. Velocity-wise, where do you like your fastball to be?
A. When I’m throwing 95, I feel I can pump it up and get higher if I need to, but I also feel I can really hit my spots and make it tough on them. I get good movement on 95. For some reason, 94 is pretty flat, 96 is straight and 95 has got the movement.
B. If I throw it at the batter and he has time to move out of the way, it isn’t fast enough.
10. What products do you use on your hair?
A. I like the cream stuff. Whatever shampoo has cream in it. That makes it nice and fluffy for the next day. I also wear my hat backwards before the game. That gets it flowing the right way. I comb it to get all the knots out, then put my hat on to get it flowing. I have to have it just right when I throw. I can’t have it in my eyes or anything.
B. I see what is going on here. You want me to perjure myself, a la Roger Clemens. Well, for the record (in my best Rafael Palmeiro voice) I have never used performance-enhancing products on my hair, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.
11. You’ve really cultivated a nice look for yourself. I remember when they traded for you, you were clean-shaven and you looked like you were about 18 years old. Where did your current look come from?
A. It’s funny you say that, because coming up in college and in the Minors, we couldn’t have more than two days’ growth. No goatees, nothing. Until you got to Triple-A. So my second big-league Spring Training, I was the youngest one in camp, I think. And my agent actually said to me, ‘You know, Tony [LaRussa] and [Dave] Duncan are kind of old-school. They see the young guys and just put them aside, so maybe you should grow some facial hair.’ So I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll try to.’ So I grew this goatee thing. It didn’t help me stick around, but it made me look older, and it just went from there. I did good, and I kept it for a while. This year, I told my wife I would grow the beard to keep my face warm in the cold weather. I had a good start to the year, and it happened to stick. No reason to change. My wife doesn’t mind it. She says I just need to trim it.
B. Ever heard of James Carville? I told myself I would never look like that bald yay-who.
12. You said last year that you wanted to start playing the guitar. How’s that coming?
A. I’m not very good at it. I have a good teacher in the bullpen in Scott Radinsky. He told me electric is a lot easier to get the notes down and learn how to play. So I might get an electric this offseason.
B. Yeah I said that when I heard there was a chance my new catcher was going to be Carlos Santana. I went out and bought all this really nice guitar stuff preparing myself to learn from a guitar god. When I found out it wasn’t the same Carlos Santana, I decided to try a new and cheaper hobby. Twitter.
13. Your wife is due to give birth to a baby boy this offseason. Any names in mind, other than Little Pure Rage?
A. I do not like alliterative names or names that are two first names. That rules out any name that begins with P, including Perez. That being said, I like to lean on history for things like this. There were guys named Babe, Honus, Yogi, Three Finger, Rollie, Oil Can, Shin-Soo, Orel, Catfish, Dizzy, and Enos, and they all turned out to be Major League Baseball players. I think we will go one of those.
B. Maxwell Alexander. I wanted Maximus, for obvious reasons. “Gladiator” is a good movie. But you have to pick your battles. But I get to pick the girl’s name. That was our deal.
~AC

8/25: Indians vs. A's

Tonight’s 7:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on WTAM and STO.cle7.gif

INDIANS (50-75): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Nix, LF Crowe, 1B LaPorta, 2B Donald, C Marson. RHP Mitch Talbot (8-10, 4.23).

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ATHLETICS (62-62): CF Crisp, 1B Barton, C Suzuki, DH Cust, 2B Ellis, LF Davis, 3B Kouzmanoff, RF Gross, SS Pennington. RHP Trevor Cahill (13-5, 2.54).

"It's just a fantasy, it's not the real thing"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
Shin-Soo Choo drew the No. 1 pick in the Indians’ upcoming fantasy football draft. You might be shocked to learn that Choo knows absolutely nothing about football. So guess who will be handling his drafting duties?
Yep, that’s right, it’s everybody’s favorite CastroTurf character, Jason Stein, known here and everywhere as the “Master of Self-Promotion.”
Choo hopes Stein is the “Master of Fantasy Football,” but word is Stein overvalues members of the Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s hoping Choo and Stein do well. And here’s hoping Jake Delhomme falls to me at No. 6 overall in the upcoming Euclid Fantasy Football League Draft. I like my chances.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
  • Chris Antonetti has slowly but surely assumed Mark Shapiro’s GM duties over the last few years, and today he assumed the highly coveted duty of meeting with the media in the home dugout to discuss anything and everything while saying virtually nothing. 
  • Antonetti said he officially becomes GM on Nov. 1. For all intents and purposes, though, the handoff technically took place after the July Trade Deadline (those are my words, not Antonetti’s).
  • At this point, Antonetti and the Indians are assessing the team, position by position, to get a feel for what areas will need to be augmented in the offseason. Not sure how much augmenting the team can really afford, particularly considering the Indians are dead last in MLB in average attendance. Then again, with a bare bones payroll, there could be room in the budget for some upgrades.
  • The most high-profile September callup, in terms of potential impact, will be Carlos Carrasco, who will, of course, join the rotation. Carrasco allowed four runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings against Toledo on Sunday and is 1-1 with a 2.18 ERA over his last three starts. He is 10-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts this season. 
  • Zach McAllister, acquired as the player to be named from the Austin Kearns trade, could also get a call. For now, he’s making his organizational debut at Columbus tonight. 
  • Aaron Laffey’s rehab assignment has been transferred to Columbus. He should be back soon. Not sure if we’re going to see Anthony Reyes, whose rehab has been put on hold because of some mechanical issues in his delivery.
  • Antonetti did not confirm a report that Jared Goedert won’t get a September callup, but he didn’t deny it, either. Goedert has cooled off considerably at the plate, and the Indians feel he has a long way to go, defensively. They’re not going to promote guys simply for the sake of promoting them. They’ll only do so if they feel there are real at-bats and innings to be had up here. For now, the Tribe is going to keep running that three-headed, error-prone monster known as “Nimartuena” out there at third base and hope for the best.
  • Firmly expecting @Nimartuena to become a Twitter account in 3… 2… 1… 
  • Yes, fake Tribe Twitter accounts are all the rage in this lost season. They certainly break up some of the monotony of the dog days of August. But there’s a real account to follow, and it belongs to closer Chris Perez (@ChrisPerez54). Perez told me he hopes @PureRage_Perez, the fake Chris Perez, doesn’t go away. “That guy’s funny,” Perez said. “I read him every day. He posts something every five minutes. I only post like one thing a day.”
  • Speaking of the Twitter realm, somebody was inspired enough by my last blog post to create my alter ego, @caskranowich. So far, I’m enjoying the… tribute? That is, until @caskranowich has more followers than @castrovince, and my ego is permanently bruised.
  • In case you missed the latest Indians Inbox, it’s posted here.

~AC

"Of course I'm not Cartwright!"

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
My last name, as listed above, is Castrovince. 
This causes an inordinate amount of trouble for people. The guy checking my credential as I pulled into the parking lot at Kauffman Stadium yesterday looked at it quizzically and said, “Anthony what?”
“Castrovince,” I told him, pronouncing it “Castro” as in Fidel Castro and “Vince” as in Vince Vaughn. 
“Wow, I would have never guessed that,” he replied.
Never? Really? Given an infinite amount of time to sound that out in your head, you would have never figured out the spelling C-A-S-T-R-O-V-I-N-C-E equates to “Castro” as in Fidel Castro and “Vince” as in Vince Vaughn?
Never?!
When I checked out of my hotel this morning, the woman at the front desk said, “Thank you, Mr. … Cas… kranowich?”
Really? This is what you came up with? You read C-A-S-T-R-O-V-I-N-C-E and hear… Caskranowich? 
This has been going on my entire life. And often, when people ask me how my last name is pronounced and I tell them, their response is, “Oh, exactly how it’s spelled!”
Yes. Exactly how it’s spelled. You know, just like… most words.
The ability of people to make something more complicated than it needs to be never ceases to amaze me. But what do I know? I’m just Anthony Caskranowich.
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
  • Before we move on to less-important matters, it bears mentioning that talk about cartoon characters dominated birdman.jpgManny Acta’s pregame interview with the beat guys. Last night, Acta said that, in a perfect world, he would have Superman and Flash on his team to get to every ball hit in their vicinity. Today, that remark prompted discussion of other superheroes, including one of Acta’s personal favorites, Birdman. Now, I’ve heard of the Birdman of Alcatraz and Birdman the rapper, but I’ve never heard of Birdman the cartoon. I promised Manny I would Google it, and sure enough, here’s Birdman
  • Acta did more than just discuss Birdman pregame. He called the Indians together for a team meeting. The adage that good teams win games and bad teams have meetings applies. But while little is expected of these young Indians at this stage, Acta has still been unhappy with the recent results. He called the meeting to get them refocused on the task at hand, which is to show progress at this level before everybody heads home in October. Acta wants to go into the offseason knowing what he can expect from these guys next year. “They need to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said. “We’re not going to be rebuilding forever, and this is not a September callup.”
  • Jason Knapp lives. And not only that, but he’s going to pitch in an actual game. Knapp, for the uninitiated, is the guy who was considered the key acquisition in last summer’s Cliff Lee trade. But we’ve seen little of him since. He was injured at the time the Indians acquired him, but because the Indians were not in a position to request an MRI on Knapp from the Phillies at that time, they didn’t know about the loose bodies in his shoulder. He had shoulder surgery last September and has been pitching in Arizona Rookie League games the last few weeks. Now, he’s been deemed ready to join Class A Lake County, and he’ll make his Captains debut Friday night at Classic Park, against Dayton. Knapp posted a 1.46 ERA, 18 strikeouts and four walks in 12 1/3 innings in Arizona. Keep in mind, Knapp is turning 20 on Aug. 31. So while the injury was obviously a setback, he has time to get his career back on track and become the guy the Indians hope they acquired.
  • The bolded note announcing the above news on the Indians game notes tonight is titled, “Knapp Time.” Well played, Bart Swain.
  • This is as good a time as any to give you an Adam Miller update. He lives, too, and he’s been throwing bullpen sessions at the Arizona complex the last couple weeks. The Indians hope to get him in a game environment before the end of the calendar year. That could be in the Fall Instructional League or in winter ball. Miller has had four surgeries on his right middle finger over the last two and a half years, and his hope of reaching the bigs is a major longshot. But he’s still out there pitching, trying to overcome the odds.
  • As Miller proves, not all highly touted Draft picks pan out. Therefore, spending $9.3 million on a bunch of unproven kids won’t silence the critics who consider the Indians to be… shall we say… frugal? But for those paying attention, what the Indians have done the last couple summers is significant. Knowing the Major League free agent market (and, for that matter, the high-end international market) is completely out of control and out of their budget, the Indians have chosen to invest heavily in amateur talent, hoping for a major payoff down the line. The Royals and Pirates are two other small-market teams that have gone this route. “The teams that are ahead of the curve, the teams that  have, quite frankly, figured out the inefficiencies in this part of the market, have been super, hyper-aggressive,” said John Mirabelli, the Indians’ vice president of amateur scouting. “There isn’t a slot system in place. There is a talent acquisition system in place, and your job as an organization is to get the best out of it.”
  • Some wonder if a hard slotting system might be good for the game. But it would be almost impossible to pull off, because so many different players are coming from so many different situations (be it senior year of high school, junior college, junior year of college, etc.) and, therefore, different amounts of leverage in negotiations. The Indians had a 10th-round selection this year, outfielder Tyler Holt, who was adamant about returning for his senior year at Florida State if he didn’t get half a million (three times more than the slotting recommendation). He got his money.
  • pomeranzsigning.jpgCourtesy of Dan Mendlik, here’s a photo of Drew Pomeranz signing his deal with the Indians, with his parents and scouting director Brad Grant looking on. Some serious faces in that room. But at least Chief Wahoo is smiling.
  • One of the more entertaining plays of the year happened last night, when Chris Gimenez caught Shin-Soo Choo’s bullet throw from right field up the third-base line, just ahead of the plate, and absorbed a collision with Mitch Maier to complete the back end of a 9-2 double play. That was Choo’s Major League-leading 11th outfield assist this season. “He continues to play hard, regardless of whether his offense is up or down,” Acta said. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him this season.” And give Gimenez credit for holding on.
  • Gimenez said he was a little sore from that collision, which caused his catcher’s mask to fly off his head and pushed him into a backward somersault, but he enjoyed watching the highlight. My friends were texting me and calling me and saying stuff like, “That’s what happens when you stand on the tracks.” Maier apologized after the play, but it was a solid, clean baseball play and fun to watch. 
  • When Buck Showalter was announced as Orioles manager earlier this month, he said part of the rebuilding process is finding g
    uys who are “pile-jumpers” – i.e. guys who will jump on the pile on the mound after winning Game 7. Gimenez is far from the most talented player on this rebuilding Indians team, but he’s definitely a pile-jumper.
  • DANM5864.jpgSee if you can point out the non-pile-jumper in this 2009 photo.
  • Acta said he views Joe Smith and Rafael Perez as his primary setup men to Chris Perez these days, but he’s still relying heavily on specific matchups.
  • Speaking of Chris Perez, he’s been keeping tabs on his alias, @PureRage_Perez, on Twitter. He’s impressed that the fake Chris Perez has nearly 400 followers. “I had a Twitter last year and never used it,” Perez said. “I didn’t even have that many followers.”
  • Some of you have asked and, as much as I would like to take credit, no, I am not @PureRage_Perez. I am also not @Caskranowich.
  • The Indians are trying to decide when to place Carlos Carrasco into the rotation. Acta said he is not ruling out a six-man rotation in September. 
  • This Indians team hasn’t been all that great, well, anywhere, but the struggles on the road are particularly profound. The Tribe is 23-38 (.377) on the road this year, thanks in large part to a team ERA of 5.00 away from home, versus a 3.99 ERA at Progressive Field.
  • Connor Graham, the guy the Indians got for Rafael Betancourt last year, converted to relief work at Double-A Akron, as anticipated, and has a 2.10 ERA in 32 games in that role. He has a 0.93 ERA in 12 games since the All-Star break.
  • One thing I’ve learned this week, other than the existence of Birdman? Typing Kila Ka’aihue on deadline is not fun. I’d much rather type Castrovince.
~AC

8/19: Indians at Royals

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at Kauffman Stadium is on WTAM and STO.

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INDIANS (49-71): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Nix, LF Crowe, 1B LaPorta, 2B Donald, C Marson. RHP Mitch Talbot (8-10, 4.25).

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ROYALS (51-69): CF Blanco, C Kendall, 1B Butler, DH Ka’aihue, 3B Betemit, LF Gordon, RF Maier, SS  Betancourt, 2B Getz. LHP Kyle Davies (6-7, 5.22).

8/18: Indians at Royals

Tonight’s 8:10 p.m. ET game at Kauffman Stadium is on STO and WTAM. 

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INDIANS (49-70): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, LF Duncan, DH Nix, 1B LaPorta, 3B Marte, 2B Donald, C Gimenez. RHP Fausto Carmona (11-10, 3.87).

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ROYALS (50-69): CF Blanco, C Kendall, 1B Butler, DH Ka’aihue, 3B Betemit, LF Gordon, RF Maier, SS Betancourt, 2B Getz. LHP Bruce Chen (7-6, 4.50).

8/17: Indians at Royals

It’s the big battle for fourth tonight at Kauffman Stadium. The action will be on STO and WTAM.

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INDIANS (49-69): CF Brantley, SS  Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 3B Nix, LF Crowe, 1B LaPorta, 2B Donald, C Marson. RHP Jeanmar Gomez (3-0, 1.54).

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ROYALS (49-69): CF Blanco, C Kendall, DH Butler, 1B Ka’aihue, 3B Betemit, LF Gordon, 2B Aviles, RF Maier, SS Betancourt. RHP Zack Greinke (7-11, 3.99).

8/15: Indians vs. Mariners

Today’s 1:05 p.m. ET game at Progressive Field is on WTAM and WKYC Channel 3.

Travis Hafner has been activated off the DL, with Jordan Brown optioned back to Columbus.

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INDIANS (48-69): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, DH Hafner, 2B Nix, LF Crowe, 1B LaPorta, 3B Valbuena, C Marson. RHP Justin Masterson (4-11, 5.47).

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MARINERS (46-71): RF Suzuki, 2B Figgins, DH Branyan, 3B Lopez, CF Gutierrez, 1B Kotchman, C Moore, LF Saunders, SS Woodward. RHP Felix Hernandez (8-9, 2.71).

8/14: Indians vs. Mariners

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

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INDIANS (48-68): CF Brantley, SS Cabrera, RF Choo, LF Duncan, DH Nix, 1B LaPorta, 3B Marte, 2B Donald, C Marson. RHP Mitch Talbot (8-9, 4.09).

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MARINERS (45-71): RF Suzuki, 2B Figgins, DH Branyan, 3B Lopez, CF Gutierrez, 1B Kotchman, C Bard, LF Saunders, SS Wilson. LHP Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.12).
If you’re missing the Rock ‘N Blast festivities this weekend, here’s a picture from team photog Dan Mendlik, taken from the top of the Terminal Tower last night.
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