The Indians beat the Twins 4-2 Saturday, largely behind Danny Salazar’s six-inning, 10-strikeout debut.
Today’s One Last Thing: Roberto Perez and his unexpected offense
It was only about three weeks ago that Indians manager Terry Francona was talking to Perez in the clubhouse in Arizona. When the subject of Opening Day came up, Perez got goosebumps. He was going to break camp with the big-league squad for the first time, which Francona called one of those cool moments a manager get to have with new players each spring.
Now he’s acting as one of the hotter Indians hitters.
When Yan Gomes went down with a sprained right knee, defensively, the Indians weren’t going to have a let-down. Gomes is a very good defensive catcher but Roberto Perez might be even better. He’s been ranked by Baseball Prospectus as one of the best pitch framers in the minor leagues the last two seasons. He has an equally strong arm—he gunned down Billy Hamilton trying to steal second base toward the end of spring. Not many guys have done that.
Offense is where Gomes separates himself with Perez.
Plus, Gomes was a talented right-handed hitter in a lefty-heavy lineup. So his absence in the batting order is pretty hard to replace (Dan Szymborski of ESPN and ZiPS had Gomes as the 12th-most indispensable player for a reason).
Perez is a rookie, back-up, defensive-minded catcher. So he’s in the position that any offense he provides is a nice boost. He has almost no expectations offensively. And it’s only been seven games, but he’s done well so far.
He’s hitting .316 this season (batting average is way too fickle a number to look at this early, but it at least shows he’s hitting well), he went 3-for-4 Saturday and has now hit two home runs in only seven games played. He hit his first home run in Houston filling in for a day and today added a second-deck solo shot to left-center field. Both pitches were jumped on and both were no-doubters.
For two months as Gomes rehabs, Perez will hold his own defensively. Pitchers have talked before about how much they love working with him. Francona said Perez was “made to catch.”
If he can do the same offensively, especially while the top of the lineup struggles to get going, Perez is suddenly one of the more valuable players on the roster, all things considered.
The Indians topped the Twins 4-2 on the road on Saturday behind a solid debut outing from Danny Salazar, who was called up from Triple-A Saturday morning.
Salazar struck out 10 batters over six innings and allowed two earned runs. Left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone pitched two scoreless innings and Cody Allen earned his third save of the season.
Offensively, Roberto Perez hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning. Lonnie Chisenhall later scored Brandon Moss, who had doubled, on a sacrifice fly to left field. Jason Kipnis added an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning and the Indians' fourth run scored on a wild pitch.
The Indians improved to 4-6 this season with the win. Austin Adams was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Salazar. TJ House will take the mound on Sunday to finish off the three-game set with the Twins.To read more or comment...
The Indians lost to the Minnesota Twins 3-2 Friday night on Trevor Plouffe's walk-off home run in the 11th inning.
The home run came off of Bryan Shaw, who entered the game in the 10th inning. Shaw struck out Kennys Vargas with the bases loaded to end the 10th to extend the game.
It was another solid effort by Corey Kluber wasted by a lack of offense and some poor defense. Kluber threw eight innings, allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out eight.
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. Roberto Perez singled and then went first-to-third on a nicely executed hit-and-run with Jose Ramirez. Perez then scored on a wild pitch by Twins starter Mike Pelfrey.To read more or comment...
The Cleveland Indians will be recalling right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar to make a spot start against the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.
Salazar, who was optioned to Triple-A Columbus this spring after he struggled with consistency, will travel with the team to Minnesota and be activated prior to Saturday’s game. His promotion will allow Carlos Carrasco to receive some extra rest after being hit in the face by a line drive Tuesday night. Carrasco is slated to start Monday in Chicago.
Salazar, 25, made one start in Triple-A, pitching six scoreless innings (seven strikeouts, no walks, four hits allowed). This spring, he went 1-2 with an 8.18 ERA as his velocity was up, which was a good sign, but he struggled with his control.
It’s unclear how long he will remain with the big-league club after Saturday. Salazar has a career 8-11 record and 3.89 ERA with 185 strikeouts in 162 innings pitched at the Major League level.
Corey Kluber will start on Friday against the Twins’ Mike Pelfrey. Salazar will face Phil Hughes. TJ House will start opposite Trevor May on Sunday.
Wednesday was Jackie Robinson Day in the major leagues, with every player wearing his retired number 42 on the 68th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
Indians manager Terry Francona chose his words carefully, but said he gets "mixed emotions" about the commemoration that first started in 2004.
"I think it's awesome that we do celebrate his accomplishments and his strength of character," Francona said. "I just want to make sure we don't get caught up in patting ourselves on the back for letting him in the game. That seems a little backwards."To read more or comment...
Shaking off the mastery of opposing left-handers this season, the Indians claimed a 4-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox Wednesday afternoon at Progressive Field.
The Indians snapped a four-game losing streak and avoided going 0 for the five-game homestand. Cody Allen struck out White Sox slugger Jose Abreu to end the game and earn his second save.
Of their previous five losses, four of the decisions had gone to left-handers. Saturday's setback, with Detroit Tigers reliever Ian Krol picking up the victory, was started by lefty David Price.
"It's early for a lot of things, but I think we knew coming in we were going to have to prove because we're pretty left-handed," Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game of his offensive attack. "To this point we haven't done a very good job of it. We're pretty early on, but I certainly hope it's a trend that gets better or you're going to start seeing every lefty that every team has, which we don't need to do. We need to do better in a lot of areas and I know we will. That's one of them."To read more or comment...
Indians manager Terry Francona said Wednesday that Carlos Carrasco's next start will be pushed back a day after the right-hander was hit in the face by a line drive in the first inning Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.
Carrasco said both of his jaws were sore from the blow. Carrasco managed to deflect the ball off the bat of Melky Cabrera with his glove, which likely saved Carrasco from serious injury.
He said he had not heard from Cabrera, but teammates who played against the White Sox said Cabrera passed along Cabrera's good wishes for his recovery.
"For everything that happened, it's miraculous," Francona said. "He's in a good place.To read more or comment...
CLEVELAND: Indians manager Terry Francona and players expressed concern over Carlos Carrasco after the right-handed starting pitcher took a line drive to the face Tuesday following a line drive hit by Chicago White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera hit the ball straight up the middle and ended Carrasco’s evening on the mound after just eight pitches to two batters in the first inning.
The White Sox ultimately topped the Indians 4-1 before a crowd of 10,642 at Progressive Field, but the health of Carrasco was the primary concern in the post-game locker room.
“Everybody knows how good a guy Cookie is,” Indians third baseman Mike Aviles said of Carrasco. “You don’t want to see that happen to anybody, let alone somebody that you actually like and actually is a good person. I know that might have sounded bad the way I said it. I don’t want it to happen to a person I don’t like either, but as soon as it happens it’s let me get that ball, let me call time and let’s get somebody out here so he can get taken care. It’s definitely a little scary. I’m not gonna lie. It’s not a good situation, and then you’re sitting there the whole time looking at him and worried is he OK.”To read more or comment...
The Indians announced in the seventh inning that Carlos Carrasco is being treated for a jaw contusion. They said at this time, there are no signs or symptoms of a concussion or head injury.To read more or comment...