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Indians 7, Rockies 6 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 31, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 7-6 win over the visiting Colorado Rockies Saturday at Progressive Field.

1) Mike Avilesisn’t your average reserve utility player. Not only can he play just about every position on the field like your average bench player, but he plays it well – both defensively and offensively.

Saturday, it was Aviles’ offense that led the way via a 3-for-4 effort that included a home run and four RBI. It was the kind of effort that allows Indians manager Terry Francona to say he searches for ways to get Aviles in the lineup, instead of just plugging him in when there’s a hole.

“You're almost looking for games to get him in,” Francona said. “That's how we feel about him.”

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Aviles and Chisenhall power Indians to 7-6 victory over Rockies

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 31, 2014

The Indians played the kind of team baseball Saturday afternoon against the Colorado Rockies that may seem so simple to most fans, yet isn’t always easy to accomplish.

Of course the Tribe had already proven that more than enough times this season, which is why Saturday’s 7-6 victory was impressive. On a gorgeous – albeit windy – afternoon at Progressive Field, the Indians produced a game that featured solid starting pitching and hefty offensive production. Both were even backed by a major-league caliber defense that had been missing throughout a majority of the first two months of the season.

Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer was able to pitch out of trouble to keep a lead intact. The Tribe’s batsmen backed him with a big inning early and then score the winning run late to pick up the back end of the bullpen after it uncharacteristically blew the hold.

In between it all, Lonnie Chisenhall continued to hit left-handed pitching, reserve Mike Aviles drove in four runs from the nine-hole – including the game winner – which happened to score Jason Kipnis, who had the day off.   

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Lineups for Saturday's Indians/Rockies game at Progressive Field

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 31, 2014

The Indians host the Rockies for the second game of their three-game series today at 3:05 p.m. at Progressive Field. Here are today’s starting lineups:

Indians (25-30)

Michael Bourn CF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

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Indians 5, Rockies 2: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts on Corey Kluber's dominance

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 31, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts after  another dominating pitching performance by Indians pitcher Corey Kluber, who limited the Rockies to two runs in 7 2/3 innings  and struck out 12 batters in the host Tribe’s 5-2 victory.

1) Corey Kluber does not impress Corey Kluber, but he sure  continues to impress just about everyone else.

In his robotic voice and non-emotional deliverance, Kluber shrugged off any awe over what he has done in a dominating month of May: the 4-0 record, 2.09 ERA and most impressive: 60 strikeouts in just 43 innings.

“I think strikeouts are a byproduct of making good pitches,” Kluber said. “(I’m) not going out there trying to strike guys out…I don’t really think of myself as a (strikeout) pitcher. I’m just trying to go out there and pitch.”

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Kluber's 12 strikeouts help lead Indians to 5-2 victory over visiting Rockies

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 30, 2014

Corey Kluber’s dominance was on full display again Friday night at Progressive Field as the quiet right-hander continued to let his pitching do the talking. 

Kluber and the Indians cruised to a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies that featured 12 strikeouts as another standout performance that marked Kluber’s fifth double-digit career strikeout effort including his third already this season.

Kluber concluded the month of May 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA along with 60 strikeouts in 43 innings, becoming only the fifth Cleveland pitcher since 1914 with that many strikeouts in any month. It’s also the most strikeouts in the month of May since Curt Schilling racked up 62 in 2002 for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Yet, for all the hoopla over Kluber’s rising strike totals, he acts like he just can’t understand what all the hoopla’s about.

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Lineups for Friday's Indians/Rockies series opener

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 30, 2014

The Indians host the Rockies tonight at Progressive Field for the first game of the weekend's three-ganme series. Here are tonight's starting lineups:

Indians (24-30)

Michael Bourn CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SS
Michael BrantleyLF
Jason Kipnis 2B
Lonnie Chisenhall 3B
Jason Giambi DH
Yan Gomes C
David Murphy RF
Jesus Aguilar 1B

RHP Corey Kluber

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Tales from Tito: Concussion hazards of riding shotgun for Indians manager

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 29, 2014

Indians manager Terry Francona hopes he never has to have an advanced brain scan because of all the concussions he had as a kid and the horror stories and magazine articles he’s heard and read since. He estimates he suffered four or five and added there are probably a couple more he didn’t know about.

“I got so many. It scares me,” Francona admitted Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field before a game against the Chicago White Sox. He was discussing the protocol third baseman/catcher Carlos Santana is going through on the seven-day concussion disabled list when his personal experience came up.

“I got hit a couple times playing ball when I was a kid. One I was out, I didn’t know how I got home, a really bad one,” Francona said. “I got hit a couple times playing basketball, rebounding, I’d get elbows in the head.”

But the one he remembers most can be filed under the category of crazy things teenagers do. He said he dove into the front seat of a car on the way to a high school baseball game.

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White Sox 3, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Windy City wipeout

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 29, 2014

Fifteen final thoughts after the Indians were swept by the White Sox and went 2-5 on the road trip to Chicago and Baltimore.

1. The Indians knew they had some bad karma going before the game. So a little more than three hours before first pitch the visiting clubhouse crew changed the Indians jerseys from grey to navy.

2. That decision comes at the discretion of the starting pitcher, in this case rookie T.J. House, making his second career start in the majors. It was obvious he had help. “They asked what I wanted to do and I said, ‘I’ll do blue,’” House said. “I think the guys wanted to change it up a little bit and see if they could get a little bit more mojo with that uniform on.”

3. Even as he praised House, Indians manager Terry Francona’s real thoughts about the struggles of his team seeped through. “I thought he was tremendous,” Francona said of House, who gave up one run on five hits, walked one and struck out eight. “He pounded the zone, both sides of the plate, worked down, worked quick. He was really good. On a night that we’re going home pretty frustrated that was about an encouraging a start as you’ll see.”

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 28, 2014

Game: 8:10 p.m. at U.S. Cellular Field

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

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Indians activate Jason Kipnis from disabled list; to bat cleanup vs. White Sox

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 28, 2014

The Indians activated All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday and optioned infielder Justin Sellers to Triple-A Columbus.

Kipnis has been out since May 2 with a strained right oblique. He completed a rehab assignment in Columbus Monday night and joined the Indians Tuesday in Chicago.

He is in the lineup batting cleanup for Wednesday night’s game against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. According to baseball-reference.com, it is the first time in Kipnis career he has batted fourth.

Kipnis is hitting .234 in 27 games for the Indians with six doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI.

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White Sox 2, Indians 1: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Kipnis, Chisenhall and an umbrella

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 28, 2014

Fourteen final thoughts after a rainy evening Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

1. With Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher placed on the disabled list, I expected Indians manager Terry Francona to change his mind about playing second baseman Jason Kipnis, who rejoined the team in Chicago Tuesday. But Francona said he wasn’t tempted and will wait to activate him today. The All-Star has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 2 with a strained right oblique.

2. “No, because we always said we’ll do what’s right for the player, regardless of our needs,” Francona said. Kipnis said he would take batting practice outside, lift weights and work out on his first day back.

3. Infielder Justin Sellers will probably be the player sent down to Triple-A to make room for Kipnis.

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Indians' soggy 2-1 loss to White Sox spoils Michael Bourn's amazing catch

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 28, 2014

CHICAGO: Perhaps even Mother Nature did not want the Indians to face Chris Sale.

The White Sox ace left-hander, a two-time All-Star, came into Tuesday night’s game against the Indians at U.S. Cellular Field having retired 23 consecutive left-handed batters. The Indians were 6-12 this season against left-handed starters.

Sale stretched his streak to 27 straight, pitching three innings before the rain came and delayed the game one hour and 58 minutes. But even a gift from above could not stop the Indians’ stumbles against lefties. Conor Gillaspie’s RBI single in the third inning and Gordon Beckham’s solo home run in the fifth were all the White Sox needed in a 2-1 victory.

The game was delayed for a total of two hours and 39 minutes. It started 41 minutes late because of rain in the area. It resumed for good at 11:47 p.m. EDT.

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Indians' game resumes after delays of 2:39

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 27, 2014

The Indians game against the Chicago White Sox was delayed twice by rain for a total of two hours and 39 minutes Tuesday at U.S. Cellular Field.

It was stopped at 9:49 p.m. EDT with the White Sox leading 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning. It resumed at 11:47 p.m. EDT, a total of 1:58.

The scheduled 8:10 p.m. EDT start was delayed 41 minutes by approaching rain in the area. First pitch came at 8:51 EDT.

After play began, it began raining steadily when the Indians batted with one out in the top of the third.

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 27, 2014

Game: 8:10 p.m. EDT at U.S. Cellular Field

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

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Indians' Swisher, Santana to DL; Aguilar, Kottaras recalled

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 27, 2014

First baseman Nick Swisher was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a hyperextended left knee and third baseman/catcher Carlos Santana was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list.

Swisher was hurt trying to beat out a grounder to third base in the sixth inning of Monday's 6-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. He injured his right knee last week in a 13-inning home victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Swisher headed back to Cleveland yesterday afternoon and will be examined Wednesday.

Santana was hit in the mask by a foul ball while catching Sunday in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Santana landed on the same disabled list under the same circumstances in 2012. Santana remains with the team. Manager Terry Francona said Santana may also have the flu because he has a fever.

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White Sox 6, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 26, 2014

1. Changes may be coming soon (like Tuesday). Third baseman/catcher Carlos Santana may be headed to the seven-day concussion disabled list after taking a foul ball to the mask Sunday in Baltimore. First baseman Nick Swisher may be headed to the 15-day disabled list with two bad knees, hurting his left while trying to beat out a ground ball to third base in the sixth inning Monday. He injured his right rounding first last week in the 13-inning game against Detroit. 

2. Before Monday’s game, manager Terry Francona didn’t feel the urgency to activate second baseman Jason Kipnis from the DL. Francona probably does now. Kipnis (right oblique strain) was supposed to fly to Chicago after his final rehab game for Triple-A Columbus Monday night and Francona didn’t want to start him right away. But position players are at a premium, even for a team built on versatility.

3. Jason Giambi at first base? I think not, and Giambi probably does, too. More likely Jesus Aguilar will be with Kipnis on the plane from Columbus.

4. The fall-back, “We’ll see how they are tomorrow,” rarely turns out to be positive, so I’m sorry if I’m not optimistic that Swisher and Santana will avoid missing extended time.

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Carlos Santana pulled from lineup, not feeling well

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 26, 2014

The Indians' Carlos Santana was pulled from the lineup for Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field because he wasn't feeling well. Santana seemed fine when he arrived at the park about 10:30 a.m.

Asdrubal Cabrera took over at designated hitter for Santana, while Justin Sellers moved in at shortstop. Second baseman Mike Aviles was moved up from ninth to second in the batting order.

The Indians' new lineup:

Michael Bourn CF

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 26, 2014

* Indians manager Terry Francona said Jason Kipnis will join the Indians in Chicago Tuesday after playing in his final rehab game with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers today. But it's possible the Indians won't activate Kipnis from the 15-day disabled list (strained right oblique) until Wednesday.

* Francona dropped Lonnie Chisenhall from fourth to eighth in the lineup because the Tribe is facing left-hander Jose Quintana.

* Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera returned to the lineup after not starting for three games with left knee and right big toe injuries. Cabrera pinch-hit Sunday at Baltimore. Cabrera said he was "better," but is not 100 percent.

Game: 2:10 p.m. EDT at U.S. Cellular Field

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Orioles 4, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 25, 2014

1. The Indians managed only five hits and I attribute that more to the exhaustion of a long week, with back-to-back 13-inning games, than I do to the pitching of Orioles’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (even if Tribe manager Terry Francona did praise Gonzalez’s performance).

2. The pre-game clubhouse was extremely quiet and deserted until about 30 minutes before the Indians went out for warm-ups. With a day game Sunday in Baltimore, a flight to Chicago and a day game today against the White Sox, they won’t be fully rested until Tuesday night.

3. The most interesting comment from Francona pre-game came from a question about several players saying they decided they needed to run the bases more aggressively before the Tigers’ series. The Indians, seemingly on their way to oblivion this season, swept a three-game series with Detroit and split four games in Baltimore. They've won 5 of 7 since that was brought up. “It may seem small, but to me it’s not,” Francona said. “The way you run the bases generally carries over into the way you play the rest of the game. When you’re aggressive and intelligent on the bases, it carries over to everything else.”

4. I’m sure Francona didn’t want to criticize his players for not playing the game the right way. But he surely likes more aggressiveness in all phases. If only it could carry over to defense.

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Indians at Orioles: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 25, 2014

* Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will run before the game to test his sore left knee and right big toe. Manager Terry Francona said the trainers will wait to see how he reacts, with the possibility Cabrera could be available today. He'll more likely play Monday in Chicago against the White Sox.

* Second baseman Jason Kipnis, on the disabled list with a strained right oblique, will get the day off today on a rehab assignment in Triple-A Columbus and play for the Clippers Monday. He will join the Inidians in Chicago Tuesday for the final two games of the three-game series against the White Sox.

  * First baseman Nick Swisher returns to the lineup after sitting out the last two games with a right knee injury. Swisher said he tweaked it while rounding first base Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers.

* Carlos Santana moves into the second spot in the order, a position regularly held by Swisher (39 games). Santana batted cleanup to start the season, but has moved around recently. Francona said Santana was hitting second only for today.

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Indians 9, Orioles 0: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts with GM Chris Antonetti

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 24, 2014

Seven final thoughts thanks to Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, who talked before Saturday’s victory at Camden Yards.

1. Antonetti didn’t seem concerned about injuries to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (left knee, right big toe) and first baseman Nick Swisher (right knee). “Our whole team has been through a lot when you look at what we’ve gone through in the last week, the extra innings games back-to-back and travel. We’ve got some guys who are banged up,” Antonetti said. “In Swish and Cabby’s case, we don’t think either is long term. Hopefully the next day or two they’ll get back out there.” Manager Terry Francona said Swisher would likely play Sunday in Baltimore, but Cabrera may wait until Monday in Chicago against the White Sox.

2. Antonetti knows the Indians’ depth has been tested by the extra-inning games and struggles of the starting rotation. Already Danny Salazar has been sent to Triple-A, Carlos Carrasco placed in the bullpen, Josh Tomlin called up from Columbus and Zach McAllister (low back strain) placed on the 15-day disabled list.

3. Asked who was next in line for the rotation, he seemed inclined to stick with left-hander T.J. House, who made his major league starting debut in an 8-4 loss Friday. “I know the linescore (6 innings, 11 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout, 6.43) didn’t read great last night, but we thought T.J. pitched well and was able to get us six innings. A pitch here or there and the linescore could have looked a little different,” Antonetti said.

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Indians at Orioles: Lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 24, 2014

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher were held out of the lineup for the second consecutive game as the Indians took on the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Cabrera was hit on the left kneecap in the 13th inning of Wednesday's home victory over the Detroit Tigers. He said he fouled a ball off his right big toe during the homestand. An MRI on Cabrera's knee showed nothing and he hopes to be back in the lineup Monday for the first of a three-game series in Chicago against the White Sox.

Swisher said he injured the inside of his right knee when he rounded first base in the 13-inning Tigers game. He said he's been undergoing as much treatment as he can to return to the lineup for what he called a point in the season where he believes the Indians can take off.

INDIANS

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Orioles 8, Indians 4: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 23, 2014

Eleven final thoughts after what was FINALLY a normal game at Camden Yards.

1. Indians manager Terry Francona isn’t ready to say that rookie left-hander T.J. House is taking Zach McAllister’s place in the rotation, even if the list of probable pitchers the Tribe sent out Friday has House starting again Wednesday in Chicago against the White Sox. But the Indians don’t have many other options after McAllister was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with a lower back strain.

2. They could recall right-hander Danny Salazar from Triple-A Columbus, but the timing would have to be right. Salazar pitched Tuesday for the Clippers and gave up five runs on six hits with three walks in 2.2 innings.

3. When Francona was asked before House made his major league starting debut Friday if he’d get more than one turn in the rotation, Francona said, “You’ve got to have five starters. I don’t know that we can forecast the future. The kid’s got one major league inning. Depending on where our bullpen is, some of that could be out of his hands, too. We’ll go day by day.”

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Indians at Orioles: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 23, 2014

Game: 7:05 p.m. in Camden Yards

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Mike Aviles 2B

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Indians 8, Orioles 7 (13 innings): Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 23, 2014

Final thoughts after the Indians made more history at Camden Yards. Don't ask me to count how many thoughts, I'm absolutely shot.

1. Nine hours and 38 minutes in two days. What has to seem like an astronomical pitch count. Yet the Indians managed to win back-to-back 13-inning games for just the second time since 1912, according to STATS LLC. The other came in the first two games of the 1935 season.

2. “A little tired, and we did it in two different cities,” reliever Scott Atchison said after picking up Thursday’s save. “Luckily we had a day game yesterday so everybody got a decent night’s sleep last night. If we’d have played a night game last night, that could have made it really tough tonight. We’re not stuck having to be back for a noon game tomorrow, so everybody will have a chance to recover.”

4. As exhausted as they should have been, the Indians wanted to talk about where they're going and what these last two victories meant.

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Indians at Orioles: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 22, 2014

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

Michael Brantley LF

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Indians' Zach McAllister placed on DL with low back strain

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 22, 2014

A medical issue apparently contributed to the recent struggles of Indians’ right-hander Zach McAllister.

The Indians placed McAllister on the 15-day disabled list with a low back strain Thursday after he lasted just two innings in Wednesday’s 13-inning home victory over the Tigers.

This is McAllister’s second time on the major league disabled list. This season he’s compiled a 3-4 record and 5.89 ERA in 10 starts. McAllister has allowed 12 earned runs in his last 3.1 innings and 17 earned runs in his last 7.2 innings.

In a flurry of other roster moves, left-hander T.J. House was recalled from Triple A-Columbus and the contract of left-hander Mark Lowe was selected from Columbus. Left-hander Kyle Crockett was optioned to Columbus.

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Indians 11, Tigers 10 (13 innings): Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 21, 2014

Thirteen final thoughts after a stunning balk-off victory at Progressive Field
1. I know the Indians were only 10.5 games back going into the just-completed three-game series with the Tigers. But it still seemed like the season was slipping away with the AL Central-leading Tigers coming to town for three games, followed by a four-game series against the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.
2. But instead of stumbling, they swept the Tigers after going 4-15 against them in 2013. The Indians now lead the season series 4-1. Instead of faltering, the Indians seemed to find themselves.
3. Right fielder David Murphy suggested the turning point may have come in Monday's hitters' meeting, a normal session held before every series. Murphy said several players spoke up and said they were tired of their inconsistency and needed to tighten up offensively and play like they were capable.
4. The result was 22 runs and 43 hits in three days.
5. Two of those efforts came against the Tigers' Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, who have won two of the last three Cy Young awards. Scherzer's came last season, Verlander's in 2011. Scherzer gave up seven runs on 12 hits in seven innings, a feat in itself considering he threw 55 pitches through two innings. "It’s not every day you’re able to do that against Scherzer, an elite pitcher," Indians starter Zach McAllister said. "For us to do that, I can’t say enough about about our offense."
6. It was also a feat considering the Indians trailed 4-0 after a half inning. “I love the way we battle," Murphy said. "We got down early. A few weeks ago we didn’t really show a whole lot of fight, things weren’t working out. That could have easily been the point in the game where we just weren’t able to overcome that lead. From our very first at-bat you knew our offense was going to be up to something today. It was a lot of fun to watch. I wish it hadn’t taken 51/2 hours, but it was a lot of fun.” (Actually 5:16, it was the longest game at Progressive Field since Aug. 30, 2008, a 14-12 loss to the Tigers that lasted 5:33.
7. Murphy's two-run home run in the ninth inning that sent the game to extra innings may have gotten somewhat overlooked in the post-game hoopla. He was facing Tigers' closer Joe Nathan. "A situation like that, getting a big hit like that, lifting their teammates, there’s not really a better feeling," Murphy said. "I wasn’t looking for a particular pitch, I was tyring to get something in the middle of the plate. He threw me a curveball the first pitch and I saw it pretty well and it was down. The same pitch it was middle and it was a little bit up in the zone. Got out in front of it. I thought it was going to be a double right off the bat, but the ball was carrying well to right today. It was a great feeling when it carried out of here."
8. Michael Brantley came through with the game's most clutch hit when he singled through the hole at shortstop in the 13th to drive in the tying run. "Murphy has gotten so many big hits for us," Francona said. "Brantley continues to be so good in so many areas, whether it’s defensively or on the bases, certainly hitting. He’s turning into a premier player. Kind of like Kip got it going last year during that run. Brantley is one of the better players in the league right now."
9. Francona almost mentioned Michael Bourn's sacrifice bunt in the 13th inning that set Mike Aviles to second and set the table for Brantley. "That’s a thing that’s been hard for him, he’s struggled at times to do it," Francona said. "That kid (third baseman Nick Castellanos) made a great play, he barehands it and throws him out."
10. The Tigers arrived with a six-game winning streak. "Detroit was really hot when they came in here," right-hander Josh Tomlin said. "For us to take care of buiness, hopefully that builds momentum as we go on the road."
11. Manager Terry Francona acknowledged the importance of the sweep, especially when the Indians were swept at home by the Oakland A's in the previous series. "We needed it," he said. "When you get swept, you’ve got to come back. That’s what we did a really good job of. Now we’ve got to regroup quickly, figure some things out and go play another good team."
12. I'll write more about Tomlin tomorrow, but I was impressed with how he pitched three relief innings and got the victory when he was scheduled to start on Thursday in Baltimore. He said his arm was in good shape and that he felt great, but I'm not sure others would have been as willing to jump into the fray of such a circus game. Stunningly, he said he doesn't believe he's ever struck out the side like he did in the 11th. Asked how long he was going to leave Tomlin in, Francona said, "Probably til we won or lost. Not a whole lot of options after that. I did tell him ‘If at any point you feel (tired), you’ve got to tell me.’"
13. But the Indians did leave themselves some interesting discussions for the plane ride to Baltimore. They used nine pitchers in the 13-inning game, including Thursday's starter. Will they push the starters up a day? Bring back Danny Salazar from Triple-A Columbus to keep most of the rotation on schedule? In his first appearance of the season for Columbus Tuesday, Salazar gave up five runs on six hits in 2.2 innings in a 5-3 loss to Syracuse. He walked three and struck out one, ending the evening with a 16.88 ERA. Not sure he's really the answer. Thursday will be a very interesting day.
 

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Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera ejected from game vs. Indians

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 21, 2014

Tigers' star Miguel Cabrera was ejected with two out in the top of the sixth inning Wednesday in a 7-7 game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

Cabrera was tossed by home plate umpire Tim Timmons for arguing a first-pitch check swing call with Carlos Carrasco on the mound for the Indians. The previous Tiger batter, Ian Kinsler, also had words with Timmons on a called third strike when Kinsler thought he had checked his swing.

According to STATS Inc., it was the sixth ejection of Cabrera's career.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was also ejected for arguing with Timmons after Cabrera was tossed.

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Tigers at Indians: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 21, 2014

Game: 12:05 p.m. at Progressive Field

TIGERS

Rajai Davis LF

Ian Kinsler 2B

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Indians 6, Tigers 2 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 21, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts about the increased maturity of Indians young pitcher Trevor Bauer and how it helped lead the Indians to a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Tigers Tuesday night at Progressive field.

1) About this time last year, Indians pitching prospect Bauer was in the midst of overhauling his throwing mechanics. Worried about his long-term ability to be successful at the major league level, the young right-hander practically stripped down his delivery process and went about rebuilding it – pain staking piece by piece.

2) I get that it was something he felt he needed to do, but the timing of when he did it was miscalculated. As was the way he was sort of went all lone cowboy about it, instead of planning the process more with the input of the Indians staff.

3) Thus, the transition ultimately proved to be a painfully slow process, especially while undertaken in the midst of the baseball season – mostly at Triple-A Columbus, but a handful of times with the Indians (remember the time Bauer pitched exclusively from the stretch in a spot start with the Tribe?).

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Bauer pitches Indians to 6-2 win and offense batters Verlander - game story with quotes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 21, 2014

If there were any question as to how ready Trevor Bauer was to become a member of the Indians starting rotation instead of being just an emergency spot starter who fills in occasionally, Tuesday’s performance provided the answers.

The Tribe’s right-hander out pitched Detroit’s veteran ace Justin Verlander to help guide the Indians to a 6-2 victory that marked their second consecutive win over their division rivals at Progressive Field, cutting the deficit in the division between the teams to 8 ½ games.

Considering just how much the Tigers dominated the Indians last year, it’s crazy talk that the Tribe will try for the series sweep early Wednesday, the game slated for a 12:05 p.m. first pitch.

Called up from Triple-A Columbus Tuesday to take the vacant spot of struggling right-hander Danny Salazar, a matured Bauer shook off an early set back that came in the form of a 429-foot blast of a home run by Torii Hunterthat gave the explosive Tigers offesne a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.

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Bauer tames Tigers bats while Tribe offense gets to Verlander, as Indians win 6-2

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 20, 2014

If there was any question as to how ready Trevor Bauer was to become a member of the Indians starting rotation and not just a spot-start fill in, Tuesday’s performance likely provided the answers anyone needed.

The Tribe’s highly thought of right-hander out pitched Detroit’s veteran ace Justin Verlander Tuesday to help guide the Indians to a 6-2 victory and second consecutive win over their division rivals at Progressive Field.

Called up from Triple-A Columbus Tuesday to take the vacant spot of struggling right-hander Danny Salazar, a matured Bauer shook off an early set back via a 429-foot blast of a home run by Torii Hunter that gave the explosive Tigers offesne a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game.

Unphased, Bauer went on to scatter seven hits over six-plus innings, limiting the Tigers to just one more run – another solo homer by catcher Alex Avila that led off the fifth inning. 

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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis set to rehab Friday at Columbus

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 20, 2014

Indians All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis tested his strained right oblique again Tuesday before batting practice, running through agility drills in shallow left field. Afterwards, he felt good enough for the club to make permanent the previous day’s tentaive plans to rehab soon.

Thus, the plan is for Kipnis to start a rehab assignment Friday in Columbus with the Triple-A Clippers while his big legue teammates start a two-city road trip that begins with four games in Baltimore. If all goes well with Kipnis, he could rejoin the Indians in time for a three-game series in Chicago starting May 26.

“We’ve talked to (Kipnis) at length,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.  “We just want to make sure he feels ready to play here.”

Kipnis hit .237 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 27 games before being sidelined by the injury when the Indians were playing in Anaheim, Ca. Once Kipnis returns the lineup, Francona said he and his staff will monitor him daily and he likely won’t play every day right away.

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Tuesday's Indians vs. Tigers lineups and pregame notes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 20, 2014

The Indians host the Detroit Tigers tonight at Progressive Field at 7:05 p.m. for the second game of a three-game series. Here are Tuesday’s starting lineups and pregame notes:

LINEUPS:

INDIANS (20-25)

Michael Bourn CF

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Indians 5, Tigers 4 in 10 innings - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 20, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 5-410th inning walk off over the visiting Detroit Tigers, who opened a three-game series at Progressive Field with the best record in baseball and riding a six-game winning streak.

1) Michael Brantleyextended his home hitting streak to 16 games with a two-out double in the third inning, then capped the night with a 10th-inning walkoff home run. It’s only May 19th and already Brantley has nine long balls. He had only 10 all of last year and has combined for just 26 over the last five seasons. He conitued his running joke after the game that his new source of strength is “daddy strength” from carrying around his newborn.

2) Pushed for more details, Brantley said he did focuse his off season conditining on getting stronger to help him drive the ball more.

“I don’t know exactly (why he’s hitting more home runs),” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But he’s fun to watch. His legs are stronger. I think as good hitters get to know themselves and the league, it evolves into more production. I don’t think you see him selling out to hit home runs. Balls that used to be doubles, he’s driving, which is good to see. He is still the same hitter but with more home runs.”

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Indians record second walk off win of season on Michael Brantley's 10th-inning home run

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 20, 2014

Smelly and sleep-deprived, the Detroit Tigers staggered into Progressive Field some two hours and 40 minutes before Monday’s first pitch with groggy players either still dressed in their pajamas or part of a fashion experiment gone wrong.

After the Tigers swept the Boston Red Sox late Sunday night to record their sixth consecutive win, the team endured plane delays and hotel issues that resulted in no luggage and a long travel day that may have left the best team in the major leagues vulnerable.

The Indians parlayed the advantage into an extra-inning walk off victory, using a Michael Brantley home run in the bottom of the 10th inning against Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque to claim a 5-4 win.

“The way it ended was great,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Brantley’s been so big for us…It seemed like tonight we didn’t let our frustration get the best of us. We kept at them and finally cashed in a little bit.” 

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Indians and Tigers lineups for Monday

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 19, 2014

The Indians host the division-leading Tigers for a three-game series at Progressive Field that begins Monday. Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

INDIANS (19-25)

Michael Bourn CF

Asdrubal Cabrera SS

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Division-leading Tigers have tough travel day getting to Cleveland for series against Indians

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 19, 2014

The Detroit Tigers didn’t arrive at Progressive Field Monday until 4:25 p.m. – just two hours and 40 minutes before the scheduled first pitch of the first game of the three-game series. After completing a series sweep at Boston's Fenway Park, the Tigers’ private plane had mechanical issues as it prepared to pull out of town around 1 a.m.

With it being so late, the team decided to just stay in Boston for the night and then head to Cleveland Monday morning. However, the Tigers had trouble finding a hotel that could accommodate a traveling party that required 60 rooms. Once they finally did around 3 a.m., the players realized they didn’t have their luggage. Thus, they didn’t have any clean clothes or personal toiletries. 

“Some of us didn't brush our teeth, we had the hotel mouthwash,” Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter told the Assosciated Press. “Some guys didn't shower and just stink.”

As the team finally arrived in Cleveland, the players were clad head-to-toe in orange, white and navy blue tiger-striped cotton pantsuits that could have doubled as pajamas. The Indians clubhouse personnel were nice enough to lend a hand by washing the opponent’s dirty laundry. No word as to whether they threw in any extra starch in certain areas or used extra hot water for shrinkage.

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A's 13, Indians 3: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 18, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts after the Indians 13-3 loss capped a weekend series sweep by the visiting Oakland A’s at Progressive Field:

1)     It’s about time Indians manager Terry Francona dropped struggling hitters Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana in the lineup. Known for sticking with his team’s star players even through the tough times (he did it last year with Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera), the veteran skipper finally realized that he “got to a point where I felt like instead of being patient, I was being stubborn.”

2)     Of course, the pair still combined to go 0-for-9 in their new slots in Sunday’s lineup. But in a mini victory, Santana hit the ball hard three times – however, right at a defender each time. Francona can’t swing the bat for the Tribe’s sluggers. He can, however, juggle the lineup occasionally to put his team in a better position to win.

3)     The Indians lineup changed, but there’s no bag of tricks for Francona to pull with supposed ace pitcher Justin Masterson, who got lit up by the A’s for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings that included five walks. With the loss, Masterson dropped to 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA.

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Indians suffer series sweep by visiting A's with 13-3 loss

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 18, 2014

For the third time in three games against the visiting Oakland A’s, the Indiand took an early lead Sunday on a gorgeous day for baseball at Progressive Field.

But also for the third time in those three games, the A’s quickly wiped away the deficit and made up for lost time by slugging their way to a season-best in runs via a 13-3 victory that clinched the series sweep over the reeling Tribe.

During the weekend series the Indians were outscored 30-6, hit just .191 as a team and were 0-for-15 with runners in scoring position as their losing streak reached four games.

Sunday’s game featured the worst of it, even as centerfielder Michael Bourn put the host on the board with a first-inning leadoff home run, his first homer of season. But starting pitcher Justin Masterson couldn’t hold the lead for even an inning, as the Indians played from behind the rest of the day.

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Sunday's A's and Indians lineups

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 18, 2014

Here are today’s lineups as the struggling Indians host the surging Oakland A’s at Progressive Field:

INDIANS (19-24)

Michael Bourn CF

Mike Aviles SS

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Francona juggles Indains struggling lineup, drops Swisher and Santana in order

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 18, 2014

Loyalty can only go so far in baseball.

Indians manager Terry Francona spent the last month insisting Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher would hit eventually hit.

But when Sunday’s 44th game of the season rolled around and the pair was still languishing near the Mendoza Line - (Swisher at .201) and below (Santana at .154) - the veteran manager whom players adore for his unwavering support finally realized it was best for the team to make a change.

“I try hard to never treat our lineup like a fantasy team,” Francona said. “…But I think I got to a point where I felt like instead of being patient, I was being stubborn.”

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A's 6, Indians 2 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 18, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts after the Indians committed three more errors in a 6-2 loss Saturday at Progressive Field to the visiting Oakland A’s.

1) Errors kill a team - every time. The Indians committed three of them again Saturday, the third time they’ve racked up a trio in a game already this season. That gives them a Major League leading 43 errors this season – one for each game played so far and have accounted for 27 unearned runs.

2) The Tribe committed 98 errors last season. At their current pace of 43 this year, they’ll reach a whopping 150 errors for the season.

3) “You can't feel sorry for yourself,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, whose squad has been taking extra fielding practice for the last two weeks. “You try to go out and work the proper amount and just try to keep going out there showing energy. You cannot point fingers and run away. We have to be strong enough to get better because there is no other alternative.”

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Three errors, rally squirrel visit and Kazmir ejection end wacky night with 6-2 A's victory

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 17, 2014

Scott Kazmir didn’t have the opportunity to defeat his former team twice this season Saturday at Progressive Field.

But the veteran left-hander who beat the Indians in the season-opening series in Oakland, didn’t seem to mind too much by the end of the three-hour game. By then, he was able to cool off and even joke a little about his early ejection - thanks to his teammates pulling out a 6-2 victory in his absence.

By the time Kazmir’s teammates joined in the visitor’s clubhouse, the night’s wackiness also included some squirrel entertainment, three more Indians errors and a disputed A’s home run that didn’t even matter in the end.

Although Kazmir was tossed with one out in the second inning for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Jerry Layne, the A’s bullpen mopped up the final 7 2/3 innings and the Oakland offense rallied for three runs in the next inning then tacked on a trio of error-aided insurance runs in the seventh.

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Indians swap pitchers, sending Lee to the minors and calling up House

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 17, 2014

The Indians sent right-handed reliever C.C. Lee down to Triple-A Columbus and called up left-handed pitcher T.J.  House from the Clippers. Lee was 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 relief appearances with the Tribe, allowing seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits over 11 1/3 innings.

House, 24 was a starter at Columbus, where he was 1-2 with a 2.40 ERA while striking out 34 batters and issuing 11 walks. However, the Indians would use him out of the bullpen if the need for a long reliever were to arise like it did in Friday’s 11-1 loss to the A’s. Tribe starter Zach McAllister lasted a career-low 1 1/3 innings, taxing the Indians bullpen for the final 7 2/3 innings.

House’s major league promotion marks his second, as he spent three days on the active roster last year (June 24-26), but did not pitch.

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Saturday's Indians/A's pregame lineups

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 17, 2014

The Indians host the Oakland A’s tonight for the second game of a three-game series Saturday at Progressive Field.

LINEUPS:

INDIANS (19-23)

Michael Bourn CF

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A's 11, Indians 1 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 17, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts following the Indians 11-1 loss to the visiting A’s, a game that was over after Oakland’s eight-run second inning.

1) Before the game came the feel-good story of the season to date came when Double-A pitcher Kyle Crockett was surprisingly called up from Akron to make his major league debut when right-handed starter Danny Salazar was sent down to Triple-A after a rough outing again Thursday in Toronto.

“I broke out in tears,” Crockett said. “It was hard to control. I’m usually not a big emotional guy. (But) this is everything I’ve ever dreamed of. It was hard to hold it all in.”

When Crockett, 22, called his parents to share the news, the waterworks really got going.

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Indians 11-1 loss game story updated with quotes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 16, 2014

Indians left-hander Kyle Crocketreached the major leagues faster than even he expected. So it was merely fitting that the left-hander would get into his first major league game sooner than anyone expected Friday night at Progressive Field.

Not only was Crockett the first member of Major League Baseball’s 2013 draft class to reach the big leagues, there was little sitting around waiting to get a chance to pitch in his first game with the Indians.

Tribe starter Zach McAllister followed up striking out the side in the first inning by dishing up an eight-run second that included a Josh Reddick grand slam and Josh Donaldson three-run homer as the A’s rolled the Tribe in an 11-1 win.

“I fell behind and they were able to put some balls in play and hit balls hard,” McAllister said of the stark difference between the two innings. “I left balls over the middle when I was behind and they did damage.”

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A's roll Tribe 11-1; McAllister exits in second inning, Crockett makes debut

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 16, 2014

Indians left-hander Kyle Crocketreached the major leagues faster than even he expected. So it was merely fitting that the left-hander would get into his first major league game sooner than anyone expected Friday night at Progressive Field.

Not only was Crockett the first member of Major League Baseball’s 2013 draft class to reach the big leagues, there was little sitting around waiting to get a chance to pitch in his first game with the Indians.

Tribe starter Zach McAllister followed up striking out the side in the first inning by dishing up an eight-run second that included a Josh Reddick grand slam and Josh Donaldson three-run homer as the A’s rolled the Tribe in an 11-1 win.

That’s how it came to be that before Crockett could even get comfortable in the bullpen, he was rushing to get loose in the second inning. A day that began with Crockett preparing to board a bus in Akron for a road trip to Erie, Pa., along with his Double-A Rubber Ducks teammates suddenly had him on the mound at Progressive Field with one out in the second inning.

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Indians send Salazar to Columbus and promote Crockett from Akron; Bauer to start Tuesday

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 16, 2014

After struggling again in another outing during his last start Thursday at Toronto, Indians young right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar was sent down to Triple-A Columbus Friday to work on things in a less intense atmosphere for the time being.

“For Danny and what was best for him…we thought sending him Triple-A and alowing him to work on what he needs to work on will benefit him there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Because right now, when he’s making mistakes, he’s paying for it. And (he’s) not getting real deep in games and it’s kinda hurting the bullpen.”

In Salazar’s place, left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett was surprisingly called up from Double-A Akron to take his spot on the roster for now. However, come Tuesday, the team will need to make another roster move to accommodate the return of right-handed starter Trevor Bauer, whom Francona confirmed Friday will replace Salazar in the rotation and start against the visiting Detroit Tigers Tuesday. 

Not only was Bauer impressive in his early season spot start for the Tribe last month, he’s 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA in seven games at Triple-A Columbus to date. In 46 innings, he’s struck out 44 batters, issued 14 walks and held opponents to a .216 batting average.

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Blue Jays 4, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 16, 2014

Fifteen final thoughts as the Blue Jays take the series 2-1 and the season series 4-2 at Rogers Centre.

1. I can’t help but wonder if changes are coming soon.

2. Indians manager Terry Francona said before the game that he talks to General Manager Chris Antonetti all the time. But he said when the Indians return to Cleveland for a six-game homestand that opens today, he and Antonetti need to hammer out some roster decisions.

3. I wonder what will happen with designated hitter/first baseman Jason Giambi (right calf strain), who is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday. With the Indians struggling at the plate (except for Wednesday), there doesn’t seem to be room for a 43-year-old who might hit an occasional home run. He batted .183 with nine homers in 71 games last season.

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Indians at Blue Jays: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 15, 2014

Game: 7:07 p.m. in Rogers Centre

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Nick Swisher 1B

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Indians' Jesus Aguilar to make major league debut; Nyjer Morgan to DL

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 15, 2014

Indians infielder Jesus Aguilar will make his Major League debut Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays in Rogers Centre as the Tribe placed outfielder Nyjer Morgan on the 15-day disabled list.

Morgan said he banged his knee on the turf in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 15-4 Indians victory as he tried to catch a double to the left field corner off the bat of the Jays’ Adam Lind. Two batters later, when Brett Lawrie doubled to the gap in left center and Morgan and Michael Bourn ran it down, Morgan said he felt something in the knee. He finished the inning before coming out, but left Rogers Centre with his right leg in a brace. Manager Terry Francona said he used crutches as a precaution.

Morgan had just entered the game to replace Michael Brantley, who was lifted in the bottom of the fifth with mid-back tightness.

It marks the fifth career stint on the disabled list for Morgan, 33. Francona said when Morgan woke up Thursday morning his knee soreness had worsened, so the Indians flew him back to Cleveland early to undergo an MRI.

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Indians to install metal detectors at Progressive Field, first in place Friday (with poll)

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 15, 2014

The Indians will begin installing metal detectors at gates as part of Major League Baseball’s enhanced security plan and screening will start Friday, the beginning of a six-game homestand at Progressive Field.

The first gate involved will be Gate D, behind home plate. Those who choose not to go through the metal detector can elect to be checked by hand-held wands.

Later this summer, the walk-through detectors will be added at Gates A and C.
MLB ordered teams to have better screening measures in place by Opening Day 2015.

Fans will have to remove cell phones and large metal objects from their pockets before being screened. Bags will continue to be checked, and only bags that fit the league’s standard – 16x16x8 – are allowed. A full list of items permitted and prohibited can be found on Indians.com under the tab “Progressive Field.”

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What do you think of metal detectors at the gates of Progressive Field for Indians games?

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Indians 15, Blue Jays 4: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts after a historic night

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 15, 2014

Twenty final thoughts after a historic night for the Indians at Rogers Centre.

1. Five-hit nights by designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall and right fielder David Murphy had the Indians delving into the record books and what they found was amazing.

2. The last time two Indians had five hits apiece in a nine-inning game was July 29, 1928 against the New York Yankees. In the lineup for the Bronx Bombers were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

3. The last time two or more Indians had five hits in the same game came in an 18-inning loss to the A’s in 1932. On the A’s roster was Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.

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Indians at Blue Jays: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 14, 2014

Game: 7:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Nick Swisher 1B

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John Farrell tabs ex-Tribe teammate Terry Francona for All-Star staff

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 14, 2014

Indians manager Terry Francona was one of two skippers chosen Tuesday by John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox to serve on his staff at the All-Star Game.

The game will be played July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Francona and Farrell are close friends, dating back to their playing days with the Indians in 1988. Francona has managed two All-Star Games and for his second, during his Red Sox tenure in 2008, Farrell was his pitching coach.

“To be associated with the spectacle of a Midsummer Classic is something that we'll always remember and for a couple of us, this is the second time we've been fortunate enough to be part of it," Farrell told MLB.com. "And it will get here in time, but we're looking forward to those days."

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Blue Jays 5, Indians 4: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 13, 2014

Nine final thoughts after the Indians struck out nine times in a dramatic loss at Rogers Centre.

1. Through three innings, Justin Masterson was better than ever, throwing 27 pitches and retiring seven of the nine Blue Jays on infield outs. But then he admitted the Blue Jays adjusted to his sinker and he failed to counter. He continued to pound the sinker when he should have been adding some sliders and a few other pitches to keep the Jays guessing.

2. “We made a few unintelligent (decisions) as we went along. We’re usually smarter than that,” Masterson said, including catcher Yan Gomes. “We just didn’t use that today. They took some good swings, too, we’ve got to give them credit also.”

3. Gomes played in his 164th career game Tuesday. That’s barely a full major league season. I wonder how much his relative inexperience played a part in the counter-moves Masterson failed to make. But it’s hard to blame Gomes when Masterson is 29, with over five major league seasons under his belt. 

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Indians vs. Blue Jays: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 13, 2014

Game: 7:07 p.m. in the Rogers Centre

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Nick Swisher 1B

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Morgan's spark, bullpen-by-committee approach help Indians to a 6-5 victory over Rays

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 11, 2014

The Indians won a series at Tropicana Field for the first time since 2007 Sunday, hanging on for a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays for a two-games-to-one series advantage.

The Mother’s Day victory was a game that featured a 12-hit outburst by the Indians offense, led by the spark plug that is reserve outfielder Nyjer Morgan. But just as it seemed that the Tribe would cruise into Monday’s off day with an easy win, the never-quit Rays made them work for it to the point of testing the new-look bullpen that clinched a save in its first opportunity without closer John Axford.    

We’ll eventually get to all of that, but let’s start at the beginning when Indians starter Josh Tomlin gave up a two-out, solo home run to Matt Joyce in the bottom of the first inning. But the lead didn’t last long, as Morgan promptly sparked the Tribe’s offense to life with an RBI check-swing bunt that tied the score in the second inning. Michael Bourn followed with a two-run double just beyond the reach of Rays right fielder Wil Myers’ outstreched glove to push the Tribe’s advantage to 3-1.

But in the fourth, the Rays’ mounted a mini rally. Ben Zobrist led off with a double and Joyce brough him home on a single to right field, trimming the Indians lead to a run. Two innings later, Yan Gomes gave the Indians some breathing room with a lead off home run to left field that ended the day for Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer, who gave up four runs on eight hits in five-plus innings.

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Swisher helps Indians players make Mother's Day special the old fashioned way

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 11, 2014

Indians players Nick Swisher and Mike Aviles were talking Friday when the subject of Mother’s Day came up: what to do to make it special this year?

By the next day, Swisher had cooked up a plan for a little outside-the-box treat for the upcoming holiday. So before reporting to Tropicana Field for Saturday’s game, Swisher stopped at a CVS store and shelled out $50 for necessary materials for the project: scissors, colored construction paper, glue, crayons and the final thing to make it really shine: colored glitter.

“I started making my cards and next thing you know, guys are like, ‘Oh Swish, that’s a great idea!’” he said.

And before he knew it, a handful of his teammates joined him at table in the corner of the visitor’s clubhouse, sharing glue and glitter while making large pick cards for their mothers and/or wives.

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Rays 7, Indians 1: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 11, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts from the Indians 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday night.

1) Before the game, the Indians informed embattled closer John Axford that he was being moved out of the crucial ninth-inning role. Indians manager Terry Francona insisted the move was temporary. It was a move that needed to be made, as Axford’s recent struggles had already cost the team back-to-back losses and nearly another Friday night if not for Cody Allen bailing him out of a bases-loaded jam.

2) What is a bit surprising is that the club’s deep thinkers are opting to go with a “closer by committee” approach for the foreseeable future, even though Francona said he doesn’t like that term and prefers the idea of a “closer by situation” for now.  Regardless of what it’s called, it means the Indians haven’t given up on Axford despite his past of similar ups and downs that cost him the closer’s job in Milwaukee early last year. 

3) I’m not suggesting that Francona isn’t telling the truth when he says the club has four late-inning relievers it could turn to in a save situation in Allen, Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison and Marc Rzepczynski. But it’s obvious Allen and Shaw are the top two candidates to fill in if pitching coach Mickey Callaway can’t work his usual magic on Axford.

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Updated game story with quotes - Rays 7, Indians 1

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 10, 2014

Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Erik Bedard may have beat the Indians for the first time in eight years Saturday, but veteran outfielder David Murphy has learned over the years that games like the 7-1 defeat aren’t worth getting all torn up over.

“I think the key for us right now is when we play well, we need to win those games,” said Murphy after going 0-for-3, as the Indians matched their season low of three hits. “Games like tonight, I don’t think I’ll lose any sleep over. But until we get to the point where we’re playing extremely well and everyone’s hitting on all cylinders, we just need to do the little things well and close out our chances when we do have chances to win.” 

Saturday night’s game at Tropicana Field wasn’t one of them, as the Rays (16-21) snapped their season-high tying losing streak while halting the Indians (17-20) four-game winning streak.

For starters, Bedard (2-1, 3.38 ERA) limited the Tribe’s offense to a lone hit and stuck out four over six-innings.

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Indians punchless in 7-1 loss to Rays

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 10, 2014

There was no late rally Saturday, as the Indians strategy of waiting out the Rays starting pitcher then making up time against the bullpen didn’t work for a second consecutive night at Tropicana Field.

The Tribe’s offense gave it a half-hearted go by loading the bases against Grant Balfour in the ninth with no outs, but only mustered a Ryan Raburn sacrifice fly that broke up the hosts’ shutout bid in a 7-1 loss.

It might not have mattered had the hitters been a little more productive early in the game  as the Tribe’s streak of solid performances from its starting pitchers came to a screeching halt. In a 4 1/3-inning dud, right-hander Zach McAllister  dished up five runs on eight hits over that span.

Right-handed reliever C.C. Lee slowed the Rays’ bats down for 1 2/3 innings - including three strikeouts -  in relief of McAllister. But lefty Josh Outman couldn’t continue the trend, allowing a pair of runs in just a 1/3 of an inning as the Rays pushed their lead to seven unanswered runs.

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Updated: John Axford out as Indians closer, club will go with closer-by-committee for now

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 10, 2014

Struggling John Axford is out as the Indians closer for now, but a replacement for him at this point won’t come in the form of another anointed closer.

Instead of moving another back-end reliever into the ninth-inning role permanently – such as Cody Allen, the Tribe’s reliable shutdown eighth-inning man - the club will go with a closer-by-committee approach.

“We basically have a group of four guys in (Scott) Atch(ison), (Bryan) Shaw, Cody and Zep (Marc Rzepczynski) who throw those innings late in the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They’re going to continue to pitch those innings.”

Francona said who he’ll turn to in the ninth will include Allen, but will depend a lot on the situation because he believes his late-inning relievers are just as important at saving games at a crucial point from the seventh inning on.

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Indians 6, Rays 3 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 10, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s six final thoughts about the Indians 6-3 win over the host Tampa Bat Rays at Tropicana Field.

1) It was a good win for the Indians, even if it came with a struggle. Corey Kluber pitched well and the Indians offense made Rays starter Jake Odorizzi work for his career-high 11 strikeouts, then quickly got to work against the Rays bullpen once he was gone.

2) Asdrubal Cabrera may or may not have had a cycle Thursday, but there’s no doubt that the Indians shortstop has busted out of his early season slump. Cabrera had four hits Thursday and added three more Friday, including a sixth-inning home run that marked his eighth hit (including five of the extra-base variety) over his pervious nine at bats. Just how well is he seeing the ball right now? Consider that before his current hot stretch, Cabrera had hit just five extra-base hits in his previous 87 at-bats.

3) Mike Aviles has done an outstading job stepping in for the injured Jason Kipnis (right quad strain). Not only is he an undselfish team guy who gets his role, he’s producing in place of the All-Star Kipnis. Consider that Aviles chose to sacrifice bunt two runners into scoring position in the sixth even after the bunt sign had been taken off. Then, he goes out and hits a three-run home run to left field in the sevnth that capped the Indians five-run inning.

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Three homers propel Indians to 6-3 win over Twins

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 10, 2014

In most games when an opposing pitcher strikes out 11 batters, it would put him in line for a win.

Of course, when a closer loses all comand with two outs in the ninth inning and loads the bases to bring the tying run to the plate, it ought to put him in line for loss, as well.

Both happened in the Indians 6-3 win over the host Tampa Bay Rays Friday in the first game of a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field, but neither produced the usual results. For the Indians, that was a good tihng.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi had Indians hitters in tied up in knots through the first five innings, recording a career-high 11 before giving way to the bullpen.Odorizzi, who nearly doubled his previous career high strikeouts (six against Toronto last May), left the game with a 2-0 lead after throwing 101 pitches.

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Three home runs propel Indians to 6-3win over Rays

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 9, 2014

In most games when an opposing pitcher strikes out 11 batters, it would put him in line for a win.

 But that wasn’t the case for the Tampa Bay Rays Friday, even as starter Jake Odorizzi had Indians hitters in tied up in knots through the first five innings, recording a career-high 11 before giving way to the bullpen.

 Odorizzi, who nearly doubled his previous career high strikeouts (six against Toronto last May), left the game with a 2-0 lead after throwing 101 pitches. But it didn’t take the Indians long to take out their early plate frustrations on the Rays bullpen, pounding five relievers for six runs in a 6-3 victory at Tropicana Field.

 Three of the Indians hits came via home runs, much to the delight of the loud and large crowd of Tribe fans sitting behind the visitor’s third-base dugout. Asdrubal Cabrera led off the sixth inning with a solo shot that put the visitors on the board in the sixth. Michael Brantley and Mike Aviles followed with homers of their own in the Indians five-run seventh, including Aviles’ three-run shot that put the game out of reach.

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Indians 9, Twins 4 — Ryan Lewis' final thoughts

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

Seven final thoughts for the Indians' 9-4 win over the Twins that ended a positive seven-game home stand. 

1. This team really doesn't have the talent to win 95 games—or 90, probably—but it can fight back from adversity. Dropping six in a row on the road isn't exactly encouraging but the Indians came home, won 5-of-7 and three straight for the first time this season. 

2. If nothing, this team is quite scrappy. On paper the Tigers are twice as talented but the Indians might not ever be as low as they were only a week ago. The question is if they can reach new heights on win every day against great competition. The Twins aren't a bad team, but they're not Detroit, either. 

3. Asdrubal Cabrera finally had a great day at the plate but waved off and refused to speak to reporters after the game. He went four-for-five and was a close scorer's ruling away from a cycle. It's really his first great game this season, so to shut down reporters now seemed odd. 

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Indians beat Twins 9-4; Cabrera, Brantley have big days at the plate

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Brantley each had big days at the plate and the Indians easily took down the Minnesota Twins 9-4 on Thursday. 

Cabrera had his best game of the season and went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and three RBI. Brantley was 3-for-5 with his team-leading sixth home run and three RBI. Mike Aviles also had a three-hit game. 

Justin Masterson improved to 2-1 this season, throwing 6 1/3 innings and allowing four runs, two earned, while striking out seven. 

The Indians improve to 16-19 and the Twins fall to 15-18. 

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Indians v Twins — Pregame lineups and notes

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 8, 2014

Twins (15-17)
1. Dozier 2B
2. Escobar CF
3. Plouffe 3B
4. Colabello 1B
5. Kubel LF
6. Suzuki DH
7. Pinto C
8. Hermann RF
9. Santana SS
SP: RHP Kevin Correia (1-3, 6.09 ERA)

Indians (15-19)
1. Bourn CF
2. Swisher 1B
3. Brantley LF
4. Santana C
5. Murphy RF
6. Cabrera SS
7. Raburn DH
8. Chisenhall 3B
9. Aviles 2B
SP: RHP Justin Masterson (1-1, 4.01 ERA)

Notes: Bourn makes his return to the lineup after missing four games with tightness in his left hamstring. That means Morgan, despite a .297 average and a terrific catch last night, is again relegated to the bench. 

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Defense, Aviles game winner leads Indians to 4-3 walk off victory - game story with quotes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 8, 2014

The Indians relied on their best defense of the year Wednesday to aid their first walk-off win of the season, a rousing 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

In the top of the ninth inning, third baseman Carlos Santana caught Sam Fuld’s high pop-up that had drifted into the front row of the stands – contending with a fan in his face using his cap to try to catch the ball – halting the Twins two-on, two-out rally against embattled Tribe closer John Axford

But the Indians offense had a little two-out magic of its own in the bottom of the inning.

Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double against Twins reliever Casey Fien - a ball that likely would have been caught by a regular left fielder. However, with infielder Eduardo Escobar starting in the outfield for the first time, he misplayed Cabrera’s shot, whiffing entirely as he lunged for sideways for the ball as it sailed past him.

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Defense picks up Indians in first walkoff win of the season as Tribe tops Twins 4-3

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 7, 2014

The Indians took advantage of their best defense of the year Wednesday to aid their first walk-off win on the young season, resulting in a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Third baseman Carlos Santana caught a high pop-up in the front row of the stands – with a fan in his face using his cap to try to catch the ball - in the top of the ninth inning to halt the Twins two-on, two-out rally against embattled Tribe closer John Axford.

But the Indians had a little more two-out magic in them in the bottom of the inning. Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double off Twins reliever Casey Fien, a ball that would have been caught by a regular left fielder. However, with Eduardo Escobar playing in the outfield for the first time, he misplayed Cabrera’s shot, whiffing entirely as he lunged for it sideways.

Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a textbook sacrifice bunt to advance Cabrera to second. With the Tribe down to its last out after Yan Gomes’ grounded out, Mike Aviles sent a sharp single up the middle for the game winner before being mobbed by his teammates as he reached first base.

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Indians vs Twins - pregame lineup

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 7, 2014

Here are Wednesday night’s lineups as the Indians host the Twins at 7:05 pm for the third game of the four-game series at Progressive Field:

Indians (14-19)

CF Nyjer Morgan

1B Nick Swisher

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Indians 4, Twins 2: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 7, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s 11 final thoughts on the triumphant return of every man Josh Tomlin, who pitched the Indians to a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins Tuesday.

1) It was great to see Tomlin back in an Indians uniform. It came about a month late as far I – and well, probably half the planet – preferred, but we all really needed to make sure Carlos Carrasco wasn’t going to cut it as a starter, first, right?

2) Look, I get why the Indians deep thinkers kept hoping and praying Carrasco would figure it out – the same reason they were originally thrilled to have him included as part of the “prospect haul” the Tribe got in exchange for reigning Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee in the 2009 trade deadline deal. Based on the potential of pure “stuff” alone, Carrasco ought to beat Tomlin hands down every time.

3) But that’s the problem with choosing one player over another based on “potential” or worse (in my book, at least) all those crazy saber metric “projections” alone. A guy can possess all the natural talent or physical tools in the world, but if he can’t put the immeasurable mental part of the game into play, potential doesn’t amount to more than a bucket of balls.

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Josh Tomlin pitches Indians to 4-2 win over Twins - game story with quotes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

Josh Tomlin made a triumphant return to the Indians rotation Tuesday, not only helping the Indians snap their two-game losing streak via a 4-2 victory, but recording his first major league win in nearly two years.

The start was Tomlin’s first in the big leagues since July 27, 2012 before he underwent Tommy John surgery and enduring the ensuing yearlong recovery that cost the right-hander nearly all of the 2013 season.

But for as big as the moment must have been, Tomlin didn’t show it on the mound as he pounded the strike zone and worked ahead to limit the Minnesota Twins to a run on four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings.  

“I definitely had some anxiety going before the game, but good anxiety,” said Tomlin, who sported a long-sleeved Under Armor T-shirt in his post game presser featuring the phrase: “The greatest casualty is being forgotten” – in support of the Wounded Warrior project. It is the same anxiety I had gotten out there in years past. To be able to go out there and pitch well was pretty special.”

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Josh Tomlin makes victorious return to major-league mound, leads Indians to 4-2 win

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

Josh Tomlin made a triumphant return to the Indians rotation Tuesday, not only helping to snap the Indians two-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory, but recording his first major league win in nearly two years.

In his first big league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery and enduring the ensuing recovery that cost the right hander nearly all of the 2013 season, Tomlin limited the visiting Minnesota Twins to a run on four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 solid innings.  

Tomlin’s teammates welcomed him back with an early cushion with which to work - a rarity during the Tribe’s recent lean offensive days. After Tomlin needed just 13 pitches to sit down the Twins in order to start the game, the offense rewarded him with two runs in the first inning and then two more of the insurance variety in the second against Twins starting pitcher Samuel Deduno.

Nick Swisher sparked the offense in the bottom of the first inning with a double off the centerfield wall that snapped his 0-for-11 skid. Michael Brantley followed with a run-scoring double to put the Indians on the board. A Buckneresque error on first-baseman Chris Colabello (a ball right under his outstretched glove near the bag) allowed Brantley to score and pad the Tribe’s lead to two runs.

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Breaking: Indians designate catcher George Kottaras to make room for Tuesday's pitcher Josh Tomlin

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

The Indians had a couple of ways they could have gone before Tuesday’s game against the visiting Minnesota Twins with the need to clear a roster spot for the evening’s starting pitcher Josh Tomlin.

Ultimately, the complicated and multi-faceted decision came down to how well Michael Bourn’s pre-game hamstring test went, which involved the speedy centerfielder sprinting in the outfield at different speeds before batting practice. Afterwards, it was determined that Bourn was close enough to returning to the lineup that a second disabled list stint isn't needed.

However, the result was making the tough decision to designate catcher George Kottaras, despite the well-traveled veteran being out of options.

“We had to do it,” said Indians manager Terry Francona, noting that it appears like Bourn could return to the lineup in a few days. “We went around and around and around. That's part of why we (made the move) so late.”

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Indians vs. Twins - pregame lineups and notes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

Here's the lineups for tonight’s night's game, as the Indians host the Minnesota Twins for the second game of the current four-game series at Progressive Field:

 

Indians (13-19)

CF Nyjer Morgan

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Twins 1, Indians 0: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s 10 final thoughts after the Indians blew another close game late in a 1-0 loss to the visiting Minnesota Twins.

 

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Indians closer John Axford struggles again late, gives up game-winning homer in 10th inning to Twins

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 6, 2014

John Axford stood up and looked right into the bright lights of televeision cameras, speaking loud enough for the microphones from the gathered group of media to pick up the audio clearly while explaining what went wrong in the 10th inning of the Indians 1-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins Monday night.

“It was a fastball that cut back over the plate,” Axford said, referring to the game-winning solo homer to right field that he dished up to Eduardo Escobar on just his second pitch. “My fastballs were cutting - and that was one of them.” 

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Indians vs. Twins - pregame lineups and notes

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 5, 2014

Here are the lineups and pre-game notes for tonight’s 7:05 p.m. game against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field:

 

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White Sox 4, Indians 3: Ryan Lewis' final thoughts on Axford, Kluber, Cabrera, Kottaras

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 5, 2014

Twelve final thoughts for the 12 runners the Indians stranded in a 4-3, historic-in-a-way loss to the White Sox. 

1. The one thing you cannot do as a closer is give up walks. John Axford had a bit of a problem with walks earlier in the year but it wasn't talked about as much because he was still converting his saves. If the ball Dayan Viciedo hit for the game-winner doesn't get caught up in the wind and ends in a flyout, nobody really remembers Axford walked two hitters before it. 

2. But he did, and a closer who walks too many guys will eventually get beat. Axford has been terrific but with a minor control problem. He's nine-for-11 in save chances this year and is still one of the more relievers in the league. 

3. He also owned up to the mistakes, saying, "Those walks, putting guys on, giving them free passes, that's something I definitely need to cut out. Today, I just couldn't find it." He later said he'd "chew" on it tonight, maybe watch some film on it, then come back tomorrow like it didn't happen. That's exactly how most managers will say closers need to handle blowing saves. Many have said you identify the problem when it happens, try to fix it and move on the next day. 

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Breaking: Kluber, Kottaras have historic days but Indians fall to White Sox 4-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 4, 2014

Starting pitcher Corey Kluber and catcher George Kottaras each had historic days for the Indians, but those positive vibes were wiped out in the ninth inning in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. 

The Indians (13-18) entered the inning leading 3-1 after Kluber lasted eight innings. Closer John Axford opened the inning with a walk, a strikeout and a second walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. That was Dayan Viciedo, who hit an opposite-field home run to put the White Sox ahead 4-3. 

With two outs in the ninth inning, Asdrubal Cabrera had Lonnie Chisenhall on second base as the tying run but struck out to end the game. 

It's Axford's second blown save this season. Both have come at the hands of the White Sox (15-17). 

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Indians vs White Sox — Pregame lineups and notes

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 4, 2014

White Sox (14-17)
1. De Aza LF
2. Beckham 2B
3. Abreu 1B
4. Dunn DH
5. Viciedo RF
6. Ramirez SS
7. Danks CF
8. Flowers C
9. Garcia 3B
SP: RHP Andre Rienzo (2-0, 4.05 ERA)

Indians (13-17)
1. Morgan CF
2. Swisher 1B
3. Brantley LF
4. Santana 3B
5. Chisenhall DH
6. Cabrera SS
7. Murphy RF
8. Ramirez 2B
9. Kottaras C
SP: RHP Corey Kluber (2-3, 4.14 ERA)

Notes: Manager Terry Francona said he thinks Nyjer Morgan has been awake since about 4:30 this morning, but he's hitting leadoff today. Catcher George Kottaras also gets his first start and will be hitting ninth. 

Morgan was called up today and RP Nick Hagadone was optioned to Triple-A. The Indians will have eight relief pitchers, including Carlos Carrasco, who could easily throw multiple innings if needed. 

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Updated: Indians recall Morgan, option Hagadone to Triple-A; Bourn could be back in few days

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 4, 2014

The Indians today recalled outfielder Nyjer Morgan and optioned reliever Nick Hagadone to Triple-A Columbus. 

This comes after center fielder Michael Bourn left Saturday's game with tightness in his left hamstring. The Indians were, for a few days, carrying nine relief pitchers, so sending Hagadone down was a logical decision with needed depth in the outfield. 

Jason Giambi also left Saturday's game with a camp in his right calf. Giambi this morning said it's a little tight but he's OK and available to pinch hit if needed. 

Bourn said he thinks he can return in a couple of days. Manager Terry Francona said the trainers think he might be available tomorrow. He added, "That might be a little ambitious but if they’re saying that, that’s a very good sign." 

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Indians 2, White Sox 0 — Ryan Lewis' final thoughts on Masterson, Bourn's hamstring

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 3, 2014

Ten final thoughts for the Indians' 2-0 win over the White Sox, which included some great pitching, some good and bad defense and the possible loss of Michael Bourn. 

1. Bourn left the game after the third inning for precautionary reasons for left hamstring tightness. That's not good news any way you cut it for the Indians. This is for two reasons: 1. Hamstring injuries are notorious in any sport for derailing entire seasons, as they tend to linger for quite some time; 2. This is the same hamstring Bourn had surgery on in October and the same one that put him on the disabled list to start the season. 

2. The cold weather doesn't help, but it's still bad news for the Tribe. Bourn said after the game he thinks he might miss 1-5 days. Said manager Terry Francona, "Bourny felt his hammy a little bit. Hopefully he caught it to the point where it was precautionary and not something that's going to cost him much time. I think we'll know a heck of a lot more tomorrow." A DL stint might not be warranted if he didn't push it too far. But if you're thinking about the season as a whole, it might not be the worst thing in the world. This might have opened a door for Nyjer Morgan, who played well the first time Bourn went down this season. 

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Breaking: Indians, Masterson beat White Sox 2-0

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 3, 2014

Justin Masterson returned to ace form and the Tribe's offense squeaked out enough offense to beat the Chicago White Sox 2-0 Saturday night at Progressive Field. 

Masterson (1-1) threw 7 1/3 innings, allowed four hits, no runs and struck out six. Cody Allen came on for him in the eighth inning. He faced Jose Abreu with two runners on and two out and struck him out on three pitches. 

John Axford then closed out the ninth for his ninth save of the season. 

The Indians scored both runs thanks to poor defense from the White Sox. Lonnie Chisenhall doubled in the second inning and then scored on an error by Marcus Semien on an easy pop-up in the infield. Later, Jose Ramirez reached second base on a bunt single and a throwing error by Tyler Flowers. He was moved to third base on a Mike Aviles sacrifice bunt and home by a Nick Swisher sacrifice fly to center field. 

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Indians CF Michael Bourn taken out of game for precautionary reasons due to left hamstring tightness

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 3, 2014

Indians centerfielder Michael Bourn was taken out of the game in the third inning Saturday night due to precautionary reasons for tightness in his left hamstring. 

Bourn had surgery on that hamstring last October and missed the beginning of the season this year with a strain. It has apparently flared up again, and the Indians are trying to be cautious, as hamstring injuries can tend to linger on all season. 

Mike Aviles has been put into the game and placed in left field. Michael Brantley has slid over to center field. 

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Indians vs White Sox — Pregame lineups and notes

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 3, 2014

White Sox (14-16)
1. De Aza LF
2. Beckham 2B
3. Abreu 1B
4. Dunn DH
5. Viciedo RF
6. Ramirez SS
7. Danks CF
8. Flowers C
9. Semien 3B
SP: RHP Scott Carroll (1-0, 1.23 ERA)

Indians (12-17)
1. Bourn CF
2. Swisher 1B
3. Brantley LF
4. Santana C
5. Chisenhall 3B
6. Cabrera SS
7. Giambi DH
8. Murphy RF
9. Ramirez 2B
SP: RHP Justin Masterson (0-1, 4.84 ERA)

Notes: Jose Ramirez gets his first start this season at second base. Brantley also gets a bump up to the No. 3 spot and Chisenhall to No. 5. 

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Indians place Gomes on paternity list, recall Hagadone, designate Johnson; Tomlin to start Tuesday

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 3, 2014

The Indians on Saturday placed catcher Yan Gomes on the paternity list, recalled reliever Nick Hagadone from Triple-A Columbus, purchased the contract of catcher George Kottaras and designated utilityman Elliot Johnson for assignment. 

Gomes and his wife, Jenna, had a baby girl Saturday morning in Cleveland—Brooklyn Mae Gomes. 

That brought about the need for Kottaras for a few days. Manager Terry Francona said he wasn't sure Gomes got any sleep last night. It is "most likely" Kottaras won't be with the team for long. 

Johnson being designated for assignment, according Francona, was going to happen anyway, as the Indians are in need of a fifth starter on Tuesday. It had nothing to do with Johnson's two-error game Friday night, he said.

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Indians 12, White Sox 5 — Ryan Lewis' final thoughts on angry Nick Swisher

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2014

Twelve final thoughts from a game that involved some chicken suits, twelve runs for the Tribe and an angry Nick Swisher. 

1. Cody Allen and Corey Kluber wore chicken suits to shag balls before the game, as the Indians entered Friday night losers of six straight and owners of not much offense. A couple of guys were laughing about it, as they went about their normal business. Just in a chicken suit. 

2. It worked about as well as it could have for the offense. The Indians scored five runs in the first inning, more than any single game total from their west-coast trip. Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley each hit home runs. Asked if there was any kind of theory to the chicken suits, Brantley said, "No. But if there is, we’re gonna do that a lot more often, I know that.” Manager Terry Francona added, "I don’t care what takes credit. It was nice to shake hands. We needed that. If we’re gonna win again they can all show up wearing chicken outfits." 

3. Francona often talks about being strong enough to come to the ballpark, see that your record isn't what you want it to be, and be able to play through it and take things one day at a time. Two guys showing up in chicken suits to lighten up the clubhouse is a pretty solid sign of that. 

4. Santana starting to hit—three home runs in his last four games—is a fantastic sign for the Indians as they lose the services of Jason Kipnis for 3-5 weeks. General manager Chris Antonetti talked before the game about how he and Francona try to stay patient throughout a season. Antonetti used Kipnis last year as an example of how it worked, and he can use Santana this year as another prime example. 

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Breaking: Indians power past White Sox 12-5

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2014

The Indians scored more runs in the first inning of Friday's game than in any single game during their 0-6 road trip and took down the Chicago White Sox 12-5 Friday night. 

Carlos Santana (two RBI) and Michael Brantley (three RBI) each hit solo home runs. The Tribe put up five runs in the first inning and continued to pile on from there. Yan Gomes and Ryan Raburn each drove in two runs. 

For Santana, it's his third home run in four games. For Brantley, it's his fifth homer of the season. 

Danny Salazar (1-3) threw five innings and gave up five runs, though only three were earned. Gomes had a passed ball and Elliot Johnson had two errors filling in at second base for Jason Kipnis. 

The Indians move to 12-17 this season and snap a six-game losing streak. The White Sox fall to 14-16. 

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Indians vs White Sox — Pregame lineups and notes

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2014

White Sox (14-15)
1. Eaton CF
2. Beckham 2B
3. Abreu 1B
4. Dunn DH
5. Viciedo RF
6. Ramirez SS
7. De Aza LF
8. Semien 3B
9. Nieto C
SP: LHP John Danks (2-1, 3.48 ERA)

Indians (11-17)
1. Bourn CF
2. Aviles 3B
3. Swisher 1B
4. Santana DH
5. Raburn RF
6. Brantley LF
7. Cabrera SS
8. Gomes C
9. Johnson 2B
SP: Danny Salazar (0-3, 6.04 ERA)

Notes: Jason Kipnis was placed on the 15-day disabled list today. Jose Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Columbus. 

Because of the lefty Danks, Mike Aviles gets the start at second base and Elliot Johnson is in at second base. Aviles will likely see more time at 2B with Kipnis out, as well as Ramirez. 

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Update: Indians 2B Jason Kipnis placed on 15-day DL, expected to miss 3-5 weeks

By Ryan Lewis Published: May 2, 2014

The Indians on Friday placed All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique retroactive to April 30 and recalled infielder Jose Ramirez from Triple-A Columbus. 

Kipnis, manager Terry Francona and general Manager Chris Antonetti all gave the same timeline of 3-5 weeks as a ballpark figure for his return. 

Kipnis strained his oblique in the fourth inning of Tuesday's game with the Los Angeles Angles. He's hitting .234 this season with six doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in 27 games. 

A problem with an oblique strain, Kipnis said, is that it's similar to a hamstring injury in that it must heal completely before he can return to baseball activities.

"If you push it and you reinjure it you’re right back at step one," he said. "It’s not something you want to linger on for the entire season." 

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Angels 7, Indians 1: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: May 1, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s 10 final thoughts on the Indians 7-1 loss to the host Angels, capping a forgettable West Coast road trip during which the team went 0-for-California.

1) The Indians did little right in any phase of the game during the ugly road trip. The offense hit just .183 overall, and an even worse .167 with runners in scoring position to support the pitching staff with a mere 2.2 runs per game. In turn, the pitching staff combined for a 5.55 ERA.

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