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Indians 3, White Sox 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Carlos Carrasco, playoffs, bad tunes

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 29, 2014

Twenty-six final thoughts as the Indians won their fourth consecutive series and five of the past six as they push for a playoff berth.

1. Carlos Carrasco is a new man. If the 27-year-old Indians right-hander didn’t know it already, he got affirmation from catcher Yan Gomes Thursday. And it seemed to mean a lot to Carrasco, whose first four starts this season were so disastrous that manager Terry Francona demoted him to the bullpen.

2. Carrasco’s nickname is “Cookie,” for the obvious reason that he loves the sweet treats. “Today Gomes told me, ‘Now you’re Cookie, you like to have fun and everything. But when you’re in the game you have a different mindset. You’re way different,’” Carrasco said.

3. Since he returned to the starting rotation on Aug. 10, Carrasco is 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in four starts. He’s struck out 15 in his last two outings, including seven White Sox. He’s notched three consecutive quality starts. He won his first game against the White Sox Thursday after going 0-4 with a 6.81 ERA in his previous seven outings (six starts).

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineups

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 28, 2014

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

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Jose Ramirez SS

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White Sox 3, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Corey Kluber, his disdain for replay

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 28, 2014

Twenty-four final thoughts on right-hander Corey Kluber, a strange crew chief review and Kluber’s warm-up pitch issue.

1. Kluber surpassed his career-high in innings pitched in a season Wednesday with 192 2/3. But he insisted he’s not getting tired. “No, not at all,” he said. “I feel as good now as I did at the beginning of the year. Stuff-wise, I think my stuff has carried on throughout the year. I haven't lost anything. I just made a couple mistakes today.”

2. He also pitched for the second consecutive outing on five days rest and suffered his second consecutive defeat. But Kluber, known for his strict routine in between starts, said that hasn’t been a factor. “I don't think so,” he said. “I think I've had times throughout the year where I've had an extra day of rest and I've been fine. I just think, for whatever reason, I made some mistakes, kind of in some key spots. ... They took advantage of it. Even the one (Jose) Abreu hit in the (seventh), it was a good pitch. It was where we wanted it. He's just a really good hitter and he did a good piece of hitting.”

3. More of an issue may be the Indians’ lack of run support for their ace. Wednesday marked the 12th time in Kluber's 28 starts that the Indians have scored three or fewer runs. That includes six of his last seven.

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineups

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 27, 2014

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

INDIANS

Michael Bourn CF

Jose Ramirez SS

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Indians 8, White Sox 6: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Zach Walters

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 27, 2014

Final thoughts after Zach Walters hit his sixth home run in 13 games, a two-run blast off right-hander Jake Petricka in the 10th inning to give the Indians the victory.

1. I don’t know who in the Indians’ baseball operations department first spotted Walters. General manager Chris Antonetti has said that the Tribe has liked him for a while. It’s possible they liked him in the 2010 draft, when the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Walters in the ninth round. But if the Indians make the playoffs, tabbing Walters as the player they wanted in the July 31 trade with the Washington Nationals for Asdrubal Cabrera might turn out to be the biggest move in getting them in.

2. Since the Indians called up Walters from Triple-A Columbus on Aug. 10, when they were in New York facing the Yankees, Walters has shown he doesn’t hit homers in routs. He hits them when they count. Four of his six have come when the game was tied, two when the Indians trailed by a run. Until Tuesday, his biggest was a ninth-inning walkoff on Aug. 13 in the first game of a home double-header against Arizona.

3. Add in his brief time with the Nationals and Walters has 18 hits this season and nine are home runs. Two of his three with Washington came in blowouts, but the other was with the game tied in the top of the eighth at Miami.

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Indians at White Sox: Pregame lineups and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 26, 2014

*Indians outfielder Ryan Raburn will transfer his rehab to the Double-A Akron RubberDucks on Wednesday. Raburn, on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right wrist, has been rehabbing at Triple-A Columbus. In three games for the Clippers, Raburn is 1 for 14 with two strikeouts.

*Indians designated hitter Jason Giambi, on the 60-day disabled list with left knee inflammation, is rehabbing with the RubberDucks Tuesday.

*Five Indians have been selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas. They are infielder/catcher Tony Wolters, outfielder Jordan Smith, right-handers Dylan Baker and Louis Head and left-hander Nick Maronde. Double-A Akron manager Dave Wallace and Carolina trainer Bobby Ruiz will also participate.

*Single-A Lake County outfielder Mike Papi was named the Indians' minor league player of the week. Papi has reached base safely in 15 of his last 17 games, batting .279 with four doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and 12 walks. Papi has primarily played right field since for the Captains, compiling a .311 on-base percentage.

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Jose Ramirez's walk-off single helps Tribe overcome early miscue in 3-2 victory over Astros

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 23, 2014

If Indians manager Terry Francona was interested in seeing how his team would respond to Friday’s night error-filled debacle, he didn’t have to wait long Saturday.

It only took three innings in Saturday’s game against the visiting Houston Astros to determine there was indeed a bit more grief in store. But unlike the previous night’s loss where the Indians offense failed to deliver in the clutch due to a pair of late base-running blunders by veteran utility man Mike Aviles and rookie Tyler Holt, Holt and the Indians redeemed themselves in a 3-2 walk-off victory.

Holt was once again at the center of the late action, leading off the bottom of the ninth inning with a pinch-hit, first-pitch single. The speedster advanced to second on Roberto Perez’s sacrifice bunt, took third with one out on a wild pitch by reliever Jake Buchanan and scored on Jose Ramirez’s game-winning single.

Ramirez's full-count single up the middle marked the Tribe’s American-League leading 10th walk off win of the season and the first by Ramirez at any level as a professional. 

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Indians acquire former catcher Chris Gimenez from Texas for depth with Yan Gomes on DL

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 23, 2014

The Indians won’t have to play a player light for too long in the absence of starting catcher Yan Gomes, who was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a mild concussion late Saturday afternoon.

Two hours after putting Gomes on the DL, the club acquired a familiar face in Chris Gimenez from the Texas Rangers for future considerations.

Gimenez, 31, is a former Indians player who’s split the season between the Rangers and Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .262 with 10 doubles, 11 RBI and 13 runs scored in 34 games for the big league club before being taken off the roster Aug. 7.

During his time with the Rangers, Gimenez caught 12 of ace pitcher Yu Darvish’s 22 starts. In between, he started the 2014 season and had spent the last 10 days in Round Rock, where he hit a combined .284 (including a .302 mark and 1.024 OPS against left-handed pitching) with four doubles, two triples, six home runs and 22 RBI in 39 games.

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Indians put starting catcher Yan Gomes on the 7-day disabled list

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 23, 2014

The Indians had to put catcher Yan Gomes on the seven-day disabled list Saturday afternoon with a concussion after all.

Friday, a day after Gomes took a foul ball off his facemask during a game in Minnesota when a ball deflected off a player, the Indians were hopeful they could avoid having Gomes sidelined for a full week.

But after more tests on Gomes revealed concussion-like symptoms, the Indians were forced to the make the move late Saturday afternoon. With the decision to play it safe with Gomes coming so late in the day, the club might have to play Saturday’s game with 24 players – one under the 25-man limit.  

But don’t expect the Indians to play a player light for too long, as a roster ought to be coming as soon as a minor leaguer can make his way to Cleveland.

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Indians and Astros pregame notes and lineups for Saturday's game

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 23, 2014

Here are tonight’s starting lineups and pre-game notes for the Indians and visiting Houston Astros Saturday night at Progressive Field.

LINEUPS:

Indians

CF Michael Bourn

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Astros 5, Indians 1 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 23, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians error-filled 5-1 loss to the visiting Houston Astros Friday night at Progressive Field.

1) Errors, errors and more errors. With two more (incredibly costly) defensive errors in Friday’s game, the Indians are one away from reaching 100 with six weeks (35 games to be exact) to go in the season. Consider the club had 98 all of last season. 

But add a collapse in all-around fundamentals with two base running blunders as well, and it’s hard to see this club making another late postseason push like last year.

2) “We have about six weeks left,” manager Terry Francona said. “If we want to continue to be in this thing we have to play a lot cleaner. We’re the type of team where we can’t play like that and expect to win. We need to play clean.”

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Indians suffer late-inning collapse in 5-1 loss to Astros Friday in series opener

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 22, 2014

For anyone wondering how the Indians have become the worst defensive team in the American League, no need to look any further than Friday night’s late debacle that led to a 5-1 loss to the visiting Houston Astros.

With the score knotted at 1-1 since the fifth inning, the Indians spoiled a good chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth. With runners on first and second base with no outs, they promptly ran themselves out of the promising inning.

Then in the top of the inning with lockdown closer Cody Allen on the mound, two errors that pushed the club’s total to 99 on the season, followed by a Jon Singleton home run sealed Tribe’s demise.

It was the errors that set the tone, however, as all four ninth-inning runs were unearned. The defensive debacle began with one out and one on, Tribe first baseman Carlos Santana airmailed a routine throw to second base into shallow left field on what should have been a fielder’s choice at least - if not a double play - allowing Dexter Fowler to reach safely and put two men on.

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Friday's Indians/Astros lineups

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 22, 2014

Here are tonight’s starting lineups for Friday's weekend series opener at Progressive Field between the host Indians and Astros.

CF Michael Bourn

SS Jose Ramirez

LF Michael Brantley

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Indians DH Nick Swisher out for remainder of season, having surgery on both knees

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 20, 2014

Indians designated hitter Nick Swisher will undergo surgery on both knees late Wednesday and is expected to miss the remainder of the season. 

Swisher has been on the 15-day Disabled List with knee soreness since August 10 and also made an earlier DL stint with similar discomfort from May 27 through June 11. 

When Swisher's knee pain persisted, he recently saw the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Rick Parker. Swisher then sought a second opinion Tuesday with Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Neil ElAttrache in L.A., who concurred with Parker that surgical intervention would be the most appropriate course of action. 

An Indians press release late Wednesday afternoon stated “Dr. ElAttrache confirmed that Nick is dealing with chronic medial knee discomfort in both knees as a result of medial meniscus wear and tear.”

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Indians give reliever Atchison contract extension; minor leaguer Bradley named POTW

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 19, 2014

The Indians signed right-handed reliever Scott Atchison to a contract extension for next season and a club option for 2016.

The veteran Atchison, 38, has been a versatile member of the Tribe’s bullpen in his first season with the club. He’s 6-0 with a save and a 2.95 ERA in 53 relief appearances. Over 55 innings, he’s struck out 37 batters, issued nine walks and has limited opposing hitters to a .218 average against.

Despite all of the gray-haired teammates’ hilarious “Atchison is so old jokes”, the “old man” continues to get the job done.

Atchison ranks among American League relief leaders in wins (tied for second with six), percentage of inherited runners scored (10that 18 percent) and relief innings (19th in 55 innings) while limiting right-handed hitters to a .214 average against. He’s has been especially tough since June 21, as he owns a 2.28 ERA over his last 22 appearances.

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Indians offense manages just two hits in 4-1 loss

By August Fagerstrom Published: August 17, 2014

Back-to-back hits by Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis in the fourth inning were all the Cleveland offense could muster in a 4-1 loss at home against Baltimore on Sunday.

The Orioles matched that hit total in home runs alone.

Baltimore outhit Cleveland 12-2 to avoid a three-game sweep in the rubber match of the series.

The Indians actually got on the board first. Carlos Santana gave the Indians their first hit in the fourth inning with an opposite field double and Jason Kipnis followed him up with a bloop single that dropped in shallow right center field, scoring Santana.

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Orioles 4, Indians 1: Post-game recap

By August Fagerstrom Published: August 17, 2014

Baltimore had as many home runs as Cleveland had hits and the Orioles avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-1 victory at Progressive Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Indians actually got on the board first. Carlos Santana gave the Indians their first hit in the fourth inning with an opposite field double and Jason Kipnis followed him up with a bloop single that dropped in shallow right center field, scoring Santana.

The Indians (62-61) only had two more baserunners the rest of the game, a walk by Michael Bourn in the fifth inning and a walk by Santana in the ninth.

Kevin Gausman pitched well to earn the win for the Orioles (70-52), allowing just the one earned run on two hits and four walks in six innings. He struck out two.

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Indians vs. Orioles: Sunday's Lineups

By August Fagerstrom Published: August 17, 2014

Here are the lineups for Sunday afternoon's rubber match between the Orioles and the Indians at Progressive Field:

 

Indians

Bourn CF

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Indians 6, Orioles 0 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 17, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 6-0 shutout over the visiting Baltimore Orioles - a night that belonged to Carlos Carrasco, whose brilliance on the mound was powered by home runs by first baseman Carlos Santana (three-run home run in the first inning) and Michael Brantley (two-run homer in the fifth) - but certainly not overshadowed by them. 

1) It was a game that proved how Carrasco’s season has come full circle. Admit it, if anyone had told you after the right-hander’s disastrous start as the No. 5 starter in which he went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in four April starts that before the end of the season he’d be back in the rotation dominating opponents like the explosive Orioles offense, you might have laughed. Choked on your cereal. Spit out your beer. Yep, that’s how bad he was.

  2) The first month of the season wasn’t quit over yet and he’d already been banished to the bullpen, where he could work on his mechanical issues in obscurities and blowouts. But I’d always guessed with Carrasco, his struggles were just as much mental. That’s because in a repeat of the 2013 season, Carrasco quickly became a model of consistency as a reliever. In 26 appearances out of the ‘pen, he went 3-1 with a save and 2.30 ERA with 39 strikes to nine walks.

3) I kept thinking, if the Tribe brass were smart, they’d just leave him alone and let him remain in a role that works for him. But to their credit, they never gave up Carrasco’s potential as a starter.

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Indians 6-0 win over Orioles powered by Santana & Brantley homers, seven shutout innings by Carrasco

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 16, 2014

Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley provided the power and starter Carlos Carrasco and three members of the Indians bullpen kept the explosive Baltimore Orioles offense off the board in the Tribe’s 6-0 shutout Saturday at Progressive Field.

It only added to the irony that the Indians slugged their way to victory against former teammate Ubaldo Jimenez, the right-hander who turned ¾ of a good season last year into a four-year, $50 million payday when the Orioles landed the free agent early in spring training.

Jimenez struggled from the start, lasting only 4 1/3 innings while surrendering all of the Tribe’s runs. He dished up six runs on five hits and three walks, with a bulk of the damage coming via Santana’s three-run home run in the first inning and Brantley’s two-run shot that highlighted a three-run fifth inning.

But the night was just as much about Carrasco’s resurgence, as the right-hander’s season has come full circle. After a disastrous start in which he went 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA in his first four starts as the Tribe’s No. 5 starter before being banished to the bullpen in late April, he’s been a model of consistency as a reliever. In 26 relief appearances, Carrasco went 3-1 with a save and 2.30 ERA with 39 strikes to nine walks.

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Indians/Orioles lineups for Saturday's game at Progressive Field

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 16, 2014

Here are the starting lineups for Saturday’s game between the host Indians and visiting Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field.

Indians

CF Michael Bourn

SS Jose Ramirez

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Indians 2, Orioles 1 - Stephanie Storm's final thoughts on the Tribe's 11th-inning walkoff win

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 16, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts after the Indians 2-1 11thinning walk off victory Friday over the  visiting Baltimore Orioles.

1) Say what you will you will about the Indians young patchwork starting rotation.

If not for the steadying force that has become newly crowned ace Corey Kluber, the club would have been left scrambling for more than a No. 5 starter all season. For, even when Kluber isn’t completely Kluber-like – like he was Friday (Wait, what? He gave up a run? Issued TWO walks? Loaded the bases?) - the right-hander is still pretty darn good. 

How good? Consider that Kluber entered Friday night’s action with a 2-0 mark and a miniscule 0.68 August ERA as part of his now overall 13-6 record and 2.41 ERA. The right-hander continues to gain attention as the most unexpected player in the American League to challenge for a Cy Young Award. In pitching yet another gem for the Tribe, Kluber dominated the Orioles for 7 2/3, allowing just five hits and racking up 10 strikeouts.

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Kluber strikes out 10, Walters homers, Aviles 11th-inning homer gives Tribe walkoff victory over O's

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 15, 2014

Corey Kluber pitched like Corey Kluber Friday night as the Indians opened a three-game weekend series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field.

And the Indians offense played like…well, the Indians offense for 10 innings before veteran utility man Mike Aviles sent an 11th-inning lead off drive against Orioles reliever Brian Matusz into the left field corner bleachers for a 2-1 victory.

Aviles’ game winner marked the Tribe’s ninth walk-off victory of the season and his third career walk off hit – but first coming via a home run.

With so many veteran Tribe players missing time due to injuries – designated hitter Nick Swisher (knee) and right fielder David Murphy (oblique) being two recent sidelined – the Indians offense has struggled to even give Kluber (who doesn’t require a whole lot) of run support.

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Indians activate centerfielder Michael Bourn, takes John Axford's vacant roster spot

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 15, 2014

As expected, the Indians activated centerfielder Michael Bourn Friday afternoon, leaving the speedy centerfielder six weeks to try to help take a .500 team and make them a playoff contender down the stretch.

On the disabled list since July 6th with another left hamstring injury (his third setback of the season), Bourn took the vacant roster spot of right-handed reliever John Axford, the Tribe’s former closer who was claimed on outright waivers Thursday by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Whether or not Bourn, who has been plagued by hamstring issues since the Indians signed him to a four-year, $48 million deal before last season, can make that much of an impact alone is up for question.

His season to date has been a disappointing one due to constant problems with the hamstring he had surgically repaired in October, following problems with it late in the 2013 campaign.

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Indians put former closer John Axford on waivers, is claimed by Pirates

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 14, 2014

The Pirates claimed former Indians closer John Axford off of outright trade waivers late Thursday afternoon, meaning that while the Indians won’t receive compensation for him, Pittsburgh pays the approximately $1.1 million remaining on the right-hander’s salary this season.

The Indians signed Axford to a one-year, $4.5 million deal in mid-December. But the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was out as the Tribe’s closer by May 9th when his command issues became all too evident.

Since then, Axford has worked hard with pitching coach Mickey Callaway to regain a majority of his form, and even made the final five outs Aug 4th against the visiting Cincinnati Reds to notch his first save since May 3.

But just when it appeared that the old dominating Axford was back, he took a step back. In Axford’s most recent appearance - Friday against host New York - Axford dished up a grand slam to Yankees slugger Carlos Beltran in the Tribe’s 10-6 loss in the Bronx.

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Indians to compete against fans in charity fantasy football league

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 14, 2014

Indians players Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Bryan Shaw, Marc Rzepczynski and Scott Atchison are scheduled to participate in a new charity fantasy football league also open to fans.

For a one-time donation of $2,000 (which can include one co-manager) or $3,000, participants will be invited to an Aug. 23 draft day experience at Progressive Field. That will include a live draft with the players and surprise guests, food and beverages (cash bar), a photo opportunity with the Indians, pre-autographed items, VIP access to batting practice for that day's game against the Houston Astros and a ticket in the Champions Suite.

During the fantasy season, participants will interact with the Tribe players and have  chances to win prizes.

Proceeds will benefit the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, Cleveland Indians Charities and Big League Impact Basic Needs Initiative. The latter brought together stars from teams in 10 ciites last year. This year more than 60 major league players, including over a dozen All-Stars, have agreed to participate.

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Indians 3-0, Diamondbacks 2-1: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts on doubleheader

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 14, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians doubleheader split with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday at Progressive Field. The Indians rallied for a 3-2 win in the first game, but were shut out 1-0 in 12 innings in the second.

1) Indians Game One starting pitcher Trevor Bauer showed his increasing maturity in his career-high, eighth-inning start. Not only was he facing his former team head-to-head for the first time since they traded him to the Indians two years ago in an obvious we-can’t-handle-the-prima-donna-attitude, see-what-you-can-do dump, he went out of his way to be a good sportsman to the former teammate he battled with the most - catcher Miguel Montero.

“That was two years ago,” Bauer said, shrugging off the idea that there could be any leftover hard feelings. “I’ve long since moved on from that. So, to me, it’s just another team. Just nine more hitters to get out. That’s it. There’s no bad blood between me and them or anything like that. I moved on from it a long time ago. I just tried to pitch and get outs.”

2) The right-hander, who was the third overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Diamondbacks, limited the Dbacks to two runs on four hits and was one strikeout shy of matching his career-high of 10.

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Diamondbacks win Game 2 1-0 in 12 innings for doubleheader split with Indians

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 13, 2014

Solid starting pitching ruled all play Wednesday in the Indians doubleheader sweep/split against/over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Progressive Field.

After Indians Game 1 starter Trevor Bauer set the tone against his former team with a career-high eight innings, Tribe spot starter Josh Tomlin and Diamondbacks rookie spot starter Andrew Chafin took it a step further, each turning in at least five scoreless innings.

After the Indians claimed the first game via the long ball on rookie Zack Walters’ walk-off home run in the ninth inning, the Dbacks took the nightcap 1-0 in 12 innings with a little small ball to split the doubleheader.

Tribe reliever C.C. Lee issued a walk to lead off man Alfredo Marte, Didi Gregorius sacrificed him to second with a bunt and Tuffy Gosewisch singled up the middle to score the game’s only run. A Lonnie Chisenhall two-out pinch-hit double gave the Tribe hope, but Jason Kipnis struck out to end the four-hour and 16-minute game.

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Bad blood? Nah, the Diamondbacks are just another team to Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 13, 2014

Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer insisted that no bad blood or ill feelings remain between him and his former team that made a mid-week visit to Progressive Field Wednesday for a double header following Tuesday’s postponement due to rain.

Yet plenty of attitude and perhaps even some resentment was once shared between the sides, enough to spark an off-season trade two years ago that landed Bauer – the third overall pick in the 2011 draft - and veteran reliever Bryan Shaw in Cleveland.

But just in case there were any doubts as to how the ultra-competitive Bauer would handle the situation, the young right-hander went out and proved it’s mere water under the bridge as helped lead the Indians to a 3-2 victory in the first game of Wednesday’s twin bill.

Bauer ended up with a no-decision in the close game, but had fashioned a no-hit bid through five innings and went on to limit the Diamondbacks to two runs over a career-best eight innings that included nine strikeouts.

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Today's Game 1 Lineups between the host Indians & visiting Diamondbacks

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 13, 2014

Here are today’s starting the lineups for the first game of today’s double header at Progressive Field between the host Indians and visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.

INDIANS

2B Jason Kipnis

SS Mike Aviles

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Indians-Diamondbacks postponed: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Tribe outfield

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 13, 2014

Fourteen finall thoughts on where the Indians go from here with right fielder David Murphy out four to five weeks with a strained right oblique and designated hitter/outfielder Nick Swisher getting a second opinion on his sore right knee.

1. The biggest loss with Murphy is that he was hitting .382 with runners in scoring position. Going into Tuesday, that average ranked second in the American League. The next best Indians were Michael Brantley, whose .349 was tied for fifth in the AL, Lonnie Chisenhall (.316), Yan Gomes (.287) and Michael Bourn (.281). Those who will have to pick it up in that department in Murphy’s absence are Carlos Santana (.242), Mike Aviles (.216) and Jason Kipnis (.200).

2. As for Swisher’s knee, he said Sunday, “We need to figure out what's going on because this is something that's been banging around for a while." Monday’s exam at the Cleveland Clinic led him to seek a second opinion, which would seem to indicate that rest won’t be enough.

3. Swisher sounded almost embarrassed by his inability to run the bases Saturday. “I think you could just physically see it,” he said. “But what are you going to do? It’s what I’m paid to do. I just want to get healthy, want to get back to being me, playing the way I know how. I’ve never had a year like this before. It’s been very frustrating.”

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Indians' rainout forces doubleheader Wednesday; KSU's Chafin to start for Diamondbacks

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 12, 2014

The Indians game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night at Progressive Field was postponed after a rain delay of three hours and 40 minutes.

It will be made up Wednesday with a traditional doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. Gates will open at 3 p.m.

Right-hander Trevor Bauer will start the first game for the Indians against Diamondbacks left-hander Andrew Chafin. In the second game, right-hander Josh Tomlin will go for the Tribe against left-hander Vidal Nuno.

Chafin, a first-round draft pick out of Kent State in 2011, will be making his major league debut after having his contract selected from Triple-A Reno Friday. Chafin was told when he arrived in Phoenix that his role would be long relief.

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Indians' David Murphy to miss 4-5 weeks; Nick Swisher getting second opinion

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 12, 2014

Indians right fielder David Murphy will miss four to five weeks with a right oblique strain, an MRI confirmed Monday.

Tribe manager Terry Francona called Murphy's strain "mild to moderate."

Designated hitter/outfielder Nick Swisher had his sore right knee examined by Rick Parker Monday at the Cleveland Clinic and is seeking "additional opinions," according to a medical update released by the Indians.

Francona didn't want to elaborate on Swisher's second opinion, but said it was at the club's "help and urging."

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Diamondbacks at Indians: Pregame lineup

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 12, 2014

Game: 7:05 p.m. at Progressive Field

INDIANS

Jason Kipnis 2B

Jose Ramirez SS

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Indians 4, Yankees 1: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on small ball

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 10, 2014

Twenty-two final thoughts after the Indians came through with a big victory at Yankee Stadium.

1. Second baseman Jason Kipnis said the way the Indians manufactured runs Sunday, using a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley and two sacrifice bunts by Jose Ramirez, is the way they may have to play the rest of the season. They chipped away with single runs in the first, third, fifth and seventh innings. They had only one extra-base hit, a double by Kipnis in the third inning.

2. “This was the first game where if you kind of start stepping away and looking at it, kind of how we won our games last year,” Kipnis said. “Guy gets on, we bunt him over … we started playing small ball down the stretch last year. We might be getting back to that here soon with the kind of players we’ve got. That works for us.”

3. It was hard to figure what Kipnis meant by the “kind of players we’ve got.” He might have been referring to the fact that Nick Swisher, who hit 22 home runs last year, went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. Jason Giambi, who has long ball power off the bench, has spent nearly the whole season on the disabled list. Carlos Santana leads the Tribe with 20 homers, followed by Michael Brantley (17), Yan Gomes (16) and Lonnie Chisenhall (11). The front office failed to acquire the long-lusted after “big bat” that could threaten the 50-home run mark in a season. But the Indians' 113 home runs as a team through Sunday is tied for seventh in the American League with Detroit. After hearing what Kipnis said, I expected that ranking to be lower.

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Carlos Carrasco picks up first victory in three years as Indians top Yankees 4-1

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 10, 2014

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco threw five scoreless innings and picked up his first victory since 2011 as the Indians pulled out a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Jacoby Ellsbury broke up the shutout with two out in the ninth with a solo home run to right field off Cody Allen. The Indians took the three-game series 2-1 as the Yankees managed five hits in the finale.

It marked Carrasco’s first victory as a starter since June 29, 2011 at Arizona after a string of 17 consecutive losses or no-decisions. During that dubious span, Carrasco went 0-12 with an 8.09 ERA in 85 2/3 innings and averaged just under five innings per game. The Indians had a 3-14 record in those games.

The Indians’ starting rotation has been erratic behind ace Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer and the Tribe needed help after Justin Masterson was traded on July 30. Carrasco made the roster out of spring training because he was out of options. But he blew that opportunity by compiling an 0-3 record with a 6.95 ERA in four April starts.

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Indians at Yankees: Pregame lineup

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 10, 2014

Game: 1:08 p.m. at Yankee Stadium

INDIANS

Jason KIpnis 2B

Jose Ramirez SS

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Indians place David Murphy, Nick Swisher on 15-day disabled list

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 10, 2014

Indians outfielder David Murphy and designated hitter/outfielder Nick Swisher were placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday morning.

Murphy is bothered by a right abdominal strain he aggravated in Saturday's victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Swisher has been bothered by right knee soreness.

Murphy will undergo an MRI in Cleveland Monday morning.

"From a baseball standpoint, this is a tough area," Murphy said before the moves were announced. "Off the top of my head, I don't know that this is something that would bother me for 15 days, it doesn't necessarily feel like it would, but I don't feel like I'm going to be able to play for a few, at least. I know a move has been discussed. I'm understanding of whatever happens because I know we've got some other guys banged up and every spot on the roster is very important.

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Indians 3, Yankees 0: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on Murphy, Swisher injuries

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 9, 2014

Eighteen final thoughts on where the Indians go from here if David Murphy and Nick Swisher are headed to the disabled list.

1. Outfielder Murphy didn’t know if his sore right side is an oblique strain, but he will find out either Sunday morning in New York or during Monday’s off day in Cleveland. Murphy is unfamiliar with this type of injury and said while it had bothered him for about a week, he thought it would come around with treatment.

2. “I’ve had plenty of times in my career where my hamstring or quad or groin haven’t felt great, but there’s ways to kind of compensate. Then all of a sudden you wake up one day and they’re completely better,” Murphy said. “You get in the training room and you do a little treatment. That’s what I was hoping would happen with this.”

3. Losing Murphy to the 15-day disabled list would be a blow to the Indians’ chances of getting one of the American League’s two wild cards. Going into Saturday’s games, Murphy was second in the AL with a .386 average with runners in scoring position. The Indians have to hope Murphy came out of the game before his injury got to the point of the one that kept second baseman Jason Kipnis out for a month and is still limiting him now.

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Indians' David Murphy to get MRI; Nick Swisher ailing

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 9, 2014

Indians outfielder David Murphy left Saturday's game against the New York Yankees in the sixth inning and is trying to get an MRI on his sore right side Sunday morning in New York.

Murphy said he has been battling soreness over the last week, but decided not to push it any more after striking out in the fifth inning.

"It grabbed at me a little bit more," Murphy said after the Indians' 3-0 victory at Yankee Stadium. "I don’t feel like it blew out, but I feel like it got to the point where it was close enough to where I didn’t want to test it any more. It doesn’t feel terrible. The main issue with it is that it’s a sensitive area, if we’re talking baseball-specific. We do so much twisting and torquing when you hit, when you throw.

"I’ve had plenty of times in my career where my hamstring or quad or groin haven’t felt great, but there’s ways to kind of compensate. Then all of a sudden you wake up one day and they’re completely better. You get in the training room and you do a little treatment. That’s what I was hoping would happen with this."

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Corey Kluber fans 10 as Indians top Yankees 3-0

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 9, 2014

Corey Kluber threw six shutout innings and the Indians rode home runs from Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley to defeat the New York Yankees 3-0 Saturday before a sellout crowd of 47,376 in Yankee Stadium.

Cody Allen pitched the ninth for his 15th save as the Indians evened the series at one game apiece with the finale set for Sunday afternoon.

Kluber (13-6, 2.46) struck out 10, allowed four hits, walked one and hit a batter. The right-hander became the sixth Indians pitcher in 100 years to record at least seven double-digit strikeout games in a season and the first since Dennis Eckersley in 1976. Kluber also joined Sam McDowell, Bob Feller, Herb Score and Luis Tiant.

Ramirez hit the first home run of his major league career, a two-run shot to right field in the second inning. Ramirez was recalled from Triple-A Columbus on July 23. He’s now sharing the shortstop job with Mike Aviles after the July 31 trade of Asdrubal Cabrera to the Washington Nationals.

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Indians at Yankees: Pregame lineup

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 9, 2014

Game: 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium

INDIANS

Jason Kipnis 2B

David Murphy LF

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Yankees 10, Indians 6: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 9, 2014

Twenty final thoughts after a disastrous five-run first inning at Yankee Stadium.

1. As erratic as Indians starter Trevor Bauer was, the game might have hinged on Derek Jeter’s single to short that wasn’t really a single and should have been the Indians’ third error of the night. And had it been the second out, everything might have turned out differently.

2. Bauer struck out leadoff hitter Brett Gardner and appeared to get Jeter when shortstop Jose Ramirez made a good defensive play to get to the ball and throw to Carlos Santana at first. Santana had to stretch towards the outfield side of the bag to make the catch and did that, but then dropped the ball. That opened the floodgates as Bauer walked three, one to force in a run, and gave up four singles, only two out of the infield.

3. Veteran Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com said the Yankees don’t usually pad Jeter’s statistics with questionable scoring rulings, although adding to their captain's hit total in his final major league season wouldn’t seem out of the ordinary.

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Indians at Yankees: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 8, 2014

*Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Esmil Rogers might be able to go 100 pitches, but said Rogers would have to be monitored. Rogers is an ex-Indian who was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in November, 2012 for catcher Yan Gomes and utility man Mike Aviles. Rogers has made two appearances with the Yankees since being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jays.

Game: 7:05 p.m. in Yankee Stadium

INDIANS

Jason Kipnis 2B

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Reds 4, Indians 0: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 8, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts as the Indians dropped their third consecutive game to the Reds – this one by a score of 4-0 – as Cincinnati won the Ohio Cup three-games-to-one.

1) After winning the first game 9-2 at Progressive Field of the two home and away series, the Indians offense never showed up again. Over the final three games – all Reds victories - the slumping Indians offense limped the rest of the way through Thursday’s finale.

2) The Tribe’s batsmen managed to hit only .179 with five runs scored – scoring in just three of the final 27 innings. Thus, once again the Indians are below .500 (54-55) as they head to New York to face the Yankees this weekend.

3) Indians rookie left-hander T.J. House turned in his fourth quality start among his first 11in the big leagues. Over six innings, he gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk. He also recorded five strikeouts.

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Homer Bailey & Reds shut out Indians 4-0 in final game of Ohio Cup series

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 7, 2014

Six hours before he was to take the mound for his start Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds, T.J. House was looking forward to the opportunity to grab a bat and dig in at the plate for the first time as a major leaguer.

The Indians rookie left-hander shared his thoughts via social media around 1:30 p.m., Tweeting, “First time getting to hit in 6-1/2 years tonight.....yeah this is gonna be fun.”

By the time the host Reds had chased House from the game one batter into the seventh inning, he’d gone 0-for-2 with two strikeouts against Reds starter Homer Bailey. If nothing else, it was a reminder that for as much fun as it might have been to hit the last time he did - as a Louisiana high school senior, but not so much in the big leagues.

Lucky for House (1-3), he wasn’t the only one that Bailey (9-5) tamed on the night in the Reds 4-0 victory in front of 31, 862 at Great American BallPark.

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Indians trade RH reliever Vinnie Pestano to Angels for minor league pitcher Michael Clevinger

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 7, 2014

Former Indians seventh-inning set-up man Vinnie Pestano was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league pitcher Michael Clevinger Thursday.

Clevinger, 23, had split the season to date between Low Class-A Burlington and High-A Inland Empire, owning a combined 4-3 record with a 4.31 ERA. Over 79 1/3 innings spanning 18 starts, the right-hander has struck out 85 and issued 32 walks.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder opened the 2014 season at Burlington, going a dominating 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA that included 27 strikeouts and five walks, while limiting opposing batters to a .186 average against. He was promoted to Inland Empire May 5 and made 13 starts before the trade. The Indians said he would soon report to their High-A club – the Carolina Mudcats.

A fourth-round selection by the Angels in the 2011 draft out of Florida’s Seminole State Community College, Clevinger underwent Tommy John surgery the next season. He began his comeback with three appearances in 2013.

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Video: Cleveland Indians unveil Progressive Field renovations

By Dan Kadar Published: August 7, 2014

The Cleveland Indians unveiled plans to renovate Progressive Field over the next two years.

The renovation involves removing seats to make way for an expanded Kids Clubhouse, two-story bar, a new Gate C entry and redesigned center field bullpens. The team will also build a statue honoring Larry Doby.

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Reds 8, Indians 3: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts on pitching and the need for a veteran presence

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 7, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 8-3 loss at the Cincinnati Reds Great American BallPark Wednesday.

1) Wednesday brought with it another Indians loss. Another abbreviated outing by an Indians pitcher. Another starter who was hurt by the long ball, then sent to the minors after the game.

A day after Josh Tomlin got behind early on a three-run home run, burned by a light-hitting Reds bottom-of-the-order hitter, Wednesday’s start by Danny Salazar brought with it much of the same.

2) Salazar dished up a two-out, three-run home run in the second inning to shortstop Zack Cozart – the Reds eighth hitter batting in front of pitcher Mat Latos. Two innings later, Salazar was similarly bitten again by the long ball - this time giving up a two-run shot to No. seven hitter Kristopher Negron before leaving the game after the four-inning outing after dishing up five runs.  

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Indians manager Francona hopes 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati involves Pete Rose

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 6, 2014

Alright, so Indians manager Terry Francona is a little biased when it comes to his former manager Pete Rose.

When the Reds unveiled their logo Wednesday morning for the 2015 All-Star Game that will be played at their Great American BallPark next season, Francona spent a few minutes later in the afternoon stumping for Pete Rose to be a big part of the festivities.

“Opening Day here is like no other,” said Francona, who played for the Reds in 1987 with “Charlie Hustle” as his skipper and the indomitable presence that was Marge Schott as the team’s chain-smoking, St. Bernard-loving owner.

“The kids used to get out of school – I don’t know if they still do that today. But they have a big parade, make a big deal about it. These people (here in Cincinnati) love their team. And they really love baseball.”

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Indians Tomlin to join bullpen after recent outing resulted in more homers

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 6, 2014

Josh Tomlin returned to the Indians starting lineup Tuesday after another brief stint in the minors and was once again victimized by the long ball - a three-run home run in the second by Ramon Santiago that sparked the Reds’ 9-2 blowout of the host Indians.

Tomlin’s 17 home runs (in 16 games – including 15 starts) this season mark the most in the major leagues among pitchers with 90 or less innings. Thus, it came as little surprise Wednesday when he was informed he’d be joining the bullpen.

“(Tomlin’s) gotten to a point where he can throw his off-speed pitches really well,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “But when he’s having a tough time getting his fastball where he wants it, he’s paying the price.”

Tomlin’s role change leaves the Indians starter for Sunday against the host New York Yankees as To Be Determined. When Francona was asked before Wednesday’s game if former starter-turned-reliever Carlos Carrasco was being considered to swap spots with Tomlin, Francona was only slightly coy.

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Salazar optioned after Reds continue home-run barrage against Indians struggling starting pitching

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 6, 2014

A big home run by the Cincinnati Reds most unlikely player led to the host Indians undoing Tuesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

A day later, the venue changed for the final two games of the Interleague series, with the Reds welcoming the Indians to Great American BallPark.

But the result was same – just doubled this time.

Wednesday against hard-throwing Danny Salazar, the Reds slammed a pair ofhome runs that sent the Indians to an 8-3 blowout defeat that could have been a lot worse if not for the Tribe rallying late against tiring starter Mat Latos.

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Reds 9, Indians 2: Marla Ridenour's final thoughts on bizarre 2-balls-in-outfield play

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 5, 2014

Seventeen final thoughts after another chapter is written in the ‘Just When You Think You’ve Seen It All in Cleveland’ book.

1. Perhaps the Indians wouldn’t have rallied from a 6-2 deficit in the seventh inning against Reds All-Star right-hander Johnny Cueto. But no one was out, one run was  home and momentum was on the Indians' side until one of the most bizarre plays I’ve seen in 37 years as a sports writer snuffed it out when a ball came out of the Reds bullpen.

2. In the bottom of the seventh, an RBI double by Yan Gomes had scored Lonnie Chisenhall and sent David Murphy to third base. Murphy had his back to the ball and third base coach Mike Sarbaugh was telling him to stay at third, yelling “Right here. Right here.” But then Murphy saw a ball in the outfield and said he thought to himself, “I can make it.”

3. That wasn’t the live ball. It was a ball that had gotten by the Reds’ bullpen catcher and rolled into the outfield. Murphy headed for the plate before he realized something was wrong, then dove back to the base. He was tagged out, 9-4-6-5.

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Reds at Indians: Pregame lineup and notes

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 5, 2014

*Indians manager Terry Francona said Nick Swisher (sore right wrist) will take regular batting practice and is vastly improved. Francona said Swisher might be available to pinch-hit tonight, but if not, perhaps tomorrow in Cincinnati. He isn't sure about the weekend series against the Yankees because he wasn't sure of their starting pitchers.

*Francona laid out the Indians' plan for Michael Bourn's rehab games as he returns from a left hamstring injury. Bourn is playing tonight for Double-A Akron. Francona said Bourn is scheduled to go five innings today, seven innings tomorrow, then have an off day. Then he will go seven, seven, off, nine and nine. He said the preference would be to keep Bourn in Ohio, so when Columbus comes home he will switch over to the Clippers.

Game: 7:05 p.m. at Progressive Field

REDS

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Indians release Nyjer Morgan

By Marla Ridenour Published: August 5, 2014

Outfielder Nyjer Morgan was activated from the 60-day disabled list and released from his contract, the Indians announced Tuesday.

In other moves, right-hander Josh Tomlin was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start Tuesday night's game against Cincinnati and outfielder Tyler Holt was optioned to Columbus. Instead of heading to New York with the Indians this weekend, Holt departed for Scranton, Pa.

Morgan injured his right knee May 14 in Toronto, hitting it hard on the artificial turf in Rogers Centre as he was chasing a double by Adam Lind.

"I knew I wasn't going to get to it," Morgan said after that game, wearing a heavy brace. "So instead of doing a 20-foot dive, I just pulled up and my knee hit the ground. I thought I was fine at the time. But when [Brett] Lawrie came up in the next at-bat and hit that ball into the gap, me and [Michael] Bourn went back to get it. On my first step, that's when I kind of felt something." 

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Indians 7, Reds 1: Stephanie Storm's final thoughts on Indians ace Corey Kluber

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 5, 2014

Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 7-1 win over the Reds Monday at Progressive Field.

1) Turns out that Corey Kluber is human after all. Well, at least part human.

* In Kluber’s 7 1/3–inning outing Monday, the Indians right-hander threw 33 balls (which was one more than in his previous start – a nine-inning masterpiece in which he recorded his first career complete game shutout). 

* He also gave up a run in the eighth inning (which snapped a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings and a streak of 25 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run).

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Kluber limits Reds to a run; Chisenhall and Gomes homers power Indians to 7-1 win

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 4, 2014

Corey Kluber’s string of consecutive scoreless innings was snapped, but the Indians starting pitcher’s seven scoreless and two big home runs by the offense was more than enough to aid the Tribe in continuing the streak of home dominance between themselves and the Cincinnati Reds.The Tribe’s 7-1 win over the visiting Reds.

Monday marked the 13th consecutive game in which the home club between the two Interleague teams emerged victorious.

Kluber’s streak of shutout innings was even more impressive, despite being halted with the Reds lone run that came in the eighth inning. Immediately after the right-hander exited the game to a loud standing ovation from the crowd at Progressive Field after 7 1/3 shutout innings, reliever Nick Hagadone gave a double to Brayan Pena – the only batter he faced – allowing one of the two runners to score that Kluber had left on base.

But it wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the Indians, whose fourth consecutive victory was powered by a three-run home run by Lonnie Chisenhall early and a Yan Gomes two-run home run late.

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Indians & Reds lineups for Monday; Swisher day-to-day with wrist injury

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 4, 2014

Here are tonight’s starting lineups and pre-game notes for the opener of this quick two-game series between the host Indians and Reds at Progressive Field. Wednesday, the teams will play two more games in Cincinnati to wrap up the Interleague series.

Lineups:

Indians (56-55)

2B Jason Kipnis

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Murphy rules series, but Brantley steals show in Indians 4-3, 12-inning win over Rangers

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 3, 2014

The Indians three-game series sweep of the Texas Rangers undoubtedly belonged to right fielder David Murphy.

But it was his outfield mate – centerfielder Michael Brantley - who stole the show Sunday with a 12th-inning leadoff home run that propelled the Tribe to a 4-3 victory that capped the weekend of wins and put them back over the .500 mark. 

During a weekend that celebrated former Indians slugger Jim Thome with a statue, it was fitting that Brantley became the first Tribe player with two extra-inning walk-off home runs in the same season as Thome - who first managed the feat in 2001. 

Murphy, who played for the Rangers (43-68) for seven seasons before signing with the Indians (56-55) as a free agent this past off season, provided each of the Indians three runs in regulation. His run-scoring double in the second started the Indians scoring, and his clutch two-run home run with out in the ninth closed a two-run gap and sent the game into extra innings. 

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Indians Saturday notebook - Tomlin to pitch Tuesday, Bourn works out at Q

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 3, 2014

Indians manager Terry Francona made official Saturday what many had already figured – right-hander Josh Tomlin will rejoin the Indians and return to the starting rotation next week, starting Tuesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Tomlin, who has gone up and down from Cleveland to Triple-A Columbus a couple times already this season, was optioned to Columbus July 26 when Zach McAllister was recalled to start. Now, Tomlin is taking McAllister’s spot in the rotation after the struggling McAllister was designated for assignment on Friday, with the intention of optioning him to Columbus.

Tomlin (5-7, 4.47 ERA) has struggled for the most part recently, going 1-5 in his last eight starts in the big leagues. Subtract his brilliant one-hitter in Seattle June 28, and Tomlin’s ERA would be 6.99 over that rough stretch. One of Tomlin’s biggest problems has been his inclination to serve up home runs.

In his last start in Columbus Thursday, Tomlin gave up two runs on four hits over five innings and struck out six. However, the two runs came on solo homers in the Clippers 6-2 loss to Louisville.

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Giambi threw it out to the universe and the answer was clear - retire No. 25

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 3, 2014

When Jason Giambi joined the Indians as a designated hitter two seasons ago, one of the first things he did was ask about having the No. 25 for his jersey.

“When I called over here to (head clubhouse and equipment manager) Tony Amato, I said, ‘hey, is (Jim) Thome’s number retired?’ He said, ‘No, he hasn’t retired yet.’ So, I said ‘I’d like to wear it.’”

Fast forward a year and a half later to Saturday when Thome surprised everyone at the unveiling of his statue by saying he was signing a one-day honorary contract so that he could retire “as an Indian.”

Giambi sat in the audience and listened and as soon as he heard Thome talking retirement, he knew what he had to do. 

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Indians shutout Rangers with 2-0 victory on Jim Thome's big return to Cleveland

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 2, 2014

On a night that included the unveiling of Jim Thome’s statue – and his surprise announcement of signing a one-day honorary contract with the Tribe so that he could retire as an Indian – the crowd of 28,285 were treated to one more reason to celebrate on a memorable August evening.

This 2014 Indians squad may not be as exciting as Thome’s 1990’s teams, but they are a scrappy bunch that Saturday rode a rookie starting pitcher and one of the best bullpens in the major leagues to a 2-0 victory over the Texas Rangers.

With Thome and his family and guests watching from one of the suites above, Indians left-hander T.J. House was as sharp as he’s been in during his rookie season. House started the game with five-plus shutout innings that included seven strikeouts – one shy of tying his career high.

House left the game having pitched to two batters in the sixth, both reaching base - leadoff man Elvis Andrus with a walk and Alex Rios with a base hit.

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Jim Thome had more than a statue to celebrate Saturday - announcing his retirement as well

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 2, 2014

Jim Thome slipped in a couple surprises in on the day his statue was unveiled at Progressive Field – as if the exciting day needed any more fanfare.

After pulling off the red drape that covered the towering statue, Thome stood a few feet away from his likeness posed with his trademark raised bat pointed out to center field pose and announced he was signing a one-day honorary contract with the Indians “so that I could retire as a Indian and make my dream come true.”

A half hour later in a pressroom in the bowels of Progressive Field, Thome took a few questions from the media, starting with the one many were thinking: “You didn’t want to negotiate one last at-bat, too?”

“That’d be fun,” Thome said. “I’m always ready for one more at-bat. But you know, the timing was right. I’d thought a lot about this. The hardest thing is to pick a time when you’re ready to walk away. When I did not retire, it’s because I did not know.”

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Murphy's 4-for-4 night leads Indians to 12-2 blowout of his former Texas Rangers team

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 1, 2014

David Murphy’s fingerprints were all over the Indians 12-2 blowout win over the Texas Rangers Friday at Progressive Field – in some really good ways and a few head-scratching ways as well.

Against his former team, the first-year Indians right fielder went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI and threw a runner out at the plate on a perfect one-hop throw that ended a promising second inning for the Rangers without a run scoring.

But Murphy also was tagged out on an odd fielder’s choice play in the bottom of the inning on some ill-advised base running. In addition, Murphy was charged with an error when he fumbled a double off the bat of Robinson Chirinos in the corner, allowing him to take third.

The error led to Texas’ first run in the fifth inning, as Chirinos came around to score on Roughned Odor’s ground out. The Rangers added a late run in the ninth inning against Indians starter-turned-reliever Carlos Carrasco.

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Indians and Rangers lineups for Friday's game

By Stephanie Storm Published: August 1, 2014

Here are the lineups for Friday night’s game between the Indians and the Rangers at Progressive Field, the first game of the three-game weekend series.

Rangers (43-65)

RF Shin-Soo Choo

SS Elvis Andrus

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