Everyone around the basketball world seems to have an opinion on where LeBron James should play next. Wednesday, Indians manager Terry Francona threw his hat in the ring for LeBron to come home to Northeast Ohio.
“That would be really cool,” said Francona, whose a huge basketball fan. “Just because I am enjoying sort of being entrenched here, I would love it…I know I would plan my trips back to Cleveland a little more frequently.”
In fact, Francona shared a stoy about how watching James play helped him get though a particulary trying time as the former manager of the Boston Red Sox.
“I was in Miami a couple years ago when things were kind of falling apart in Boston, and I just went and hid,” Francona said. “I went and bought a ticket to a game just to watch him play - and it was worth it. It was great.”To read more or comment...
Here’s tonight’s starting lineups and pre-game notes for Wednesday's game – the third of the four-game series between the host Indians and Yankees.
2B Jason KipnisTo read more or comment...
August Fagerstrom's final thoughts following the Indians come-from-behind 5-3 victory over the Yankees at home on Tuesday:
1) Hats off to this Indians lineup for handing Masahiro Tanaka the worst loss of his short big-league career. The Japanese "rookie" has barely looked human for the majority of this season, but you wouldn't be able to tell after what the Tribe lineup did to him tonight. His five earned runs and 10 hits allowed were a season (thus, major league career) high. It was also the first time he's allowed more than eight hits in a game along with a homer and a walk.
"We don’t care who's out there," said Indians first basemen Nick Swisher. "We're a scrappy squad. We battle and we fight. It may not be pretty for the first six or seven innings, but we always find ourselves getting back in the game. You could put Cy Young out there and were going to fight, we're going to battle."
2) It was a game of ups and downs for Nick Swisher. In the fifth inning, he allowed Jacoby Ellsbury to reach via error for the second time in the game when a routine ground ball rolled right through his legs in Buckner-esque fashion. On one hand, this is the kind of thing that reinforces why Swisher has been the designated hitter in 13 of 17 games since returning from the disabled list. On the other hand, it makes you wonder if maybe he would have made that play were he seeing more time in the field.To read more or comment...
Any team this season in the major leagues that finds itself trailing the Yankees with right-handed pitcher Masahiro Tanaka on the mound might as well forget about any thoughts of a comeback. Just finish up the game and focus on the next day’s.
That’s because New York’s “rookie” and soon-to-be All-Star entered Tuesday’s game against the Indians at progressive Field with a 12-3 record, 2.27 ERA and armed with a devastating splitter that leaves his hand like a fastball, but ends up darting left or right on bewildered hitters.
But the Indians didn’t concede defeat Tuesday, despite trailing 3-0 after two innings and went on to claw back into the game and using two big home runs to secure a 5-3 victory against Tanaka.
Instead, they scratched out a run in the first and fifth innings on Michael Brantley doubles. Nick Swisher added a two-run home run in the sixth and Brantley a solo shot in the seventh to chase Tanaka – the Indians handing him season and career highs in hits (10) and runs (five).To read more or comment...
The Indians placed Justin Masterson on the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game with right knee inflammation. The move comes a day after Masterson lasted just two-plus innings in a start against the Yankees, allowing five earned runs on six hits, three walks and a hit batter. That marked the fourth time in Masterson's last five starts in which he was unable to last more than four innings. The move marks Masterson's first career trip to the disabled list, though he did miss a start at the end of June while dealing with the same knee issue.
Left-handed reliever Nick Hagadone was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to take Masterson's spot on the roster. This is Hagadone's fourth stint with the major league club this year, and he holds a 6.00 ERA in six appearances. His career ERA is 5.60 over 70 2/3 innings.
Catcher Roberto Perez was also promoted from Triple-A Columbus before the game. Perez receives his first call to the big leagues after hitting .305/.405/.517 with eight home runs and a stolen base in 53 games this season. Perez spent the offseason recovering from Bell's palsy, a form of facial paralysis that left him unable to close his left eye for monts.
Outfielder Tyler Holt was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus to make room for Perez. Holt appeared in one game with the Indians as a ninth-inning defensive replacement in right field.To read more or comment...
Tonight's starting lineups between the Indians and Yankees:
Kipnis 2BTo read more or comment...
Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on Monday’s opener of the Indians/Yankees series at Progressive Field – the Justin Masterson edition.
1) You’re probably as tired of hearing about Masterson’s struggles on the mound as much as I am of writing about it. Yet, there’s no getting around it: The Indians have to do something with big right-hander who had another short outing - i.e. - he didn’t make it through three innings. Again.
2) Masterson is averaging just 3 2/3 innings over his last five starts. Over his last three, he owns a 13.00 ERA. Looking at the bigger picture, eight of his starts this season have lasted less than five innings.
3) His latest debacle led to a 5-3 Indians loss – all five runs coming via the five Masterson spotted them between three in the second inning and two more in the third.To read more or comment...
Justin Masterson just didn’t have it – again.
And this time being Monday’s start in the first game of a four-game series against the visiting New York Yankees. And this time may have been the last shot for the former Indians ace, who hasn’t been able to find the command for a majority of the season that previously made him an All-Star.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pounder, who may or may not still be trying to pitch though a sore knee, just can’t seem to get his long limbs moving in the right direction at the same time. That point has been driven home in ugly fashion repeatedly over the last month, as he’s averaged 3 2/3 innings over his past five starts.
In Masterson’s latest debacle that led to a 5-3 Indians loss, he spotted the visitors a 5-0 lead in only two-plus innings. His troubles started quickly in a second inning that went like this: back-to-back doubles to Brian McCann and Brian Roberts, an Ichiro Suzuki single, a Kelly Johnson walk, Francisco Cervelli being drilled in the left thigh and a mound visit by pitching coach Mickey Callaway.To read more or comment...
The Indians acquired minor league outfielder Chris Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates Monday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
Although Dickerson has spent time with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles, he’d spent this season to date with the Pirates Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, where he’d batted .309 (eighth best in the International League) and owned a .407 on-base percentage (third in I.L.).
To make room on the roster, the Indians designated veteran reserve catcher George Kottaras for assignment. All of the moves over the last two days were necessitated by yet another problem with Michael Bourn’s lingering hamstring issues.
The Indians veteran centerfielder has battled hamstring problems since the end of last season. Off-season surgery appeared to help initially, but Bourn suffered more issues toward of end of spring training in March and again twice already this season.To read more or comment...
August Fagerstrom's final thoughts on the Indians 4-1 win over the visiting Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon.
1) It's undeniable at this point. Corey Kluber is one of the best starting pitchers in baseball. A true major league ace. Up until this year, Kluber had been a guy whose peripherals looked better than his ERA, due to consistent hard contact. Not anymore. After today's near-complete game, Kluber's ERA sits at 2.86, a top-10 mark in the American League. His peripherals are even better. His home run rate is a top-25 mark among all major league pitchers. His strikeout rate is top-10. His walk rate is bested by only David Price. This guy is the real deal.
2) Jason Kipnis makes sense not only as the interim leadoff hitter during Michael Bourn's absence, but moving forward even once Bourn returns. Since Bourn came to Cleveland last season, he owns a .316 on-base percentage. That is not the kind of number you want atop your lineup. Having speed at the top of your order is important, but nothing trumps OBP in terms of lineup construction. It's not like Kipnis can't run, either. His 38 steals since the start of last season beat Bourn's 30. Bourn's profile as a singles hitter with speed plays much better towards the bottom of the order anyway, as it makes more sense to risk outs with your worst hitters at the plate than your best.
3) With a double and a home run, Yan Gomes bolstered his resume as an All-Star caliber catcher. By the numbers, Gomes has been a top-three offensive catcher in the American League and arguably the most valuable defensive catcher in all of baseball. Whether he actually gets voted in is another story, but he certainly has earned it with his well-rounded play.To read more or comment...
Corey Kluber continued to dominate major league hitting, striking out 10 batters over 8 1/3 innings while walking just one and allowing four hits (one home run). The win improves Kluber's record to 8-6.
The Indians got on the board in the second inning on a leadoff home run by Carlos Santana. The homer gives Santana 13 of the season, tying him with Michael Brantley for the team lead.
The next batter, Ryan Raburn, singled, and two batters later Yan Gomes added a home run of his own to give the Indians a 3-0 lead. The homer was Gomes' 10th of the season.
The Tribe added on in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Michael Brantley, scoring Jason Kipnis. Brantley now has 57 RBI for the year.To read more or comment...
The Cleveland Indians placed center fielder Michael Bourn on the 15-day disabled list with left hamstring tightness prior to Sunday afternoon's home game against Kansas City. He is scheduled for an MRI later today.
Bourn sustained the injury while rounding third base in the ninth inning of Saturday's 7-3 victory over the Royals.
Bourn required surgery on the same hamstring in the offseason after injuring it in the final game of the 2013 regular season. He then started the 2014 season the disabled list after experiencing tightness shortly prior to Opening Day. Though this is just the second disabled list stint for Bourn, it's now the fourth time the troublesome left hamstring has flared up in the last nine months.
Though it is the same hamstring, Bourn insists this injury is in a different area than the previous injuries. He says those were more on the inside of his leg, while this one is on the outside.To read more or comment...
Stephanie Storm’s final thoughts on the Indians 7-3 over the visiting Kansas City Royals Saturday night, as the Tribe jumped out to an early 6-1 lead and held off a ninth-inning rally to even the weekend series.
1) Rookie starting pitcher T.J. House picked up his first major league win after limiting the Royals to three runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. House was so thrilled to finally notch a win in his seventh big league start, he didn’t mind being stuffed into a laundry cart, wheeled into the shower and doused with beer by his mischievous teammates.
“I’ll take it every time after a ‘W’,” said House with a dimpled grin, his black hair slicked back and still wet from the congratulatory beer shower.
The lineup card from the game and four of the evening’s baseballs had been put aside for House as keepsakes.To read more or comment...
All of the line drives that didn’t fall the previous night and frustrated the Indians batters to no end in Friday’s blowout loss to the Kansas City Royals, fell a plenty Saturday.
In addition to returning some of the Tribe’s hitter’s confidence at the plate, the 7-3 victory handed Indians rookie pitcher T.J. House his first major league win in his seventh start.
While current Royals starting pitcher and former Tribe first-round draft pick Jeremy Guthrie allowed six runs on 11 hits in just four-plus innings Saturday at Progressive Field, the lefty House tip-toed around base runners a majority of the way through his 6 2/3-inning outing while limiting the damage to three runs on nine hits.
After the Royals jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just two batters into the first inning, the Indians bats came alive against Guthrie with a trio of runs in each of the third and fifth innings.To read more or comment...
After flirting with a no-hitter last week in Seattle before settling for a career-best one-hitter, Indians starter Josh Tomlin struggled to even come close to repeating the feat Friday at a sold-out Progressive Field.
The right-hander held the Mariners to a fifth-inning Kyle Seager single in his last start on the road, but was tagged for five runs on 10 hits in just 5 2/3 innings in the Indians 7-1 loss to the Royals in front of the Tribe’s third sell out of the season.
"I didn't feel like I was fighting (control) that much," Tomlin said. "It's just I wanted to go in(side) a bit to try to get some guys off the cutter and I made a few mistakes.But I feel I made the right pitches for the most part.
Despite the double-digit hits, Tomlin kept the Royals in check by limiting the early damage to solo runs in the third and fifth innings. But in the sixth, he dished up a three-run home run to slugging third baseman Mike Moustakas - a blast into the right field bleachers that pushed the Royals advantage to five unanswered runs.To read more or comment...
Here’s the lineups for tonight’s game at Progressive Field that kicks off the first of a three-game weekend series between the host Indians and Royals Friday night:
Michael Bourn CF
Asdrubal Cabrera SSTo read more or comment...
Nineteen final thoughts as the Indians win a big three-game series.
1. Those who thought the Indians’ eight-game, three-city road trip was unusual don’t know the half of it. It ended Wednesday in Dodger Stadium with right-hander Trevor Bauer hugging left fielder Michael Brantley.
2. Brantley, playing center with Michael Bourn given the day off, came back to the dugout in the fifth inning angry after lining out to third base with one out and Asdrubal Cabrera on second. Miguel Rojas went to his right towards the baseline and laid out for the ball to make the stab. It was at least the third line-drive out for Brantley in a span of six games.
3. That prompted Bauer to make what may have been his first public display of affection towards a teammate, and it was caught by the Dodger television network SportsNet LA.“The past 10 or 15 days he’s hit a lot of balls hard right at people. I kind of felt like he could use a hug,” Bauer said.To read more or comment...
LOS ANGELES: Clutch singles by David Murphy and Mike Aviles in the eighth inning that left Dodger fans second-guessing manager Don Mattingly and booing reliever Brian Wilson helped the Indians pull out a 5-4 victory Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
Murphy and Aviles also helped the Tribe take the series 2-1 against one of the hottest teams in the National League and end an eight-game, three-city road trip with a 4-4 record.
But it was not without drama in the bottom of the ninth, when the Dodgers put runners on second and third with two out off right-hander Cody Allen. MIchael Brantley caught Matt Kemp's fly ball to center field on the warning track for the final out.
After Wilson walked leadoff batters Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana in the eighth, Mattingly elected to leave in the right-hander. Wilson struck out right-hander Yan Gomes on three pitches. But left-handed hitting pinch-hitter David Murphy, who broke out of a half-month slump with three hits Tuesday night, singled to left field to tie the game 3-3.To read more or comment...
Here's what Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said about Tuesday night's 7-2-4 triple play by the Indians at Dodger Stadium that included two replay challenges.
After Michael Brantley caught a fly ball in left and his throw home nailed Dee Gordon at the plate, catcher Yan Gomes hesitated to bait Yasiel Puig to go from first to second, then threw to second baseman Jasn Kipnis to try to get Puig. Puig was called safe, but that was reversed after Tribe manager Terry Francona's challenge. Then Dodgers manager Don Mattingly challenged the call at home, but it was upheld.
Q: What did you think of the triple play?
Antonetti: "Glad we had replay. I’ve been consistent in supporting the increased replay. I know no system’s perfect, but it helped get two calls right last night. That’s ultimately the goal of the system. By and large that’s been the effect this year. I imagine there will be some tweaks moving forward. But we have a better system now than we had last year."To read more or comment...
Twenty-one final thoughts as I wonder what strange thing is going to happen to the Indians next.
1. The best part of the Indians’ replay-assisted triple play was the matchup of one of the fastest men in baseball, Dodgers second baseman Dee Gordon, and one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, Indians left fielder Michael Brantley.
2. In the fourth inning, Gordon reached base by beating out an infield single to third, clocked in the press box at 3.72 seconds from home to first.
3. “That’s special, that’s something you can’t teach,” Brantley said of Gordon’s speed. “Look at his stolen bases (40, caught stealing only nine times). He had an infield single tonight that you very rarely see. Lonnie (Chisenhall) did a great job getting the ball out of his glove so fast and he beat it, no doubt about it. He can really run.”To read more or comment...
LOS ANGELES: History is nipping at the Cleveland Indians’ heels nearly every night.
Instant replay broke new ground Tuesday at Dodger Stadium when the Indians were awarded a triple play that included two manager challenges. Without Major League Baseball’s expanded replay system this season, the Indians would not have been awarded the third out.
The feat highlighted the Indians’ 10-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on an evening when Tribe right-hander Justin Masterson survived only three innings.
The Indians came into the game having been one-hit by the Seattle Mariners and Dodgers on consecutive nights. On Saturday, Indians’ right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a complete game one-hitter against the Mariners. But the fourth inning brought a play that rivaled anything that happened the previous three days.To read more or comment...
Tom Hamilton will be honored during a pregame ceremony for his 25 years as voice of the lndians on Friday, Aug. 1 as part of the Tribe's 20th anniversary celebration at Progressive Field.
During the game, Hamilton's calls for his all-time top 10 moments will be played throughout the park. They will also introduce the night's fireworks show, with a hits of 1994 theme.
On Saturday, Aug. 2, the Indians will unveil the new Jim Thome statue near Heritage Park and a replica will be given to 12,500 fans. Fireworks will have a Jim Thome theme.
Sunday, Aug. 3 will be the team's regular Kids Fun Day, along with Slider's birthday celebration.To read more or comment...
Thirteen final thoughts after the Indians make dubious history in Dodger Stadium.
1. The thing I’ll remember most about the Indians being one-hit in back-to-back games was that they got their only hit in the second game from instant replay.
2. That and the sound of broken bats.
3. Manager Terry Francona said the Indians had a couple shattered sticks – it sounded to me like a dozen against the Dodgers. Just as you can sometimes tell when a golfer hits a perfect drive from the sound the ball makes as it’s whizzing past your ear, the crack of a broken bat makes seems just as indelible.To read more or comment...