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Danny Salazar, Michael Bourn lift Indians to 2-1 win against Oakland A’s

By Ryan Lewis Published: August 1, 2015

The Indians got yet another superb outing from a starting pitcher and a key hit from Michael Bourn to take down the Oakland A’s 2-1 on the road Friday night.

Tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Lonnie Chisenhall singled and then stole second. After Giovanny Urshela struck out, Bourn ripped a ground-rule double to the gap in right-center field to put the Indians on top.

The Indians (48-54) entered Friday night with three straight complete games and nearly got a fourth. Danny Salazar (9-6) allowed one unearned run (Urshela error) on just one hit over eight innings and retired the final 18 batters he faced.

Closer Cody Allen worked the ninth inning to earn his 21st save of the season.

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Indians trade RP Marc Rzepczynski to San Diego Padres

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 31, 2015

The Indians have reportedly made another trade, this one just before the 4 p.m. deadline, dealing left-handed relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski to the San Diego Padres for outfielder Abraham Almonte.

ESPN’s Keith Law was the first with the report. UPDATE: The Indians have confirmed the news.

Rzepczynski this season has a 4.43 ERA and 2.98 FIP in 45 appearances for the Indians. Rzepczynski is eligible for arbitration this offseason and then free agency after 2016.

Almonte, 26, has spent time at the major-league level in each of the past three seasons but hasn’t stayed for long. He has a career .233 batting average with five home runs and 28 RBI in 115 games. In Triple-A this season, he’s hitting .275 with four home runs and 35 RBI.

This deal comes after the Indians traded outfielders David Murphy and Brandon Moss to the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively.

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Indians get third consecutive complete game in 3-1 win against Oakland

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 31, 2015

For the third straight game, an Indians starting pitcher threw a complete game, this one in a 3-1 road win against the Oakland A’s.

Thursday night was Carlos Carrasco’s turn, as he allowed only two hits and one run while striking out seven. Carrasco (11-8) didn’t allow a hit after the first inning and retired the final 16 hitters in a row.

It marked the first time since 1994 that the Indians (47-54) had three straight complete games (Mark Clark, Jack Morris, Charles Nagy), per Fox Sports. Prior to Thursday, Trevor Bauer (2-1 loss to Royals) and Corey Kluber (12-1 win) also threw complete games.

Offensively, the Indians did all their damage in the first inning against Oakland (45-58) starter Chris Bassitt (0-4), an Akron graduate. Michael Brantley doubled home a run and Carlos Santana followed with a two-run home run in the first inning to supply all the offense Carrasco would need.

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Indians trade Brandon Moss to St. Louis Cardinals for LHP Rob Kaminsky

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 30, 2015

The Indians Thursday morning completed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, sending outfielder Brandon Moss in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Rob Kaminsky.

Moss for much of the year had been the power bat the Indians were looking for when they acquired him this offseason, displaying plenty of power (mixed in with some strikeouts) in bunches, but has struggled as of late.

He’s hitting .217 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI this season but since July 4, a span of 21 games, he's hit .161 with only one home run and had grown frustrated with his performance as the team struggled along with him.

“When I told him [Moss] about the trade, he expressed a lot of that,” Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti said in a conference call with reporters. “One thing we’ve all seen with Brandon first hand is how much he cares, how passionate he was, almost maybe at times too much. And so he wanted desperately to be that force in the middle of the lineup.”

The recent six-game losing streak and offensive struggles pushed the team into a position of looking at their situation with an eye more focused on the future.

“No one expected to be in the position that we are in right now,” Antonetti said. “We’ve played our way to this point and so we now have to do what we can to make the most of the second half of the season. That’s what we have every intention of doing.”

Antonetti also said Thursday that the “likely” corresponding move will be to promote Lonnie Chisenhall back to Cleveland, though that has yet to be determined. Chisenhall has played some games in the outfield in Triple-A and could see some time there in addition to third base and potentially first base.

This is the second Indians outfielder dealt this week, after David Murphy was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Double-A shortstop Eric Stamets. The outfield now stands with Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Ryan Raburn, recently promoted Tyler Holt and when or if he can return to form, Nick Swisher.

This marks the third straight year in which the Indians and Cardinals consummated a trade around the non-waiver deadline. In 2013, the Indians traded infield prospect Juan Herrera to the Cardinals in exchange for relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. Last year, the Indians dealt starting pitcher Justin Masterson for outfield prospect James Ramsey.

This trade also means that the Indians essentially took a mid-level second base prospect in Joey Wendle, who was traded to Oakland straight up for Moss in December, and flipped him for Kaminsky, a highly-rated pitching prospect, in the span of about eight months.

Kaminsky, 20, was the Cardinals’ first-round selection (28th overall) in the 2013 draft out of St. Joseph Regional High School in New Jersey. He entered the 2015 season as the No. 5 prospect in the Cardinals’ system, according to Baseball America. Per MLB.com, he was the No. 3 prospect in the Cardinals’ system and the No. 88 overall prospect in baseball.

Kaminsky has spent this season in High-A Palm Beach, going 6-5 with a 2.09 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 94 2/3 innings pitched. He was leading the Florida State League in ERA and was eighth in strikeouts.

He has been inserted as the No. 3 prospect in the Indians’ system according to MLB.com, after outfielders Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier and before recent first-round selection and left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken.

Kaminsky, profiled as largely a ground-ball pitcher, isn’t the biggest guy, standing 5-11 and 191 pounds, but the Indians project him to remain a starter. Per Baseball America, he possesses an above-average curveball that he throws often, a fastball (which Antonetti called more of a sinker) sitting in the low 90s with downward movement and a “potential” above-average changeup.

“Rob’s a guy we’ve liked for quite a while out of the draft, Antonetti said. “Left-handed pitcher that’s got a good fastball with good life to it, generates a lot of ground balls, keeps the ball in the ballpark.”

He is being assigned to Class-A Lynchburg.

Below is a video of Kaminsky, via "Cubs Prospect Watch" on Youtube (Kaminsky was playing the Cubs' affiliate)

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Indians snap six-game losing streak with 12-1 rout of Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 29, 2015

The Indians could have benefited from spreading their production around a bit over the past week, but they nonetheless enjoyed a 12-1 rout of the Kansas City Royals Wednesday afternoon that snapped a six-game losing streak.

The Indians (46-54) took an early lead and then poured it on late, hitting a season-high four home runs.

With the bases loaded in the first inning, Yan Gomes was hit by a pitch, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead against Royals (61-39) starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (7-7). They loaded the bases again in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead with a Francisco Lindor sacrifice fly.

In the sixth, Giovanny Urshela ripped a solo home run to left field. After two singles, Jason Kipnis drove in a run with a single to left field and Lindor got ahold of an offering for a three-run home run down the right-field line, making it 7-0.

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See what Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti had to say on David Murphy deal, long-term view

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 29, 2015

The Indians traded outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night in exchange for Double-A shortstop Eric Stamets.

Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti spoke with reporters following Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Kansas City.

Antonetti explained the reasoning behind the deal and how the recent six-game losing streak affected the club's long-term view.
[On Eric Stamets]

"He's a guy we've liked for a while, dating back to his days in the draft from the University of Evansville. He's a defensive-oriented shortstop. He's a really good defender at short and is developing with the bat. He's a guy that will add depth to our upper-level infielders in our system and a guy we're excited to have."

[On the current situation]

"I don't think we anticipated being in this spot, where we would be trading a veteran like Murphy, who is not only a contributing player on the field, but a great guy on the clubhouse and has been a big part of our team the last few years. This is the situation we're in now and there was an opportunity for us to get back a player we liked and also, as important, may provide an opportunity for a younger player to come up and get some at-bats."

[On how the losing streak affected the team's views on the trade deadline]

"A week ago at this point, we were looking at all options and actively pursuing ways to add players to our major league team that were short-term fits. I think our focus is a little bit more longer-term, though we're still discussing players coming back to our major league team, but only players whose control extends beyond this year. So, it's shifted our focus a little bit."

[On how things have changed]

"It's really disappointing. I don't think any of us expected to be in this spot. The most important thing is that we make something of it and play as well as we can for the balance of the season and make sure that we enter 2016 in a better spot than we are in right now."

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Late home run dooms Indians in 2-1 loss to Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 28, 2015

Trevor Bauer has worked hard recently to limit home runs, something that he’s struggled with lately. He did well in that regard for eight innings Tuesday night, until Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer got the best of him in a 2-1 loss to the Royals.

Still locked in a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth inning, Hosmer got a hold of a Bauer offering and drove it over the right-field wall for a solo home run.

Royals (61-38) closer Greg Holland (22 saves) entered in the ninth and got some highlight-reel defense to close the game. Roberto Perez grounded a ball back up the middle that was fielded by second baseman Omar Infante. Infante fielded it, flipped it with his glove to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who beat Perez to first with the throw. After Michael Bourn walked, Mike Aviles hit into a game-inning double play.

Bauer(8-8) threw a complete game, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out six.

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Indians reportedly trade David Murphy to Los Angeles Angels

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 28, 2015
Murphy2

The Indians have reportedly traded outfielder David Murphy to the Los Angeles Angels.

Murphy was making $6 million this season with a $7 million club option ($500,000 buyout) for next season. The Angels had been in the market for outfield help and recently acquired Shane Victorino from Boston and David DeJesus from Tampa Bay.

Murphy this season is hitting .296 with five home runs and 27 RBI in 206 at-bats. The Indians had a log-jam in the outfield, as after everyday starters Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn and Brandon Moss, Ryan Raburn and Murphy were acting as a platoon. Once Nick Swisher returns from the disabled list, that'd be six outfielders. Murphy was also a left-handed bat on a team full of them.

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Royals 9, Indians 4: Monday’s One Last Thing on Cody Anderson not keeping his fastball down

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 28, 2015
AndersonRoyals

The Indians were pounded by the Kansas City Royals 9-4 Monday night.

Cody Anderson struggled again, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Monday’s One Last Thing: Cody Anderson hasn’t been able to keep his fastball down, and that’s been the biggest difference between his four starts and his last two.

Anderson started off his career on a great note, becoming the first player in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to throw at least 6 2/3 innings and allow no more than one run in each of his first four career starts. In 30 1/3 combined innings, he allowed only 17 hits and three runs.

He was of course going to come back to Earth, but he’s done so in a very sharp and severe manner. After allowing four earned runs and 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings in a loss to Milwaukee, Anderson was hit hard again Monday night.

The biggest difference between the first four starts and his last two: fastball command.

More: Jason Kipnis wants players to hold themselves accountable; trade deadline update

Anderson isn’t a strikeout pitcher with overpowering stuff. He works with leverage (Roberto Perez describes his pitches as “heavy” because of their downward movement) and control to induce weak contact, a stark contrast to the other four pitches in the rotation who could strike out 10-plus batters on any given night.

When he locates, everything works. When he misses, and especially up, hitters are going to be able to catch up to it and hit it hard.

It hurt Anderson early Monday night. Eric Hosmer drilled a fastball that missed up and away for a three-run home run in the first inning. An inning later, Omar Infante hit his first home run of the season in part thanks to another errantly high fastball.

That was the theme in Milwaukee as well.

“He had a tough time getting his fastball down,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He tried to go away to Hosmer and left it up, over, and we’ve seen Hosmer do that a few times. So that was a big damage early. He just mis-located a fastball on the next home run. But the last couple starts, he’s been up. When he locates [his] fastball down, and off of that with his changeup, he can always get by. And when he’s really locating, he can be really good. Just, the last two starts, fastballs up have kind of hurt him. That’s where they’ve done their damage.”

If Anderson can get back to his first-four-starts performance level, he’ll have the No. 5 spot in the Indians’ rotation all locked up for quite some time. Getting that fastball back down into the zone is the key.

“I’ve just got to get the ball down,” Anderson said. “When teams are aggressive, you’ve got to use your fastball and make sure that if you’re going to try to get ahead with a fastball, you’ve got to go down in the zone, maybe off a little bit and use that against them.”

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Indians follow up team meeting with 9-4 loss to Kansas City Royals

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 27, 2015

The Indians said on Sunday and Monday afternoon that they wanted to start “attacking” the game. They might have been on the offensive Monday night, but it was an ambush, as the Indians were pounded by the Kansas City Royals 9-4.

The Royals almost immediately put the Indians in a significant hole and never stopped piling on. Against starting pitcher Cody Anderson, the Royals put two runners on base for Eric Hosmer, who blasted a three-run home run to the bleacher seats in left field for an early 3-0 lead four batters into the game. In the second inning, Omar Infante added a second home run in the second inning, this one a solo shot to the Home Run Porch.

The Royals (60-38) weren't done. In the fifth, Hosmer singled home a run and Kendrys Morales followed with a two-RBI double that made it 7-1 and, with the Indians’ offensive struggles as of late, just about put the game out of reach.

In the top of the seventh, facing relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, Lorenzo Cain and Hosmer each singled, setting up an RBI single to center field by Morales and an RBI-sac fly off the bat of Salvador Perez.

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Jason Kipnis wants Indians players to hold themselves accountable

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 27, 2015
KipOs

Second baseman Jason Kipnis says the players in the clubhouse need to hold each other accountable.

Following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox that completed a four-game sweep at home, the Indians held a lengthy team meeting. Afterward, Kipnis said players weren’t being held accountable, were playing like [expletive] and that, ‘It’s just not the way we’re going to do business around here.”

On Monday, he clarified those remarks to say that they had nothing to do with Indians manager Terry Francona. It's all on them.

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Indians interested in Carlos Gomez; Carlos Carrasco deal falls through: trade deadline update

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 27, 2015
CarrascoChi

Friday’s trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Indians are now reportedly in talks that involve multiple teams.

Several teams are reportedly interested in Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, and per Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal, the Indians are among them.

Gomez, 29, wouldn’t simply be a two-month rental, as he’ll earn $8 million this season and is under contract for 2016 as well at $9 million. This year, he’s hitting .266 with eight home runs and 42 RBI, enough for a 1.9 WAR. He had a 7.5 WAR in 2013 and a 5.7 WAR in 2014.

A deal for Gomez would likely mean, either this week or this winter, that Michael Bourn could be on the move. Bourn has struggled the last two years while also carrying a large financial burden. He earned a 0.6 WAR, or just over league average, last year and has a -0.4 mark this season. He’s owed $14 million next season and also has a $12 million vesting option for 2017.

The Indians might have to get creative to acquire Gomez and then move Bourn in order to find some financial flexibility. The Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros area also reportedly interested in Gomez.

Per multiple reports, the Indians are also in trade discussions that include outfielders David Murphy and Ryan Raburn. Murphy, specifically, has been tied to talks with the Los Angeles Angels.

Both Murphy and Raburn have played well this season, but the construction of the Indians’ roster isn’t ideal for an outfield platoon with Michael Brantley, Michael Bourn, Brandon Moss and when healthy, Nick Swisher taking up four spots already. Murphy, especially, is a luxury as a left-handed bat on a team full of them. Murphy and Raburn each have club options for next season.

It’s also been well reported that teams were interested in the Indians' young group of starting pitchers. Specifically, the Toronto Blue Jays were targeting Carlos Carrasco. Those talks, according to Shi Davidi of Toronto Sportsnet, came close to forming a deal but “fell apart near the finish line.”

Indians General manager Chris Antonetti said last week that the team would be willing to listen to offers, but that it wasn’t motivated to make a move at this time.

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VIDEO: Indians hold team meeting; Jason Kipnis: 'We've been playing like ****'

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 26, 2015

The Indians lost to the Chicago White Sox 2-1 Sunday, completing a four-game sweep at home in which they scored one or zero runs in three of the four games.

Following the loss, the team held a lengthy meeting in an effort to find a lost passion and to refocus.

"We spent some time talking about that, about what we want to be as a team and remembering some of the things that are meaningful to us and that it’s an honor to play this game," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Because there’s too much adversity in this game. We need to start attacking it better. I’m responsible for that. It’s not been going the way I want it to. That’ll change or I’ll probably die trying. But it’s going to change. It’s going to get better."

Second baseman Jason Kipnis echoed Francona's sentiments that something has to change. Below is a video, which is slightly NSFW.

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Indians bats still quiet in 2-1 loss to White Sox; Tribe swept at home

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 26, 2015

The Indians scored one or zero runs for the third time in four games and fell to the Chicago White Sox for the fourth straight day 2-1 at Progressive Field.

It took until the ninth inning for the Indians to get a run home. Facing White Sox closer David Robertson, Giovanny Urshela tripled to center field to open the inning. Carlos Santana struck out and David Murphy grounded out to make it 2-1. Brandon Moss then flew out to end the game.

White Sox (46-50 starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (4-3) threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out nine. The Indians (45-52) had two quality scoring threats prior to the ninth. The first, in the third inning, had Brandon Moss and Roberto Perez on third and second, respectively, after they started the inning with a single and a double. Moss was then thrown out at home on a ground ball to first baseman Jose Abreu, and Jason Kipnis hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

In the seventh, Brandon Moss singled to put runners on the corners with two outs, but White Sox reliever Jake Petricka stuck out Perez to end the threat.

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More Progressive Field renovations likely coming, could include seat removal, new scoreboard

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 26, 2015

The Indians are planning more renovations to Progressive Field this winter, which could include the removal of some seats and a new scoreboard.

Last winter, the stadium underwent $26 million in renovations that included seats being removed in the upper deck in right field, the addition of several area restaurant stands and other improvements.

Details of the upcoming renovations have not been finalized or announced, though Indians Senior Director of Communications Curtis Danburg on Sunday confirmed a Crain’s report that plans were in the works.

The Indians have already started to reach out to season-ticket holders who could be affected and have their seats removed, which could include those in the 200-level seats along the third-base line and some other areas. Per the report, seats could be taken out in order to open up the main concourse.

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White Sox 10, Indians 3: Saturday’s One Last Thing on Carlos Carrasco possibly tipping his pitches

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 26, 2015
CarrascoChi

The Indians were beat down by the Chicago White Sox for the third straight night, this time by a score of 10-3.

The White Sox have won all three games to start this four-game series and have out-scored the Indians 24-4 in the process.

Carlos Carrasco allowed five runs before Chris Sale ever took the mound, and the Indians never stood a chance as they fell to last place in the American League Central.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: Carlos Carrasco thinks he might have been tipping his pitches.

This game was pretty much over in five minutes. The White Sox jumped on Carrasco early with four consecutive singles to open the game that, combined with a passed ball, scored three runs. Later, another single up the middle brought home two more runs and all of a sudden, it’s 5-0 White Sox with Sale still in the dugout.

More: Indians not likely to be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline

None of the singles were hit particularly hard. The first couple were blooped, then a few ground-ball singles, then a broken bat. Nonetheless, five quick runs for a guy who probably only needs one each time he pitches.

Here’s Carrasco on the start to his night:



That immediately torrid start by the White Sox was enough for Carrasco to question if he was tipping his pitches, or if the White Sox had picked up something prior to his start. He said he wasn’t sure, he’d have to look. But it’s possible.

“Pretty much, yeah. I don’t know,” he said when asked if that’s what he thought was going on. “They hit really easily. I threw a good couple sliders and then a changeup and they hit it really hard. I don’t know, that’s my guess. But I don’t know.”

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Carrasco said he’s going to look at the video tomorrow morning to see if he can pick anything up.

Pitching coach Mickey Callaway told manager Terry Francona that Carrasco might have had his best bullpen session prior to Saturday’s game, which made the five-run first inning even stranger. Perhaps Carrasco was tipping his pitches, perhaps it was simply a bad night.

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Indians lose third straight game in 10-3 loss to White Sox

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 25, 2015

The Indians needed to win Saturday night to stave off falling to last place in the American League Central. Realistically, that bid lasted about five minutes, as the Chicago White Sox jumped on starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco early in a 10-3 Indians loss at Progressive Field.

With ace and Cy Young contender Chris Sale on the mound, the White Sox wouldn’t need much offense to support him. They got that and then some in the top of the first inning, before he ever had to walk onto the field.

Adam Eaton, Tyler Saladino and Melky Cabrera all singled to start the game, giving the White Sox a 1-0 lead. A passed ball by catcher Yan Gomes moved Saladino and Cabrera into scoring position. Jose Abreu made it count, singling into left-center field to bring home two more runs and make it 3-0. After a fielder’s choice and a double by Alexei Ramirez, Tyler Flowers sent a ball back up the middle to score two more and make it 5-0.
In the fourth, second baseman Carlos Sanchez hit his first home run, a solo shot to right-center field that made it 6-0.

Carrasco (10-8) lasted four innings, allowed six runs on seven hits and struck out five.
The Indians finally got to Sale (9-5) in the bottom of the fifth inning. Carlos Santana led off with a double off the left-field wall. With two outs, Jesus Aguilar singled back up the middle to score Santana.

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White Sox 6, Indians 0: Friday’s One Last Thing on fans appreciating Corey Kluber in a loss

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 25, 2015

The Indians were blanked by the Chicago White Sox 6-0 Friday night. It came one night after they were routed 8-1.

The offense was shut down by White Sox starter Jose Quintana, who threw a complete-game shutout.

The Indians threw Corey Kluber, who again got no run support and took his 11th loss of the season.

Friday’s One Last Thing: On a night with nothing to cheer for, Indians fans made it a point to acknowledge Corey Kluber as the top-of-the-line pitcher that he is.

Kluber has the second-worst run support in baseball, behind only Quintana, his counterpart on the mound.

Kluber now has 11 losses this season compared to only five wins. The other three Major League pitchers with 11 losses: Milwaukee’s Kyle Lohse (6.29 ERA), Colorado’s Kyle Kendrick (6.12 ERA) and Philadelphia’s Aaron Harang (4.08 ERA).

Only Harang has been in the same are code in comparison to Kluber’s effectiveness (3.59 ERA), and he pitches for the Phillies, the worst team in baseball, so his win-loss record is of course going to be awful. To go farther, the four pitchers with 10 losses this year all have ERA’s worse than Harang’s.

Going by FIP though, Harang hasn’t been anywhere close to Kluber, either (2.47 to 4.08).

In other words, for Kluber’s win-loss record (which is an awful stat to begin with, but still), he’s been laughably better than all of his counterparts. In fact, by FIP, Kluber isn’t far off from his Cy Young pace last year (2.35 to 2.47).

Friday night, Kluber was hit a little bit and then wasn’t helped by the bullpen. But for the season, he’s been the ace the Indians have needed. Still, you can’t control the offense, and that has killed Kluber this season and assuredly cost him a spot on the All-Star team.

So on Friday night, when the offense did nothing, the team trailed all night and then it turned into a significant deficit, Indians fans did their part to give some extra appreciation to Kluber’s efforts, as they’ve gone largely unthanked due to the poor defense and offense behind him.

As Kluber walked off the mound in the eighth inning, he received a standing ovation, not something normally seen in a losing performance, especially considering this was one of Kluber’s poorer starts recently.

It was clearly an acknowledgment of his season-long body of work on a team that’s struggled to make it count.

Kluber was too frustrated by the night to realize it at the time.

“I didn’t notice that,” he said. “I was frustrated more than anything at that point, I wasn’t really paying attention to how the fans reacted to it.”

Not only did Kluber get hurt a bit by Bryan Shaw not being able to close out the inning, but the White Sox scored four runs on two balls that landed only feet inside the right-field line. Indians manger Terry Francona didn’t think Kluber deserved the line he ended up with, which goes along with him not deserving his win-loss record, either.

“I didn't ... I'm not paying attention to that, but I'm glad,” Francona said of the ovation. “He gives you everything he has and he deserved better than that line.”

It was a small pittance for a pitcher who’s performed much better than what he’s gotten credit for this season.

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Indians’ bats silent again in 6-0 loss to Chicago White Sox

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 24, 2015

If the Indians were hoping to pull off a hot streak heading into the July 31 trade deadline, they’re going the wrong direction.

They’ve been especially quite offensively as of late, and that reached a low point Friday in a 6-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox, one night after falling 8-1.

The Indians’ bats were rendered useless by White Sox starting pitcher Jose Quintana, who threw a complete-game shutout, allowing six hits and striking out eight. They had a couple scoring chances early, but the key hit never came.

In the first inning, Michael Brantley doubled with two outs only to have Ryan Raburn strike out to end the inning. In the second, Yan Gomes and Jesus Aguilar, making his 2015 debut, each singled with one out only to have Giovanny Urshela ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. In the third, two more hits were wasted as Kipnis was caught too far off second base after Brantley singled, ending the inning.

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White Sox 8, Indians 1: Thursday’s One Last Thing on Trevor Bauer being frustrated, not insane

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 24, 2015

The Chicago White Sox, honors of baseball’s worst offense statistically this season, routed the Indians 8-1 Thursday night.

Trevor Bauer gave up three home runs and was shelled again, another start in a tough stretch.

Thursday’s One Last Thing: Trevor Bauer has had a similar result as of late, but he swears he’s not insane.

Bauer started the year on a tear but has really cooled off. Here are his ERA’s by month:

April: 1:80
May: 3.72
June: 6.46
July: 4.42, and that was before his poor start Thursday night.

After each poor start, it’s been something. The hitters hit pitches out of the zone, or he couldn’t command, or like last week, he couldn’t get the competitive juices flowing after the All-Star break.

He’s often started each answer with, “I don’t know.” He’s frustrated and has said as much. But he doesn’t have the answers. Whatever he had in April, he’s lost it since June. It’s easy to forget he’s only 24, but there’s no denying his struggles as of late.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I threw a pitch right where I wanted to Melky and he was sitting on it, so that was a solo one. I missed with a fastball to Abreu and gave up a hit, and then threw a good fastball to and jammed Avisail and that one went for a hit. And then I made a bad pitch to Alexei. I don’t know. It sucks.”

More: Indians trade rumors roundup, including Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Moss, Mike Aviles; Nick Hagadone has elbow procedure, out 6-9 months

Part of the reason is that he’s actually been better against left-handed hitters than right-handed hitters, which isn’t really supposed to happen. Lefties are hitting .203 off of him with righties hitting .243 and with more power.

The goodness is that Bauer has identified the problem, which is the first step. Except, again, he can’t figure out why.

“Two homers to the lefties were fastballs right where I want to throw them, so props to them for hitting it. Righties kill me. For whatever reason I can’t get righties out and it sucks because you’d figure right-on-right, that’s usually an advantage. And it’s not for me. I try to contribute to the team’s success and to the team having a chance to win and I’m not doing that right now. And that’s the worst part about it.”

Bauer at one point Thursday night even brought up the definition of insanity. It’s reached that point.

“The definition of insanity is you try the same thing over and over and expect a different result. I’m not insane, so clearly there’s some adjustments to be made. I guess I’ll have to figure it out. Obviously if I knew I’d change something already.”

He also reached a high point of frustration after a reporter asked a question about his rising home-run-to-fly-ball rate, which is another issue, as it’s risen from 8.7 percent last year to 10.4 percent this season.

“I mean I think I just answered. If I knew I’d fix it. So, I really don’t know. I’ll look at it, try to find an answer and fix it. That’s where I’m at right now.”

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Punchless White Sox knock out Indians 8-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 23, 2015

An offense that’s lacked any punch this season landed plenty of haymakers Thursday night, as the Indians were routed by Chicago White Sox 8-1 at Progressive Field.

The White Sox entered the game last in the league this season with 310 runs and last in the American League in runs scored in July with 51. They made up some ground in those standings Thursday night against Indians pitchers Trevor Bauer and Kyle Crockett.

Bauer cruised through the first three innings and then was hammered in the fourth. White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera started the inning with a solo home run to right field. Singles by Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia were then followed by a three-run blast by shortstop Alexei Ramirez, making it 4-0.

In the fifth inning, outfielder Adam Eaton made it 5-0 with a third home run off of Bauer, also a solo shot, making it 5-0.

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Indians trade rumors roundup, including Carlos Carrasco, Brandon Moss, Mike Aviles

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 23, 2015
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The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching, and the rumors have started to swirl.

The Indians have drawn interest in utility man Mike Aviles, per a report by Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, though the team isn’t interested in trading him while his 4-year-old-daughter, Adriana, is receiving treatment at the Cleveland Clinic after being diagnosed with Leukemia in May.

Normally, teams won’t go on the record in relation to any trade talks or rumors until after the deal is completed or the deadline passes. In this case, though, the team felt comfortable acknowledging that Aviles won’t be going anywhere, for now, barring his asking for a trade.

“We're trying to be pretty respectful to Mikey and his family stuff,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We haven't spoken too much about it other than just to kind of maybe explain why he hasn't been here and stuff like that. But I know from the conversation with [Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti] and Chris to Mike, that's pretty accurate. If Mikey asked to be traded, that might be one thing, but I don't think, because of the situation Mike's in because of his family situation, that Chris would ever do that.”

Rosenthal also reported that the Indians are “unlikely” to move outfielder Brandon Moss, as he’s under team control through next season and is an affordable asset.

The Indians are willing to listen to trade offers in regard to their pitching staff, namely Carlos Carrasco, per a report from Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan. The Indians have spoken with the Toronto Blue Jays, per the report, a team that’s been mauling opposing pitching but has been in need of at least one arm to challenge for the American League East crown.

Passan notes that the Blue Jays have several possible pieces to make a deal work, including pitching prospects Daniel Norris and Jeff Hoffman and outfield prospects Dalton Pompey and Anthony Alford.

Carrasco, like the other four starters in the rotation, is under team control for several more seasons after he signed a four-year contract extension that includes two club option years. Due to the club options, the contract is team friendly and Carrasco is still only 28, so it would likely take a truly talent-packed offer to pry him from the Indians.

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Michael Brantley lifts Indians to 7-5 win over Brewers

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 22, 2015

Michael Brantley brought the Indians back and put them on top in a 7-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday.

With Cody Anderson struggling on the mound for the first time in his five career starts, the Indians trailed 4-1 early until Brantley tied the game 4-4 with a three-run home run, his seventh of the season, in the third inning off of Brewers (42-53) starter Kyle Lohse (5-11).

Two innings later, Brantley drove in Jason Kipnis with a single to left field to give the Indians (45-58) a 5-4 lead.

Brantley went 4-for-5 with four RBI. Francisco Lindor also hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot in the first inning.

Anderson lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits. Austin Adams earned the win, throwing 1 1/3 innings. Cody Allen ran into some trouble in the ninth, allowing a run and putting runners on the corners with one out but induced a game-inning double play to earn this 20th save.

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Indians struggle with runners on base again, fall to Milwaukee Brewers 8-1

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 21, 2015

Offensively, it was the same old story Tuesday night in Milwaukee.

The Indians went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and grounded into four inning-ending double plays, eventually falling to the Brewers 8-1 on the road. To put it in more perspective, the Indians tied the Brewers in hits (nine) in a seven-run loss.

Danny Salazar (8-5) went six innings, allowed three earned runs on two hits and three walks and struck out eight.

An error by Francisco Lindor later proved costly, as the bullpen struggled to keep it close. Zach McAllister relived Salazar but couldn’t record an out, allowing three runs on three hits, though only one of them was earned after a poor throw by Lindor led to two additional runs.

Brewers starter Matt Garza had been one of the league’s worst pitchers entering Tuesday but had one of his best starts of the year, throwing six shutout innings and improving to 5-10 this season.

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Indians walk to 5-3 win against Cincinnati Reds in extra innings

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 19, 2015

The Indians went 0-for-7 with the bases loaded and left 18 men on base but thanks to plenty of erratic pitching, somehow came away with a 5-3 win against the Cincinnati Reds in 11 innings Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

The Indians loaded the bases on five different occasions and never came away with a hit but did manage to score four runs, as Reds pitchers (Johnny Cueto twice, Manny Parra, Pedro Villarreal) all walked in a run.

The Indians held a 3-1 lead—thanks to the first three runs via a walk—until the Reds chipped away, scoring a run in the eighth and ninth innings (Cody Allen attempted a four-out save) to force extra innings.

In the 10th, the Indians loaded the bases against Aroldis Chapman but came away with nothing, as he ran up the count to 3-0 against Giovanny Urshela but fought back to strike him out, ending the inning.

In the 11th, facing Villarreal (1-3), Mike Aviles, Michael Bourn and Brandon Moss all singled to load the bases with one out. Yan Gomes earned the go-ahead walk and Jason Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly to put the Indians ahead 5-3.

Marc Rzepczynski (2-3) got the first out and Zach McAllister recorded the final two outs to end the game in 11 innings and earn his first career save.

For the season, the Indians now have more walks (12) than hits (10) with the bases loaded.

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco threw six innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out six.

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Indians 9, Reds 4: Saturday’s One Last Thing on the Indians getting a snapshot of what’s needed

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 18, 2015
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The Indians drilled the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 Saturday night at Great American Ball Park.

Corey Kluber got the win and, amazingly, some actual run support.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: If the Indians get back into contention, it'll have to look exactly like Saturday’s game.

The Indians entered Saturday night 6.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot. If they do end up challenging for baseball in October, and you’re wondering what it will look like, just check out this game.

The pitching was solid, as usual. Kluber threw 7 2/3 innings, allowed three runs and struck out five. That’s been there.

What hasn’t been there—and what’s been needed—has been offensive firepower from the middle-of-the-order bats. Michael Brantley hit a home run. So did Brandon Moss. So did Yan Gomes, and his reached the second deck in left field. Carlos Santana hit two doubles.

More: The state of the Indians at the All-Star break

For Indians fans, it was a sight for sore eyes. Power, and plenty of it.

“It feels good just to be on base,” Moss said. “It’d been a really bad stretch there before the All-Star break and you start hitting the panic button, wanting to try to find it, trying to force things. … I thought everybody swung the bat great today. We were aggressive. We swung the bats with authority, we weren’t just trying to get hits and panicking, trying to do whatever we can to get a guy in. We’re not a team that’s really built like that.”

It wasn’t just the power. Before Brantley’s home run made it 3-0, Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor each singled to start the game.

More: Slumping Brandon Moss trying to figure things out, welcomes All-Star break

“Yeah, it's awesome,” Kluber said. “Those first three guys in that first inning kind of set the tone for the whole game for our offense. That's a huge lift for the whole team to jump on a guy that quick.”

Kluber added that the Indians have ground to make up. It’s true. And if it happens, Saturday's game will serve as a template.

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Indians provide Corey Kluber with plenty of power in 9-4 win

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 18, 2015

Corey Kluber entered Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds last in the league in run support. So in comparison of what he had been used to, he received an embarrassment of riches of offensive support in a 9-4 Indians win at Great American Ball Park.

The Indians’ offense didn’t wait long to get things going, either.

Facing Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani (5-7), Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor each singled to start the game. Michael Brantley, a few pitches later, delivered the blow that really hurt with a three-run home run to the seats in right field, his sixth of the season, to give the Indians a quick 3-0 lead before they registered an out.

The Reds (40-48) got one back in the bottom of the first, as Brandon Phillips singled, advanced to third on a double by Joey Votto and later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jay Bruce. A run scored but catcher Yan Gomes helped Kluber out, as he gunned down Votto after he tried to take third base while Brandon Moss’ throw was in the air to home plate, which ended the inning.

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Second half starts on a down, rainy note for Indians in 6-1 loss to Cincinnati Reds

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 17, 2015

The All-Star break offers a sliver of renewed hope for many franchises looking to gain ground after a tough first half.

A few days off allows everyone to relax a bit, especially fans. Things settle down. Deficits don’t seem as daunting.

Some of that optimism evaporated quickly for the Indians Friday night, as they trailed early and never threatened in a 6-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Trevor Bauer (8-6) took the mound and was hit hard, giving up five runs on seven hits in four innings pitched.

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Indians TV ratings down 30 percent in the last year, per report

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 16, 2015

The Indians have seen a sharp decline in TV ratings over the last calendar year, according to a report by Sports Business Daily.

Last season, the Indians had a rating of 6.17, which was the fifth-best mark in baseball and a 14-percent increase over the pervious year.

At this year’s All-Star break, though, that rating is down to a 4.21, a 30-percent drop from where they were at the break last season. Only the Atlanta Braves (32 percent) and Chicago White Sox (43 percent) have seen steeper declines.

A positive sign in interest for the Indians were those TV ratings, which represented a large portion of the local market tuning in every night and helped to off-set the low attendance numbers. That appears to be trending downward.

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RP Nick Hagadine might have serious elbow injury; Indians getting second opinion

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 16, 2015
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Indians relief pitcher Nick Hagadone left Wednesdays’ rehab assignment with Mahoning Valley with elbow discomfort, and the early word is that it’s not looking good.

Hagadone was on a rehab assignment for a lower back strain over the All-Star break. He was looked at by Dr. Mark Schickendantz. The team is seeking a second opinion just to make sure, but the outlook seems bleak.

“He threw a pitch and felt it. He was examined and it's not good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “This is the same injury he had before. It looks like he did it again. We'll have more. This isn't something that's a week with no throwing. I think he hurt himself.”

Hagadone had Tommy John Surgery in 2008 before being acquired by the Indians. This season he has a 4.28 ERA and 3.77 FIP in 27 1/3 innings pitched.

If Hagadone were to miss an extended period of time, Kyle Crockett, as another left-handed relief pitcher to go with Marc Rzepczynski, figures to see more opportunities.

Crockett has shuttled between Cleveland and Triple-A Columbus all season. When with the Indians, he hasn’t allowed a run in 4 2/3 innings. Last season Crockett had a 1.80 ERA in 30 innings pitched.

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Five observations from the All-Star Game festivities, including Sharpies, mustaches and Mike Trout

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 15, 2015
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The American League defeated the National League 6-3 in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, earning home field advantage in the World Series. Monday night, Todd Frazier thrilled the hometown fans by winning an exciting Home run Derby.

Here are five takeaways from the festivities in Cincinnati.

It’s a zoo — There are people everywhere—outside the stadium, in the park, waiting in line for food, in the way-too-hot elevator, in the press areas, in the clubhouses, on the field before the game. One report had 3,000 credentialed media here on top of the fifth largest attendance in Reds history.

The Reds have a rather large visiting clubhouse, which is where the American League players were stashed, and thank goodness. On top of the several dozen reporters looking for the players they cover, the clubhouse is lined with things to sign. A couple of 10-foot tables with jerseys, several dozen baseballs and a couple bats for each player. Each All-Star grabs a Sharpie and goes right on down the line. And that’s after players individually signed a number of things on Monday. These were just the group items.

Last week, Indians manager Terry Francona said that you “sign your life away.” Considering the clubhouse looks more like a team shop than a locker room, he was right.

There were also fake mustaches every where, but that’s a Cincinnati thing.

The Home Run Derby is back — The best thing about sports are the communities they create and the roar of the crowd. Todd Frazier hitting bombs into the stands in Cincinnati and Reds fans going absolutely nuts for him was a lot of fun to see.

Normally, the hometown contestant for the Home Run Derby doesn’t really have any business being there and is the first one eliminated. But, it’s nice to give the crowd someone to root for, so it’s OK. Maybe because that’s normally the expectation, or maybe because he had to go up against two-time-champ Prince Fielder in the first round and hit 14 home runs to advance, but once Frazier started to rattle off a few home runs in a row, the crowd began to reach a boil. When he tied it and then hit the winner, it erupted.

Then he did it again in the second round, beating Josh Donaldson. Here’s video of the final 30-40 seconds of his second round victory. The video quality isn’t great from my seat, but the audio is what’s important.



The format helped as well, and the league deserves a lot of credit. Contestants had four minutes and then could earn 30 seconds of bonus time (which was easy to acquire, needing only two home runs of 425-feet or more).

Instead of hitters waiting 2-3 pitches before swinging, and taking their time, the Derby became a slugfest. Especially when guys were behind, they were swinging at everything rather than being picky. It picked up the pace, but the greatest effect was a buzzer-beater type feeling at the end of close rounds. Albert Pujols won a round with one, Frazier tied the final round with a home run in the closing seconds.

That extra element really set this Derby apart from previous editions. And it’s surely a format that is here to stay.

It’s frightening how good Mike Trout is, as always — Sometimes it feels like Mike Trout is toying with us. Here’s reason No. 46: In Trout’s first All-Star game, his first at-bat resulted in a single. In the second All-Star Game, a double. In the third, he hit a triple.

So he led off this one with a home run. That’s a cycle in his first at-bats in All-Star Games, in order.

Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke hadn’t allowed a run in 35 2/3 innings pitched entering Tuesday (this doesn’t really matter, but it just shows Greinke was the hottest pitcher in baseball the last month). And Trout, the reigning All-Star Game MVP, takes him deep to start the game, and he went to the opposite field to do it. As soon as it left the bat, the first thought that went through my mind was, “This guy is unreal, he did it again.” As it was traveling toward the seats in right field, I was debating if it’d be better if Trout went yard or if his former super-prospect brother Bryce Harper robbed him of it. Of course, Trout got the better of everyone, again, and became the first player to ever win back-to-back MVP Awards in the ASG.

Afterward, Jason Kipnis basically threw up his hands when asked about Trout. Everyone knows he’s the best player in the game, and the guy is 23 years old. Obviously he was already there, but immediately hitting a home run on one of the game’s biggest stages just places him even higher above everyone else.

This guy is unreal, he did it again.

The pageantry (and fanhood) of the All-Star Game is refreshing — One of the best parts about the All-Star Game is actually the collective feeling in the stadium moments before it starts.

It’s Reds fans giving a standing ovation to Pete Rose, a hopeful first step to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reviewing his case. It’s Reds fans then booing Ryan Braun and mercilessly booing all of the St. Louis Cardinals players, especially Yadier Molina, who loved it.

A harsh reaction followed his introduction, and Molina began laughing, turned around, pointed to his name and turned back around as the boo’s grew louder. It’s a fun example of fans against a rival player and everyone having fun with it.

Even Albert Pujols booed the Cardinals players in a joking manner. Then he was booed for having once played for them. He swiped his hand across his Angels uniform to remind them he doesn’t play there anymore, but it didn’t matter. Booooo!

It’s baseball in a relaxed manner you only really see once a year.

The All-Star Game’s meaning still doesn’t make sense, and everyone knows it — The fact that the ASG determines home-field advantage is probably the easiest running joke amongst everyone walking around Cincinnati the last two days. Like one of those common-knowledge jokes that everyone smirks at without even having to bring it up.

I sat next to a very nice guy from the Dominican Republic. Midway through Tuesday’s game, he became frustrated and was pointing out situations where, if the game really means something, then Pitcher X should never face Hitter Y. That’d never happen. But the managers still manage, at least halfway, with the mindset that the game is for the fans and they’re trying to be nice and get every player in the game.

Obviously, if you’re in control and you have all these players and for many of them this is the biggest highlight of their careers, you want to get them in the game somehow. You wouldn’t want to take away maybe their only chance to appear in the game.

It’s a weird balance and it doesn’t make sense. For example, Trout was replaced on the base paths by Brock Holt. That means Ned Yost’s wasn't only concerned with home field advantage, and he’s trying to be a nice guy.

That’s a really tough position to put someone in, trying to make those decisions and balance real consequences with a game that’s supposed to be a good time for everyone.

The Home Run Derby rule changes received an A+ from just about everyone. Everyone knows the ASG needs to be next.

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Jason Kipnis has quiet All-Star Game, but has "a blast" as AL wins 6-3

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 14, 2015

Jason Kipnis had a brief All-Star Game experience Tuesday night, coming to the plate once and playing three innings in the field.

Kipnis went 0-for-1 with a strikeout, falling to New York Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom, who struck out the side. Kipnis also made two plays at second base.

It was a quiet night, but Kipnis enjoyed the experience.

"It was fun," Kipnis said. "The results for personal success are always kind of second-hand to getting to experience the game and having fun out here. I had a blast and we won the game so we got the job done anyways. It turned out to be a fun night for me."

DeGrom made some history Tuesday night, becoming the first pitcher to strike out the side with 10 pitches or fewer. Kipnis joked that he's the one that had the four pitch at-bat, so his was better.

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Monday night’s Home Run Derby Winner: The clock

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 13, 2015

Monday night was Major League Baseball’s chance to unveil its changes to the Home Run Derby format, an effort to revamp a gem of an event that perhaps had grown a bit stale with some baseball fans.

In the easiest cliche opportunity of all time, the league hit a home run.

The changes: each contestant, in a bracket-style format, would have a set time limit in each round (It was originally five minutes, but due to possible severe weather later in the night, it was reduced to four). Also, contestants could have bonus time added on for longer home runs (this was also reduced a bit so that two 425-home runs gave you 30 extra seconds).

It created a new element, and it was gold. The running clock allowed for a couple of “buzzer-beater” home runs, especially from Albert Pujols, and injected some extra drama. Instead of hitters taking their time (and 3-4 pitches in-between swings) because they only had 10 outs to work with, many were more aggressive, swinging at everything they could.

It also helped that the hometown contestant, Todd Frazier, won it all in dramatic fashion. And the hometown crowd, of course, went absolutely nuts.

Frazier first had to hit 14 home runs to beat two-time champ Prince Fielder, and did. After taking down Josh Donaldson (here’s a video of the final 30-40 seconds), Frazier had to top that and hit 15 to take down Joc Pederson. Frazier fell behind a bit from the needed pace but caught a surge. As regulation time wound down (he still had a bonus 30 seconds after that), Frazier tied it late and then nearly won it but fell about 10 feet short as time expired. In the bonus period, Frazier belted a no-doubter to win it.

In terms of excitement, drama, the crowd getting into it, everything—this Derby will without question rank among the best. The hometown guy winning it was a key component, but the new rules are the lasting victory for the league.

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Indians’ 2014 first-round pick Bradley Zimmer promoted to Double-A Akron

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 13, 2015

The Indians’ 2014 first-round pick, outfielder Bradley Zimmer, is being promoted to Double-A Akron.

Zimmer has been playing well for High-A Lynchburg, hitting .305 with a .401 on-base percentage to go along with 10 home runs, 16 doubles and 38 RBI in 77 games this season.

Zimmer, 22, was selected 21st overall in last year’s MLB draft. He is ranked as the Indians’ No. 3 prospect (including Francisco Lindor) according to MLB.com and was ranked No. 84 in Keith Law’s prospect rankings before the season.

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Reds' Todd Frazier winning 2nd round of Home Run Derby

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 13, 2015

The Cincinnati Reds' Todd Frazier tied and won the second round of the Home Run Derby in the final seconds Monday night. The hometown Reds fans were going crazy in each of his first two rounds.

The combination of a hometown hitter doing so well and the new rules have really improved the excitement factor tonight.

Here's Frazier tying Toronto's Josh Donaldson and then beating him as the clock wound down. Apologies for the video quality, but it's the sound that counts.

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Indians’ offense falls quiet for Corey Kluber in 2-0 loss to Oakland A’s

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 12, 2015

The Indians’ bats might have started the All-Star break early, as they were nowhere to be found in a 2-0 loss to the Oakland A's Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.

Facing A's ace Sonny Gray, an All-Star selection, the Indians totaled just two hits, both of them being singles that did no damage. Gray threw a complete game with six strikeouts, improving his record to 10-3.

The Indians (42-46) wasted another terrific outing by Corey Kluber, perhaps the main storyline of the first half of the season. Kluber threw eight innings, allowed two runs on four hits and struck out six. Despite being in the AL’s top five in multiple pitching categories, Kluber's record dropped to 4-10.

The A’s (41-50) took a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, when A's catcher Stephen Vogt homered to right field. Vogt would have had two home runs if not for David Murphy, who robbed Vogt of one in the first inning with a catch at the wall.

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A's 5, Indians 4: Saturday's One Last Thing on Carlos Santana heating up

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 11, 2015

The Indians twice fought back but eventually fell to the Oakland A’s 5-4 Saturday night at Progressive Field.

A Billy Butler doubled that scored three runs put the A’s up 5-2 in the eighth. Carlos Santana crushed a two-run home run to make it 5-4, but that’s all the Indians could do.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak.

Saturday’s One Last Thing: Carlos Santana heating up could be the Indians’ biggest weapon in the second half of the season.

Santana has been ice cold this entire season. He draws walks, and enough so that he’ll always have at least some value in a lineup. But he hasn’t hit anywhere close to what the Indians surely had envisioned coming into 2015.

The Indians also didn’t know where to put Santana. He started at the cleanup spot as a run-producer. Since he wasn’t producing runs, he was moved up to the No. 2 spot in an effort to take advantage of his propensity to draw walks. But the hits weren’t coming at an even higher rate, and he’s now hitting fifth—and in one game, seventh.

A snapshot and how Santana’s value isn’t tied to his batting average, though: In April, he hit .239 but his on-base was .393. The Indians can likely live with that, even if it isn’t as sexy.

More: Mike Aviles tending to his daughter, placed on Family Medical Emergency List; Jose Ramirez recalled

But in July, he hit just .189, and they need Santana to do more with his bat than his legs. It’s why if the Indians need a major boost for their lineup, it likely won’t come from an outsider. It’ll come from Santana, and over the last week, he’s showing signs of breaking out.

Over the last few weeks, Indians manager Terry Francona has often brought up Santana’s series in Kansas City last July, when he clubbed five home runs in three days. Something similar is happening now. Santana is 9-for-20 with three runs, a home run, a double, a triple, four RBI and even two stolen bases of his past six games. And the home run he hit Saturday—which came after a double he lined to the opposite field—night really was a bomb.

“You see where he lined that ball to left center, and then they threw a fastball and you saw what he did with it,” Francona said. “He has that balance going, and again, if he starts to swing like that our whole lineup will be different.”

Santana said he hasn’t changed much as he fought through his struggles. But he’s now trying to focus on hitting the ball up the middle, which helps him square it up more often.

“Right now, I feel comfortable,” Santana said. “My body feels good now. I don’t try too much and am thinking in the middle. Trying to hit it in the middle and don’t swing at bad pitches.”

It’s not a farfetched point. Jason Kipnis has been one of the best all-around players in baseball this season. Francisco Lindor is starting to heat up. Michael Brantley is holding his own. David Murphy is still hitting well above .300, and Ryan Raburn has supplemented him nicely. Brandon Moss at times has shown enough power to offset his strikeouts. Yan Gomes is returning to form.

Santana finding his groove would add another key piece to hold up a starting rotation that’s gaining quite a bit of steam heading into the break.

“This will happen,” he said. “It’s baseball. It’s a long season. Nothing changed. I know me, and everybody knows, and Tito, he knows. I can help my team.”

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Indians bullpen falters in 5-4 loss to Oakland A’s

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 11, 2015

The Indians spent much of their Saturday night fighting back, but the bullpen finally cracked in a 5-4 loss to the Oakland A’s at Progressive Field.

The Indians and A’s entered the eight inning tied 2-2 when Zach McAllister (2-3) relived starter Carlos Carrasco. McAllister quickly recorded the first two outs, but then the troubled started.

Stephen Vogt singled, prompting Indians manager Terry Francona to call on left-handed specialist Marc Rzepczynski. He didn’t record an out, though, as Ben Zobrist singled and Josh Reddick walked to load the bases.

Bryan Shaw entered the game and on his second pitch, Billy Butler sliced a ball that landed just inside the first-base bag for a double, scoring two runs. Brandon Moss’ throw then got away from shortstop Francisco Lindor, allowing a third run to score and the A’s to take a 5-2 lead.

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Indians place Mike Aviles back on Family Medical Emergency List, recall Jose Ramirez

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 11, 2015
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The Indians on Saturday placed utility man Mike Aviles back on Major League Baseball’s Family Medical Emergency List and recalled shortstop Jose Ramirez from Triple-A.

Aviles was put on the Family Medical Emergency List on May 8 after learning his daughter, Adriana, had been diagnosed with leukemia. He spent a week on that list and was then put on the Restricted List for three more days.

Aviles is now again tending to his daughter, who is at the Cleveland Clinic.

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Indians take series opener, fourth straight game in 5-1 win over Oakland A’s

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 10, 2015

The Indians collected a couple of key hits, were the beneficiaries of a couple key walks and and received a key outing from Danny Salazar to down the Oakland A’s 5-1 and notch their fourth straight win.

Trailing 1-0 for much of the night, the Indians tied it 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning. David Murphy and Carlos Santana each singled off of A’s starter Kendall Graveman (6-5) to open the inning and were followed by Yan Gomes, who doubled down the left-field line to score Murphy. Jason Kipnis eventually came up with the bases loaded and two out but grounded out to first base on the first pitch he saw, ending the threat with the score still tied.

In the sixth, the Indians broke through. With two outs and Santana on first after another single, Giovanny Ursula singled and Michael Bourn walked, giving Kipnis another chance with the bases loaded.

This time, he didn’t have to lift the bat off of his shoulder. The A’s called on former Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz, who couldn’t find the strike zone and went on to walk both Kipnis and Francisco Lindor to bring home a run each time, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead without having to record a hit.

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Indians 3, Astros 1: Thursday's One Last Thing on an Indians starting pitcher setting another record

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015
Anderson

The Indians found a power surge in the sixth inning with four consecutive extra-base hits and downed the Houston Astros 3-1 Thursday night for their third straight win.

Cody Anderson was strong again in his fourth career outing, throwing 6 2/3 innings and allowing only one run on three hits.

Thursday’s One Last Thing: The starting rotation, again, set a record. It’s becoming a habit.

A couple of weeks ago, Anderson, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco became the first pitchers since at least the expansion era (1961) to have a perfect game after five complete innings in three straight games, according to Elias.

Then Wednesday night, Corey Kluber, Salazar, Carrasco and Trevor Bauer became the first rotation in baseball history to have four pitchers reach 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break.

Now the fifth man in that rotation has made some history of his own. Anderson on Thursday became the first pitcher in baseball’s modern era to allow one run or fewer and pitch at least six innings in the first four starts of his career, according to Elias.

His start of 6 2/3 and one run allowed on three this was possibly the worst start of the four. Anderson struggled with his changeup early—it was the same pitch that Hank Conger got ahold of for a solo home run in the third inning, the lone blemish on Anderson’s outing.

“Really good. I thought tonight was the least crisp he’s been of his four,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He didn’t have his real good changeup. Saying that, he really competed.”

That's the worst that probably bests describes Anderson’s style: competing. It’s a stark contrast from the first four pitchers in the Indians’ rotation, who are missing bats at a record pace. Then comes in Anderson, with his “heavy” pitches, as catcher Roberto Perez put it. Anderson has induced enough weak contact and at the right times to keep offenses at bay.

“I’m just going out there and trying to win games every time, keep us as close as we can every time,” Anderson said. “That’s my main mindset. I’m not looking to have great numbers or anything, I’m just trying to win games."

Which is good, because Anderson won’t put up the same strikeout totals of the first four. But he’s doing his job, and the Indians have gotten a couple of terrific outings from their No. 5 starter.

For the rotation as a whole, that's three records in the last three weeks and counting.

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Offensive surge powers Indians to 3-1 win over Houston Astros

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015

The Indians spent five innings Thursday night floundering against Houston Astros starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer. Then, in the sixth inning, they flipped a switch and found a power surge to win their third straight game against the Astros 3-1.

The Indians had only four hits—all singles—through the first five innings and then rattled off four consecutive extra-base hits to do all of their damage in one swift blow.

Trailing 1-0, Francisco Lindor got it started with a home run—the second of his season and career—to the bleachers in left field to open the inning and tie it. Michael Brantley followed with a double to right field and was followed with another double by Ryan Raburn, this one down the left-field line, to give the Indians their first lead of the night, 2-1. The Astros went to relief pitcher Josh Fields, though Carlos Santana kept the extra-base streak going with a deep fly to the base of the wall in left-center field. It caromed away from Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick, giving Santana a triple and pushing the Indians’ lead to 3-1.

After being dropped down to the No. 7 spot in the order Tuesday, Santana, who’s been hitting fifth the last two nights, had his second multi-hit game in three nights.

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Indians 3B Lonnie Chisenhall seeing time in the outfield; Jose Ramirez could follow

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015
Chiz

Lonnie Chisenhall started in right field for Triple-A Columbus Wednesday night, as he's trying to expand his defensive resume beyond being able to only play third base.
Chisenhall is expected to see some time in the outfield and at first base.

“He actually wanted to do that,” Francona said. “That was his idea. … If a guy can play the corner outfield and he’s a left-handed hitter and he plays first, that’s a pretty unique skill-set. And he can play third, too.”

Chisenhall is hitting .296 with three home runs and seven doubles in 25 games in Triple-A.

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Indians SP Josh Tomlin to start rehab in Double-A Akron

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015
Tomlin

Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin is ready to begin his rehab outings, and he’ll be starting in Akron. Tomlin has been progressing back from surgery in April to correct shoulder discomfort. Indians manager Terry Francona said that Tomlin will begin his rehab for Double-A Akron Friday night.

“That [rehab clock] officially starts so it’ll kind of be like a spring training for him,” Francona said. “I think he's going to be just fine. … I think as he gets back into pitching shape, we're finally going to get to see that guy, I hope. Now, or the end of this month, or the beginning of next month. Is it next year? We’ll see. But I know he feels good and we miss having him.”

Francona said Tomlin, once fully healthy, could rejoin the Indians in the rotation or the bullpen.

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Indians become first rotation in history to have four pitchers reach 100 strikeouts before AS break

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015
Kluber2

The Indians’ starting rotation has been missing a lot of bases this season, and now the’ve been elevated to an uncharted plateau.

Trevor Bauer struck out nine batters in Wednesday’s 4-2 win against the Houston Astros, bringing his season total to 102. He joined fellow starters Corey Kluber (148 strikeouts), Carlos Carrasco (115) and Danny Salazar (108) as 100-strikeout pitchers this season.
Thus, the Indians became the first team in major league history to have four pitchers eclipse 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break.

I’m kind of bringing up the rear in that one. It's fun,” Bauer said. “Shoot, the stuff that we roll out there every day is ridiculous. When we got on a roll, it’s tough to hit anybody in that rotation. [Cody] Anderson hasn’t been around long enough to be part of that group, but I have no doubt that, stuff-wise, he’s very capable of doing similar stuff.”

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Indians 4, Astros 2: Wednesday’s One Last Thing on David Murphy winning an imperfect situation

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 9, 2015
Murphy2

The Indians received a key hit from David Murphy, a two-run double in the eighth inning, and beat the Houston Astros 4-2 Wednesday night.

Trevor Bauer threw eight innings, allowed two runs and struck out nine in the win.

Wednesday’s One Last Thing: Indians manager Terry Francona was playing chess with the Astros’ bullpen and was rewarded for sticking with Murphy in an imperfect situation.



With two runners on in the eighth inning in a 2-2 game, Francona had a decision to make. At the surface, it seemed pretty clear. David Murphy was coming up and the Astros had lefty Joe Thatcher on the mound. Normally, Murphy would never have gotten out of the dugout and Ryan Raburn would be walking up to the plate.

Except the Astros had Pat Neshak warming up in the bullpen. If Francona goes to Raburn, the Astros go to Neshak. Either way, the Indians were going to have to come up with a big hit in an imperfect situation.

Murphy has been hot at the plate, so Francona stuck with him. And, he felt Thatcher wasn’t as big of a threat as Neshak. Murphy answered the call, lining a double to right field to score two and put the Indians ahead 4-2.

“Truth be told, I didn't just love it,” Francona said. “Thatcher is pretty tough and they had the inning set up pretty much like they wanted, and Neshek is sitting out there and he's pretty—he really is good and sometimes you just gotta stay out of the way, that's the best way I can say it, let your guys play and Murph is a good hitter and fortunately he got a good pitch and he drove it and that's what good hitters do.”

More: Shortstop Francisco Lindor is holding his own at shortstop, progressing at the plate

Entering Wednesday night, Murphy had only nine at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season.

“Stay on the ball,” Murphy said when asked what he was trying to do. “I think the easiest thing to do left-on-left especially when you haven’t gotten a lot of at-bats against left-handed pitching is to pull off. So I’m really trying to stay on the ball, especially with a guy that throws from that angle. I don’t have any chance to really hit the ball hard if I don’t stay on it.”

He hit it on the screws, and the Indians came through with the type of key hit that hasn’t come as often as they’d like this season.

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David Murphy lifts Indians to 4-2 win over Houston Astros with two-run double in eighth inning

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 8, 2015

Indians manager Terry Francona decided to stick with David Murphy in a key spot against a left-handed pitcher and was rewarded, as a red-hot Murphy came through with the biggest hit of the night to lift the Indians to a 4-2 win against the Houston Astros Wednesday night at Progressive Field.

Heading into a tied 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth, the Astros (49-38) brought in left-handed relief pitcher Joe Thatcher. With one out, Francisco Lindor stretched a single into a double on a ball hit down the left-field line and was followed by Michael Brantley, who walked.

Murphy, normally taken out for Ryan Raburn with a lefty on the mound, remained in the game and ripped a double—his second of the game—off the wall in right field, scoring both runners and giving the Indians a 4-2 lead.

Cody Allen worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his 17th save of the season.

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Indians place Nick Hagadone on 15-day disabled list; Closer Cody Allen available again

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 8, 2015
Hags

The Indians on Wednesday placed relief pitcher Nick Hagadone on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain and called up Kyle Crocket from Triple-A Columbus.
Hagadone has an ERA of 4.28 this season in 36 appearances. Only Bryan Shaw and Marc Rzepczynski have appeared in more games.

Hagadone said the injury is nothing serious, just some soreness. The Indians wanted to take advantage of the upcoming All-Star break and give Hagadone some rest.

“It’s kind of some up in the last couple days with a lot of use in the last 3-4 days,” Hagadone said. “Just something we thought we could take care of now, especially with the All-Star break coming up. … It’s not something anybody wants to do but taking a couple weeks now is better than taking more time later.”

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Indians 2, Astros 0: Tuesday’s One Last Thing on Corey Kluber’s All-Star-like performance

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 8, 2015
Kluber2

Corey Kluber put together the kind of outing that would have only bolstered his case to be an All-Star, as he shut down the Houston Astros to lead the Indians to a 2-0 win Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

Kluber threw 6 2/3 innings, allowed five hits and two walks and struck out seven.

Michael Brantley went 3-for-4 with a home run, his first since May 24, the longest such single-season drought of his career.

Tuesday’s One Last Thing: Kluber put up another All-Star performance, even though he won’t be making the trip to Cincinnati.



Many folks thought Kluber had a strong argument to make the American League All-Star team despite his 3-9 record. Sure, that doesn’t look great. But he has the lowest run support in the league (which he can’t control), at the time of the voting was tied for the lead in strikeouts and was second in FIP and WAR only to Chicago’s Chris Sale in both cases.

Today, those peripheral numbers mean more now than they have ever, and they say Sale and Kluber are leading the league. But, it wasn’t to be. The players and Kansas City manager Ned Yost decided the win-loss record weighed heavily enough to warrant Kluber’s exclusion from the team.

More: Carlos Santana dropped to seventh in Indians lineup as struggles continue

Now, Indians fans are clamoring that Kluber is an obvious snub when really, the starting pitchers representing the American League are all strong candidates. That being said, Kluber is in the top-5 in several categories as well. And had the voting still been open, Kluber would have helped his case Tuesday.

One day after being snubbed (according to some), Kluber blanked the AL West leaders over 6 2/3 innings. It was another dominating performance, and Kluber ended the night now solely in first place in the AL with 148 strikeouts.

“The key was working ahead,” Kluber said after the game. “And we also pounded them in pretty good. I think they had some pretty comfortable at-bats last night, so we wanted to make sure we used both parts of the plate.”

It wasn’t a bad response from learning he won’t be making the trip to Cincinnati with Jason Kipnis.

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Corey Kluber, after All-Star snubbing, shuts down Houston Astros in 2-0 Indians win

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 7, 2015

Corey Kluber put together the kind of outing that would have only bolstered his case to be an All-Star, as he shut down the Houston Astros to lead the Indians to a 2-0 win Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

One day after he learned he wouldn’t be making the trip with Jason Kipnis to the All-Star Game, Kluber (4-9) blanked the American League West leading Astros over 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven batters compared to five hits and two walks. Kluber also ended the night as the AL’s strikeout leader with 148, eclipsing Chicago’s Chris Sale.

He did need some help, though. But unlike so many times this season when Kluber has taken the mound, the offense did just enough and the bullpen came through when it was needed most.

That was in the seventh, when the Astros (49-37) put together their best scoring chance. With a runner on, Kluber struck out Jon Singleton but then walked Alex Presley, bringing All-Star starter Jose Altuve up with runners on the corners and two outs. Already at 119 pitches, Indians manager Terry Francona called upon Zach McAllister from the bullpen to get the game’s biggest out. McAllister came through, getting Altuve to chase a breaking ball in the dirt to end the inning.

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Astros 9, Indians 4: Monday's One Last Thing on Jason Kipnis hoping for All-Star Game changes

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 7, 2015
Kip3

The Indians fell to the Astros 9-4 Monday night, as Carlos Carrasco was roughed up early.

Before the game, second baseman Jason Kipnis was selected as the team’s lone representative in the All-Star Game. He also commented on the game's voting system and meaning.

Monday’s One Last Thing: You can now add Kipnis’ name to those hoping for change to the All-Star Game.

Earlier this season, Indians manager Terry Francona didn’t go as far as to call for change, but he did point out that by allowing the All-Star Game to determine home field advantage in the World Series but also allowing the fans to vote for the game’s starters, it was sending a mixed message.

It’s not that the there’s anything wrong with fans getting a vote, because there isn’t. But you can’t expect a fan to make a perfectly objective evaluation of 15 teams worth of players (and why wouldn’t fans vote in their favorite players so they can watch them in the game?).

More: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Cody Allen left off AL All-Star team
 

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Carlos Carrasco, Indians routed 9-4 by Houston Astros

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 6, 2015

After returning from an up-and-down road trip, the Indians’ last home stand before the All-Star break got off to a bad start almost immediately in a 9-4 loss to the Houston Astros Monday night at Progressive Field.

Starter Carlos Carrasco (10-7), in his first outing since coming one out away from a no-hitter in Tampa Bay, was rocked early. The Astros put together a five-hit inning in the first that led to a 4-0 lead before the Indians ever had a chance to bat. Houston’s Preston Tucker, who had four hits, two RBI and a run scored, took Carrasco deep to right field in the fourth inning for a solo home run.

Things didn’t fare much better for the bullpen. The Astros (49-36) added a couple of singles and a double from Jose Altuve off of relievers Nick Hagadone and Austin Adams to put three more runs on the scoreboard in the sixth, making it 8-2 and putting the game out of reach. In the seventh, Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run off of Jeff Manship to push the Astros’ lead to 9-3.

Carrasco finished the night after just four-plus innings pitched, allowing five runs on 10 hits and striking out five.

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Indians 2B Jason Kipnis selected to All-Star Game as lone representative

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 6, 2015
Kip

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis was selected to the 2015 All-Star Game for the American League Monday, the lone representative from Cleveland that will be making the trip to Cincinnati next week.

Kipnis is hitting .341 this season with an on-base percentage of .419 to go with six home runs, 27 doubles, 35 RBI and 56 runs scored. Kipnis also leads the AL in Wins Above Replacement with a mark of 4.8, per FanGraphs.com.

This is Kipnis’ second All-Star selection and the first since 2013.

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Pirates 5, Indians 3: Sunday's One Last Thing on Danny Salazar and the fifth inning

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 6, 2015

The Indians were doomed by a five-run fifth inning in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

Sunday’s One Last Thing: Hitters are hurting Danny Salazar in the fifth inning this year.

Danny Salazar was nearly untouchable through the first four innings Sunday, allowing one hit and striking out seven, as the Indians built a 3-0 lead. Then came the fifth inning, and things quickly fell apart.

Jung Ho Kang singled and Pedro Alvarez got all of a high fastball for a two-run home run, slicing into the Indians’ lead. Chris Stewart and Josh Harrison then singled, setting the table for Neil Walker, who tied the game 3-3 with an RBI single to left field. One pitch later, Andrew McCutchen blasted a double off the wall in center field to put the Pirates up 5-3.

MORE: Indians catcher Yan Gomes rounding into form; Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco could be vying for All-Star spot

That’s been the template for many of Salazar’s starts this season. A lot of weak contact and strikeouts the first two times through the order, and then the trouble starts once the opposing lineup turns over for their third at-bat.

Including Sunday’s start, Salazar has allowed 13 earned runs in the first four innings combined this season. In the fifth inning alone, he’s allowed 21 earned runs (and five in the sixth inning, his second-worst inning). His ERA in the fifth inning: 14.18.

MORE: Indians-Pirates box score

“It wasn't a big difference. I think I made some good pitches and they got on base with it,” Salazar said. “I followed [the] game plan. The pitches they hit, those were pitches I wanted to throw there, except for McCutchen, that changeup didn't break too much. I felt pretty good. Sometimes, a game will turn around just like [that].”

As with many trends or tendencies, Indians manager Terry Francona says every game is separate from the one before or after it. But, there is a habit of hitters making an adjustment the third time around against Salazar, and it’s working.

“Every game’s different. How do you know the fifth inning, who’s hitting, things like that?” Francona said. “Good hitters especially, when they come around after you’ve seen them a couple times they are going to make adjustments. It’s something we need to look at.”

When asked if he needs to make an adjustment later on in his outings, Salazar said, “Yes.”

“I think I just need to keep on working and try to figure it out, and see if I'm doing something different than when I start a game,” he said.

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Five-run fifth inning dooms Danny Salazar, Indians in 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 5, 2015

One big rally was enough to down the Indians and Danny Salazar, as they fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 at PNC Park Sunday afternoon.

The Indians (38-43) took an early 3-0 lead, as Michael Bourn, Roberto Perez and Michael Brantley all drove in runs with RBI singles.

Salazar breezed through the first four innings but ran into trouble in the fifth. Pedro Alvarez hit a two-run home run and Neil Walker later tied the game 3-3 with an RBI single. One pitch later, Andrew McCutchen hammered a ball off the wall in center field for a two-run double and a 5-3 Pirates (47-34) lead.

Salazar (7-4) lasted 4 2/3 innings, allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out seven.

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Indians offense falls silent in 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 4, 2015

Cody Anderson for the third straight time pitched into the eighth inning, but he found no offensive support in a 1-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday at PNC Park.

Anderson threw eight innings, allowed one run on six hits and struck out four. The Pirates’ lone run came in the sixth, when Josh Harrison doubled off the center-field wall and was hit in by Neil Walker.

Anderson (1-1) has pitched at least 7 2/3 innings in all three of his major-league starts since being promoted.

Pirates starter Jeff Locke (5-4), though, had the Indians’ number, to the tune of only two hits allowed over eight innings. The Indians did not have a runner reach second base until the ninth inning and at one point had six straight 1-2-3 innings.

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Indians 5, Pirates 2: Friday's One Last Thing on Trevor Bauer having some fun with batting stances

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 4, 2015

The Indians topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on a rainy Friday night, and in the process won their fifth straight game.

Brandon Moss hit a two-run home run to left field, Michael Bourn drove in three runs and Trevor Bauer was solid in his 6 1/3 innings pitched.

Friday’s One Last Thing: Trevor Bauer had some fun with his batting stance Friday night, because why not?

American League pitchers hitting is normally pretty funny. Trevor Bauer knows he probably isn’t going to get a hit. A reasonable best-case scenario is getting a bunt down when needed and hopefully having an at-bat that sees at least 5-6 pitches.

So he had some fun in his couple at-bats with a few impressions. First, he imitated Mike Aviles and his exaggerated bat waggle before pitches. Then, it was Jason Kipnis, and Bauer pointed his bat straight backward. Finally, he did Ryan Raburn, and how he taps his elbows together.

MORE: Indians-Pirates box score

In his final at-bat, a nine-pitch walk, he switched back and forth each pitch.

Aviles, along with every other player, loved it.

“That was kind of funny. It was funny because he was working on it yesterday pretty intensely in the dugout,” Aviles said. “He was working on his Raburn impression, his Kipnis impression and my impression with the roller, one of those rollers that you roll out your muscles with. He was messing around with it in the dugout yesterday and I saw him. When he said it yesterday, I was like, 'He's not serious.' He was.”

MORETribe pitchers make history with perfect-game bid streak

The Indians were leading throughout the game Friday night and entered the day on a four-game winning streak. It ended itself to a little humor and Bauer having a little fun.

“Obviously, I don't think you do that when you're down in a game or whatnot,” Bauer said. “I really don't expect myself to get a hit. I don't think anybody really expects me to get a hit, either. So, I'm just trying to have some fun with it and keep things loose. It seems to be working for us recently. Everyone seems to be having a little more fun and joking around a little bit more.”

Indians manager Terry Francona perhaps didn’t get as much amusement out of it as the players did. But he did respect Bauer for putting in a quality at-bat and even reaching base from the No. 9 spot in the order.

“I probably don’t laugh as much as the other guys. I probably worry more about the guys getting hurt because they’re just not up there that much,” Francona said. “I’ll tell ya what, he’s actually kind of held his own. He has a few different batting stances. He’s trying. He found a way to get on base. Both times this year he’s seen a bunch of pitches which really actually does help.”

When things are going well, everyone tends to loosen up. And when an American League pitcher comes to the plate, maybe there isn’t a better time to have a little fun.

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Indians top Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2, win fifth game in a row

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 4, 2015

Brandon Moss had the Indians’ biggest hit and their best play in the field and Michael Bourn had three RBI in a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at a rainy PNC Park Friday night.

After David Murphy singled to right field, Moss drove a Charlie Morton offering over the fence in left-field for an opposite-field home run, his 14th of the season, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning.

The Indians added on in the fourth. This time, it was started by Moss, who was hit in the ankle with a pitch. Yan Gomes then singled to left field but was too aggressive trying to turn a single into a double. He was thrown out, but Moss advanced to third. Two batters later, Bourn doubled to right field, putting the Indians up 3-0.

Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen came back in the bottom half of the fourth with a two-run home run of his own, this one to center field and off of starting pitcher Trevor Bauer (7-5).

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Indians' Terry Francona ranked as third-best manager per ESPN poll of scouts, executives, media

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 3, 2015
Tito

Indians manager Terry Francona was ranked as the third-best manager in the game today, according to a poll put together by ESPN.

ESPN surveyed 50 scouts, front-office executives, big league coaches and media analysts, asking them to select the game’s best managers in several categories. Overall, San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy was named the best manager in baseball with 24.2 percent of the vote. Baltimore’s Buck Showalter came in second at 21.5 percent. Francona was third, with 12.8, just ahead of Chicago Cubs skipper Joe Maddon (12.5). Those four led in nearly every category, creating a clear separation from the rest of the pack.

Francona was also named the best in the game at relating to his players, earning 24.2 percent of the vote. He came in sixth in handling a pitching staff, fourth in “best leader” and second in developing young players, behind only Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (15-15.3 percent). And when 177 players were asked if you could play for one manager besides their own, Francona was again third, garnering seven percent of that vote.

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Carlos Carrasco misses no-hitter by one strike in Indians' 8-1 win over Tampa Bay

By Ryan Lewis Published: July 1, 2015

Carlos Carrasco was one strike away.

With two outs in the ninth and two strikes in the count, Tampa Bay’s Joey Butler singled to right field just over a leaping Jason Kipnis’ glove. That was the Rays’ first hit of the game, as Carrasco was electric in an 8-1 Indians win.

He struck out 13, walked two and hit one in his 8 2/3 innings, improving to 10-6 this season. He’s just the fifth pitcher in baseball this season to reach 10 wins.

The Indians have had 14 no-hitters in their history, the last belonging to Len Barker in 1981 against Toronto. Carrasco was only a pitch away from being No. 15.

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