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Cleveland Indians

4-23-09 Morning Roundup

By jcfortun Published: April 23, 2009

The starting pitching seems to be turning a corner, but where were the bats Wednesday?

Cleveland Indians starter Cliff Lee pitched eight innings Wednesday night. He allowed two runs, nine hits, struck out five and walked one.

As April gets closer to May though, Lee has already equaled his loss total from a year ago (three). It wasn't his fault in yesterday's 2-0 loss.

On this night the Kansas City's freshly recalled pitcher Brian Bannister was better.

Sheldon Ocker wrote this in his game story:

That's because Brian Bannister (1-0, 0.00 ERA) turned the Tribe's bats into toothpicks. Bannister lasted two fewer innings than Lee, but he gave up only four hits and two walks, inducing the Indians to hit 10 ground balls for outs.

''He moved the ball around well, and he did a great job of making us hit his pitch,'' (Indians Manager Eric) Wedge said. ''Their entire staff did a very good job.''

There was only one opportunity for a breakthrough against Bannister. Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner began the fourth inning with singles, but neither runner got to third.

''We didn't get a lot going,'' Wedge said. ''But a couple of points in time, we could have done a better job.''


Yet Anthony Castrovince points out this should have been expected from Bannister.

His numbers against Cleveland:

4-1 with a 1.62 ERA in six career starts against the Indians
3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts at Progressive Field.

The bullpen didn't have a chance to ruin this effort as they were limited to one inning of work. In the ninth inning, left-hander Tony Sipp made his debut. 

Sipp struck out one and got two others to fly out to end the inning.

''He threw the ball great right off the bat,'' Wedge said ( per Sheldon Ocker). ''It was important for us to keep it at two runs.''

Yet Wedge allowed a raw rookie to do the job.

''We saw him in spring training and we trust our minor-league development guys,'' the manager said. ''We thought he could handle that situation.''

Sipp had no idea when he might be called on to pitch.

''I didn't know if they'd ease me in or throw me right into the fire,'' he said. ''I found out.''


Sipp, who has worked his way back form Tommy John surgery, says the surgery has made him better in the long run.

As far as the rest of the bullpen goes, Wedge expects right-hander Joe Smith to be able to shut down lefties as well.

THE REST...

-- Joe Posnanski is a fan of Brian Bannister.

-- The Indians six double plays Tuesday could or could not be a record be an American League record, depending on your source.

-- Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal did a question and answer profile with Jim Thome. The former Indians slugger had a lot of glowing things to say about Cleveland.

-- Time to vote for all-stars!

WHATS HAPPEN' IN AKRON?

Copied from Ohio.com brief:

Aeros 2-3, Senators 0-2 — The Aeros extended their winning streak to five games by sweeping host Harrisburg in a doubleheader Wednesday.

Jerad Head and Beau Mills each had an RBI for Akron in Game one. Head had two hits. Jose Constanza and Niuman Romero each scored a run.

Aeros right-handed pitchers Hector Rondon, Erik Stiller and Vinnie Pestano combined for the shutout in the first game. Rondon (3-0) earned the win, and Pestano notched his sixth save.

Rondon has a 1.10 ERA in 161/3 innings pitched this season.

In Game 2, Akron's Joshua Rodriguez, Carlos Rivero and Damaso Espino each batted in a run. Rodriguez, Romero and Head each scored a run.

Aeros right-handers Frank Herrmann and Carlton Smith combined for the win in the second game. Smith (1-0) earned the win.

Akron (10-2) remains in first place in the Southern Division of the Eastern League.

COLUMBUS CLIPPINGS

Catcher Wyatt Toregas hit two home runs. Wes Hodges and Stephen head each contributed a three run double in a 14-4 win over the Louisville Bats.

EVEN A STORY FROM KINSTON

Lonnie Chisenhall hit a grand slam and, for the second consecutive day, drove in a career-high five RBI.

The Indians beat the Pelicans 15-5.

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