MINNEAPOLIS: For Indians fans, aside from Shin-Soo Choo, the pickings might be slim, but voting began this week for the July 13 All-Star Game in Anaheim.
Fans won't be able to vote for their favorite Tribe players at Progressive Field until the team plays its next home game April 30, but they can log onto Indians.com and cast up to 25 ballots. Each ballot filled out at the ballpark will include a sweepstakes entry form that makes the voter eligible to win a new set of tires as well as an all-expenses-paid trip to Angels Stadium to see the All-Star Game and throw out the first ceremonial pitch.
Also beginning April 30, fans can vote at all Indians Team Shops. Voting ends June 12.
One thing Tribe operatives have been confident about since the outset of spring training is the offense. However, after 13 games, the Indians rank 13th in the American League in runs with an average of 3.5. They are 10th in homers with 10, 14th in batting average with a .214 figure and 14th in slugging percentage (.338). There is no 15th.
What was the problem? Justin Masterson walked five, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch (he also heaved a pitch three feet over the head of catcher Lou Marson, but nobody was on base) in four innings Tuesday night.
Was it an inability to command a particular pitch? ""I couldn't say it was one pitch,'' Masterson said. ""I'd throw one good one, and the next pitch would kind of flutter away.''
Again Masterson had trouble making his changeup behave. The changeup is one of the keys to him becoming a legitimate starter. He needs the pitch, because everything else he throws is hard, and batters will adjust. The changeup will allow him to keep hitters off balance, but so far the pitch has been very erratic.