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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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