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Indians OF Abraham Almonte nearing end of suspension; Indians rotation shuffled for rest

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 26, 2016

Indians outfielder Abraham Almonte will soon be eligible to return to the Indians, though it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be inserted into the major-league outfield.

Almonte was suspended for 80 games in the spring for failing a drug test that revealed performance-enhancing drugs. At the time, Almonte took responsibility for the failed test but said  he didn’t know how the banned substance entered his system.

He had originally figured to play a significant role in the Indians’ outfield, but his suspension opened up an opportunity for Tyler Naquin to win a job on the Opening Day roster, to which he has warranted extended playing time and earned a spot in the Indians’ outfield.

The outfield currently consists of Rajai Davis, Lonnie Chisenhall, Naquin, Jose Ramirez and Michael Martinez, the latter two acting as utility men. That also doesn’t include Michael Brantley, still trying to rehab his surgically-repaired right shoulder.

All five outfielders on the roster have been playing well. Almonte will be eligible to return July 3 but has an option and could be sent to Triple-A Columbus. The Indians have yet to announce a decision.

“I don’t make moves a week ahead of time,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He will have served his (suspension). The rules say he had to serve an 80-game suspension, so that’s what he’s doing. It doesn’t say that he has to serve 80 and then be penalized another 10. In a perfect world, things like that don’t happen. He’s a good kid that made a mistake and he paid a price, so did we, but I don’t think you have to pay more than the price.”

Shuffled

The Indians are flip-flopping Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer in the starting rotation during this up-coming series with Atlanta.

The Indians want to give Kluber an extra day of rest after both threw complete games against the Tampa Bay Rays. Bauer had been following Kluber after he took Carlos Carrasco’s spot in the rotation after he went down with a strained left hamstring.

The Indians don’t normally look to adjust the rotation in the middle of the season unless necessary to avoid sending a negative signal.

“One thing we don't want to do is reinvent the game or be too tricky for your own good,” Francona said. “Unless you’re coming down to the last week of the year, rearranging your rotation, I don't ever want our guys to think we’re running away from this guy to get to this guy, but I think when it’s rest and helping a guy, I think it’s really good.”

General soreness

Second basemen Jason Kipnis left Saturday’s game in the seventh inning and sat out Sunday. It was originally described by the team as an illness, but the effect was soreness or stiffness.

Kipnis was available to pinch-hit if needed on Sunday, indicating it isn’t something that is expected to be drawn out.

“I don’t know if he was dehydrated or what, but he was real stiff because of it,” Francona said. “I told him, ‘I was kind of on the fence of playing you tomorrow anyway.’ He said, ‘I’m not going to tell you I want a day off.’ I said, ‘Well I’m going to take it out of your hands.’”

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Indians 6, Tigers 0: 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 25, 2016

Here are 14 Walk-Off Thoughts on the Indians’ 6-0 win against the Tigers Saturday night.

1. Will a Cleveland team ever lose again? (Probably, but this is quite the run.)

2. The Indians have now won eight straight, are 8-0 against the Tigers this season and lead the AL Central by 4.5 games. And as of this typing, the Royals are losing 7-0, which would make it a 5-game lead. It’s the largest lead in the division for the Indians since May of 2012, and it’s the largest lead this late into a season since the end of 2007.  

3. Francisco Lindor had the first two-homer game of his career on Saturday, taking Anibal Sanchez deep in the first and then adding another solo shot off Mark Lowe in the eighth. He now has 10 home runs this season, which is third on the team behind Carlos Santana (16, one on Saturday) and Mike Napoli (15).

4. Lindor doesn’t fancy himself a power hitter, often saying he’s not trying to hit balls over the fence very often. The Indians have been pleased with how well he’s stuck to that line of thinking.

5. Said Indians manager Terry Francona, “I just think in the course of him taking good swings, he’s going to hit some balls out of the ballpark. But the good part of it is, when he has hit the ball out of the ballpark, he hasn’t shown up the next day and gotten long, trying to do that. I think he’s smart enough to know if he takes good swings, balls are going to get out of the ballpark at times.”



6. Said Lindor, “I think it’s my first multi-homer game ever. I don’t think I even did that in the minor leagues. It’s cool because we didn’t even need my home run. We had Santana’s and that would have won the game the way [Carlos] Carrasco pitched.”

More: Enjoy the Cavs’ title; Enjoy the Indians being in first place; Enjoy it all

7. As hot as the Indians have been, the starting rotation has been scorching. Carrasco tossed a complete-game shutout on Saturday, the third complete game in four games for the Indians after Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer went the distance against Tampa Bay. The Indians’ was rotation was pegged to be the AL’s best by most before the year. Right now, it’s about as good as any in the game, though the NL in the long run has some loaded rotations.

8. For Carrasco, it was his best start of the season, a sure-fire sign that he’s back to his normal self and a fitting park to put his formerly strained left hamstring—which he injured at Comerica Park—behind him.

9. Said Carrasco, “Really no, I remember that on April 24 when I got hurt in here. I was just trying to get my work done, trying not to remember anything. Sometimes we are human beings and we start to think about that. Today, I just went over there just trying to do all my bullpen and get ready for my game and that’s what I did.”

More: Rajai Davis’ game-winning catch Friday night brings confusion, late score change

10. The Indians barely even need relievers any more, it seems. There also might be a friendly competition brewing.

11. Said Carrasco, “It’s a little bit of a competition between us, but we don’t talk about it. ‘So, Kluber and Bauer [threw] a complete game, OK, let’s do that.’ Just trying to put zeroes on the board and trying to get deep in the game. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

12. The Indians got another good sign in the ninth, when Yan Gomes—in an ever-continuing battle to get going at the plate in 2016—clubbed a solo home run to left field, his eighth of the year.

13. Said Francona, “It’s nice to see him get rewarded for a nice swing because he’s been wearing it. He has taken some better swings. First at-bat, he got out in front of him but he got the barrel on it, just didn’t get enough. Nice and short and quick, that’s nice to see. When he gets going, that’ll be great for us.”

14. Indians second basemen Jason Kipnis left the game in the seventh inning with an illness, according to the club. Said Francona, “He’s just a little under the weather whether it’s a little bit of a bug or dehydrated. His whole body was getting stiff, so we got him out of there.”

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Francisco Lindor homers twice, Carlos Carrasco throws CG-shutout in Indians’ 6-0 win against Tigers

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 25, 2016

Francisco Lindor’s list of accomplishments in his roughly one full season in the major leagues is extensive. On Saturday, he added to it.

Lindor belted two home runs to make his first career multi-homer game, Carlos Carrasco tossed a complete-game shutout and the Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers 6-0 on the road. It’s the eighth straight win for the Indians, who also improved to 8-0 against the Tigers this season.

Lindor took Tigers starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez deep in the first inning, the second home run of the inning after Carlos Santana hit his team-leading 16th home run to lead off the game. In the eighth, Lindor added his second home run, another solo shot off Tigers reliever Mark Lowe and not far from where the first one landed down the right-field line.

Lindor now has 10 home runs this season, behind only Santana and Mike Napoli (15).

“I don’t think I even did that in the minor leagues,” Lindor said. “It’s cool because we didn’t even need my home run. We had Santana’s and that would have won the game the way Carrasco pitched.”

After going up 2-0 in the first on two home runs, the Indians pushed their lead to 3-0 in the second on an RBI-single by Rajai Davis. In the third, the Indians loaded the bases and made it 4-0 on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jose Ramirez.

Yan Gomes, back in the lineup after having to have a cyst drained on his lower back, added a solo home run in the ninth, his eighth of the season.

For Carrasco, it was his best start of the season, a sure-fire sign that he’s back to his normal self and a fitting park to put his formerly strained left hamstring—which he injured at Comerica Park—behind him.

“Really no, I remember that on April 24 when I got hurt in here,” Carrasco said when asked if he thought about his previous injury. “I was just trying to get my work done, trying not to remember anything. Sometimes we are human beings and we start to think about that. Today, I just went over there just trying to do all my bullpen and get ready for my game and that’s what I did.”

Carrasco allowed four hits, walked one and struck out seven to record the seventh complete game and third complete-game shutout of his career. It also marked the Indians’ third complete game within their current eight-game winning streak, following Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer against Tampa Bay.

Second basemen Jason Kipnis left the game in the seventh inning with an illness, per the club. He was replaced by Michael Martinez.

“He’s just a little under the weather, whether it’s a little bit of a bug or dehydrated,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “His whole body was getting stiff, so we got him out of there.”

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Indians 7, Tigers 4: Ryan Lewis’ 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on a winning streak, Rajai Davis' catch, more

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 25, 2016

Here are 16 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 7-4 win against the Detroit Tigers Friday night.

1. The Indians just keep rolling. They hit four triples Friday night—three in a five-run fourth inning against Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann—to win their seventh straight game overall and improve to 7-0 against the Tigers this season. And with the Royals getting shelled by Houston, the Indians’ lead in the AL Central was increased to four games.

2. The Indians are one of the hottest teams in baseball in the month of June. Just as importantly to many Indians fans, they’re handling the Tigers.

3. Said Jason Kipnis, who hit two triples and drove in three runs, “There’s no rhyme or reason to it right now I think we’re just feeling good at the plate as an offense. We got a lot of confidence. Guys are loose. When one guys slacks, the other guy picks up. We’re playing smarter baseball. We know when the situation dictates, for us to bunt a guy over, get a run over and get the guy in. We’re clicking as an offense right now, I think that’s what’s just going on.”

4. This winning streak came on the heels of being swept in Kansas City. The Indians returned home, won all six games and are bringing the show on the road. They’re also feeling about as good as they have since making the postseason in 2013. There’s genuine momentum being built.

5. Said Kipnis, “A little reminiscent to kind of almost that ten-game stretch at the end of 2013 to get in the playoffs where the team was just expecting to win every time we came out. It’s a new thing because we had just got swept by Kansas City and we go home and we’re like, ‘OK, well, we got some home cooking, we play better here, so let’s take care of business here.’ Did that. Now, we’re feeling good. We come back on the road and we’re like, ‘Hey, we’re feeling good. This is a big series. Let’s not just play good at home and not do anything on the road.’ This meant something to us, especially versus Detroit. We wanted to carry over the good vibes over here and I thought we did that.”

6. It was the first time the Indians (42-30) hit four triples in one game since August 12, 2001 against the Texas Rangers. And it was the first time since Opening Day in 1968 the Indians hit three triples in a single inning.

7. The Indians used them to knock around Zimmermann, who entered this game 9-3 with a 3.24 ERA. Said Kipnis, “He’s a good pitcher, I think he was just leaving some balls up tonight. You could tell, you look at the rest of his starts and his stats, the guy’s one of the better pitchers in the league. He’s a competitor. I think it was just one of those nights where we ready for it and he was just catching too much of the plate with them up in the zone. It doesn’t always happen, but we’ll take advantage of it when it does.”

More: Indians have best rotation in AL, benefiting from watching each other's bullpen sessions

8. Danny Salazar was again effectively wild. He’s had so much movement on his pitches—like his split-change, which by some measures is now the best pitching baseball for a starting pitcher—that he’s had trouble throwing enough strikes. But, more often than not, he’s pitched himself out of trouble, like in the first inning Friday night, when he walked the first two batters and then got Miguel Cabrera to ground into a double play.

9. It’s about continuing to trust his stuff. Said Salazar, “Today was one of those days. You feel good, but you don’t feel have all your strength in your body. All the guys kept coming to me on the mound and saying, ‘Keep battling and you’re be fine.’’



10. A 7-0 lead that was cut to 7-3 became very interesting in the ninth inning, with Cody Allen on the mound.

11. With one out, Andrew Romine struck out, but Chris Gimenez couldn’t find the ball and then committed a throwing error. Ian Kinsler then singled, and Cameron Maybin singled home a run, making it 7-4 and bringing up Cabrera—arguably the last hitter you want to see if you’re an Indians fan—as the tying run.

More: Indians SP Trevor Bauer finally clicking by keeping it simple, working with Chris Gimenez

12. Cabrera put a charge into one (104 mph exit velocity, per Statcast), and the Tigers’ faithful all thought it was gone. Rajai Davis, in center field, covered a great deal of ground and made a juggling catch on a dead sprint and then hit the wall. The Tigers didn’t think he hauled it in and kept running. Davis did hold on, though, and threw it in and began yelling to throw to first. Kipnis, being safe, threw it home, and then Gimenez throw to first to end the game on a great catch and a crazy double play.

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Indians power past Detroit Tigers 7-4 for seventh straight win

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 24, 2016

The Cavaliers took a detour to Las Vegas on their flight home from Game 7. Friday night in Detroit, the Indians enjoyed a little Lucky 7’s of their own.

Behind a three-triple, five-run fourth inning, the Indians downed the Tigers 7-4. The win was the Indians’ seventh straight and improved their record against the Tigers this season to 7-0.

The Indians first got to Tigers starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (9-4, 3.81 ERA) in the third inning. After Chris Gimenez and Rajai Davis each singled, Jason Kipnis ripped a triple to the right-field corner to put the Indians on top 2-0.

It became a 7-0 advantage in the fourth inning. Jose Ramirez hit the second triple of the day and Juan Uribe was plunked by a pitch. Both scored on Lonnie Chisenhall’s triple—No. 3 for the club— to right field, which got past a diving Steven Moya. Gimenez, starting as Yan Gomes heals from a drained cyst on his lower back, shot a single to right field to push the Indians’ lead to 5-0. After Carlos Santana doubled home Gimenez, Kipnis hit the Indians’ fourth triple of the day, third in the inning and second for him, capping the big fourth inning.

It was the first time the Indians (42-30) hit four triples in one game since August 12, 2001 against the Texas Rangers. And it was the first time since Opening Day in 1968 the Indians hit three triples in a single inning.

Indians starter Danny Salazar (9-3, 2.40 ERA) was a bit wild but for the most part effective. He threw 5 2/3 innings pitched, gave up three runs on four hits and five walks and struck out three.

As has been the case at times, Salazar struggled to find his command but was able to pitch his way out of it. In the first inning, Salazar walked the first two batters he faced to bring up Miguel Cabrera. The threat was quickly extinguished, as Salazar induced Cabrera to ground into a double play and Victor Martinez to fly out to end the inning unscathed.

His luck didn’t last in the fifth inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with nobody out and the top of the Tigers’ lineup upcoming. Ian Kinsler first singled home a run. Cameron Maybin that scored a second run on a fielder’s choice, and a third run scored on a throwing error by Francisco Lindor.

Still leading 7-3, Salazar avoided any further trouble. Cabrera flew out to the warning track in right field, narrowly missing a two-run home run, and Martinez grounded out.

The Tigers (38-36) made it interesting in the ninth. With one out, Allen (15 saves) struck out Andrew Romine, but he reached base on a throwing error by Gimenez after the ball went into the dirt. Kinsler and Maybin then singled, scoring a run and making Cabrera the tying run.

Cabrera put a charge into an Allen offering that reached the warning track. Davis, in center field, made a juggling grab on the run as he ran into the wall for the second out. In a bit of confusion, Davis threw to Kipnis, who threw to home, and Gimenez threw to first as the Tigers rounded the bases for a game-ending double play.

The win was manager Terry Francona’s 300th with the Indians (300-257 overall).

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Indians 6, Rays 1: Ryan Lewis’ 16 Walk-Off Thoughts on Trevor Bauer and Chris Gimenez’s impact

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 22, 2016

Here are 16 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 6-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday.

1. For the second straight night, an Indians pitcher went the distance and gave up three hits. This time it was Trevor Bauer, who also struck out 10.

2. It was the second career complete game and his sixth straight quality start, the longest streak of his career. He’s also tossed at least seven innings in five straight starts, which is also the longest stretch of his career.

3. Indians manager Terry Francona has often referred to “consistency” as one of more important words in baseball. Finally, for a stretch, Bauer is showing it and providing the Indians a fifth strong starting option, joining the rest of the rotation and proving as much depth as any in the American League. He’s been sharp each time out, which offers the starting rotation a strong compliment to Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Josh Tomlin.

4. The main reason behind this stretch of quality starts and better performances? Bauer has simplified things. Instead of trying to throw all seven or so pitches to each hitter, he’s put more of a focus on his fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup, and allowed the movement on those pitches to do the work instead of Bauer trying to out-think every hitter from a technical standpoint.

5. Francona and Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway each used the word “conventional” to describe the change.

6. Said Francona, “Obviously really good. He’s been so consistent. If I say this, I know Trevor will probably be mad at me, but he’s pitching almost more conventional. I mean that as a big compliment. It seems like he’s starting to command his fastball, throw a really good breaking ball, and a change up. I know he mixes in the other pitches. But he walked one tonight. That’s the one run that scored. He’s pounding the strike zone with really good stuff, changing speeds, it’s been really fun to watch.”
7. Said Callaway, “He's turned into more of a conventional pitcher, from what I see. He's simplified his mix. He's throwing 20-25 pitch bullpens. He's staying locked in and not overdoing it. He's doing a very good job of attacking the zone with both sides of the plate and multiple pitches and leading with his curveball when he needs to. He's throwing fastballs down and away when he needs to and becoming more of a conventional guy.”

More: Jason Kipnis' home-to-home single; Juan Uribe's power surge; Home field, Jobu helping

8. It also can’t be understated the positive effect that catcher Chris Gimenez has had. Gimenez has been Bauer’s personal catcher since the Indians acquired him, and Bauer has since taken off.

9. The Indians have looked to Bauer trusting more conventional practices for a while. Gimenez used to catch the Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish, who has a similarly extensive repertoire. And Bauer has pretty much had to learn the hard way through trial and error. Those four have contributed to Bauer finally following the lead and finding success, in conjunction with his own progression.

10. The potential has been there for several years. Bauer has his own way of looking at things, which isn’t necessarily a negative, but things just weren’t clicking. With Gimenez, Bauer has been a force.

11. When asked what Gimenez did to get Bauer to change his style, he jokingly said, “Punched him right in the face.”

12. Said Gimenez, “If you’e buying into something and trying it and it’s not working, it’s very easy to just throw it in the garbage and keep doing what you’re doing or going about it the way you want to do it. I think the fact he is getting some pretty positive results out of it is big for his mental part of it. And I think too, just knowing that he can show the coaching staff that he is able to go deep into ball games, I think that’s something that’s eluded him in the past. He’s walked a lot of guys and he’s thrown a lot of unnecessary pitches trying to get a strikeout as opposed to just getting a guy to ground out on three pitches. I think we still had 10 strikeouts tonight. And he’s able to throw nine innings. It is possible for him to do that. He just needs to establish the strike zone and then work off of it that way and let his stuff play.”

13. Bauer is fortunate to have had Francona and Callaway all this time. The Indians have been fortunate to have Bauer and his potential. Adding Gimenez may end up being the final component that completes the picture. A six-start stretch doesn’t mean long-term future success. But Bauer right now looks like the pitcher so many around the game had envisioned. The Indians have been pushing him for a long time. Now Bauer is giving the rotation a lift.

14. His development, which seems to again be taking a step forward, only strengthens an already-deep Indians rotation.

15. The Indians have now won six straight games, trying their longest streak of the season, and 11 straight at home. With a road trip coming up, the Indians will finish June a perfect 11-0 at home, the first time in franchise history they went undefeated at home in a month in which they played at least 10 games. In that 11-game home winning streak, they’ve out-scored opponents 66-21.

16. Indians pitchers have held Rays hitters to a .144 average this season. Per Elias, it’s the lowest average by an AL team against another in MLB history. The Rays will be happy to get out of Cleveland.

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Trevor Bauer goes the distance in Indians’ 6-1 win over Rays; Winning streak at six games

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 22, 2016

An estimated 1.3 million people made it into Cleveland on Wednesday. It’s possible none want to leave the city as much as the Tampa Bay Rays’ hitters.

Trevor Bauer kept them guessing all night and tossed a complete game in the Indians’ 6-1 win against the Rays Wednesday. It followed Corey Kluber’s complete-game shutout in Tuesday’s 6-0 victory.

Bauer allowed one run on just three hits—the same number of hits allowed in Kluber’s start—and struck out 10. It was his second career complete game and his sixth straight quality start, the longest stretch of his career.

Indians (41-30) manager Terry Francona has often referred to “consistency” as one of more important words in baseball. Finally, for a stretch, Bauer is showing it and providing the Indians a fifth strong starting option, joining the rest of the rotation and proving as much depth as any in the American League.

Bauer (5-2, 3.20 ERA) was able to pitch with the lead nearly all night. In the bottom of the first, the Indians knocked around Chris Archer (4-10, 4.70 ERA), the Rays’ ace who has struggled to limit the big inning early on. Wednesday night was a similar story. Carlos Santana opened with a walk and Jason Kipnis drove a two-run home run over the center-field wall, putting the Indians up 2-0 two batters into the game. Francisco Lindor also drew a walk, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Jose Ramirez’s single, making it a three-run first inning.

In the fourth, Lonnie Chisenhall continued his solid month with a double and then scored on a double off the bat of Santana that just got by a diving Taylor Motter in right field.

The Rays (32-38) finally got to Bauer in the seventh, though it could have been more if not for Lindor.

Brad Miller walked and Logan Morrison doubled to put two runners in scoring position, the first time any Rays runner made it to second base. With two outs, Corey Dickerson lined a ball headed to left field, but Lindor made a horizontal, diving play to field it to first save a run. He then got up, surveyed the field and threw behind Morrison at third base, who had taken too big a turn expecting it to get through the infield. Uribe applied the tag to end the inning and hold the Rays at just one run.

Santana added an RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh, scoring Tyler Naquin, who singled. Lindor then brought home Santana with a sacrifice fly to left field, pushing the Indians’ lead to 6-1.

It was the Indians’ sixth straight win, trying their season high, and the 11th straight win at home.

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Indians 6, Rays 0: Ryan Lewis’ 17 Walk-Off Thoughts on Corey Kluber, Jason Kipnis, Juan Uribe, Jobu

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 21, 2016

Here are 17 Walk-Off Thoughts after the Indians’ 6-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night.

1. Corey Kluber this season hasn’t had the same consistency he had when he won the 2014 AL Cy Young. But when he’s on, like Tuesday night, he reminds teams of how dominant he can be. On Tuesday night, he was about as good as they come.

2. Kluber tossed a three-hit complete-game shutout against the Rays, striking out nine. A runner didn’t advance into scoring position until the ninth inning. It was the 10th complete game and third complete-game shutout of his career. No AL pitcher has more complete games (10) since the start of the 2014 season than Kluber.

3. Like his nature, Kluber takes on outings like these in a methodical fashion, one inning at a time. Said Kluber, “I try to take it step-by-step, inning-by-inning, each inning try to go out there put up a zero. Hopefully at the end of the game, that pieces together to be a good start for the team. But I’m not trying to keep momentum from inning-to-inning, it’s just trying, each time out there, to not let them score.”



4. The Rays were aggressive Tuesday night, which played into Kluber being able to keep his pitch-count down and go the distance. Indians manager Terry Francona felt Kluber was fighting his control for the first three innings and then settled in. If Kluber was fighting his command, he still struck out four and allowed one hit in those three innings. “Then” he got into a rhythm, which is a pretty good picture for how the Rays couldn’t do much against him.

5. Francona didn’t think twice about sending him out for the ninth, saying, “No, not as long as he’s OK. We talked about pitch count lots of times. Sometimes it can be harder on a pitcher that’s laboring regardless of the pitch count. I think Kluber stayed in his delivery just fine.”

6. Jason Kipnis—sort of—had the most exciting play in baseball. With Yan Gomes on second, Kipnis lined a ball into center field. It took a weird hop and ricocheted off the glove of Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings and over his head, rolling all the way to the wall. It allowed Kipnis to go all the way around the bases for a de-facto inside the park home run, though in the scorebook it’s a single with a three-base error.

7. Besides a walk-off home run or the last out of the game, there aren’t many occurrences in which the crowd gets louder than when a hitter rounds third like that.

8. Said Kipnis, “Start running. Turn it up a notch. You’re already thinking about taking a wide turn for maybe drawing the throw, just to make sure the run scores. But once it got by him, you know you’re getting to third easy, and from that point, you’re just picking up the third base coach to see if you’re stopping or going.”

More: Michael Brantley gets second opinion, second cortisone shot

9. The last time Kipnis tried it, it didn’t go as well. Said Kipnis, “In Arizona. Someone put a piano on my back rounding third and Didi Gregorious threw me out by like 20 yards. I do remember that.”
 
10. “That’s when I wore a younger man’s shoes. I was trying to end the game. I was trying to play hero, trying to get out of there. This one was just fun. We already got the run in, the job was done, and I’m convinced that took a really bad hop and that’s a home run, that’s not an error. I’m hoping we send in a protest and get it changed. … It took a hell of a hop. It’s one of ones, it’s a fun thing, you’d love to have it, if not, oh well.”

11. Juan Uribe got hit a very sensitive region, missed time, came back and has now hit four home runs in four games. And that doesn’t include his off-the-wall double that missed being a home run by a few feet and nearly ended Sunday’s game. Since returning, he’s hitting everything hard.

12. Said Kipnis on Uribe, “There’s a sweet shot of him checking if it’s fair or foul with the umpire, that’s awesome. This is what he brings to you. He can get hot with the best of them sometimes. He’s a leader in the clubhouse, good defense, and he can change some games with the swing of a bat. And he’s been doing it the past four games. Just as long as he’s putting up consistent at-bats, you don’t care if he’s hitting .230 or not, because he can do that.”

13. Uribe’s home run came after Jose Ramirez hit a two-run shot. Kipnis joked it was the first back-to-back father-son home runs since the Griffeys.

14. Uribe’s home run was crushed, but it was down the left-field line. He used some body English to keep it fair.

All of Cleveland coming together tomorrow like:

(The usual h/t to our awesome photographers!) pic.twitter.com/VV8Nm8MtDn

15. Uribe really is one of the gems in the league. He’s known as one of the best clubhouse guys in the game. He’s 37. He shows up, he hits a home run, he leaves the clubhouse with a cigar in his mouth. There aren’t many like him.

16. The Indians have now won five in a row and 10 straight at home, improving their record to 40-30. It might be thanks to Jobu. Kipnis and Mike Napoli have a shrine to Jobu in-between their  lockers that includes two small figurines and three bottles of travel-sized rum. For now, it’s Bacardi, and the Indians are on a winning streak.

17. Said Kipnis, “We’ve had that there for a little bit, but it’s been working. He didn’t like the first airport vodkas we left him, so we tried Bacardi, and Bacardi seems to be working better. We’ll see. Right now it’s working. We’re not going to mess with what works. … Rum is what he likes best.”

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Corey Kluber dominates with complete-game shutout, Indians top Tampa Bay Rays 6-0

By Ryan Lewis Published: June 21, 2016

Corey Kluber has been plagued by low run support the last few years. Sometimes, he doesn’t need much, and it isn’t an issue.

Like on Tuesday night, when Kluber was again in his 2014 Cy Young form and led the Indians to a 6-0 win against the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was the Indians’ fifth straight win, one short of their longest winning streak of the season, and the 10th straight win at home.

Kluber had little trouble with the Rays, throwing a three-hit shutout. He walked two and struck out nine. The lone hit came in the second inning, when Corey Dickerson singled to right field. No Rays player ever made it into scoring position until the ninth inning.

For Kluber, it was his 10th career complete game and third career complete-game shutout. He tossed his second complete-game shutout earlier this season against Detroit.

Offensively, the Indians capitalized on a few Rays mistakes.

Still scoreless in the bottom of the third, Yan Gomes singled off Rays starter Blake Snell and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Naquin. Jason Kipnis lined a single into center field, which took a high hop and bounced off Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings’ glove and over his head. The ball rolled all the way to wall, allowing Kipnis to take the turn at third and head home for a de-facto inside the park home run, though it was a single and a three-base error in the box score.

In the sixth, the Indians added a third run of insurance for Kluber. Jose Ramirez singled and Juan Uribe reached on an error, putting Ramirez in scoring position. Lonnie Chisenhall sent a single back up the middle, scoring Ramirez and putting the Indians up 3-0.

In the bottom of the eighth, facing Rays reliever Steve Geltz, the Indians tacked on with the long ball. First, Jose Ramirez lined a two-run home run to right field, his fourth of the season.

Juan Uribe followed with a solo shot to the Home Run Porch, his fourth home run in as many games. With it, Uribe became the first Indians player to homer in four straight games since Kipnis did it in July-August of 2011.

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Indians OF Michael Brantley gets second opinion, second cortisone shot 


By Ryan Lewis Published: June 21, 2016

The wait for a Cleveland title is finished. The wait for Michael Brantley’s return continues.

After having his workload “ramped up” last week, Brantley felt discomfort in his biceps and lower shoulder area. He had a lighter day on Monday and was diagnosed with right biceps tendinitis.

The Indians flew Brantley to Dallas to meet with Dr. Keith Meister and get a second opinion. He also has received another MRI and a second cortisone shot. It’s more reason for concern that Brantley’s return will come later rather than sooner.

“Even though he was doing front-toss flips, the intensity was getting ramped up,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “The examination went really well—structurally sound. His biceps, that’s where the soreness is coming from. In the grand scheme of things, this is great news. … And if this is what it is, they can knock that out and he will get back on the path of coming back.”

That path was already being traveled slowly, as the Indians proceeded with caution after Brantley twice tried to return and twice had to be shut down. The Indians were pleased to see nothing structurally wrong, but multiple cortisone shots, opinions and stints on the disabled list has made his return a tricky case.

June is nearly coming to a close, and the Indians are still searching for answers with how to get Brantley back into the lineup.

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