Tag:Indians
Posted on: September 24, 2011 1:32 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Gio buries Angels



By Matt Snyder


Gio Gonzalez, A's. The Angels desperately needed this game and they had their ace on the hill. All-Star Game starter Jered Weaver worked 8 1/3 innings, allowing just two runs, but he was outdueled by Gonzalez. The A's left-hander allowed only three hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings and pretty much ended the Angels' postseason chances with a 3-1 A's win. They are eliminated in the AL West and have an absolutely minute chance in the wild card.

Ryan Braun, Brewers. MVP? He might well win it on the strength of Friday night's three-run bomb in the eighth, as the Brewers clinched the NL Central.

Jim Thome, Indians. Prior to the game, the Indians announced that they would erect a statue of Thome in Progressive Field. During the game, he reminded everyone why. In a 6-5 victory, Thome went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and three RBI.



David Price, Rays. The Rays really needed this one. Sure, the offense was stifled in a masterful performance by Blue Jays' pitcher Brandon Morrow, but Price didn't have a memorable night. At least not in a good way. He allowed five runs in six innings. The box score only shows two of those runs being earned, but that's because of two throwing errors Price himself made in a three-run third inning. And the Rays now have a very tough task in the wild-card race

Drew Pomeranz, Rockies. The 22-year-old rookie looked great in his first two big-league starts, but he got a wakeup call Friday night against the worst team in the majors. The Houston Astros lit him up for seven hits and six earned runs in just two innings.

The White Sox. Well, let's see. Bruce Chen absolutely owns them -- as he spun yet another gem against the Sox Friday night. The White Sox only managed two hits all game. Their pitching staff also allowed 18 hits and 11 runs, including nine extra-base hits to the Royals. Oh, and starting pitcher Zach Stewart also committed two errors. So other than a poor showing with offense, defense and pitching, it was a good night. Right?

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 7:40 pm
 

Indians to honor Thome with statue



By Matt Snyder


Slugger Jim Thome began and played more than half his Hall of Fame career with the Indians. After a late-August trade sent him back to Cleveland, it's entirely possible he ends his career there, too (he's reportedly still mulling over a 2012 return). He'll soon be immortalized in Progressive Field for future generations of Indians fans to see, as the team announced Friday night it will erect a statue depicting Thome. It will be placed where one of his longest home runs landed (Mark Gonzales via Twitter).

Thome, 41, earlier this season became the eighth person in baseball history to hit 600 home runs. He now has 603, 336 of which came in an Indians uniform. He helped lead the Indians to the postseason six times from 1995-2001, three times finishing in the top 10 in AL MVP voting. Thome also has the 18th best OPS (.959) in MLB history and ranks eighth in career walks.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 21, 2011 4:57 pm
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Posted on: September 17, 2011 12:48 am
Edited on: September 17, 2011 1:29 am
 

Tigers claim first AL Central title

Justin Verlander

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Before Friday, the last time the Detroit Tigers won their division, there was no Central division and the Brewers were in the American League. With a 3-1 victory over the Athletics on Friday, the Tigers clinched the American League Central, their first division title since 1987.

Doug Fister allowed just three hits in eight innings of work, while Don Kelly had two hits and drove in two on a single and a solo homer to lead the Tigers to the win over the A's, clinching the division for Detroit.

Detroit made it to the World Series in 2006, winning the wild card before losing to the Cardinals in five games. Their last division title came back before there was Central Division and the team finished two games ahead of the Blue Jays and seven games ahead of the Brewers in the AL East.

The Tigers were as many as eight games behind the Indians early in the season, but overtook Cleveland for good  on July 21 after trading the division lead for most of June and July. Detroit's recent 12-game winning streak extended a 5.5-game lead to 13.5 going into Friday.

Fister, acquired in a trade-deadline deal from the Mariners with David Pauley in exchange for Charlie Furbush and others, was 5-1 with a 2.28 ERA in his first eight starts for Detroit, adding some depth to the Detroit rotation behind Justin Verlander. Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA in 21 starts for the Mariners.

The Tigers are the second team to clinch a playoff berth, but first to clinch their division. Philadelphia missed a chance to clinch the National League East after the Braves lost to the Mets, but fell 4-2 in 11 innings to the Cardinals at home. 

Cleveland held on to beat the Twins earlier on Friday, keeping the Indians' chance alive for a couple of more hours, but any real shot at making it a race were dashed when the Tigers swept the Indians in Cleveland last week.

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 9:17 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2011 11:12 pm
 

Thome doesn't know if he'll play in 2012

Jim ThomeBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Slugger Jim Thome said he's unsure if he'll return for a 22nd season.

Upon his return to Minnesota as a part of the Indians, Thome talked about his future with reporters.

"I haven't thought about it," Thome said (via the Plain Dealer). "I'm very blessed that I've been able to play as much as I have this year. Let's face it, teams have to call. You've got to get into the winter and see where you stand with that.

"Once I get home and sit down with my wife, similar to last year, we'll see where I'm at."

After going 2 for 4 with a homer in his return to Minnesota on Friday, Thome is hitting .246/.348/.462 with 14 homers in 86 games for the Twins and Indians this season, numbers down from his bounce-back 2010 when he hit 25 homers for the Twins. Thome signed a one-year deal with Minnesota before the season and waived his no-trade clause to return to Cleveland.

The free agent designated hitter market is one of the toughest to crack based on the number of jobs available. There are just 14 of those gigs and it's not a position that many teams like to platoon, even though Thome has done that the last two seasons. If you can't hit enough to DH against both lefties and righties, most teams will want a more versatile player to round out the roster.

At 41, it will be interesting to see if Thome fits into anyone's plans. With his homer on Friday, Thome now has 603 in his career.

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Posted on: September 16, 2011 1:46 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Hellickson good enough for Rays

Jeremy Hellickson

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays: The rookie allowed just three hits and a run in 5 2/3 innings in what was likely the biggest start of his young career. It wasn't the prettiest thing, as he needed 117 pitches to get through the outing, but it was good enough. The right-hander walked four and stuck out four, lowering his ERA to 2.91. After the Ryas put up four runs in the top of the third, the Red Sox had a chance to answer, loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning. Hellickson did give up a run on Adrian Gonzalez's groundout, but after intentionally walking David Ortiz, he got Kevin Youkilis to ground out, ending the inning, leading the Rays to victory. He also improved his record to 13-10.

Jay Bruce, Reds: Bruce didn't start Thursday's game, but he finished it. Although Chris Heisey started the game in right and moved to left in the eighth inning. Bruce struck out to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning after Francisco Cordero blew the save. After Joey Votto doubled to lead off the 11th, Bruce hit the first pitch he saw from Cubs reliever James Russell into the visitor's bullpen in right field. It was Bruce's 31st homer of the season and the 99th of the 24-year-old's career.

Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates: After giving up a first-inning homer, the Pirates' right-hander gave Pittsburgh the lead with a three-run homer, the first of his career. In his 101st career at-bat, Ohlendorf recorded just his eighth hit and his first extra-base hit. As for the other part of his game, Ohlendorf allowed just four hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out six and walking none for his first win of the season, a 6-2 Pirates win in Los Angeles.


Max Scherzer, Tigers: When a team is on a winning streak, nobody wants to be the guy who blows it. Scherzer did -- even though he may have done his team a favor, as now manager Jim Leyland and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon can now change their underwear. Scherzer gave up a three-run homer to David DeJesus in the first inning and a Kurt Suzuki homer in the second to dig an early hole for the Tigers in a 6-1 loss to the A's. In all, he went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and giving up three homers. Not only did Scherzer snap the Tigers' winning streak, he also delayed the team clinching their first division title since 1987.

Shin-Soo Choo, Indians: Activated from the disabled list before Thursday's game in Texas, Choo left the game after the first inning with a strain to his left rib cage. He had suffered a strained left oblique last month before going on the DL. It's been a disappointing season for Choo, who grounded out to end the top of the first. Choo also spent 48 games on the disabled list with a broken left thumb. Overall, he's hitting just .259/.344/.390 with eight home runs in 36 RBI in 85 games this season.

David Wright, Mets: A two-time Gold Glover, Wright has had a hard time in the field as of late. On Thursday he committed his eighth error in his last 10 games. During those 10 games the Mets have gone 2-8 and on Thursday the team finished off a 1-8 homestand with a 10-1 loss to the Nationals. Wright also went 1 for 4 and left five men on base. During that 10-game stretch, Wright is hitting just .154/.267/.179.

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 8:48 pm
 

Sizing up AL Comeback Player candidates

By Matt Snyder

We have officially moved past the two-week warning of this baseball season. In 13 days, it will be the final day of regular season baseball in 2011 and we'll move forward to the playoffs. So let's size up some of the players who have a shot at Major League Baseball's Comeback Player of the Year awards. Here we'll examine the American League, while the National League will be covered later Thursday.

The Comeback Player of the Year Award has been sanctioned by the MLB since 2005. It is voted upon by the 30 MLB.com beat writers (one per team). The criteria for the award is incredibly subjective and open to interpretation. Voters are asked to name a player in each League "who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season."

OK, so that's easy (please note sarcasm). Re-emerged from what? An injury? Sometimes. A horrible season -- like Adam Dunn's 2011 campaign? Maybe. It could really be anything, so it's tough to predict.

Here are the past winners, to help guide us:

Fun With Awards
2005: Jason Giambi, Ken Griffey Jr.
2006: Jim Thome, Nomar Garciaparra
2007: Carlos Pena, Dmitri Young
2008: Cliff Lee, Brad Lidge
2009: Aaron Hill, Chris Carpenter
2010: Francisco Liriano, Tim Hudson

So we can see it's either a return from injury or futility. Sometimes it's a player who had already returned from injury but hadn't found his past form until a year or more later.

With all this in mind, I believe there are three frontrunners for this year's award. Below those three, I'll list seven others who might have a shot at garnering some support in the voting. Just remember this is pretty difficult to predict due to the incredibly vague and subjective criteria. Also remember I'm not necessarily saying who I'd vote for. I don't have a vote. I'm trying to predict who will win and who is in the running.

The Frontrunners

Josh Beckett, Red Sox
2010 numbers: 6-6, 5.78 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 21 starts
2011 numbers: 12-5, 2.49 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 27 starts
Why a "comeback?" Beckett battled a back injury in 2010 and then later in the season badly struggled -- he would go on to say he was overcompensating for his back not being fully recovered. He also had the worst year of his career by many measures. Now he's having his best season by many measures and made the All-Star team for the third time.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
2010 numbers: .276/.326/.346, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 39 R, 6 SB, 97 games
2011 numbers: .268/.328/.449, 22 HR, 82 RBI, 80 R, 17 SB, 142 games
Why a "comeback?" Cabrera fractured his forearm last season and missed a big chunk of time. This season, he would have been in the mix to win MVP at the halfway point. He started the All-Star Game and helped lead the Indians to a surprising first-place standing for a significant part of the season. The fact that both the Indians and Cabrera have tailed off might hurt, though.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
2010 numbers: .192/.241/.244 in just 18 games
2011 numbers: .320/.379/.544, 27 HR, 94 RBI, 109 R, 42 2B, 5 3B, 36 SB
Why a "comeback?" Two sets of broken ribs not only ruined Ellsbury's 2010 season, they also raised questions about Ellsbury's toughness amongst many fans. So much for that. He couldn't have possibly done more this season, even adding the home run to his arsenal. If I had to guess, I'd say Ellsbury runs away with this award, but I'll reiterate it's very difficult to predict.

The Others

Erik Bedard, Red Sox. Between July 25, 2009 and April 4, 2011, Bedard made zero starts because of a serious arm injury. He's now made 22 starts and been a quality pitcher this season (3.50 ERA, 1.22 WHIP).

Melky Cabrera, Royals. He was awful for the Braves last season and many mocked the Royals' acquisition of Melky last winter, but he's shown himself a productive offensive player, setting career highs in almost every major offensive category.

Bartolo Colon, Yankees. He hadn't been useful in long stretches since winning the Cy Young in 2005. Colon wasn't even in baseball in 2010. But he's been productive in several stretches for the Yankees this season.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles. He still hasn't completely shaken the injury bug, but Hardy's back to his 2007-08 power form, with 26 home runs (he had 17 in the past two seasons combined).

Joe Nathan, Twins. The long-time closer missed all of 2010 after having Tommy John surgery. He would have probably either won this award or been neck-and-neck with Ellsbury if he returned to form. Instead, Nathan struggled early and has only gathered 13 saves. That doesn't make his return any less impressive at age 36, though.

Jake Peavy, White Sox. The bulldog battled his way back from a rare medical procedure that re-attached his lat muscle to its insertion point in his shoulder area. He had several bright spots, including a shutout in his second outing back, but overall hasn't been good enough to win.

Carlos Santana, Indians. His rookie year was cut short by a bad knee injury on a play at home plate, but Santana has returned and swung a power bat this season.

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Posted on: September 15, 2011 1:36 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kershaw dazzles before ejection



By Evan Brunell

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers: A one-hit shutout for Kershaw. Rather, it would have been if not for home-plate umpire Bill Welke tossing Kershaw in the sixth. Backstory: Last night, Gerardo Parra received a brushback pitch he didn't appreciate and launched a home run, pimping it out. The Dodgers weren't pleased as Parra jawed with catcher A.J. Ellis. Kershaw was also caught yelling from the dugout and allegedly telling Parra he would "get him" Wednesday night. Well, the first at-bat went without incident, Parra rapping a single. Allowing just one hit while punching out five as Kershaw took the mound for the sixth, he threw a pitch that grazed Parra's elbow. It certainly wasn't a full-on plunking, but Welke tossed Kershaw immediately without warning. Skipper Don Mattingly was thrown out in the ensuing argument. On one hand, you can understand why Welke would have been monitoring this situation and perhaps even a bit jittery about something exploding and wanting to keep a lid on it, but this was just silly. On a pitch that grazed Parra in a 2-0 Dodgers game during a shutout? It's hard to believe that warranted being ejected -- again, with no warnings issued prior.

Roy Halladay, Phillies:
It was yet another divine performance for Halladay, who coughed up just six hits and one walk en route to blanking the Astros in a complete-game victory that edged his record to 18-5 and ERA down to 2.34. The win clinched a playoff berth for Philadelphia and was Halladay's eighth complete game of the year. "That's the beauty of being here," Halladay said, referring to the Phillies' muted celebration after the game. "We expect to win. You convert to that quickly, coming from a team where that wasn't the case. We had some big wins last year and come into the clubhouse and that's where we expected to be."

Carlos Beltran, Giants:  It was a big day for Beltran, who blasted two home runs en route to a 3-1 drubbing of the Padres. Beltran was responsible for two of those runs off his solo homers in the 1st and 6th, pushing his overall line to .289/.386/.524 with 20 homers, notching 300 for his career. Beltran, once his injury subsided, arrived too late for the Giants to be of any good but has clearly proven San Francisco had the right idea in dealing for the outfielder. Now S.F. has to worry about extending him, as he'll be a prized player on the market.



Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: The Pirates are now officially going to lose more games than they win for the 19th straight season. The club wasted a promising start that had them in contention at the trade deadline by immediately falling off a cliff and McCutchen is a prime culprit as to why. Prior to the All-Star Game, the center fielder hit .291/.390/.505 with 14 homers and 15 steals. But since then, in 203 at-bats, he's slashing .222/.330/.399 with eight homers and five steals. It's a disappointing end to the year for the 24-year-old after going 0 for 4 with a strikeout against the Cardinals.

Daniel Bard, Red Sox: Bard has been on rocky terrain lately and blew a 4-2 lead against Toronto by giving up three runs in the eighth, two earned. His ERA cracked 3.00 with the shoddy outing, rising to 3.10. He's now given up at least a run in his last three appearances, including five on Sept. 7 which is when his troubles began. Before that, his ERA was 2.10. Now, the team's best relief pitcher is imploding. It was the sixth loss in seven games for the Red Sox, who begin a crucial four-game series against the Rays on Thursday, where the AL wild card will hang in the balance.

David Huff, Indians: A grand slam highlighted David Huff's night, and not in a good way. Huff allowed eight runs in four innings, including Josh Hamilton's slam. But only three runs were earned, thanks to a Lonnie Chisenhall two-out error off the bat of Ian Kinsler. It was a dazzling game all around for Texas, who won 9-1. "That's what a team that was in the World Series last year looks like, a team that will probably win their division," Indians manager Manny Acta told the Associated Press . "We have some catching up to do."

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