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What to like, and what not to like from the Indians this week

Apr 24, 2015 -- 3:45pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

It's been a rough week for the Indians since last Friday, losing four of their last six. The Tribe through their first 14 games, are 5-9 and are in last place in the American League Central Division. Despite the early struggles, and I do mean emphasis on the early part, here’s a list of things to like, and not to like, from the Indians this week.

 

Slow starts

What to like – The Indians in 2013 finished the month of April 11-13, but ended up reaching the postseason that year. In 2014 the Tribe went 11-17, they didn’t reach the playoffs, but finished with a winning record. Also, let’s not forget the 2002 Indians. That year the team started off with an 11-1 record -- they ended up going 74-88 that season. Either way you look at it, you can’t predict how competitive a team is going to be based on what they're doing the first month of the season.

What not to like – The hole that the Indians are putting themselves in early on in their division. Through 14 games this season, the Indians are six games back from first place Kansas City. It’s still early in the season, but the adage of “You can’t win the division in April, but you can lose it” should be taken seriously. For example, the Indians in 2013 started off poorly in April, but finished the year one game behind the first place Tigers. If the Tribe would have won just two more games that April, they win the division.

Carlos Carrasco

What to like – Eight days after being hit in the face by a line drive from Chicago's Melky Cabrera, Carrasco returned to the mound against the same team, pitching five efficent innings, striking out eight and allowing one run. To come back quickly from something as scary as being struck in the face by a line drive, takes guts. The icing on the cake was Carrasco picking up his second win of the season.

What not to like – No complaints here.

 

Corey Kluber

What to like – Despite giving up six earned runs on 13 hits for a loss on Wednesday against the White Sox, Kluber has looked like an ace. On April 17 against the Twins the right-hander went eight innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits, while striking out eight.

What not to Like – Can the Indians get this guy some runs? In 27 2/3 innings, the offense has scored just five runs. The run support has been non-existent for Kluber, scoring only one run in his last two starts. The Indians have been shutout twice this season, and both those games have been when Kluber has pitched. Kluber looks like he might be this year’s version of Kevin Millwood, who in 2005 had good numbers with the Indians, but his team averaged 3.62 runs a game for him. The bottom line, Kluber needs runs!

 

Cody Allen

What to like – His outing on Tuesday was a good bounce back, as he threw a scoreless ninth inning, recording two strike outs against Chicago in a non-save situation.

What not to like – His ninth inning meltdown on Monday night, was frustrating. Allen, who entered that game in a save situation with a 3-0 lead, allowed seven straight batters to reach base. He also surrendered four runs, losing the game, 4-3.

 

Terry Francona

What to like – He’s easily a top-three manager in all of Major League Baseball, and the Indians are lucky to have him. Seriously, when is the last time the Cavs or the Browns had a high profile leader like Francona? Lenny Wilkens with the Cavs in the mid 80s to early 90s?

What not to like – I don’t pretend to be a baseball savant, because I’m far from it, but it was a bit confusing as to why Mike Aviles was still in centerfield in the ninth inning on Monday night against Chicago. In that inning Allen gave up a one out two-run double to Alexi Ramirez, who sent the pitch over Aviles head in center field. Michael Bourn, who had the day off after playing in 11 straight games, probably should have been out there late in the game, now as to whether Bourn would’ve made that play, who knows, but I like my chances with him.

 

Indians offense

What to like – It’s still early, and this can’t be stressed enough.

What not to like –The Indians have 11 home runs this year, all of them solo, which thinking about is kind of a unique feat. The Indians, however, are still struggling offensively; hitting .220 as a team, while driving in an AL low 42 runs. The Tribe has also been outscored by their opposition, 16-5, through the first two innings of their ball games this season, meaning their offense sputters early in games. The offense is horrendous right now, but it can’t get any worse, right?

 

 

 

What to like, and what not to like from the Indians through their first eight games

Apr 17, 2015 -- 11:50am

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

It’s early in the season, and the overreactions on social media are plentiful among Indians fans. However, here are five things from this week to like, and not to like from the Tribe.

 

Trevor Bauer

What To Like – Bauer in his first two starts of the season, leads the Indians in wins (two) and ERA (1.50). The right-hander also ranks in the top-three in the majors in strikeouts (19) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.25). He also was on the verge of a no-hitter in his first start on April 9, pitching six hitless innings before he exited the game due to a high pitch count. He did, however, have 11 strikeouts in the game.

What Not To Like – Bauer is racking up a high pitch count early in his starts, making it difficult for him to give the Indians any sort of length in his outings. He's also walking too many batters. In Bauer’s first start of the season where he had a no-hitter going, he managed to walk five batters. In his outing against Chicago on Wednesday, he walked four. Bauer this season ranks second in the majors in walks with nine, while his 18 percent walk rate, is the worst in baseball.

 

Yan Gomes

What To Like – The fact that Gomes’ moderate MCL sprain that placed him on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, isn’t season ending. Looking at it in a positive light, things could’ve been way worse than what they are.

What Not To Like – Gomes missing from the Indians’ lineup for six to eight weeks hurts, considering he’s the team’s only legit right-handed bat. Last season’s Silver Slugger Award winner hit .278, slugging 21 homers and 74 RBI. That’s a lot of production missing from a left-handed heavy lineup.

Gomes’ absence also hurts the Tribe’s pitching staff, not only because he has the ability to call a good game, but also because he’s one of the better pitch framers in the majors. Pitch framing, which is the way a catcher makes certain pitches appear better to get calls from the home plate umpire, is an advanced defensive metric. According to Baseball Prospectus, Gomes ranked above average in pitch framing with 76 extra strikes in 2014. For example, for each location of a pitch, Gomes added 76 extra strikes. This may sound meaningless, but it’s huge for a pitcher down in the count, and badly needs a strike.

 

Carlos Carrasco

What To Like – That Carrasco is okay after taking a line drive to the face on Tuesday against the White sox.

What Not To Like – The idea that pitchers potentially risk their lives and careers on the mound with every outing they make. The line drive that Carrasco took to the face off the bat of Chicago’s Melky Cabrera was scary, especially live. One can only hope that no pitcher ever has to go through that sort of thing.

Michael Brantley

What To Like – Indians manager Terry Francona has gone on record to say that Brantley’s back spasms are not serious enough to place him on the disabled list. 

What Not To Like – He’s missed more games (six) than he’s played (two) due to his back, which already isn’t helping an Indians offense that is without Gomes. Brantley’s back is still a concern, even if the Indians say it isn’t. Back problems can creep up anytime - it’s just a matter of when.

 

Indians Offense

What To Like – It’s still early.

What Not To like – This year's Tribe offense is probably going to be a lot like last year's, they'll score runs in bunches. For example in their first eight-games, the Indians' runs scored per game goes like this, 0, 2, 5, 4, 6, 5, 1 and 4. The Indians have the fewest home runs in the American League with four. Those who have hit homers for the Tribe are, Carlos Santana, Mike Aviles, Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez, the last two players mentioned are not typos. 

 

 

Indians fall, 4-1, to the White Sox as Carrasco exits game early after taking line drive to the face

Apr 14, 2015 -- 11:58pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

 

The Indians lost their fourth-straight game Tuesday night, falling to the Chicago White Sox, 4-1, at Progressive Field.

Quick Hits

  • The Indians are now 2-5 on the season.
  • The White Sox improve their record to 3-4.
  • Despite throwing just eight pitches, Carlos Carrasco picked up his first loss of the season. He’s now 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts.
  • The Tribe’s Zach McAllister went 3 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run and a walk, while striking out one.
  • Chicago starter Jose Quintana picks up his first win of the season, throwing six innings, allowing three hits, while walking two and striking out six.
  • Indians’ Ryan Raburn was 1-for-3 with an RBI double.
  • Tyler Flowers went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the White Sox. Jose Abreu went 1-for-4 with a homer.

Scary Sight – In the first inning Indians' pitcher Carlos Carrasco was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera. Carrasco was carted off the field holding the left side of his face in serious pain. Zach McAllister replaced him in the first, with two on and no outs. Carrasco is scheduled to make a start on Sunday in Minnesota, however, that is probably subject to change. Carrasco, was treated for a jaw contusion at Lutheran Hospital, X-rays were negative. There were also no signs or symptoms of a concussion or head injury, but the Indians medical staff will check in with him Wednesday morning.

“It’s not a good feeling when he’s just laying there, it’s scary,” said Indians’ manager Terry Francona.”In the big picture, we’re really fortunate.”

Video of Carrasco

 

LVP of the Game – The Indians offense struggled Tuesday night, scoring one run, while collecting just three hits. They also left six men on base, going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position. The only time the Indians were able to string together hits, was in the fourth inning, when Jerry Sands singled to right-center field. After a Brandon Moss strikeout, and a pass ball that advanced Sands to second, Raburn hit an RBI double to left-center field, giving the Tribe their only run of the game. To make matters worse, the Indians last eight out of nine batters in the game, all struck out. The crazy thing part is, Quintana didn't even pitch a great game, throwing only 60 strikes out of a 104 total pitches.

McAllister Outing – Considering the circumstances, McAllister pitched a good game out of the bullpen, allowing one earned run in 3 2/3 innings. McAllister, however, still seems to be having trouble throwing his breaking ball pitches, spiking two or three into the dirt on Tuesday. He had this same problem on Friday when he started against the Tigers, forcing him to throw his fastball and cutter exclusively. The issue with this, is it limits his ability to keep batters on their toes. This is something to monitor, because this was a problem that occured last season with the right-hander. If McAllister has to rely only on his fastball, he could be in some serious trouble.

A stat from left field – Over the first four home games, the Indians have yet to hit a home run. It’s the longest streak to open a season since 1939.

Worth quoting – “Everybody knows how good of a guy Cookie (Carrasco) is. You don’t want to see that happen to anybody.” – Indians’ Mike Aviles on Carrasco taking a line drive to the face

 

Up Next

       RHP Trevor Bauer                                                                        LHP John Danks

          (1-0, 0.00)                                                                                  (0-1, 6.35)

 

 

Carrasco exits game after taking line drive to the face

Apr 14, 2015 -- 8:10pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

Updated 9:48 p.m.

In the first inning Indians' pitcher Carlos Carrasco was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera. Carrasco was carted off the field holding the left side of his face in serious pain.

Zach McAllister replaced him in the first, with two on and no outs. Carrasco is scheduled to make a start on Sunday in Minnesota, however, that is probably subject to change. Carrasco, was treated for a jaw contusion at Lutheran Hospital, X-rays were negative. There was also no signs or symptoms of a concussion or head injury.

 

Video

 

 

 

Indians call up a catcher, add a pitcher and designate another

Apr 14, 2015 -- 5:10pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

The Indians made a slew of roster moves on Tuesday, promoting catcher Brett Hayes from Triple-A Columbus and designating pitcher Shaun Marcum. The team also singed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to a minor league contract.

Marcum, who pitched five scoreless innings on Sunday after not pitching all of last season due to injury, was part of a numbers game. In order for the Indians to add another catcher to the team, Marcum had to be designated to clear a roster spot. Indians’ manager Terry Francona said the decision to designate Marcum was tough.

“We went over it, and over it, and there was just no move where you’re not going to lose a young kid,” said Francona. “The hope is we don’t lose Marcum, he goes back to Triple-A, and he’s available in 10 days if needed.”

The Indians have 10 days to trade, release or put Marcum on waivers.

With Gomes placed on the 15-day disabled list, and expected to miss six to eight weeks due to a moderate MCL sprain, backup Roberto Perez is now the everyday starter for the Indians. Hayes, who takes Marcum’s roster spot on the 25 and 40-man roster, will now become the team’s backup.

Hayes, 31, hit .333 with four home runs and seven RBI in 20 games this spring with the Indians. The right-handed hitter, who singed as a minor league free agent in December with the Indians, has appeared in two-games this season for Columbus, going 0-for-5.

“He swung the bat really well,” said Francona on what he liked from Hayes in spring training. “More importantly the way he can catch and throw, the game doesn’t get altered if he catches, which is important.”

Chacin, who was released by the Rockies on March 22, was limited to 11 starts with Colorado last season due to right shoulder soreness. However, Francona said signing the right-hander was a way to add depth, despite his shortcomings.

“He’s gone through some tough times where they (Rockies) have decided to go in a different direction,” said Francona. “When he’s built up and feeling good, we’ve all seen it. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but certainly makes sense (singing him).”

The 27-year old in his career was 38-48 with a 3.78 ERA in six seasons with the Rockies. His best season was in 2013 when he went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 31 starts.

 

 

Indians series preview vs White Sox

Apr 13, 2015 -- 9:15pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/AP

 

What to Know

Indians

  • The Indians (2-4) are coming off of a three-game home sweep from the Tigers, where their starting pitching allowed a combined 13 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. Detroit in the series, outscored and out hit the Tribe 25-15 and 43-27 respectively.
  • Carlos Carrasco in his career against the White Sox is 2-4 with a 5.03 ERA in nine career games (eight starts).
  • Trevor Bauer, who starts on Wednesday, is 0-0 with a 6.14 ERA in two career starts against the White Sox.

White Sox

  • After losing the first four-games of the season, Chicago (2-4) has won two-straight, taking two of three in their season series home opener against Minnesota. 
  • Jose Quintana in his career against the Indians is 3-0 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 career games (nine starts).
  • Wednesday's starter, John Danks, is 5-11 with a 5.10 ERA in 22 career starts against the Tribe.

 

Indians

Who’s Hot – Carlos Santana in five of his first six-games of the season, has one hit or more. The switch hitter is batting .333 (7-for-21) with one home run and four RBI. Santana in the Detroit series went 5-for-11 with a double and three RBI.

Who’s Not – Brandon Moss in his first six-games of the year, is hitting .125 (2-for-13) with no homers, one double and one RBI.

 

White Sox

Who’s Hot – Outfielder Avisail Garcia is 7-for-19 (.368) with two doubles and an RBI in his first six-games of the season. Garcia in the Minnesota series went 4-for-10 with a double, an RBI and a walk.

Who’s Not – Adam Eaton has struggled in his first six-games of the year, going 2-for-25 (.080) with a double. Eaton was 1-for-13 against the Twins over the weekend. 

 

Series Pitching Matchups

      RHP Carlos Carrasco                                                                LHP Jose Quintana

              (1-0, 0.00)                                                                            (0-0, 9.00) 

 

       RHP Trevor Bauer                                                                       LHP John Danks

            (1-0, 0.00)                                                                                (0-1, 6.35)

Injury Report

Indians – Catcher Yan Gomes was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday with a moderate MCL sprain. Gomes suffered the injury on Saturday, after Tigers’ outfielder Rajai Davis clipped Gomes’ right ankle when he slid into home plate. Gomes is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

Outfielder Michael Brantley hasn’t been placed on the disabled list, but has been out of the lineup in his last two-games due to continuous back spasms. According to reports, Brantley might be held out of the lineup until the weekend.

On Sunday Indians’ manager Terry Francona reported that Nick Swisher, who’s on the 15-day disabled list recovering from last August’s double knee surgery, has been swinging the bat well, and playing the outfield. Francona also said that Zach Walters, who’s on the 15-day disabled with a strained oblique, is making progress with his in-game activity. Pitchers Gavin Floyd (elbow) and Josh Tomlin (shoulder) are each on the 60-day disabled list.

White Sox – Reliever Jake Petricka is on the 15-day disabled list with a forearm injury.

Tribe adds arm - On Monday the Indians announced the singing of reliever Ryan Webb to a minor-league contract. Webb, who was released from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, has been assigned to the Triple-A Columbus roster. The Dodgers acquired Web from the Orioles a week ago, but after outrighting him to Triple-A on Sunday, the Dodgers parted ways with him. The right-hander in his career has a 3.38 ERA in six major league seasons.  

 

 

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