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Masterson has rough outing despite Indians bats coming alive

Apr 06, 2014 -- 8:08pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Picture/Getty

The early inning pitching woes continued for the Indians, as Justin Masterson allowed six runs in a 10-7 loss to the Twins on Sunday.
 
Quick Hits
  • Indians’ CF Michael Bourn was out (hamstring) along with DH Jason Giambi (rib fracture).
  • Twins’ LF Josh Willingham was hit by a pitch in the top of the first by Justin Masterson. He left the game with a sore left wrist and was taken to the hospital for X-Rays. They were negative.
  • Indian’s starter Justin Masterson pitched 3.2 innings, allowing seven hits, six runs and five earned runs. He walked three, struck out four and hit two batters. 
  • The Tribe’s RF David Murphy went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.
  • Minnesota’s DH Chris Colabello drove in four runs on two hits.
  • It was the Twins first series win in Cleveland since 2012. Both teams are now 3-3 on the season.
Twitter Question of the Afternoon #KNRTribe
 
LVP of the Game – Sunday’s start by Justin Masterson was his shortest since April 17, 2012 in Seattle, where pitched 3.2 innings. Masterson didn’t have his best stuff, and his control was non-existent. In three out of the four innings that Masterson appeared in, he either hit or walked the leadoff batter. 
 
“It seemed like it was one of those days in general,” Masterson said. “You want to make some adjustments, but it just didn’t happen.”
 
Masterson left his pitches up, while sweeping his breaking ball out of the zone. This resulted in the Twins getting seven hits, while escalating the pitch count to 97 pitches in less than four innings. Though the Indians’ defense wasn’t there for Masterson on Sunday, he did allow 12 men to reach base on seven hits, three walks and two hit by pitches.
 
Starting Pitching – Since Masterson’s first start on March 31. against the Oakland Athletics, the Indians starting pitching has failed to produce a quality start. The Tribe’s starting pitchers have yet to even make it passed or through the fifth inning. However Francona still believes it’s too soon to start worrying about his starting rotation.
 
“I don’t think we get discouraged that easily,” he said. “I don’t think that you start to give up on your guys on April 6. I’m not saying that we don’t want to do better regardless of when it is in the year, but I think you can rush to judgment and miss out on some really good players.”
 
It's too soon to start judging the Indians’ rotation but the numbers don’t line. Before Sunday’s game, the Tribe in their last five starts posted a 10.20 ERA in innings one through three. Overall, the Indians have given up 19 runs (17 earned) on 27 hits in 15 innings. It's too early to panic about the starting pitching right now, but it’s something to put in your back pocket and not forget about.
 
Hit Parade – Unlike the pitching, the hitting was on display Sunday for the Indians. The Tribe had a total of 15 hits in the game, marking it their first loss with 15 or more hits since 2012. The most promising thing out of the Indians’ offensive surge was RF David Murphy going 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Murphy in his last four games had two hits in 14 at-bats. 
 
Michael Brantley went 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Yan Gomes ignited the offense in the second with a two-run home run to left field. Despite scoring seven runs, it was the timely hitting that hurt the Indians. The Tribe went 3-16 w/RISP while stranding 12 base runners. Jason Kipnis was one of the few exceptions, hitting a base clearing three-run double in the bottom of the fourth. Kipnis snapped a 0-for-10 skid Sunday, going 2-for-5 with 3 RBI.
 
What Gives? – Once again the defense wasn’t there from Gomes behind the plate. The catcher had a throwing error in the top of the third, which resulted in a run. One could probably argue that if Mike Aviles and Kipnis are there to cover second base just a tick quicker, the runner at second is out. 
 
Typically a very solid defensive catcher, Gomes has struggled that past few games. Saturday he allowed two pass balls in the top of the third inning, which resulted in Minnesota advancing to third and then later scoring. It’s unclear what’s going on with Gomes behind the plate. He’s either in a defensive slump or he’s pressing right now after signing a six-year, $23 million dollar deal. Gomes could possibly be trying to do too much, and is feeling that he has to prove he’s worth the contract the Indians signed him to. The best thing for Gomes if he’s pressing, is to go back to how he was playing last season, which was carefree.
 
The Injury Front – Center fielder Michael Bourn, who’s rehabbing a hamstring, played seven innings at Columbus on Saturday. Bourn was 1-for-3 in that game. The Indians plan for Bourn is to play a couple more rehab games before activation. Bourn was in the Indians’ clubhouse on Sunday and reported to have no issues.
 
Making Moves – The Indians made a minor move on Sunday, acquiring RHP Duke von Schamann from the Dodgers for LHP Colt Hynes. The Indians designated Hynes for assignment on March 30. Schamann will report to the Indians Double-A affiliate in Akron. He has a career mark of 3.93 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 2.2 BB/9 in 43 games/ 37 starts.
 
Rounding Third – It was good to see the Indians’ bats come alive, but the timely hitting wasn’t completely there. The Tribe drove in seven runs, and typically when a baseball team scores five or more runs, their chances of winning are very high. However if that team’s pitching doesn’t turn in a solid performance, than you’re going to lose. Though it’s very early in the season, the inability of the Indians starting pitching to make it through the early inning has hurt them. 
 
Worth Quoting – “I thought we clawed back really well. That’s not easy to do. I thought we swung the bats pretty well.” – Manager Terry Francona on the Indians responding to the Twins six run surge early in the game
 
Up Next – The Indians will continue their six-game home stand, when they open up a three-game series against San Diego Monday. On the mound for the Tribe RHP Corey Kluber (0-1, 13.50 ERA) he’ll pitch against LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 0.00 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. 
 
 

 

Carrasco’s early struggles put Tribe in a hole

Apr 05, 2014 -- 7:17pm

By Chris Coon | ESPNCleveland.com

 
 
Picture/Getty
 
The Twins got to Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco early on, as he surrendered three runs in the first inning, for a 7-3 loss at Progressive Field on Saturday. 
 
Quick Hits
  • Indians’ OF Michael Bourn was out (hamstring) along with DH Jason Giambi (rib fracture). 
  • Tribe Starter Carlos Carrasco pitched 5.2 innings, giving up seven hits and allowing four earned runs. He walked two and hit two batters, while striking out seven.
  • Indians’ OF Nyjer Morgan was 2-for-2 with two hits and two walks. 
  • Former Indian and current Twin Jason Kubel went 3-for-5 with two RBI.
  • With Saturday’s win over the Indians, Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire won his 1,000th-career game. He became the 10th manager in baseball history to win all 1,000-games with one team.
  • The Indians are now 3-2, while the Twins are 2-3 on the season.
Twitter question of the afternoon #KNRTribe 
 
LVP of the game – Two pitches into the game and a solo home run later, things were already looking bad for Indians’ starter Carlos Carrasco. In the first inning Carrasco allowed three earned runs on 22 pitches. A solo home run from Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, and RBI singles from Jason Kubel and Josmil Pinto, is what jump started the Twins. 
 
“It was five pretty quick,” manager Terry Francona said. “Then he settled down, and then pitched pretty well, but the damage had been done.”
 
Of the 28 batters that Carrasco faced, he only threw first pitch strikes to 10. The rest of his first pitches he threw were 16 balls, one pitch hit in play and one hit by pitch. It was obvious Carrasco’s stuff was not good early on but he seemed to settle down a bit as the game went on, striking out five of his last 10 batters he faced. At times it’s clear that Carrasco has the stuff to be a major league starter, but it’s just a matter of him finding his stuff and being consistent. 
 
Nyjer Morgan – Nyjer Morgan is giving Francona every reason to keep him on this Indians team. Morgan reached base four times Saturday, finishing the game as the Tribe’s only player to have two hits. Through five games this season, Morgan has gone 4-of-10 with four walks. He currently has the Indians second highest on base percentage (.533). Morgan has also been a solid defensive center fielder in place of the injured Michael Bourn, who is rehabbing a hamstring in Triple-A Columbus.
 
Pitchting for his life – Indians’ reliever Vinnie Pestano said after Saturday’s game that he’s pitching for his life when it comes to keeping his job in the bullpen. It might be early for Pestano to say such a thing, but it’s obvious he knows what could happen if he doesn’t figure things out. Pestano, since May 25. 2013 (including spring training) is 0-2 with a 6.29 ERA in his last 37 appearances. 
 
In two relief appearances this year, Pestano has pitched two innings, allowing five hits and surrendering 3 earned runs (13.80 ERA). Pestano no longer has the velocity on his fastball that he once had, and he looked to be laboring Saturday on the mound just like he did last season. If Pestano could re-gain just a smidge of some of his 2011-2012 forum, the Indians will be sitting comfortably in the pen. 
 
Defensive lapse –Typically a very sound defensive catcher, Gomes struggled Saturday. He allowed two pass balls in the top of the third inning, which resulted in Minnesota’s Trevor Plouffe to advance to third and then to home. 
 
Rounding Third – It’s the first week of the season but the Indians’ starting pitching has to get better if they want to compete. Before Saturday’s game, Indians’ pitchers in the first inning had given up eight runs on 11 hits (18.00 ERA) in their last four games. It was the same case with the starting pitching Saturday, as Carrasco allowed three runs and four hits in the first.
 
In order to win ball games the starting pitching has to turn in quality starts, however the only starter to do that so far has been Justin Masterson. The Indians can’t rely on late inning rallies to win them ball games. It’s the Tribe’s first time through the rotation and the season is premature, but the starting pitching has to be there in order for them to be as successful as last season.
 
Worth Quoting – “I can’t be discouraged by one outing, I keep going out there and try to take my chances. These opportunities right now are almost more pressure on me than trying to get a hold in the eighth or seventh inning. I’m pitching for my lively hood right now.” – Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano on his outing in the ninth. 
 
Up Next – The Indians will wrap up their three-game series with the Twins on Sunday. On the mound for the Tribe, Justin Masterson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) he’ll go against Minnesota’s Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 7.50 ERA). First pitch is at 1:05 p.m.

 

 

 

Indians Ink Kipnis

Apr 04, 2014 -- 8:42am

 | ESPNCleveland.com

 

Photo/ESPN

From the Cleveland Indians:

CLEVELAND, OH - The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed INF JASON KIPNIS to a six-year contract extension thru the 2019 season with a club option for 2020.
 
Kipnis, who turned 27 yesterday, is coming off his first American League All-Star selection in 2013, hitting .284 (160-564) while leading the 2013 AL Wild Card participants in runs (86), hits (160), RBI (84) and steals (30) in just his second full Major League season.  He became just the sixth Indian in the 113-year history of the franchise to eclipse the 15 home run/30 steal barrier and finished tied for 7th in the AL in walks (76), tied for 9th in steals (30) and finished in the top 20 in RBI (T16th, 84) and on-base pct (14th, .366).
 
Entering his fourth overall season in the Majors, he has quickly established himself among the league’s best second basemen, finishing 3rd among MLB second sackers in OPS (.818), 2nd in stolen bases and tied for 3rd in RBI among his second base peers in 2013. The Chicago, IL native’s team-high 84RBI were the most by an Indians 2B since Roberto Alomar (100) in 2001 as he became the first Tribe 2B since 1948 to lead the team outright in RBI.
 
The homegrown product was originally selected by Cleveland in the 2nd round (63rd overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Arizona State University. An outfielder in high school and college, Kipnis began the transition into the infield during the 2010 campaign and made his debut at second base in 2011 less than a year later. Jason is one of 16 Indians on the current Major League roster under team control thru at least 2016.

 

 

 

Indians sign P Aaron Harang to minor league deal

Feb 15, 2014 -- 4:34pm

 

Photo/Getty Images via ESPN.com

Via Cleveland Indians

CLEVELAND, OH - The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed free agent RHP Aaron Harang to a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Major League spring training camp.

Harang, 35, owns a career Major League record of 110-116 with a 4.28ERA in 325 games (319 starts), 1945.1 IP, 2041 H, 925 ER, 590 BB, 1573 SO, over a 12-year Major League career with six teams since debuting with Oakland in 2002. He was Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter over five straight seasons (2006-2010), finished fourth in the 2007 NL Cy Young Voting (16-6, 3.73ERA) and led the National League in wins (16), complete games (6) and strikeouts (216) in 2006.

Harang’s 289 starts since 2004 are the ninth highest total in the Majors over that span.  Recently, his 3.61 ERA for the LA Dodgers in 2012 marked a career-low after posting a 3.64 ERA for San Diego the previous season.

The 6-7, San Diego native spent most of the 2013 season with the Seattle Mariners after going to spring training with the Dodgers, going 5-11 with a 5.76 ERA in 22 starts (77ER/120.1IP).  He was the only Mariners pitcher to toss a shutout in 2013, recording a 4-hitter vs. San Diego in May and a 2-hitter vs. Houston in June.  

He latched on with the New York Mets over the last month of the season after being released by the Mariners, going 0-1 w/a 3.52 ERA (23.0IP, 20H, 9ER, 26SO) and averaged 10.17 strikeouts per 9.0IP in four starts with the Mets.

 

 

Indians extend OF Brantley with 4-year contract

Feb 13, 2014 -- 11:33am

 

Photo/Getty

via Cleveland Indians

CLEVELAND, OH - The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has signed OF Michael Brantley to a four-year contract with a club option for the 2018 campaign.

Brantley, 26, has spent his entire five-year Major League career with the Cleveland Indians since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers following the 2008 season.  The Port St. Lucie native has been a member of the club’s Opening Day lineup over each of the last four seasons since 2010 and owns a career Major League batting average of .277 (545-1968) with 100 doubles, 14 triples, 26 home runs and 212 RBI in 514 games. Brantley has appeared in 300 of the club’s 324 games (92.6%) over the past two seasons.

Brantley is coming off his finest season in 2013, batting a team-best .284 (158-556) with 66 runs scored, 26 doubles, 10 home runs and 73 RBI in 151 games. The 66 runs, 10 homers, 73 RBI and 17 stolen bases (21 attempts) all represented career-highs. After shifting over to left field in February, Brantley registered a club-high 11 assists and did not make an error the entire season, carrying a club-record 245-game errorless streak into 2014.

The left-handed hitter was a pivotal force in the club’s drive to the A.L. Wildcard, hitting .343 (34-98) with 14 RBI over the season’s final 26 games while his year-long .375 (45-120) mark with runners in scoring position was third-highest in the A.L.  In addition to his outfield versatility, offensively he made starts in eight of the nine spots in Terry Francona’s batting order.

“Michael exemplifies the qualities we look for when bringing people - not just athletes - into our organization,” said Cleveland Indians Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Antonetti. “He has a clear vision of the type of player he wants to become and consistently exhibits the tireless work ethic, focus and discipline necessary to achieve his goals and those of our team. In a relatively short period of time, Michael has grown into a selfless leader who sets an example for our younger players.”

 

 

 

Indians announce new EVP of Sales & Marketing

Jan 13, 2014 -- 9:37am

 

Via Cleveland Indians

Cleveland, OH — The Cleveland Indians on Monday named Brian Barren the organization’s new Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Brian joins the Indians after spending 24 years at Procter & Gamble, where most recently he was Director of the company’s Kroger Customer Business Development team, responsible for leading, training and developing close to a 100 employee multi-functional business team.

From his time at P&G, Barren brings expertise in general management, sales, marketing and brand development.  Barren held multiple high-level leadership roles, including profit and loss responsibility, for two of P&G’s top seven business development teams in the world (Walmart, Kroger).

“We are excited to welcome Brian and his 24 years of experience at one of the most respected companies in the world,” said Indians President Mark Shapiro.  “Brian is a strong, proven leader who aligns perfectly with our organizational values. I am confident he will make a very positive impact on the Indians organization, the Northeast Ohio community, and our fans.”

In his new role with the Indians, he will oversee all sales and marketing departments.

 

 

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