By T.J. Zuppe
Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez issued the following statement regarding the deactivation of his twitter account:
"The decision to deactivate my Twitter account was a personal choice I made in order to maintain the greater focus on the success of the team this season and our shared goals moving forward.
We have an extremely positive and supportive group of players, coaches and staff members in our clubhouse and I want to participate in activities and routines that contribute positively to the culture we’re building here.
Out of respect for my teammates, I want to minimize any potential off-the-field distractions so this is the only time I will comment on this topic. Thank you for your understanding.”
By: Matt Fontana
Final Score: Indians- 5, Mariners- 4.
Win: Chris Perez (2-0)
Loss: Oliver Perez (1-1)
What went down: The Indians bats started off silent, scoring a first inning run to lead 1-0. It was not again until the 5th inning when Mark Reynolds hit his AL leading 12th homerun of the season. Seattle got their two runs on Brendan Ryan’s first home run of the season, a 2-run shot in the 8th. Chris Perez would blow his second save of the season after allowing back to back home runs in the top of the ninth. Tied at four in the bottom of the ninth- the Tribe loaded the bases. Mark Reynolds would provide the Tribe with their second straight walk off win. He scored Jason Kipnis on an RBI fielder’s choice ground out. Reynolds hit it to the shortstop Brendan Ryan who came home with the throw but pulled Jesus Montero off the plate, allowing Kipnis to score.
On the Bump: Zach McAllister continued his stellar 2013 campaign. Z-Mac gave up just two runs over 7 1/3 innings allowing five hits. McAllister has now gone 10 straight starts of at least five innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs allowed. Chris Perez picked up the win after blowing the save.
Starting Pitching coming around: After a good outing from McAllister, the Indians starting pitching continue’s to improve. Over the last 20 games, Indians starters are 12-4 with a 2.90 ERA. During that stretch, the Tribe are 16-4.
Dangerous: That’s howmanager Terry Francona described Mark Reynolds, dangerous. Reynolds accounted for three of the five Indians runs. He had an excellent RBI single in the first. Reynolds poked a single to right on an outside pitch. He then added a homerun and the walk off fielder’s choice.
Reynolds Stays on Top: With his solo home run in the 5th inning, Reynolds remains tied for the AL lead in homeruns with 12. On pace with him are the Yankee’s Robinson Cano and Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion. Cano hit two in the Yankees 7-2 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday to tie Reynolds. Encarnacion also had a bomb in that game to join the club.
People must love their hot dogs: The Indians announced 17, 754 as their attendance for Saturday’s game. That is a bit less than the 34, 282 the Tribe had on Friday evening. Friday’s game did boast Dollar Dog night and fireworks. Saturday featured a throwback Indians hat giveaway.
Sunday: A battle of two “Aces”. Justin Masterson (6-2, 3.14) vs. Felix Hernandez (5-2, 1.53). 1:05 first pitch.
By: T.J. Zuppe
Final Score: Indians 6, Mariners 3, 10 Innings
Win: Vinnie Pestano (1-0)
Loss: Lucas Luetge (0-1)
What went down: Tied at three in the bottom of the 10th, Jason Kipnis launched a three-run walk-off home run to the seats in right-field to give the Indians a 6-3 win in extra innings. It was the seventh homer of the season for Kipnis, his second career walk-off hit and first of the long-ball variety.
On the bump: Jimenez continued his string of impressive outings, working five solid frames, striking out a season-high nine hitters. His only issue? He threw way too many pitches. As a result, Terry Francona had to go get the righty after 98 pitches in the sixth. On the very next batter, lefty Rich Hill gave up a two-run jack to Raul Ibanez. That dinger tied the game at three and removed Jimenez from a possible winning decision. While Big U continues to look solid and instill more confidence, the high pitch count will continue to haunt him. The M’s fouled off a number of pitches, which paired with the high strike out total, limited how deep Jimenez could go. To his credit, he did not allow the frustration of the high pitch count to bleed over into his performance.
Speed Kills: Kipnis never gets his chance in the 10th if not for the speedy efforts of outfielders Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn. After a two-out walk by Stubbs, he appeared to be nailed by a pickoff attempt by Luetge. However, Stubbs put his head down and beat the relay throw to second for a stolen base. Bourn followed up the hustle by Stubbs with an infield single, extending the inning for Kipnis’s heroics (.316, 19 RBI, 13 extra-base hits in last 14 games). They say speed never slumps. In this case, it gave Cleveland the opportunity to pick up the dramatic win.
Pen Prevails: The Tribe does not have a chance to win without the stellar work of the Wahoo relievers. Outside of the homer surrendered by Rich Hill, the rest of the bullpen arms hung zeros on the board, including Vinnie Pestano in his return from the disabled list. Pestano worked a scoreless 10th to pick up the win. Overall, the pen (Hill, Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Chris Perez, Pestano) hurled five innings, giving up three hits and only one run.
Saturday: Mariners (LHP Joe Saunders 3-4, 5.51) vs. Indians (Zach McAllister 3-3, 2.68)
By: T.J. Zuppe
Final Score: Yankees 7, Indians 0 - Game Two
Win: Vidal Nuno (1-0)
Loss: Trevor Bauer (1-2)
Save: Adam Warren (1)
What went down: The Indians were shut down by lefty Vidal Nuno and the rest of the Yankees pitching staff and imploded in the seventh en route to a 7-0 New York win. The two teams split the traditional double-header after the Tribe won game one, 1-0.
On the bump: Trevor Bauer pitched effectively in his spot start for six solid frames but was pulled after giving up two doubles in the seventh. In total, the 22-year old righty hurled 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and three runs, two earned. Nick Hagadone relieved and was unable to stop the bleeding, surrendering four runs, three earned before exiting. Bauer continued to show positive signs of the type of pitcher he can be. He struck out four and only walked two. Bauer seemed to improve as the game went on and only ran out of steam once he reached the seventh. He is not quite where he needs to be but he appears to be getting closer with each start he makes.
Three-out-of-five ain’t bad: When the Tribe started this five game stretch against the Tigers and Yankees, three wins seemed to be an acceptable goal. Flash forward to Monday - the Indians were able to do just that. All things considered, after winning two of three from Detroit, taking down Justin Verlander, stealing Sunday’s finale and splitting two with New York, Cleveland should feel good about their stretch of baseball against some of the league’s best.
Tuesday: Indians (Scott Kazimr 2-1, 4.87) vs. Phillies (Jonathan Pettibone 2-0, 3.63)
By: T.J. Zuppe
Final Score: Indians 1, Yankees 0 - Game One
Win: Justin Masterson (6-2)
Loss: David Phelps (1-2)
What went down: For the second time in the 2013 season, Justin Masterson hurled a gem in a 1-0 Indians complete-game shut-out win over the Yankees in game one of a traditional double-header. The Tribe’s only run came courtesy of a Jason Kipnis home run in the first inning, his fifth of the season.
On the bump: 1-0 victories are nothing new for the Cleveland ace. Monday’s complete game shut-out in game one marked the second time in 2013 that Masterson has had zero room for error and responded with a big win. On April 12th against the Chicago White Sox, the righty also won a pitcher’s duel to the tune of 1-0. He gave Terry Francona exactly what the club needed in game one – and more. The Tribe will start game two with its entire bullpen intact. It was Masterson’s fifth complete game and third shut-out of his career. He struck out nine Yankees in the contest.
Heating up: While one youngster was sent down before the game due to his struggles (Lonnie Chisenhall), Kipnis has really started to settle into the season of late. Not only did he slug his fifth round-tripper, the only Tribe offense in game one, but the Wahoo second-baseman has been hitting the ball with more authority consistently. It started with his use of the opposite field in the Indians’ last home stand. His work at the top of the lineup will make the Tribe-nine more dynamic as he continues to heat up. However, he is not quite back yet. He struck out twice in the contest (including once in the seventh with two on.)
Come on, blue: Second-base umpire Brian Knight appeared to miss a call at second-base in the first inning, continuing a theme of bad umpiring over the last week. After walking, Michael Bourn attempt to steal second base. Knight called Bourn out, though a replay seemed to indicate Bourn slid in before the tag. The call would cost the Tribe. Kipnis launched a solo bomb a few pitches later.
Game two: Yankees (Vidal Nuno 0-0, 0.00) vs. Indians (Trevor Bauer 1-1, 2.70)
By: T.J. Zuppe | ESPNCleveland.com
Final Score: Indians 4, Athletics 3
Win: Justin Masterson (5-2)
Loss: AJ Griffin (3-3)
Save: Chris Perez (5)
What went down: Ahead by a run in the ninth, Chris Perez served up a pitch to Adam Rosales that hit off the padding of the left-field wall and landed in the field of play for a double – or did it? Replays indicated that the ball may have hit off the railing in left which would have been the game-tying home run. After a closer look on replay, the umpires ruled it hit below the railing despite a number of angles that appeared to show otherwise. Jaws dropped, A’s manager Bob Melvin was tossed and Perez managed to nail down the save and the Indians grabbed a 4-3 win over the A’s.
What it means: While catching what appeared to be a major break to everyone in the ballpark except the four umpires making the call, Cleveland reached three games above .500 for the first time in 2013 and increased their recent hot streak even more. The Wahoos have now won three in a row and nine of their last ten games. They will go for the four-game sweep on Thursday.
On the bump: After tossing three no-hit innings to start the contest, Masterson came a bit unraveled in the fourth frame. Masterson surrendered three runs in the inning, which at the time gave the A’s a 3-0 advantage. To his credit, Masterson composed himself and settled back into a groove to keep the deficit at three runs. After the offense chipped away and managed to grab back the lead in the sixth, Masterson cruised through the seventh. In total, he only gave up the three and hurled seven solid innings, striking out seven and walking two. The Tribe’s ace picked up his fifth win of the season and snapped a personal three-game losing streak to Oakland.
Yard work: Despite the wind blowing in for most of the game, two Wahoo bats found a way to slug their way through it. Trailing by a solo run in the bottom of the sixth, Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana crushed two solo homers deep into the night to seize the lead for the Tribe, 4-3. It was Swisher’s fourth home run and Santana’s seventh of the season. The Tribe improved to 13-7 when they hit at least one long-ball in a contest.
Flash that leather: The Tribe’s defense was on full display behind Masterson in the seventh. Nick Swisher, fresh off of crushing the game-tying homer, made a slick grab at first-base and Asdrubal Cabrera made a leaping grab at short to end the frame. Good defense, especially on hard-hit balls, is always the pitcher’s best friend.
Thursday May 9th: Athletics (Bartolo Colon 3-1, 3.62) vs. Indians (Scott Kazmir 1-1, 6.28)
|T.J. Zuppe covers the Cleveland Indians for ESPN 850 WKNR. Catch TJ on The Hooligans weekdays from 3:00p.m.-6:00p.m. on ESPN 850 WKNR.|
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