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My friends don’t dance, we just pull up our pants and do the Almonte: Tribe Notes 8/11

What’s the Damage?

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I might as well quit posting the division standings cause we have about as good a shot at catching the Royals as the “no alcohol” rule has of being obeyed in the Muni Lot this year. And obviously a seven-and-a-half game deficit in the wild card is a pretty monumental deficit to overcome, but by some act of God we’re not mathematically eliminated yet.

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The Tribe had a weird west coast trip last week that I didn’t write about because I can’t stay up for those games anymore. We split 4 games out in Oakland which could have been a series win had it not been for Cody Allen’s tenth inning on the 2nd.

Then we lost two of three in Anaheim which also could have been a series win had it not been for Cody Allen’s ninth inning on the 5th.

In the first game after returning home on Friday, Cody Anderson gave up six runs in 2.2 innings but our offense broke out in a big way, putting up 9 runs on 14 hits. We lost 10-9. 25 Indians crossed the plate on Saturday and Sunday, giving us our first series win since we went to Cincinnati  on July 17th. It was a bad couple weeks for the Cody’s and one hell of a roller coaster for fans.

But here we are, 7.5 games back in the wild card with a 5% chance of making the playoffs. In 2013, before our magical one game postseason run, our odds were as low as 10% on August 31st. If anything is possible with God on your side, having Abraham has gotta count for something. (He was good, right? My moms gonna kill me)

The Royals are in. Next.

The Twinkies continue to nosedive, as their stern talking-to in The Land over the weekend puts them below the .500 mark for the first time since MAY 1ST. Not even wearing these gross-ass batting practice jerseys in games could right the ship.

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OF Byron Buxton, aka the future of their franchise, was activated from the DL on Monday, then inexplicably sent down to AAA. And, despite all these things, Paul Molitor was named the 3rd best manager in the league by Baseball America. Yikes.

The Tigers have been treading water since trading Yoenis Cespedes and David Price before the July trade deadline, going 4-6 in their last 10. Brad Ausmus went with the old “If you can’t beat em’, call em’ cheaters!” adage after Johnny Cueto spun a complete game, 4-hit shutout against them on Monday night.

Miggy Cabrera’s final hurdle before returning to game action will be running the bases, which he’ll attempt to do on Tuesday. He’s been on the DL with a calf strain since early July.

Outfielder Trayce Thompson has three hits in seven at-bats after being called up to the black-pinstriped Chicago team last week. His brother splashes for a living.  1B Jose Abreu is the 7th rated hitter in the past 15 days in ESPN Fantasy Baseball, and I own him, so that’s cool.

In Other News

  • New Chris on the block, had a bunch of hits, Chinese food actually sounds incredible right now. After coming over in the trade that sent Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and around $15 million American dollars to Atlanta, new guy Chris Johnson made an immediate impact, going 4-4 with two doubles on Sunday. He played first base but can also stand over at third and has played right field once in his life, so Lonnie can coach him up. The guy is actually decently useful against lefties at the plate, but any value whatsoever he brings to the table will be an upgrade from what we gave up. Swisher actually had some weirdly callous comments after being dealt, and it sounds like there were some people in the clubhouse who were as excited as we were to see him go.  I did feel a little bad about things not working out with him immediately after the deal but not anymore. Smell ya, bro.
  • Other new guy Abraham Almonte (from San Diego for LHP Marc Rzepczynski (not checking that)) has enjoyed an even more memorable Wahoo debut. Saturday: 4-5, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI. Sunday: 1-4, HR, 2 RBI. He had five major league home runs before this weekend. You obviously can’t expect anywhere near that production going forward, but he’ll get time in the outfield as long as he hits.

  • Outfielder Clint Frazier was named the Carolina League Player of the Month for July, in which he led the league in hitting (.363) and was second in slugging (.559). For the season, the 20-year-old is slashing .286/.381/.465 with 13 bombs, 30 doubles and 60 RBI. Here’s an interesting bit from Bottlegate friend Justin Lada about how going back to using a toe tap has helped him turn his season around after some early struggles.
  • Uh, so this happened a half hour before Saturday night’s game:

That’s actually right across the street from my apartment, so I was understandably nervous when I thought City Tap was going up in flames. Thankfully it was just an apartment. Don’t know what I would have done if that bar bit the dust, nowhere else in the city you can drink while literally inside of a deep fryer.

 

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I got nothin: Tribe Notes 7/29

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What’s the Damage?

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No funny headline this week. No one-liners, no exciting clips from the past week and no optimism. Just pure, unadulterated sadness. I wrote last week that three of the next four series were pretty win-able and would determine what we would do at the trading deadline. After dropping one of two in Milwaukee, getting swept at home by the worst team in the division and losing the first two to Kansas City, David Murphy is basking in the LA sun and the Indians are 16 games out of first place. We’re currently riding an 8 game home losing streak. The last time we lost that many games in Cleveland in a row, gas was 57 cents a gallon.

Things are bad, folks. I like to think I’m pretty optimistic most of the time when it comes to this team but there’s no getting around it. We stink. Our All-Star is calling people out, we’ve got our starting pitcher putting the hurt on haters on Twitter

Really, at this point, there’s nothing left to do but wallow in self-pity and wait till next year. I doubt we see anything major before the deadline, but you never know. And as I write this, Urshela, Lindor and Brantley all leave the yard in a 6 run 6th inning against Jeremy Guthrie and the Royals. I take it back. Now we roll!!!!

Those damn Kansas Citians sure are going for it though. Second best record in baseball, a 9 game lead on the second place team in the division and they just traded for Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. They did give up two of their top three prospects according to Baseball America to get them but you gotta admire the gall of Dayton Moore. I hate them and wish for nothing less than their complete and utter demise, but it’s a fun ass time to be a Royals fan.

Live look in at the Minnesota Twins:

They’ve won just three games since the All-Star Break. In their seven losses, they’ve give up 3, 14, 7, 5, 8, 7 and 8 runs. It’s been reported they’re looking for bullpen help at the deadline, as closer Glen Perkins has given up 6 runs in 4 appearances since returning home from Cincinnati. Byron Buxton could be out an additional month.

Leave it to your Wahoos to catapult a team from last place to third in the span of a week. Tom Brady got his four game suspension upheld for maybe knowing about some deflated footballs but none of the White Sox starting pitchers have been reprimanded for assaulting opposing hitters every night for the past two weeks. They may very well hold on to touted trade target Jeff Samardzija following this recent surge. You know things are going your way when you’re hitting home runs like this:

Every cloud has a silver lining. If the Indians are gonna be 16 games out of first place in the central, I’m glad as hell it’s the Royals and not the Tigers on top. David Price and Yoenis Cespedes are both names that have been uttered in trade whispers. Miggy Cabrera remains out until at least mid-August with a calf injury, and one wonders if they might consider shutting him down for the year if they do end up selling by Friday.

In Other News

  • Shortstop Eric Stamets will be assigned to AA Akron when he arrives after being sent our way for David Murphy on Tuesday night. A plus defender but not great with the bat. He’s a native of Dublin though, so that’s cool. Here’s his scouting report from MLB.com:

A very polished infielder, Stamets combines tremendous defensive tools with good instincts and game awareness. He has well above-average speed, which helps to give him good range. Offensively, he isn’t as accomplished and will need to improve at the plate to become an everyday shortstop in the big leagues. He makes a lot of contact, but it’s rarely hard contact and he has minimal power.

Stamets’ glove is good enough to get him to the Major Leagues. His bat will dictate if he can start or if he ends up as a utilityman in the future.”

  • There were rumors that the Indians asked the Miami Marlins about center fielder Marcell Ozuna. After a 3.7 WAR year in 2013, he struggled so badly to begin this year that he was demoted to AAA. Still only 24 though, he’d command a decent package to entice the Marlins enough to move him. Keep an eye on this…maybe not by the Friday deadline but the teams could rekindle during the Winter Meetings.
  • Nick Swisher totally gets laid all the time, bro.
  • Tyler Holt was called up to take Murphy’s spot and started in left on Wednesday. Excited to watch him again. He hustles, is good on the bases and plays solid defense. We should see him out there in the green grass on most nights while he’s up.

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Too Legit To Hit: Tribe Notes 7/21

What’s the Damage?

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Well I think it’s safe to say it’s that time of year again. The Royals are running away with the best record in the American League and the Twins, despite having the second worst road record in the league (which happens to be identical to the Indians record in Cleveland), are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have a 3.5 game lead on the final playoff spot. God knows we’re not making up 11 games on Kansas City, so…….

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It’s funny too, because the Indians are going to have to do something even crazier than Charlie Kelly jumping out the back of a moving van if they want to make the playoffs: start winning games at home. Of the 45 games played at Progressive Field this season, the home nine have won just 19. Nineteen. 2-9 in April, 8-7 in May, 5-8 in June and 4-3 in July. The last place Chicago White Sox have five more home wins than we do. In fact, there’s only one team in the entire league that has less wins on their home turf.

I got into the home struggles a bit a few weeks ago, but lately it’s been pretty obvious the blame lies on our anemic offense. We’ve scored more than three runs in a 9-inning game five times in 15 games since July 1st. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, on what field, at what time of day or on what planet you’re on, you can’t win if you can’t score. And right now our carriages are turning to pumpkins with runners in scoring position.

The good news is we have 35 games on the road in the second half. The bad news is we have 36 at home. The brass is in a tough spot right now. We’re obviously not good enough to be considered bona fide contender, but we don’t suck quite enough to justify throwing in the towel. The week and a half leading up to the trading deadline sure will be interesting.

I don’t think anyone from any division is going to catch up to the Baby Blue Bullies any time soon. They’ve gone 6-3 since losing Alex Gordon for 8 weeks, and are now rumored to be in on acquiring Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto are two other names that have been “tossed around” as possible trade targets. Must be nice.

Byron Buxton may have been the bigger name but Miguel Sano has been the bigger impacts in terms of diaper dandies out in Minnesota. The rookie is slashing .326/.434/.558 with two moonballs and nine ribs since his call up at the beginning of July. Buxton, meanwhile, still hasn’t been cleared to swing a bat after hitting the DL with a sprained thumb over three weeks ago. Brian Dozier is still a stud.

Aw, poor Kitties. They’re 46-46 and now this is apparently happening:

Sell them. Sell them all, Dave Dombrowski. Ian Kinsler doesn’t want you to, but I do. While you’re at it, sign Andy Dirks again and then sell him too. I want nothing more than to see this franchise crash and burn to the ground. Maybe then we can dream about splitting a season series with them.

Chicago: Robin Ventura still has a job. Chris Sale still rocks. DFA’d their Opening Day starting third baseman Connor Gillaspie for Matt “Fat” Albers. Hawk Harrelson has gifted the world with a Twitter account.

In Other News

  • Jason Kipnis All-Star fun:

Jason Kipnis All-Star not fun:

  • With the series win in Cincinnati this past weekend, the Tribe took the Ohio Cup from the Reds for the second time in the past five years (two ties). Kipnis was named the Ohio Cup MVP, which is apparently a thing.
  • Indians schedule until the end of the month: two games in Milwaukee, four at home against the White Sox, three at home against Kansas City, two in Oakland. Three very winnable series that will ultimately determine whether we’ll be selling or buying come July 31st.
  • Frankie Lindor is 6-20 since the break. Yan Gomes has a double, homer and four ribs. Michael Bourn has four hits in his last two games, just as many as he had in his previous 12. Brantley and Kipnis have 9 hits and 3 XBH’s. Brandon Moss has only struck out twice.

Hey, I’m trying here people.

 

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