Fister Leaves His Rock

  Doug Fister hasn’t won a game since last August, but like he normally does against the Indians, he has pitched a gem. He has been living in a rock for all this time and now that the Indians have decided to stop over to pay a visit, he thought it would be a great idea to climb out and say “Hello.”

  I mentioned in the previous post what Mike Clevinger would have to do to have any chance against Boston and he did the opposite. All but one of the scoring hits were middle/middle in, where I wrote he would need to stay away from. When you do the opposite of what you’re supposed to do, you get taken out of the game before the 4th inning has completed.

  Fister isn’t the only player on Boston who has befuddled the Indians. Eduardo Nunez has played the Indians for fools. When stealing 3rd base, he had already been halfway between 2nd and 3rd before the pitch had even been released without a single thought of throwing over to pick him off. I retract my viewpoint about Chicago’s win not taking anything away from Cleveland’s offensive run. The Indians were simply not in the game and it showed all the way through with the exception of Bradley Zimmer’s 2-run blast. This now gives Boston one more season win than the Tribe.  Game 2 tomorrow night. Chris Sale will host Carlos Carrasco.

Michael’s View

Carlos Carrasco will need some Red Bull to keep up with Chris Sale tomorrow. Both pitchers pitched quality starts on their last outings. Sale is among the league’s strikeout elite kings as of his last outing.

Carlos Carrasco: The bats are strong right now for the hot Red Sox. Carrasco will need to be on his A game if he wants to keep up with Sale. Unlike Sale, Carrasco needs to be spot on with his pitches. He doesn’t have room to play around the plate.

Chris Sale: Completely opposite. He can pretty much pitch anywhere he wants to and get away with it. His problem isn’t usually location as much as it is mechanics. As long as his mechanics are fine, he’s going to fool batters.

How to Throw a Game on Accident

  It’s sometimes hard to believe Chicago is dead last. Looking at the names on their starting line up, you would think they have a good roster. Statistically, though, not so much; mediocre at best. Statistically, they don’t even have the worst pitching staff, other than giving up walks. They’re the best at that.

  So what is it that is causing them to look so bad?  Little things. Costly errors. The consistent perfect timing of unfortunate events isn’t just digging a hole for them; it’s burying them right along with it. Their offense did a great job tying the ball game giving them an opportunity to make something happen and lo and behold, with two men on base, a batter is hit by the pitch loading them up followed by another hit batsman to walk in the go-ahead (and eventually the winning) run.

  It is a struggle to come back and tie a ball game against Cleveland as it is. So far in the month of July, the Indians have allowed 6 or more runs in only 5 games out of the 25 played. They have allowed 5 runs in only 4 of the remaining 20 games. The remaining 64% have been held to 4 or less.

  Fortunately for Chicago, they did not get swept. The next game saw an awesome pitcher’s duel with Carlos Rodon coming up victorious, striking out 9 Indians. Matt Davidson broke the tie and ended the game with a no-doubt-about-it walk-off homer to center field.

  It may have been the game the Sox needed to boost their confidence into the next game. It was enough to break the Tribe’s winning streak, but more than likely not enough to thwart their vicious offensive drive.

 The Indians now move on to pay visit to the team that stopped Kansas City’s fire and doused their embers. This will be the first time this year the two teams have met. They are evenly ranked with 57 wins a piece. Boston has a 30-20 record at home while Cleveland has a 29-22 record away from home.

Michael’s View

Doug Fister –

  Boston’s Doug Fister is set to host Cleveland’s Mike Clevinger in the first game of their 3-game series. Fister did not have a quality start in his last outing against the Blue Jays, giving up 6 runs on 7 hits and walking 4. He’s going to need to keep his pitches down and on the corners to be effective. Anything he leaves up in the zone flatlines drastically and can be seen by the batters as fat pitches. He needs to also be wary of pitches down over the plate. Opponents are batting .600 in that area. So location is an absolute must for Fister.

Mike Clevinger –

  Clevinger wasn’t much better during his last outing, either, also giving up 6 runs, but with more hits (9), two of them homers. Clevinger, on the other hand, does not have to be as selective in his location as he does which pitch can be thrown where. He can paint almost any portion of the strike zone with little worry. Nearly all of his opponents’ damage has stemmed from pitches thrown middle/middle-in and he must stay away from that area as much as possible as his release point makes it easier to read pitches there.


  It may very well be a batter bonanza tomorrow. We’ll see which of these starters, if any, can buckle down and give the other team a tough set of plate appearances.

Salazar Stops Chicago

  How many shutout innings does a pitcher need to pitch before fans finally stop being so negative? Especially the fans who get extremely upset when they lose a game and think the entire season is finished because of it.

  Salazar isn’t an ace, we know that. He’s still capable of throwing 6 scoreless innings and that’s what matters. You can argue that they won against the worst team. Sure you can. They’re not the worst team because of their hitting. If your pitchers aren’t doing their job, the White Sox can pack a pounding. Avisail Garcia is batting .303, Leury Garcia .298, Melky Cabrera .295, Jose Abreu .293, with a combined 198 RBIs. Salazar was able to keep those dangerous batters at bay until the 7th inning when he gave up the only 2 runs of the game. Any ace pitcher with common sense would be happy to have that type of an outing.

  Salazar’s performance comes at a key time when the Indians are on a hot streak, giving them 8 consecutive wins. Corey Kluber takes the mound tomorrow looking for number 9.

Indians Red Hot, But Who’s Hotter?


  If you’re an Indians fan, you’re probably pretty happy. The team that was 21-24 at home before winning a game has just swept their homestand, won seven in a row, and flip-flopped their home record to four games over .500. This puts their win/loss total to ten games over .500, which should be a comfortable place to rest.

  But is it? Although the Kansas City Royals are two games behind Cleveland, they’re one game ahead in their win streak, technically making them hotter (at least for now). They’re no strangers to contention and they’re not going to give up. It just feels like these guys never lose games. Every time you hear something about them, they’re winning whatever it is. But even that is just a worry that Cleveland has only in their own division.

  The remainder of worries lies in any other division in baseball other than NL Central. As a matter of fact, the only first-place team who has a worse record is the current MLB champions. In a nutshell, the two teams who seem to have the most attention are the two teams who played against each other in the World Series, and out of all the first-place teams, they’re both dead last in their respective leagues.

  So who’s really hotter? Cleveland has won 55 games. Boston has won 56. Washington, 61. Houston, 67. LA Dodgers, a whopping 71. The Dodgers are winning in a division where the next team down (Arizona) is 12 games behind, and even they are 16 games over .500, just ahead of Colorado, who are 13 games over .500. That can only partially be blamed on the Padres and Giants.

  My opinion is this: The National League has more bad teams, which makes the good teams look better, whereas the American League has more good teams, making the better teams look worse. But we all know what opinions are like, and everbody has one.

Still Doubting Encarnacion?

I heard it over and over on talk radio and sports programs about the woes of getting Edwin Encarnacion. I watched him whine in Toronto during the playoffs. I even nicknamed him Edwhine, but the bottom line is that I still respected him as a hitter. His name is known to any true baseball fan, revered by rookies, and feared by pitchers.

Cleveland fans tend to have a problem with drastic changes. The moment it was released that Edwin would be on the Indians, the radio was filled with haters. He’s old. He’s washed up. Look what he did in the playoffs.

Well, let’s look at those complaints.

He’s Old: That completely depends on the player. For Edwin, he’s not old yet. At 34, he’s prime for power, which is exactly why Cleveland has him. He’s still a clutch hitter.

He’s washed up: What planet are you referring to? Oh, because he started terrible. Edwin’s history will tell you that he’s notorious for terrible starts. By all means, Ed, get it out of the way early. Most players only wish they could do it that way. I wouldn’t consider his 2016 stats anywhere close to Washed Up. He was 1st in AL with 127 RBIs and 3rd with 42 homers.

Look what he did in the playoffs: This one cracks me up. He was actually amazing in the playoffs, until he faced Cleveland! In the 2016 Division Series, he batted .417 with a .500 OBP and .917 Slugging. Cleveland, however, did not allow such greatness to emit. Out of the 19 at bats against Cleveland, he only produced 4 hits and 2 RBIs.  Let’s change this to “Look what he did against Toronto,” because he was on fire. Let’s change this to “Look what he did against Los Angeles,” hitting a walk-off grand slam.

Edwin Encarnacion hits a walk-off grand slam against the Los Angeles Angels –

I think that most of the fan frustrations have come from knowing that Cleveland has one of the best farming systems in the league, and have been known to use it against fans’ wishes, trading prospect after prospect. Cleveland was doing itself a big solid in the long run and we are looking at the results. Remember, we got to watch an unhealthy team make it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series while a number of our big names were on the disabled list. That, my friends, is good depth, and is also what most teams lack.  Edwin is a superb addition to Cleveland’s depth. He has a while to go before we need to worry about him. Let’s savor the season.


Kansas City Has Big Shoes to Fill

     As the World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals have obviously set the 2016 standards. Out of the 29 other teams, there are four teams needing to pay closer attention than all the others. They are the Minnesota Twins, the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox, and the Detroit Tigers. All of the teams in the Central Division will be on each other’s feet throughout most of the season.

     The odds of winning a World Series may possibly be more dynamic than winning the lottery jackpot. The statistical best team may not win the title because so many things can happen during each at bat. Errors, fatigue, injury, esteem, chance, etc. That’s what makes baseball so exciting. That’s what’s going to make this year’s Central Division so intense.

I’m not counting Detroit out, either. Every team has made changes, and they’re good ones, too. Detroit has been a factory of powerhouse players for decades. There’s a reason why they spend the money they spend. This may be the year it pays off for the better.

A Few Honorable Mentions

     I recently wrote about the possibility of Cleveland needing another outfielder in my first post. The organization has been keeping an eye on Zach Walters, although he has been an infielder during most of his career. As of now, they are training him solely as an outfielder, allowing him a chance to compete for one of the available outfielder positions. Throughout his brief two years and eight game career, his numbers have significantly dropped from one year to the next. It is possible he was playing with a problem waiting to happen, and it finally did when he tore the labrum in his shoulder diving into home plate on October 2, 2015. This is only a guess on my behalf, of course. There must be something about him, because they certainly haven’t given up on him. We’ll have to see when the time comes.

     Manager, Terry Francona has also been keeping an eye on newbie center fielder, Tyler Naquin, who has been swinging the bat very well in Akron’s minor AA Rubberducks. In 76 games, he pulled in a .313 average with 30 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

     As far as the fifth spot in the pitching rotation, it appears as though Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson are the two main competitors. They will be the first two pitchers to start the Cactus League games, Tomlin will start on March 1st and Anderson will start on the 2nd.