Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Cleveland Indians
2006-07-03 13:13
by Cliff Corcoran

Preseason playoff favorites, the Indians are now, one game shy of the season's half-way point, 18 games out of first place in the AL Central, 15.5 games behind in the Wild Card race, and three games below .500. While simply matching their Pythagorean record would improve their record, and thus the above standings, by six games, the Indians, an organization overflowing with young talent, has decided to take a longer view of their future.

The result is that starter Jason Johnson, signed to a one-year deal this past winter but dragging the team down with a 5.96 ERA was released and top pitching prospect Jeremy Sowers was called up to fill his spot. Veteran first baseman Eduardo Perez, signed to platoon with Ben Broussard--and excellent strategy that resulted in a .303/.343/.636 line from Perez and, with Perez taking all of the at-bats against lefties, the 29-year-old Broussard's best season--was flipped to Seattle for 20-year-old middle-infield prospect Asdrubal Cabrera, making room for perennial minor league masher and righty-hitting first baseman Ryan Garko on the Cleveland roster. Meanwhile, with both corner outfielders on the DL, the Tribe has called up Franklin Gutierrez, one of their top outfield prospects, and have been starting him in right field. The Indians have also returned veteran backup catcher Tim Laker to the minors in exchange for Kelly Shoppach, the 26-year-old catching prospect obtained from the Red Sox in the Coco Crisp deal. Shoppach has been receiving his fair share of starts behind the plate, while the Indians have been working star catcher Victor Martinez into their first-base picture in order to keep his bat in the line-up on "off" days.

These moves are at the most a couple of weeks old (Gutierrez for Casey Blake in right) and in some cases (Garko for Perez) happened just a couple days ago, so there's little to say as of yet about how these players are panning out, though the Yankees will get a good look at one of the more compelling little Indians tonight when they face Sowers in what will be just his second major league start.

Sowers was drafted by the Indians out of Vanderbilt University in June 2004 and made his professional debut in 2005 working his way all the way from the single-A Caroline League to the triple-A International League in his first pro season. After a rough spring training with the big club this March, Sowers returned to triple-A, where he had made just one start the year before, and went 9-1 with a 1.39 ERA in 15 starts despite an unimpressive K:BB ratio of 1.86 that was due largely to a low strikeout rate. His major league debut came at home a week before Sunday against the Reds.

In that game, Sowers pitched well in four of his five innings, but was undone by a fourth inning in which a lead-off walk was plated by a Ken Griffey Jr. homer and an infield single also came around to score on a home run by Adam Dunn. The end result was an ugly 7.20 ERA and a 4-2 Indians' loss, but one can hardly blame a rookie for giving up taters to Griffey and Dunn. Meanwhile, the walk was the only one he surrendered while throwing 61 percent of his pitches for strikes, striking out three Reds in his five innings of work.

The Yankees jumped all over Alay Soler on Sunday, but they could easily come down with a case of the URPs against the 23-year-old Sowers, who is a very highly touted prospect who gets by on guile, changing speeds and breaking pitches rather than heat and sheer physical ability.

Looking to keep pace with Sowers will be Chien-Ming Wang, who turned in a gem his last time out against the Braves, needing just 91 pitches through eight innings, while holding the Braves to two runs over that span. Wang has steadily improved as the season has worn on, posting a 4.80 ERA in April, a 4.28 ERA in May, a 3.19 overall ERA in June and a 2.39 ERA in his last five starts, each of which saw him pitch a minimum of seven innings.

Incidentally, the Indians expect to activate Jason Michaels before tonight's game, which likely means either the 23-year-old Gutierrez's audition is temporarily over (which his .233/.250/.256 line suggests is a distinct possibility), or veteran minor league infielder-turned major league utility man Joe Inglett (1 for 7) will get the boot and Todd Hollandsworth (.219/.236/.438) will return to the bench.

Cleveland Indians

2006 Record: 37-43 (.462)
2006 Pythagorean Record: 43-37 (.539)

Manager: Eric Wedge
General Manager: Mark Shapiro

Home Ballpark (2005 Park Factors): Jacobs Field (94/94)

Who's Replaced Whom?

  • Franklin Gutierrez replaced Jason Michaels (DL)
  • Ryan Garko replaced Eduardo Perez
  • Joe Inglett replaced Casey Blake on the roster and Todd Hollandsworth replaces Blake in the outfield
  • Kelly Shoppach replaced Tim Laker
  • Jeremy Sowers replaced Jason Johnson
  • Edward Mujica replaced Jeremy Guthrie

Current Roster:

1B – Ben Broussard (L)
2B – Ron Belliard (R)
SS – Jhonny Peralta (R)
3B – Aaron Boone (R)
C – Victor Martinez (S)
RF – Franklin Gutierrez (R)
CF – Grady Sizemore (L)
LF – Todd Hollandsworth (L)
DH – Travis Hafner (L)


R – Ryan Garko (1B)
L – Ramon Vazquez (IF)
L – Joe Inglett (UT)
R – Kelly Shoppach (C)


L – C.C. Sabathia
L – Jeremy Sowers
R – Jake Westbrook
R – Paul Byrd
L – Cliff Lee


R – Bob Wickman
R – Rafael Betancourt
R – Fernando Cabrera
L - Rafael Perez
R – Guillermo Mota
R - Fausto Carmona
R – Edward Mujica

Tyical Lineup:

L – Grady Sizemore (CF)
R – Rafael Belliard (2B)
R – Jhonny Peralta (SS)
L – Travis Hafner (DH)
S – Victor Martinez (C)
L – Ben Broussard (1B)
L – Todd Hollandsworth (LF)
R – Aaron Boone (3B)
R – Franklin Gutierrez (RF)

15-day DL: R – Casey Blake (RF), R – Jason Michaels (LF)
60-day DL: R - Matt Miller

Comments (110)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-07-03 15:26:40
1.   randym77
And it appears young Nick has made an impression...

Johnny Damon CF
Derek Jeter SS
Jason Giambi DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Bernie Williams RF
Andy Phillips 1B
Melky Cabrera LF
Kelly Stinnett C
Nick Green 2B

Chien-Ming Wang RHP

2006-07-03 15:30:20
2.   randym77
And this looks like really good news. Yanks signed 16-year-old catcher Jesus Montero:


Montero, 16, is a right-handed hitter with tremendous power, according to scouts and the Yanks lured him away from the Mets and Red Sox, sources said, by offering the top bid of $2 million.

..."He'll instantly become the highest catching prospect in our system," GM Brian Cashman said. "One of our scouts believes he's the best prospect to come out of Venezuela since Miguel Cabrera."


2006-07-03 15:33:37
3.   Jen
My god, it's David Justice's Evil Twin.

This is the first time I've seen the pregame show in a while. How long has he had that 'stache?

2006-07-03 16:10:35
4.   Zack
The Mentero signing is a great singing that brings us back to one of the things the Yanks used to be great at, winning the international game...Add that to the fact that we got him and the Sox didn't, who are almost in more desperate need of a C, and its an exciting signing...He's young and impressive...
2006-07-03 16:13:11
5.   Zack
Yes, Giambi!
2006-07-03 16:13:25
6.   randym77
Giambino!!! Looks like the Yanks have found the good wood!
2006-07-03 16:14:55
7.   SF Yanks
Lets keep it rollin!!
2006-07-03 16:16:39
8.   Zack
Bernie chasing the first pitch yet again
2006-07-03 16:26:38
9.   Zack
Not a great first inning for Wanger, a few hard hit fly balls...Get that sinker going
2006-07-03 16:32:32
10.   randym77
Yeah, those fly balls aren't a good sign.

But he's struggled in the first inning before and recovered. C'mon, Tiger! We need you to go deep tonight.

2006-07-03 16:38:50
11.   Zack
The Wang Special, DP...
2006-07-03 16:47:30
12.   randym77
Oh, you gotta be kidding. One of the weirdest strikes I've ever seen.

And they're walking A-Rod to get to Bernie. Make 'em pay, Bernie!

2006-07-03 16:48:45
13.   rsmith51
12 That was a weird one.
2006-07-03 16:54:45
14.   Eirias
I have a question: Why is it considered so difficult to throw a hard sinker? One would think that it would only require a slight change in release point to achieve a downward-angled ball with equivalent velocity to a prototypical fastball.
2006-07-03 16:57:07
15.   RIYank
A sinker isn't downward angled. It's a breaking ball.
I think it's really just a two-seam fastball, but it breaks downward.
2006-07-03 16:58:56
16.   rsmith51
Belliard has a little "Manny" in him.
2006-07-03 17:00:53
17.   rsmith51
Peralta looked like he glanced back at Stinnett there.
2006-07-03 17:02:28
18.   Rosbif22
14 I believe that release points only control where the ball will end up, not the movement, so you can't throw a sinker like that.

This isn't too detailed, but it's still interesting:

2006-07-03 17:06:58
19.   rbj
2006-07-03 17:07:57
20.   Popcult
anyone see this crazy trade rumor? Never will happen (and fans like us shouldn't want it to happen, right?):
2006-07-03 17:09:21
21.   Simone
Aarrrgggh!!! It is on the offense again tonight.
2006-07-03 17:11:16
22.   rsmith51
20 Is that Ramirez and Mark Prior and ...?

I believe Alex has a no-trade clause...

2006-07-03 17:11:39
23.   kdw
20 Doesn't A-Rod have a no trade clause? If he does, do you think he would agree to that trade?
2006-07-03 17:12:10
24.   rbj
Even the Cleveland announcers think there was some contact.
2006-07-03 17:13:13
25.   randym77
Sigh. Wang's not at his best, and Melky's not helping.

But Sowers has an ERA north of 7. We should be able to get these back.

2006-07-03 17:20:11
26.   singledd
20 The Cubs year is in the toilet. This 'rumor' was probably stated to avoid a suicide watch.

I believe we pay ARod about 16 mil/yr? That's a pretty good deal for us.

2006-07-03 17:22:17
27.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
20 the truly delusional part of that rumor is the comments by the Cub fans on that thread who actually think that Zambrano is worth MORE than A-Rod.
2006-07-03 17:25:00
28.   rsmith51
27 That is ridiculous. I can't imagine Cashman wasting his time. The Jones to the ChiSox piqued my interest, however.
2006-07-03 17:27:06
29.   singledd
20 It was said the Yankees reason was 1) salary dump 2) Disappontment in ARod's year. Except that Ramirez makes 11 mil (against ARod's 16)... which isn't that much of a salary dump and last year ARod disappointed into the MVP.
2006-07-03 17:35:02
30.   singledd
Kazmir and the Rays lead the Sox 1-0 after 5. Kaz has 80 pitches, so will only last 7 at best.
2006-07-03 17:36:21
31.   rbj
Mufferfugger Hollandsworth.
2006-07-03 17:38:48
32.   rbj
I'm sure Cashman will listen to any and all proposals for anyone except: 1)Mo, 2) Jeter. The price on some people, however, will be too high.
2006-07-03 17:39:58
33.   Simone
Sowers has a 5.4 ERA and the Yankees can't hit him. Incredible.

Kazmir has looked good. Throwing lots of strikes and working his way out of trouble. He obviously is still thinking "payback" when it comes to the Red Sox. Plus, the Rays just hit back to back home runs against Beckett. I hope the Rays can hold on and win that game.

2006-07-03 17:44:39
34.   Zack
This is another pitcher we haven't seen before game, sigh...Wanger doesn't have his best stuff, but we should be scoring a lot more to back him up...
2006-07-03 17:45:14
35.   singledd
33 TB up 3-0. Kazmir has a 1 hitter going.
2006-07-03 17:45:25
36.   Zack
Oh yeah, and that Cubs trade thing is so beyong rediculous. It makes no sense for us, at all...
2006-07-03 17:51:18
37.   Zack
Leave it to us to build up a young pitcher's confidence...
2006-07-03 17:58:57
38.   singledd
Bernie is quickly regressing to norm.
2006-07-03 18:03:51
39.   randym77
They're hitting them hard. They just aren't dropping in. :-P
2006-07-03 18:08:05
40.   Zack
No range by Jeter there...
2006-07-03 18:11:11
41.   rbj
Crap. Mufferfugging Hollandsworth, part II.
2006-07-03 18:11:46
42.   Zack
Jesus, why the hell can we not get out Todd F'ing Hollandsworth? The guy has killed us...Better hope the Sox go on and lose...
2006-07-03 18:11:50
43.   randym77
I just knew that was going to happen when they started talking about how Wang's so great about keeping in the ballpark. :-P
2006-07-03 18:13:18
44.   Mattpat11
Am I the only one who doesn't understand the Hollandsworth thing?

He sucks right? Its not just me?

2006-07-03 18:18:29
45.   randym77
I think Hollandsworth's auditioning for Bernie's or Melky's job.

And the Mets are losing to the lowly Pirates tonight.

2006-07-03 18:19:28
46.   singledd
Kazmir up 3-0 after 7 1/2. Boston has 4-5-6 due up in the 9th.
2006-07-03 18:24:48
47.   rbj
First pitch swinging by stinnet. Grrrrr.
2006-07-03 18:24:53
48.   Eirias
Given the addition of Jesus Montero, are the Yankees still going to to pursue Tony Pena's son?
2006-07-03 18:25:43
49.   BklynBmr
Nick 'The Stick'! OK, Yanks. Let's get it going...
2006-07-03 18:27:39
50.   BklynBmr
Arrgh... has everyone been first pitch swinging tonight?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-07-03 18:29:08
51.   Zack
Manny leads off the 9th with a double...
2006-07-03 18:29:13
52.   singledd
No much offense tonight...
2006-07-03 18:29:30
53.   Yu-Hsing Chen
The D tonight is junk....... Jeter lets at least two to three playable balls into hits... Melky miss plays a ball in the outfield... Green can't turn a DP.... ack... not good when u have a contact pitcher around
2006-07-03 18:35:59
54.   rbj
Kazmir has a CG shutout of the Red Sox.
2006-07-03 18:36:18
55.   Zack
Wow, utter dominance by Kazmir 9 IP, 2 H, 2BB, 10K
2006-07-03 18:38:37
56.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Beckett went 7IP 3ER.... 3HR..<--- ouch. he's really going to set a record for that at this rate
2006-07-03 18:41:55
57.   Coltre Hughes
Josh Beckett = great National League pitcher.
2006-07-03 18:43:01
58.   singledd
54 a 2 hitter, no less.
2006-07-03 18:45:23
59.   BklynBmr
Texas holding off Toronto 2-1, bottom 6...
2006-07-03 18:46:44
60.   randym77
And last-place Pittsburgh is now up 8-1 on the Mets.
2006-07-03 18:48:14
61.   BklynBmr
OK, Cap! Here we go, Yan-kees...
2006-07-03 18:48:38
62.   rbj
According to the Tribes announcers, Sowers had a 6, a 7 and a 9 pitch inning. Not the way to work the count, guys.
2006-07-03 18:49:57
63.   marc
maybe we're not out of this yet. The game that is, I'm not so sure about the season
2006-07-03 18:50:15
64.   Yu-Hsing Chen
62 our bottom of the order today... ack... can't we do what star wars do and insert a artificle wrist into Sheff and Matsui ?XD
2006-07-03 18:50:33
65.   BklynBmr
That was the last thing I thought would happen... dayum!
2006-07-03 18:50:47
66.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Hughes with another strong outing tonight: 4.2 ip, 2 hits, 2 walks, 0 er, and 9 ks.

Odd that they took him out tho with one out to go before he'd get the win and Trenton up big. Hope he's ok. The game log has him making a play at first for the 1st out of the inning, then one more batter and he's gone. Hope he didn't injure himself. Could just be a strict pitch count I guess.

2006-07-03 18:52:45
67.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
Well, that looks like game. Chances of the bottom of the order, even with a Jorge pitch-hit, scraping together 3 runs is slim to none.
2006-07-03 18:56:02
68.   Max
Chance to gain ground on everyone...Red Sox and White Sox losing, as well as Toronto...and we go back to laying an egg against another young so-so lefthander and Todd Hollandsworth.

Bring up the heart of the order in the 8th against a so-so reliever and we get single, GIDP, and 3 pitch strikeout by the guy who's supposedly re-established his superstar credentials.

2006-07-03 18:56:43
69.   marc
sounds like we were hitting the ball decently tonight but nothing worked out with Boone and others with great defense and pitching where the guy keeps throwing a tough strike one. Good performance, didn't give us a chance to work the count.
2006-07-03 18:57:05
70.   BklynBmr
63 Plenty o'hardball left, marc. We'll have our 8 or 9 game win streak, get some guys back and hopefully a deft roster move or two. I'm just half-stunned we're not 8 games out by now. Tonight looks tough, but we gotta split or win this series, and keep hangin' around...
2006-07-03 18:57:54
71.   Yu-Hsing Chen
69 not to meantion letting weak grounders finding the hole several times and misplaying outfield hits.....
2006-07-03 19:00:20
72.   rsmith51
Does Smith still have a 0.00 E.R.A.?
2006-07-03 19:00:37
73.   marc
I wasn't paying attention in prior years but it seems phenomenal the way interleague looks like it may decide things this year
2006-07-03 19:00:40
74.   randym77
69 Yeah, I agree. Melky was robbed twice. Green and even Stinnett hit the ball hard, just not quite in the right place.

Though the gaps are pretty small with the kind of D these guys are playing tonight.

2006-07-03 19:05:36
75.   marc
Matsui may be the key this year but if it was me I 'd be scared shitless of swinging the bat violently right after my wrist assumedly healed. But I guess that's why he gets $52M and I don't. Maybe the Yanks can do something here and I can get out of philosophical mode and back into game mode
2006-07-03 19:05:38
76.   BklynBmr
Get it started, Bernie...
2006-07-03 19:07:29
77.   randym77
Yeah, Bernie!
2006-07-03 19:07:53
78.   BklynBmr
Quick stat from Singleton: Yanks lead MLB in 5 run plus innings this year with 16. Another one would be nice right about now...
2006-07-03 19:08:27
79.   BklynBmr
Andy. Andy. Andy...
2006-07-03 19:09:44
80.   Coltre Hughes
When Melky walks, they be patient, Melk!
2006-07-03 19:10:02
81.   randym77
78 Wow, really? I had no idea.

Andy flies out on the first pitch. It's up to Melky now.

Looks like Reese will be PHing for Stinnett.

2006-07-03 19:10:07
82.   BklynBmr
Good job, Melky!
2006-07-03 19:11:13
83.   marc
big gift. we got a chance anyway
2006-07-03 19:11:30
84.   JeremyM
Makes Phillips first pitch swing a little more infuriating, but it's spilled milk. Come on Jorge!
2006-07-03 19:11:42
85.   randym77
Reese sat back down, Jorgie up.
2006-07-03 19:12:05
86.   BklynBmr
Hey, Jorgie. How about a 3 run blast here, brah?
2006-07-03 19:13:52
87.   BklynBmr
Could've been worse... it's up to Reese.
2006-07-03 19:14:39
88.   BklynBmr
Damon on deck. Reese just needs to get on...
2006-07-03 19:14:59
89.   BklynBmr
WTF was that call??????????
2006-07-03 19:15:29
90.   Yu-Hsing Chen
Reese have the most hilarious gameday pic ever
2006-07-03 19:15:40
91.   rsmith51
Terrible call...

Oh well, gotta beat the umps.

2006-07-03 19:16:12
92.   Mattpat11
Can't say I blame Reese for swinging at that pitch. WTF knows what's going to be called a strike or ball.
2006-07-03 19:16:22
93.   Simone
What is up with Reese's GameDay picture? LOL!
2006-07-03 19:17:00
94.   rbj
Nerts Nerts.
2006-07-03 19:17:04
95.   BklynBmr
That was BS. That call changed the count and the situation...
2006-07-03 19:17:26
96.   JeremyM
Well, that sucked. This team sucks quite frankly.

I'll probably regret writing that but that's how I feel right now.

2006-07-03 19:17:39
97.   rbj
Gotta give credit to Indians defense.
2006-07-03 19:17:56
98.   Simone
Eh. Another loss to a sucky team with a pathetic pitcher. Nothing new to see here.
2006-07-03 19:18:56
99.   JeremyM
97 True, but how many teams have beat them, defense and all?
2006-07-03 19:18:59
100.   BklynBmr
At least our lock on second seems safe for now, Texas up 5-1 on the Jays...

Oh that f'n call....

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-07-03 19:19:11
101.   rabid stan
As disappointing as watching the Yanks lose on Gameday is, Kevin Reese's picture almost salvages the whole thing.

It's so... dramatic, like it's from a movie poster. Everyone else's looks like a mugshot.

2006-07-03 19:20:44
102.   randym77
I think they're missing their "greenies." The late ESPN start last night, plus the rain delay...they didn't get to the hotel until 5 am this morning.

The Mets just lost 11-1 to lowly Pittsburgh.

2006-07-03 19:22:17
103.   randym77
101 The photo they used in the stadium was just as bizarre. He had a black eye in it.
2006-07-03 19:24:20
104.   BklynBmr
102 Yeah, looks like the Subway Series took some wind out of all concerned.
2006-07-03 19:33:15
105.   BklynBmr
Well, here's hoping Chacon has a nice dinner, retires early to his hotel room and mentalizes pitching a no-hitter...

'till mañana, folks...

2006-07-03 19:44:57
106.   Max
104 They may have been tired, but lousy defense and not hitting with RISP has been a season-long problem.
2006-07-03 20:16:02
107.   Yu-Hsing Chen
106 that isn't exactly a huge problem today... they left less ppl on than the Indians.... they simply didn't hit... the bottom of the order was 1 for the century or something today.
2006-07-04 00:38:59
108.   brockdc
66I read on prosportsdaily that the Yankee brass is lobbying for him to pitch the rest of his games in a bubble.
2006-07-04 06:05:20
109.   singledd
Last year, ShefSui produced 57 HRs, 239 RBI and an .877 OPS. Melky and Bernie are projected to total 17 HRs, 114 RBI and a .706 OPS.

So in total, we lose 40 HRs, 125 RBI and .342 OPS over the course of the year.
How many wins would you guess that translates to? This is basically 0.75 RS/game.

How can anyone believe we can 'trade down' to that degree and still win the division, no less the WS?

Next year, it will cost us $10mil+ to resign Shef. And who knows if at his age, with a damaged wrist and poor defense if it's worth it. Why not invest that money now at get the OF bat we need for this year, as well as the future.

Cleveland and the Cubs should be ready to dump some salary. Aubrey Huff? The infamous Sori?

In the last 40 games (1/4 of the season) we have a RS of 5.35/game. In that time we have gone 23 and 17, a .575 WPct at 6 games better then .500. However, if you subtract our 5 biggest blowouts (which make the RS/RA skewed at bit), we scored 150 runs in 35 games, for a RS of 4.28/game.

Out of 30 teams, the TB Rays have a RS of 4.3/game, or 28th out of 30. So in the last 40 games, we have been the Yankees for 5 games and the Rays for 35 games.

I know that you can play with numbers and make them look the way you want. But anyone who has watched the Yanks this year know intuitively, we are not scoring what we need, especially against weak pitchers and weak teams.

I'm not saying we're done, but with the WC PROBABLY coming from the Central, I think we have a tough road ahead.

Agree? Disagree?

Our RS is pretty good... would project to 867 RS for the season. But considering our pitching and defense, will this get us the Division? The WS?

2006-07-04 06:53:51
110.   randym77
I think we will make a trade before the deadline. The only point anyone's arguing is when. I've been saying this since May: we'll make some trades, but not until we're up against the deadline. Cashman's waiting for the prices to drop.

I don't think it will be Sori. They want too much for him. The Yanks are reportedly not impressed with Huff. The Royals are asking for Hughes for Reggie Sanders.

Maybe it's all posturing...but we won't find out until the deadline looms. But hey, Tony Womack is available now, if we're that desperate. :-P

I'm still more concerned about pitching. What are we going to do tonight if Chacon has another 4-inning night? Call up Aaron Small?

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