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Cleveland Indians
And How Their Teams Were Built

Big Series

by scott longert on 08/03/17

The Yankees are in town for a four game series which should tell a lot about the Indians and the rest of the season. The Tribe lost two games in Boston, one in spectacular fashion. Both Boston and New York are certain to be in the post-season and the Indians must show they are for real. They need to at the very worst split the series with the Yankees or take three out of four. 

The pitching staff has lost Andrew Miller on the 10 day DL and Josh Tomlin for about six weeks. Now is a real test for the guys to step up and fill in until they are back to full strength. Losing Miller for any length of time is a major problem

I was at the Indians- Angels game last Thursday. Trevor Bauer pitched well, being in command for eight innings. It was a fun game to watch with 28,000 people in attendance for an afternoon game. It may have been because the team was giving away beach towels.

One of my favorite things to watch is the number of balls thrown out for a new ball. Any pitch that the catcher drops, even if it barely touches the ground is removed for a new ball. In the fifth or sixth inning the Angels pitcher finished his warm-ups and the catcher threw down to second base. The ball was flipped to the third baseman who dropped the ball. He picked it up, walked towards third and lobbed the ball into the stands. The home umpire threw a new ball to the pitcher. 

Maybe there is a rule about this, but the ball barely touched the ground and had to be removed. I don't think I have ever seen that before!


by scott longert on 07/14/17

The 2017 All-Star game was not the most exciting, but it was great to see five Indians picked for the team. Jose Ramirez and Andrew Miller had their moments on the National Stage.

I am wondering if Home Run Derby is starting to upstage the event itself. When you have guys like Judge, Stanton and the rest the game might be a little anti-climactic. Us old folks remember Home Run Derby from the early 1960's that was taped and shown on the weekends. All the big stars were on it and it was independent of the All-Star game. Each program had two guys competing.

The All-Star game started in 1933 in Chicago. it was the idea of Arch Ward, a writer for the Chicago Tribune. The plan was for a game between the best players of both leagues and the proceeds would go to retired ball players who needed financial help. The game was held in conjunction with the World's Fair to take advantage of the people already in the area. 

The first home run was hit by, you guessed it, Babe Ruth. He had  an ability to produce at the right time which few other players could. The game was a big success (won by the American League) and the baseball owners agreed to make it an annual event. Earl Averill of the Indians was on the team and he would get selected for six straight All-Star teams. Pitcher Mel Harder was a standout in three appearances, not allowing a run each time he pitched. The 1935 game was played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium and drew a crowd of nearly 70,000, a record for many years.

With the second half of the season beginning, I look for the Indians to gradually pull away from Kansas City and Minnesota. The team needs another starting pitcher whether that be Danny Salazar or somebody in a trade. One way or another I am sure the problem will be solved.

First Place

by scott longert on 06/18/17

A great weekend for Cleveland in sweeping Minnesota and taking over first place. This was an important series and the Tribe really answered. Great hitting by Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall. Ryan Merritt did a good job in his start on Saturday as did Mike Clevenger. The Twins had to use some minor league pitchers for the Saturday games but the Indians did what they had to do.

A two game lead is a little slim, but this could be the point where the Indians take off and distance themselves from the rest of the division. It is not quite the half way point,still a big move now gains a lot of momentum.

I am not sure why outfielder Daniel Robertson is in the lineup so much. I would like to see Bradley Zimmer get a chance to play everyday. I don't think Robertson is in the team's long term plans so why not let Zimmer play on a daily basis? He had a great game on Saturday then sat the bench for the second game.

It seems the home runs are flying out of the ball parks. At this rate there will be a number of hitters with thirty-five to forty home runs or more. I can't wait to see which guys are chosen for the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game.

Moving Forward

by scott longert on 06/03/17

I had a chance to get to Progressive Field on Tuesday to watch the Indians and Oakland A's. The Indians looked like a championship team, easily winning 9-4. Trevor Bauer had a great outing, striking out fourteen. The A's scored three runs early, but Bauer had them under control the rest of the way. I am hoping this is a turning point for him and that there will be a number of quality starts the rest of the season.

The offense was outstanding as well. Home runs by Jason Kipnis and Bradley Zimmer , big hits from Ramirez and Encarnacion and just about everybody in the lineup.

Michael Brantley had a terrific throw from the outfield to nail a runner at home. This performance showed how tough the team can be when they put things together. Let's hope the Indians will start winning at home consistently and open up a lead in the division. I think it is about time.

Work has begun on my new book about the Indians from the late 1930's up to the start of World War II. I am in 1937, talking about how Cleveland had and lost Tommy Henrich, a great outfielder and a major injury to Bob Feller to start the season. More on this later.

Sliding Along

by scott longert on 05/14/17

The Indians played well today, easily beating the Minnesota Twins 8-3. A batch of home runs and some good pitching highlighted the win. Though as nice as the win was, they still lost two out of three to the Twins.

It is still quite early, but I think the Indians need to start playing ball like they did in 2016. Right now nobody is hitting over .300. I don't like the outfield lineup other than Brantley in left field. I'd like to see another outfielder that can play everyday and hit with some power. Lonnie Chisenhall is getting an extended tryout in center field and there has already been three different guys in right field. Austin Jackson has been on the DL with a bad foot, Abraham Almonte is hitting around .220 and Brandon Guyer is still batting below .200. That is not going to get the job done.

On the positive side Trevor Bauer pitched a good game, his first of the year. He needs to string together several more quality starts and solidify his position. Dave Tomlin is starting to pitch better while Corey Kluber still remains on the DL. I don't know if Mike Clevenger is ready for the Majors yet. He still throws way too many pitches and has trouble getting past the fifth inning.

The good part is it's May 14 and there is a lot of baseball still to be played. A hot streak of seven or eight wins in a row would put the Indians in a good spot. Let's see what happens.

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