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August 31, 2005  

CIR UPDATE: Gutierrez playoff eligible  
The Indians called up Franklin Gutierrez today and optioned Brian Tallet to triple-A. The move adds Gutierrez to the 25-man active roster thus making him eligible for the playoffs in October. Mark Shapiro called him an "impact" defender on mlb radio and noted that Gutierrez' skills set profiles well for the potential addition to a playoff roster. This doesn't mean that you can pencil Franklin in for October ball but it does provide the Indians that option. Splitting time this season between Akron and Buffalo, Gutierrez hit .261/.322/.423 with 25 doubles and 11 homeruns for the Aeros while hitting .254/.320/.403 with six doubles for the Bisons in 67 at-bats. He also had swiped 16 bases in 22 attempts and significantly reduced his strikeouts from years past; 2003 (131 K / 492 AB), 2004 (88 K / 289 AB), 2005 (89 K / 450 AB). Hot recently, Gutierrez hit .422 (27-for-64) in his last 14 games before his promotion to Buffalo. Since he was already on the 40-man roster, the Indians current roster count remains at 39.


August 30, 2005  

I love this team.

In a procedural move to open a spot on the 40-man roster, the Indians recalled Kyle Denney from Buffalo and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with post-concussive symptons. Denney, if you remember, suffered a fractured skull when he was hit in the head by a line drive on June 26. He's only recently begun a throwing program and will not appear in a game again this season.

Reports out of Chicago say the Indians are interested in Cubs second basemen Todd Walker with some papers suggesting that a deal is close. The left-handed Walker is enjoying a typical solid Todd Walker type of season, hitting .301/.353/.473/.826 with 21 doubles and 10 longballs. Pretty much limited to second, although Walker has played some third (60 games) and first (9 games) in his career, I'm not sure how Walker would fit into the Indians lineup, unless the intent is simply to add another bat to the bench (i.e., replacing Ramon Vasquez on the 25-man roster) for the playoffs, which is a pretty good intent. Such a move would, however, leave Jose Hernandez as the backup shortstop where he has played one game this season, although he is a natural shortstop. Not that that would be much of a concern in the playoffs where Jhonny Peralta would be playing every day. Looking forward, I believe that Walker signed a one-year deal with the Cubs this past off-season and would be a free-agent this winter.

At any rate, I would be surprised if the Indians went this route. More than likely, the open spot will be used on Thursday to add Ryan Garko to the roster to serve as the third catcher and an extra bat off the bench.

Arthur Rhodes and Matt Miller are both scheduled to work an inning tonight in Akron on a rehab assignment in preparation for their activation off the disabled list on Thursday when rosters expand to 40.

Both would be eligible for the playoffs as disabled players are included on the list of playoff eligible players as determined by the rosters on August 31. That is, all players on the 25-man roster plus players on the disabled list on August 31, are eligible for the playoffs in October. The actual roster for each playoff series is then determined prior to the start of that round. There is one loop hole, I believe, and that is that teams can add players to the list of eligible playoff players for each player on the 60-day disabled list provided that the player plays the same postion and was in the organization as of August 31. So, with Juan Gonzalez on the 60-day DL, the Indians could (in October) add an outfielder to their playoff roster who was not playoff eligible on August 31 (i.e., a non-40 guy in Buffalo). Yesterday's move placing Kyle Denney on the 60-day DL as noted above also provides the Indians this option with a pitcher if needed in October. I believe that this is how the Angels added K-Rod to their playoff roster back in 2002.

As ridiculous as this sounds given the destruction down south, let's hope the remnants of Katrina can hold off enough tonight and tomorrow so the Indians and Tigers can get these two games in. Should a rain-out happen, the next off-day for both clubs would be Thursday, August 8. Coincidentally, the two teams would just be finishing a three-game set at Comerica. With four off-days remaining on September 1, 8, 15, and 26, the Indians will have the luxury of resting their regulars, and more importantly, the bullpen, that their wild-card competitors do not enjoy.

At 74-58, the Indians would hold a 3-1/2 game lead for the NL wild card. With the Yankees win last night, they continue to trail the Bombers by 1 game.


August 29, 2005  

CIR UPDATE: Adam Miller  
The Daily Dish reports on a rough outing for Adam Miller on Sunday.


August 25, 2005  

CIR UPDATE: Tribe AFL Contingent Announced  
Adam Miller, Brian Slocum, Travis Foley, Michael Aubrey, Pat Osborn, Javi Herrera, and Brad Snyder will spend this fall in Arizona playing for Kinston skipper Luis Rivera and the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Osborn is a taxi squad player, meaning he can play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The AFL season runs from October 4 through November 10 with the championship game played on November 12.

CIR UPDATE: Tribe/Twins in PrimeTime  
The Indians-Twins game on Sunday, September 11 has been moved from 1:05 PM to a 8:00 PM start time so the game can be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Click the link above for additional ticket and promotional details if you have ducats.


August 24, 2005  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Wednesday, August 24  
The Indians did last night what good teams do. They found a way to win.

Trailing 4-0 after the first, Jake Westbrook battled the rest of the way, induced three double-plays, and held the Rays scoreless for the next 5-2/3.

The bullpen helped out with 2-1/3 scoreless innings of relief, highlighted by a dominant 8th inning by Bob Howry in which he displayed exceptional command of his fastball in striking out the side.

The offense pecked away at the lead, scoring once in the second, once in the third, and finally broke through for three in the seventh.

The offense, in the form of a Coco Crisp triple, came through with the big hit in the later innings.

The defense came through when needed with the three double-plays as noted above and a sensational catch by Grady Sizemore in center.

And finally, luck was on the Indians side, in the form of the no-call on Bob Wickman's balk in the bottom of ninth which would have tied the game if the umpires had called it. If you saw it, it was pretty obvious that he never came to a complete stop. The pitch floated in at 73 mph on the FSN gun and it almost looked like he was aiming it or somewhat soft-tossing it, almost like a throw to first where you don't want to make an overthrow (and then you usually do). I didn't realize until reading the papers this morning that Julio Lugo (on third) broke for home while Wickman was coming into his stretch, which, in my mind, only makes it more clear that Wick just wanted to get the ball to the plate to prevent a possible steal of home.

Anyway, good teams are good and they're also lucky. Last night, the Tribe was both.

The Indians 70-56 record would give them a 2-1/2 game lead in the NL wildcard.

The AL Central is the best division in the American League with three teams over .536 (Sox, Tribe, Twins).

Tom Hamilton on Mark Hendrickson: "When he throws strikes, he gets in trouble". LOL, how many pitchers can you say that about. If you listened to the radio broadcast last night, I think it's safe to say that Hammy hasn't enrolled in the Mark Hendrickson fan club.

Matt Miller threw a simulated game yesterday with another scheduled for Thursday. Expect Miller to rejoin the Tribe when rosters expand in September.

Speaking of expanded rosters, Eric Wedge told the media yesterday that the Indians would likely add a third catcher, infielder, outfielder, and a starting pitcher in September. With Miller and Arthur Rhodes likely to return from the DL, adding another reliever may not be necessary. At first thought, we're probably looking at Brandon Phillips, Jason DuBois, and one of Jason Davis, Fausto Carmona, or Jeremy Guthrie. Perhaps even Kaz Tadano if they go the long reliever route. The Indians don't have a third catcher on their 40-man roster so adding a catcher from Buffalo would require the removal of someone from the 40. Would the Tribe call up Ryan Garko for potential use down the stretch? Only his service time clock would start ticking. With the rosters expanded, they're not likely to have to option him back to Buffalo so his option clock would not start ticking until next spring (assuming he returns to Buffalo to start 2006 which may not be likely depending on what happens this offseason and next spring).

Matt Fornasiere shined in a losing effort as the NL Stars knocked off the AL Stars 5-4 in the inaugural

NY-Penn League All-Star Game. Fornasiere was the only player in the game with multiple hits as the Scrapper star rapped out two knocks, including a double. Jose Constanza and Omar Casillas also saw action with each going hitless in two trips to the dish. Neither Jensen Lewis or Joe Ness took the mound for the AL Stars.

Jake Gautreau was placed on the Bisons DL with a broken finger. After a good start, Gautreau has slumped in recent weeks to averages of .252/.323/.459/.782. He does have 28 doubles and 18 longballs for the season. Acquired from the Padres for Corey Smith this past winter, the two "traded-for's" started off in opposite directions but Smith has since heated up a bit and is now sitting at .260/.326/.430 with 26 doubles and 17 homeruns for the season. Keep in mind that Corey is back in double-A and has also struck out 134 times while Jake is a level higher at triple-A.

Aren't we creeping up on the end of Francisco Cruceta's 10 days of designated for assignment (8/17)?


August 23, 2005  

CIR UPDATE: Tallet Up, Brown Down  
The Indians called up Brian Tallet from Buffalo and optioned Andrew Brown back to triple-A today. For Tallet, this will be his fourth appearance with the Indians this year with just one appearance to show for it. For Brown, thus ends a big league debut that really wasn't. The right-hander did not appear in a game during his three days in the show.

CIR UPDATE: Talkin' B-Tribe  
The Daily Dish offers some insight into the professional debut struggles of John Drennan (.231/.321/.441, 4-1-8), Nick Weglarz (.236/.315/.354, 11-0-2), and Nicholas Petrucci (.236/.315/.354, 8-1) in Burlington.

CIR UPDATE: More Scheduling  
After last night's victory over Tampa Bay, the Indians now have 13 games remaining against the Devil Rays and Royals and 24 remaining against the rest of the league. If the Tribe can go 10-3 against TB and KC the rest of way (not too unrealistic, don't you think?) and play .500 ball (12-12) against the rest of the league, they would finish 91-71 for the season. Based on yesterday's post, that would have the Indians finishing out the season 23-15 (including yesterday's win). The question is, will 91 get you the wildcard? What's that magic number going to be?

CIR UPDATE: Francisco EL Player of the Week  
Aeros outfielder Ben Francisco was named the Eastern League's Player of the Week for the week ending this past Sunday, August 21. In earning the honor, Francisco raked at a .500 (15-for-30) clip with five doubles, two trips, a big fly, and seven runs batted in. The big week is part of a 20-game streak in which Francisco has raised his average from .264 to .309 with supporting averages of .361 (OBP) and .474 (SLG). The healthy .835 OPS is backed up by 18 doubles, seven triples, and six longballs in 304 at-bats. Projecting that to 500 ABs, Francisco would be on pace for 30 doubles, 12 triples, and 10 homeruns this year.

CIR UPDATE: NYPL All-Star Game  
The Valley will be well represented tonight in Brooklyn, NY for the NY-Penn League All-Star Game Five Scrappers were named to the AL Affiliates team, third rounder Jensen Lewis (4-2, 3.42, 50 IP, 49 H, 7 BB, 45 K) six rounder Joe Ness (3-1, 2.00, 45 IP, 41 H, 12 BB, 50 K, 0 HR), 12th rounder Matt Fornasiere (.271/.393/.362, 39 BB, 14 2B), 2002 16th rounder Omar Casillas (.296/.351/.434, 10 2B), and undrafted Dominican native Jose Constanza (.260/.331/.316, 25 BB, 22 SB). You can gameday, listen, or watch the game through the website.

CIR UPDATE: Wildcard Tie  
The standings tell it all. With last night's 11-4 pounding of the Devil Rays, the Indians have moved into a tie for the wildcard with the Yankees (who also won) and the Athletics (who were off). It's three more against the Rays in Tampa for the Tribe while the Yanks continue with three at home against the Blue Jays and the A's begin a three-game series in Detroit.


August 22, 2005  

CIR UPADTE: Vote for Wick  
Hey Indians fans, cast your ballot now for Bob Wickman for the 2005 MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award. You can vote up to 25 times and Wick is going to need every one of those votes with Jason Giambi, Roy Halladay, Barry Zito, Richie Sexson, and Jay Gibbons also on the list. Maybe it's just me but won't this essentially turn into a glorified popularity contest? Harrumph, maybe the fans will prove me wrong. On that note, Tribe fans, you can vote up to 25 times for Bob Wickman. Start clicking ;-).

CIR UPDATE: Schedule Breakdown  
With 38 games to go, here's how the schedule breaks down the rest of the way...

20 games at home (Tribe 32-31)
18 games on the road (Tribe 36-25)

18 games vs above .500 teams
20 games vs below .500 teams

9 games vs above .500 teams at home
9 games vs below .500 teams at home

9 games vs above .500 teams at home
11 games vs below .500 teams on the road

8/22-8/25 (4) at Tampa Bay (51-73)
8/26-8/28 (3) at Toronto (63-60)
8/29-8/31 (3) vs Detroit (60-62)
9/1 Off Day
9/2-9/4 (3) at Minnesota (66-58)
9/5-9/7 (3) at Detroit (60-62)
9/8 Off Day
9/9-9/11 (3) vs Minnesota (66-58)
9/12-9/14 (3) vs Oakland (68-55)
9/15 Off Day
9/16-9/18 (3) vs Kansas City (40-82)
9/19-9/22 (3) at Chicago (75-46)
9/22-9/25 (4) at Kansas City (40-82)
9/26 Off Day
9/27-9/29 (3) vs Tampa Bay (51-73)
9/30-10/2 (3) vs Chicago (75-46)

As important as every game will be from here on out, that 12 game stretch from 9/2-9/14 in which the Tribe plays 9 games against the Twins (6) and the Athletics (3) looms as especially large on the horizon. If they get past that, look at the remaining schedule: seven games against the Royals, three against the Devil Rays, and six against a White Sox club that should have the division wrapped up by then (recent play notwithstanding). A strong finish would seem to be a strong possibility.

The Tribe is on pace to finish with a 89-73 (.549) record. Here's how they'll have to finish to achieve that...

89-73 = 21-17 finish (.553)
90-72 = 22-16 finish (.579)
91-71 = 23-15 finish (.605)
92-70 = 24-14 finish (.632)
93-69 = 25-13 finish (.658)
94-68 = 26-12 finish (.684)
95-67 = 27-11 finish (.711)

CIR UPDATE: No Fernando?  
In the latest diamond notes from Peter Gammons, a survey of baseball insiders was conducted on which 2005 newcomers would be having the greatest impact on the game five years from now. Mysteriously enough, Fernando Cabrera failed to make the list. And by "the list", I mean the top 10, the next 10, and the others receiving votes list. Hmmm, maybe the big right-hander with the 1.15 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 15.2 innings just hasn't been seen enough yet. For you non-insiders, the top ten consisted of Rickie Weeks (Milwaukee), Conor Jackson (Arizona, Tribe draft choice out high school who went to Cal-Berkley), Jeff Franceour (Atlanta), Huston Street (Oakland), Zach Duke (Pittsburgh), Felix Hernandez (Seattle), Dan Johnson (Oakland), Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Ervin Santana (Anaheim), and Jon Papelbon (Boston). Not a bad crop, to say the least.


August 10, 2005  

CLEVELAND INDIANS REPORT: Wednesday, August 10  
What a difference twenty minutes makes.

In that seemingly short span of time, we went from "why the heck did they pitch to Mike Sweeney" to one of the greatest comebacks in Indians history. From 4-1/2 games out and two teams behind to 3-1/2 games behind and tied with the Yankees for second in the wild-card race. And from a demoralizing loss to the Royals to an incredible surge of momentum and potential knockout blow to a devastated Kansas City club.


I would love to listen to Kansas City sports talk tomorrow. That is, if they're still talking about the Royals and haven't switched full attention to the health of Priest Holmes and a revamped Chiefs defense.

Is is just me or was Chip Ambres holding hands with David DeJesus in left-center in the ninth inning. I have never seen so many balls hit to left and the left-fielder seemingly playing 50-60 feet off the line. Memo to Chip, if teams are sitting on MacDougal's fastball, they can pull it.

If you saw a dork with a goofy smile driving home last night, that was me listening to Tom Hamilton and the highlights. Watching the game is great but nothing beats listening to Hammy nearly burst a blood vessel or two in a comeback. Simply outstanding.

How bad do you feel for Buddy Bell? No manager, ever, under any circumstances should have to place the call to "Get Gobble Up". And Buddy had to do it in the 9th inning with his closer rapidly turning to jello on the mound.

Speaking of Bell, how bad do you think he just wants to sit next to Eric Wedge tomorrow and pretend the last two months never happened?

The beauty of baseball, though, is that tomorrow is another day and another game. For the Royals, it's hope. For the Indians, it's the need to avoid a letdown after an improbable comeback. As tremendous as tonight was, if the Tribe loses tomorrow, they're still playing a rubber match on Thursday. Somehow I think Eric Wedge will try to get that point across tonight and tomorrow.

Did you catch in the post-game interview when Wedge was asked about Ben Broussard's status that he simply replied, "I wanted Lief at the plate in that situation". Interesting.

"Get Gobble Up"


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