April 2012

Quick Hits with Sandy Alomar

Bench Coach Sandy Alomar sat down with our Jim Rosenhaus recently and discussed his new role on Manny Acta’s coaching staff.  Sandy spent the previous two seasons coaching first base and instructing the Tribe’s catchers. Here is what he had to say:

Sandy, with your new position, how has it been different for you now that the regular season has begun as opposed to spring training?
“During the season you can focus in more on the game. During spring training it is difficult with the volume of players and you have to make sure you are tracking who is in the game, not in the game or coming into the game. During the season it is just 25 guys and I am following Manny’s managerial style, giving him suggestions, and when he asks me a question you have to be ready.  Being second in command, it’s important to be aware of the situation on the moves he needs to make.”

How much back and forth is there with you and Manny, especially late in the close games we have been playing?
“Well there is a lot of back and forth between Scott Radinsky (Pitching Coach), we are talking about defensive moves late in the game, specifically Cunningham in for Duncan, and the defensive aspects of the game. Manny has been solid at making up his mind and if he has questions he asks them. You just have to be ready for the answer.”

You had to manage a game recently in Kansas City (April 14), is that where that preparation comes into play?
“Definitely, you have to be aware if a player gets thrown out and be ready to manage in a similar pattern that [Manny] does. That day in KC, I pretty much managed the way he had been based on the match-ups that we had and prepare yourself the way he would have wanted based on how the game was unfolding. If you have a gut feeling things aren’t going to work you do it the way you want to based on feel.”

Indians Game Information April 29

RHP Derek Lowe (3-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-4, 7.23)
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
*The duo of JOE SMITH (2.0 IP) and NICK HAGADONE (1.0 IP) combined for 3.0 scoreless/hitless innings of relief yesterday, as the Indians bullpen has tossed 8.0 scoreless innings over the club’s last 3 games, while holding opponents 2-for-26 (.077) with one walk and 7 strikeouts…over the last 11 games beginning April 17, Cleveland relievers
have posted a 2.14 ERA (8 ER/33.2 IP) to lower season figure from 6.51 to 4.35, going 5-for-5 in save opportunities with a .195 opponents average.
* Cleveland is slated to play the club’s 3rd rubber game of this season this afternoon, splitting a pair of decision in the previous 2 (a 2-1 win on April 19 at Seattle; a 4-2 loss on Thursday vs. Kansas City)… the Tribe went 6-9 in rubbers games last season…Cleveland is 3-3 in series finales this season (1-2 at home, 2-1 on the road) after going 22-29 in 2011.
* MICHAEL BRANTLEY has hit safely in 4 straight and 11 of his last 13 games at .286 (16-56)…TRAVIS HAFNER saw an 11-game on-base streak come to an end yesterday, but has still reached safely in 15  of his 17 games overall this season.


Indians Game Information April 28

CLEVELAND INDIANS (10-8, 1st, +1.0 g) vs. LA ANGELS OF ANAHEIM (6-14)
RHP Jeanmar Gomez (1-0, 1.93) vs. RHP Dan Haren (0-1, 4.07)
First Pitch: 1:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* With the Indians’ 3-2 walk-off win last night and a pair of losses by Chicago-AL (3-10 vs. Boston) and Detroit (6-7 at New York-AL),Cleveland enters today’s game alone in first place atop the A.L. Central…this marks the first time for the Indians to be in sole possession of first place
since sweeping a day/night double-header on July 18, 2011 at Minnesota.
* Cleveland improved to 5-2 in series openers with last night’s win (2-2 at home, 3-0 on the road) and need one more victory over the Angels this weekend to secure the club’s 4th series win in 5 chances… the Tribe entered this week’s homestand having won 3 consecutive series at Kansas City (3-0), at Seattle (2-1) and at Oakland (2-1) before dropping
2 of 3 against the Royals from Tues.-Thurs. to snap the streak…Cleveland has gone 3-3 in 6 series overall in 2012, losing all 3 at home while winning all 3 on the road.
* VINNIE PESTANO entered last night’s game with one out and runners on first and 2nd in the 9th inning before setting down Vernon Wells and Erick Aybar on consecutive strikeouts to close out the frame and preserve a 2-2 tie…has stranded all 6 of the baserunners he has inherited this season and 23 of the 29 baserunners he has inherited in his
career (79.3%)…has recorded at least one strikeout in each of his 10 relief appearances in 2012, the 2nd-longest streak by any pitcher in the majors this season behind Seattle RHP Tom Wilhelmsen’s active 12-gamer and longest by an Indians pitcher to begin a season strictly in relief since teammate RAFAEL PEREZ had a 12-game streak to begin his 2007 campaign.

Indians Game Information for April 27

RHP Justin Masterson (0-2, 6.65) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (3-0, 2.43)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* After a 1-4 start to the season, the Indians have rebounded to go 8-4 over their last 12 games beginning April 13, a stretch that began with the first game of the club’s recent 7-2 road trip…Cleveland currently has the 5th-best record in the majors during that span, trailing only Texas (.833, 10-2), Atlanta (.769, 10-3), Washington (.750, 9-3) and Baltimore (.692, 9-4).
* Despite yesterday afternoon’s loss, the Indians drew 5 more walks to add to their growing total and reputation as one of the most patient teams at the plate this season…Cleveland is seeing an average of 3.99 pitches-per-plate appearance, 2nd-most in the A.L. behind only Toronto (4.02) and the 4th-highest total by any team in baseball. Despite playing the fewest number of games by any team in baseball thus far (17), Cleveland leads the majors with 93 walks this season, 16 more than the next closest team (Tampa Bay, 77).
* This patience at the plate has also contributed to the club’s .343 on-base percentage, which is 4th-best in the majors…Cleveland has put 241 total runners on base, 4th-most in the A.L. behind Texas (263), New York-AL (256) and Boston (242) and 6th most in the majors.

Indians Game Information for April 25

RHP Luke Hochevar (1-1, 5.87) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-0, 4.00)
First Pitch: 7:05 p.m. (ET) at Progressive Field
TV: SportsTime Ohio
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* Derek Lowe improved to 3-1 last night, as his 3
victories this season are tied for the major league lead (many)…the righthander has won each of his first 2 starts at Progressive Field since putting on an Indians uniform, allowing just one earned run over 13.0 innings for a 0.69 home ERA, tied for the 3rd-lowest qualifying figure in the A.L. behind Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson (0 R/8.2 IP) and Oakland’s Tommy Milone (0 R/16.0 IP)…Lowe improved to 3-2 with a 2.15 ERA (7 ER/29.1 IP) in 5 career starts here at Progressive Field.
* Chris Perez closed out last night’s win with his 7th save of the season, tied with the Dodgers’ Javy Guerra and the Orioles’ Jim Johnson for most in the majors…Perez has now converted 7 consecutive save opportunities over 8 appearances since being charged with a blown save on Opening Day, April 5 vs. Toronto (0.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R-ER)…collectively, Indians relievers allowed multiple runs last night (3.0 IP, 2 R-ER) for the first time since April 15 at Kansas City (4.0 IP, 3 R-ER), although the Tribe’s bullpen has not given up a home run in 28.2 consecutive innings, a span
of 8-plus games (last HR allowed: Pestano to Betancourt on April 14 at Kansas City).
*Jack Hannahan has hit safely in 7 straight games at .417 (10-24) with 8 RBI to match Michael Brantley (7 games, April 13-21) for a team season-high and raise his overall season average from .300 to .364, 5th in the A.L…his .583 (7-12) avg. w/ RISP and .448 (13-29) avg. vs. right-handers are both tops in the majors, while his .453 on-base
pct. ranks 3rd in the A.L.

On the Road with Vinnie Pestano

It’s become an unmistakable sight in the late innings for Tribe fans – the high-octane sprint Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano makes from the bullpen whenever he gets the call from Manny. But how does he adjust at a place like the Oakland Coliseum, where the shorter distance to the mound seriously cuts into his cruise control? Why, the ‘Banana Route’ of course!

When did you start the sprint in from the bullpen?
“My first appearance in college, was really pumped to get out there and when our coach called for me I just kind of took off.”

You’ve done it ever since?
“Yep, it worked the first time so I stuck with it. Once you get a couple of years in then people start expecting it. Kind of stuck with it.”

So in Oakland, this has to be the shortest run in the league from the bullpen?
“Without a doubt. You cannot really get up to top speed in that short of a distance. Columbus, when I was down there, is kind of the same thing. What I do in those situations is kind of take a banana route to the mound.  Give it a little extra room.”

You ever think about here or in Columbus taking a little loop around 2nd base?
“Maybe do a couple “poles”, you know sprinting foul pole to foul pole, and then a sprint into the mound maybe?? I don’t know how receptive anyone would be to that.”

How about doing a little “Heath Bell” slide from the All-Star Game?
“No, I don’t think I could pull that off. I have, however, been working on a back hand spring, ala what a gymnast does, but I’m a few weeks from breaking that out.”

What is the longest run from the bullpen in the league?
“Anywhere where it is dead in the middle of the outfield like Toronto, Texas, our place, Boston is very long too out in right field. Texas sticks out because it’s so hot. You get loose quick in Texas.”

So when you are day three in a row of pitching in a game do you ever sprint to the mound and say to yourself, “Gosh that wasn’t a very good idea”?
“No usually the third day everything is numb so you cannot even feel anything going into three in a row. That’s the least of my worries at that point.”

Indians Game Information for April 22

RHP Justin Masterson (0-1, 6.48) vs. RHP Tyson Ross (0-0, 3.00)
First Pitch: 4:07 p.m. (ET) at The Coliseum
TV: SportsTime Ohio
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* With last night’s victory, the Indians improved to 7-1 on this trip and have won their first 3 road series in a given season for the first time since 1988. The team has a chance to record 8 wins on a single road trip for the first time since 1998 when the Tribe had an 8-3 trip from May 28-June 7. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only time the Indians have started 8-1 away from home was in 1910! Let’s get it done boys.
* Cleveland is looking for the club’s first sweep here at The Coliseum since April of 2000. The Tribe enters today’s game against Oakland RHP Tyson Ross with a 7-1 record against right-handed starting pitchers so far this season.
* Indians starter Justin Masterson takes the mound today with a career record of 7-4 and 3.69 ERA over 15 career starts in the month of April.

Indians Game Information for April 21

RHP Jeanmar Gomez (0-0, 2.25) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (0-2, 3.60)
First Pitch: 9:07 p.m. (ET) at The Coliseum
TV: SportsTime Ohio
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* After last night’s win, Cleveland improved to 6-1 on the club’s current road trip through Kansas City (3-0), Seattle (2-1) and Oakland (1-0). With two games remaining here in the Bay Area against the A’s, the Indians have a chance to win 7 games on a single road trip for the first time since September of 2007 (7-3).
* The Indians have a chance to win their first 3 road series in a given season for the first time since 1988, when Cleveland edged Texas (2 of 3 at Arlington Stadium), Baltimore (3-game sweep at Memorial Stadium) and Minnesota (2 of 3 at the Metrodome).
* The Tribe has scored nearly half of their runs this season with two outs (48.5%, 33 of 68), including 23 two-out runs on the current road trip.

Indians Game Information for April 20

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 4.50) vs. RHP Graham Godfrey (0-2, 4.09)
First Pitch: 10:07 p.m. (ET) at The Coliseum
TV: SportsTime Ohio
Radio: WMMS, Indians Radio Network
Series Preview:
* The Indians continue their West Coast swing with a 3-game series against the Athletics at The Coliseum, which will also conclude their first road trip of 2012…Cleveland won 5 of 7 meetings against the A’s in 2011, including 2 of 3 here in Oakland…the Indians are 220-250 against the A’s since they moved from Kansas City to Oakland for the 1968 season, which includes a 96-132 mark at The Coliseum…since the two franchises were both founded in 1901, Cleveland holds an overall edge of 1013-885-11 in the all-time series.

Indians Game Information for April 19

RHP Josh Tomlin (0-1, 8.31) vs. RHP Felix Hernandez (1-1, 3.80)
First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. (ET) at Safeco Field
TV: SportsTime Ohio
Radio: WTAM, Indians Radio Network
Series Notes:
* Cleveland enters tonight with a chance to win the club’s first 2 road series in a given season for the first time since the 2002 campaign when the Indians took 2 of 3 from the Angels in Anaheim before sweeping a 3-game series against the Tigers at Comerica Park.
* The Indians had two notable streaks come to an end in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Mariners…Cleveland had scored at least 8 runs in 4 straight road games before being limited to a single tally on a third-inning sac fly by Jason Kipnis…the club was also held without a home run for the first time in 2012, ending a 9-game streak, tied for the 2nd-longest season-opening home run streak in franchise history dating back to at least 1918…despite those set-backs, Cleveland’s offense remains one of the most productive in the majors on a per-game basis this season, ranking first with 6.2 runs-per-game and third with 1.6 home runs-per-game.
* The Indians’ recent offensive success has been at least partially driven by the club’s penchant for free passes early this season…despite playing the fewest number of games in the majors so far (10), Cleveland still entered today’s slate of games with an A.L.-best 53 walks, 3rd-highest in the majors behind only Washington (57) and San Diego (54)…the Indians have also posted the best walk-rate in the majors this season, averaging 8.25 plate appearances between each free pass, nearly one full plate appearance more than the next-closest team (Washington, 9.07)…this has led to a .336 team on-base percentage for Cleveland, 4th-highest in the A.L. and 5th in the majors.