Results tagged ‘ Vinnie Pestano ’
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
Indians General Manager Chris Antonetti met with reporters on Friday before heading to Florida for the 2013 Winter Meetings. Here’s what he had to say:
Overall offseason outlook and primary focus of improvement
“We went into the offseason with a defined set of needs and in a much better position than the last few offseasons. Some of our strategy last offseason was to put ourselves in a stronger position this offseason. We acquired players that would fit and impact our roster beyond just the 2013 season. Now that we are looking to 2014, some of those same players that we acquired last year, we expect will impact us moving forward. That has lessened some of the needs we have for this offseason. We addressed what we felt was one of our primary offseason objectives of improving against right-handed pitching by signing David Murphy. We will continue to look at options to try to find ways to improve, but our focus right now is pitching.
We are focused on trying to improve our pitching alternatives. Again, we come into the offseason in a much better position than we have in prior offseasons, especially with the quality and quantity of the alternatives that we currently have on our roster and within the organization. That said, we are going to try to find ways to improve that. We want to make sure we find that right guys (starters and relievers) at the right values. With Bryan (Shaw) and Cody (Allen), we feel that those guys have the stuff to pitch in the most high-leverage innings. They did that last year and excelled in those roles, but they weren’t the ones primarily responsible for getting the 27th out, but we feel that they are both well-equipped to do that.”
On reliever Vinnie Pestano
“His mindset is in a good spot. He is anticipating going to the complex and working hard to put himself in a better position coming into the season. He is set on having a much better year this year than last year. A culmination of different things (led to his inconsistent season), whether it was buildup for the (World Baseball Classic), physical or mechanical issues; I think there were probably a number of smaller things that resulted in him not having the year he wanted. There have been a lot of guys that have down years and come back and respond. Vinnie lives in Goodyear, so he will be at our complex a lot starting from the first of the year on. I know (Terry Francona) and (pitching coach) Mickey (Callaway) have both been in touch with him. We will see a lot of Vinnie this winter.”
On Carlos Santana
“We were really impressed by the approach Carlos took (towards becoming a viable option at third base). He really is passionate about wanting to find a way to impact the team in any way that he can. He recognized how well Yan (Gomes) caught, and how important the contributions were that (Gomes) made to our team. Carlos took it upon himself to not only be able to catch, but also attempt to be serviceable at third base; that could potentially give Tito another option. To his credit, he has worked at it, he’s been at the complex taking ground balls and now he will progress into games in winter ball. It could (be viable enough to impact our winter plans). We will have more information as he is out there playing more. He has played there before, he has experience playing third base, and most importantly it’s something Carlos wants to do and has already worked towards. He’s athletic, he has good hands, a phenomenal arm; I think it’s just him getting re-acclimated to the position.”
Heading into next week’s Winter Meetings
“I don’t think last year at this point we had made any significant acquisitions, so this year we have already made what we feel is a significant acquisition in David Murphy and a number of other smaller deals. We expect there will be other activity between now and Spring Training; the magnitude of that and what shape that will take is hard to say. We feel like we have the resources we need to field a contending team.”
TribeVibe over the coming weeks will look back at the 2013 Indians season by month, with records, stats, top moments and more on which fans can reflect. April, though a slow start record-wise, provided some memorable moments, which you can watch below. All information and stats courtesy of Indians Baseball Information staff, unless otherwise noted. Photos by Dan Mendlik and Kyle Emery.
For previous monthly reviews:
THE FINE PRINT
- Monthly record: 15-13
- Overall record: 44-38
- Home record: 7-4
- Road record: 8-9
- Weekend record: 5-5
- Standings: Tied for first
- High-water mark: 44-38, June 30
TOP PERFORMERS — BATTING
- Jason Kipnis: .419 AVG (39-93), 27 R, 12 2B, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 20 BB, 1.216 OPS
- Michael Bourn: .292 AVG (31-106), 15 R, 3 SB (Bourn also was the hardest player to double up in AL, with only two double plays in 525 ABs)
TOP PERFORMERS – PITCHING
- Ubaldo Jimenez: 3-1, 3.09 ERA (11 ER in 34 IP), 32 K, .268 opp. AVG
- Matt Albers: 1-0, 0.00 ERA (9 IP), .194 opp. AVG
- Nick Hagadone: 3.86 ERA (5 ER in 11.2 IP), .211 opp. AVG
- Vinnie Pestano: 2.08 ERA (3 ER in 13 IP), 6 SV, 15 K, .245 opp. AVG
COMBINED BATTING/PITCHING STATS
- Batting: .254 AVG (236-930), 27 HR, 126 RBI, .395 SLG, .332 OBP
- Pitching: 4.15 ERA (112 ER in 243 IP), 30 HR allowed, 97 BB, 202 K, .263 opp. AVG
- June 14: Kipnis fielder’s choice scores Drew Stubbs charging home from third.
Kipnis wins American League Player of the Month Award, including Player of the Week awards from 6/10-6/16 and 6/24-6/30: All Kipnis did, as you can see above, was carry the Tribe to a winning record for the month and hit .419, with an OPS of 1.216. Incredible!
Corey Kluber joins Kipnis as co-AL Player of the Week winner for week of 6/10-6/16: Kluber pitched back-to-back outings of 8 innings, allowing one run in that stretch. That included the below start in Texas:
More on Kluber: The young righty did not lose a decision after June 27.
Above .500: The month included the last day the Indians spent below .500, on June 17, a 2-1 loss to KC. The club went on a four-game winning streak directly afterward.
Rain delay blues: We couldn’t decide whether this one fit in May or June, so we stuck it here – any fan who started at Progressive Field on May 31, a Friday night game vs. Tampa, and ended either on Saturday morning, July 31 or September 6, will remember this one. Rain delayed the start of that Friday game, then delayed it again after 1.2 innings, and the game did not resume until after midnight. It ended at 2:53AM, and the Indians offered those fans affected by the rain delays tickets to either July 31 or September 6 games at Progressive Field. We’ll get to those games later!
Welcome to town, rookie: First-round pick Clint Frazier is welcomed to Cleveland for BP by a bunch of grown men wearing red wigs to razz him a little. He took it all in stride, looked good in BP and begun his pro career soon thereafter!
Hall of Fame Day: Former second baseman Carlos Baerga and former GM John Hart were honored on June 22 as part of the Tribe’s 2013 Hall of Fame ceremonies.
NBD, just the place to be is all: Kevin Costner, filming in Cleveland for his new film “Draft Day,” takes BP and infield practice at Progressive Field. No big deal.
June 28 – a long day: The Tribe’s doubleheader at the Chicago White Sox – a sweep by the Indians by scores of 19-10 and 9-8 – lasts 7:53 and becomes the longest doubleheader in MLB history featuring two nine-inning games, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Coach of the month — Kevin Cash: Given the solid performance this month from the pen, including Albers, Hagadone and Pestano as mentioned above, a tip of the cap to “Cashy,” as he’s affectionately known. All this year’s bullpen did was post 33 wins, one shy of the franchise record and tied for the third-most in the Majors. The pen stranded 72% of inherited runners this year, fourth-best in the AL.
You may have heard that the Indians clinched a Postseason berth on Sunday with their 10th consecutive victory and seventh four-game sweep of the season — the first time the latter has been done since 1943.
Here’s photographic evidence of the feat. Enjoy. Go Tribe!
At the All-Star Break, we compiled a list of memorable moments from the first half of the season on TribeVibe.
It was well received, so we decided to do another list – of our most memorable moments of the second half so far, as the Indians continue to push for a 2013 playoff berth.
Did we miss something? Tweet at us @Indians and let us know!
September 29: All the Tribe needed was Nick Swisher’s two-run homer and Ubaldo Jimenez pitching for another 5-1 win, clinching home-field advantage for Wednesday’s AL Wild Card game.
September 28: After a 2 1/2-hour rain delay, the Indians jump ahead and ride Scott Kazmir and his 11 Ks to the team’s ninth straight victory. In the process, the Indians moved into sole possession of first place in the AL Wild Card race.
September 27: The Tribe jumps all over the Twins with a four-run first and three in the second in a 12-6 win over Minnesota. Every Tribe starter had a hit, and Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera had three apiece.
September 26: The Indians beat Minnesota, 6-5 – The Tribe survives a wild one after the Twins score four runs in the ninth. It’s the Indians seventh win in a row.
September 25: The Indians win their sixth in a row – In front of 31,000 fans in the final Regular Season home game of the 2013 season, the Tribe wins its sixth straight and beats Chicago for the 17th time this season.
September 24: Jason Giambi hits a pinch-hit, walk-off homer to keep the Tribe’s winning streak alive – The Indians had lost their lead in the top of the ninth, but Giambi hits a mammoth homer deep into the right-field seats to keep the streak alive. It was Giambi’s third pinch-hit homer of the season, and second walk-off shot.
Sept. 23: “Mission October” takes fans inside the Indians clubhouse – Fox Sports One’s series descended on Cleveland for four days and the finished product was an enlightening look at the dynamics within the Tribe clubhouse.
Sept. 19-22: Tribe sweeps Houston at home, the club’s sixth four-game sweep of the season – It’s the first time since 1961 a club had swept six four-game series in a season, and included callup Matt Carson’s first-career walkoff hit – the Indians 10th of the season.
Sept. 21: Rookie Jose Ramirez gets welcomed to the big leagues by noted prankster Justin Masterson – Masterson, who’d been pranked earlier in the season during a live TV interview, got the young Ramirez with the old bubble-gum-on-the-hat trick.
Sept. 21: Nick Swisher springs for an Ohio- and Cleveland-themed fireworks show for fans – The fireworks were a big hit with the 26,000-plus that took in the game vs. Houston!
Sept. 19: Juan Jose Sanchez Bracamontes commutes from MEXICO for four-game series vs. Houston – Juan had become friends on Facebook with an Indians Season Ticket Holder, and decided to come to Cleveland and take in the Tribe’s series vs. Houston.
Sept. 19: Jan Church becomes a household name with a catch of a lifetime – The 58-year-old Conneaut native tried to downplay her catch by saying she’d played softball for many years. Sorry, Jan: No downplaying this gem.
Sept. 18: Workplaces, schools show off Tribe spirit ahead of team’s last homestand – To welcome the Indians home from a road trip, the Tribe organization asked area companies and schools to show their spirit by wearing gear to work or school.
September 12-15: Tribe sweeps Chicago for third time in 2013.
Sept. 7: Niko returns to Progressive Field – The 8-year-old gained notoriety after asking Jason Kipnis and Carlos Santana to hit home runs in August – and especially when the players followed through. Young Niko was back for a heart-warming afternoon.
Sept. 4: Ryan Raburn does some rearranging in the Collection Auto Club – In his first game since returning from a couple ailments, Raburn lined a foul ball that hit a TV in Progressive Field’s new luxury space directly. The TV didn’t make it.
Sept. 4: Unnamed Tribe players take Pedro Cerrano’s ask for a live chicken to heart – A chicken showed up for BP, and the Indians are 14-5 since. Whether he’s Chicken Al, or Cody, or whatever, the chicken will be remembered fondly.
Sept 1: Aviles Grand Slam – The Tribe had lost six in a row before Mike Aviles – aka #HandsomeMike – ended a scoreless tie with a ninth-inning grand slam in Detroit.
August 25: Stubbs again — He beat the Twins with a dramatic, eighth-inning homer to straightaway center.
August 24: John Adams celebration – The Indians honored the 40th anniversary of the unofficial team drummer with a pregame ceremony and in-game tributes to John on the scoreboard.
August 24: One word: Niko – An 8-year-old Tribe fan met Santana and Kipnis before the Saturday night game vs. Minnesota, and asked each to hit a home run. And they did.
August 20: Beats LA in 14th in LA at 3:26AM – The Tribe needed this one: Heading to extra innings tied at 1, Drew Stubbs homered in the 14th and the Indians beat the Angels at 3:26AM Eastern Time.
August 19: Rosen documentary drops – The Indians and Bill Levy introduced the new documentary, of the “Hebrew Hammer,” the 1953 American League Most Valuable Player and an Indians Hall of Famer.
Aug. 16: Vinnie Pestano makes a young fan’s day – The Tribe reliever said Fletcher’s son, Will, gave him a pick-me-up after his mom tweeted a message to Pestano after he was sent to Class AAA Columbus. In return, Vinnie sent Will and his sister signed cleats. Pretty dang cool. (Vinnie, by the way, is back with the big club for September.)
August 10: Rocky Colavito celebration – The Indians honored The Rock with a luncheon and in-game celebration for his 80th birthday.
August 7: Ryan Raburn extension – After a rough 2012 season, Raburn has found a home in Cleveland as a supersub, and signed a two-year contract extension.
August 7: Salazar take II – As if taking a no-hitter into the sixth in his first start wasn’t good enough, Danny Salazar was as, if not more, impressive against the Tigers in start No. 2. It ended poorly, as Miguel Cabrera hit a homer in the eighth to help the Tigers win, but Salazar has pitched well in his time in Cleveland.
July 31: Santana walkoff in 10th – Holy walkoffs! Carlos Santana provides the Tribe’s third in six days with this monster shot to finish off the ChiSox.
July 30: Masterson head shaving – Masterson, as part of the Indians Wives Association’s Tribe Treasures Auction, offered to shave a fan’s head in the Indians dugout. James Godshall got the honors, and was a little surprised when Masterson offered to use a Bic all the way down.
July 29: Giambi walkoff – Three nights later, Jason Giambi hit a walkoff homer in the ninth to beat Chicago, becoming the oldest player in Major League history to hit a walkoff homer.
July 29: Masterson on-air pelting – Prior to Giambi’s walkoff, Justin Masterson wowed fans with his ability to concentrate in the face of an on-air barrage of water and seeds from his teammates. It’s a must (re-)watch!
July 26: Raburn walkoff – After an off day, the Indians came home and, after his club relinquished a big lead, Ryan Raburn hit a walkoff, three-run homer in the 11th to beat Texas.
July 24: Bourn Salami – Michael Bourn hit his first career grand slam in style, in a 10-1 Tribe victory in Seattle that got the Indians started on an eight-game winning streak, which included …
July 17: Kip on a Stick overtakes Cleveland – One of Kipnis’ biggest fans, Kim Fletcher (the ubiquitous @Princess_Wikki on Twitter) debuted Kip on a Stick earlier in the season. It’s, as you might expect, a Kipnis headshot on a stick. So to congratulate Kipnis on his ASG showing, we took a Kip on a Stick around town to visit.
July 15: All-Star Game – Jason Kipnis’ RBI double in the eighth inning pads the American League lead; the AL eventually would win, 3-0.
When Vinnie Pestano was optioned to Columbus, he had a fan looking to cheer him up. “William wanted to make him happy,” his mother, Kim Lauver-Fletcher said.
— Vinnie Pestano (@VinnieP52) August 2, 2013
Three-year old William may be small, but he’s a huge Tribe fan deep in enemy territory.
— Kim Lauver-Fletcher (@Princesswikki) August 2, 2013
@Princesswikki thats great, tell him to expect something in the mail next week
— Vinnie Pestano (@VinnieP52) August 2, 2013
@Princesswikki Done and done
— Vinnie Pestano (@VinnieP52) August 2, 2013
@VinnieP52 you are the best! She says thank you!
— Kim Lauver-Fletcher (@Princesswikki) August 2, 2013
William and Elise were checking the mail every day, waiting to see what Vinnie would send them. Finally, a special package arrived with this:
— Kim Lauver-Fletcher (@Princesswikki) August 15, 2013
@VinnieP52 no thank you! They both slept with the balls, Will wanted to sleep with the cleats too keep up the awesome work!
— Kim Lauver-Fletcher (@Princesswikki) August 15, 2013
She went on to say that William won’t stop wearing the cleat around…even on her new wood floors.
“These guys really go above and beyond,” Lauver-Fletcher said. “He really did not need to do any of this. When we sent the picture to Columbus, I didn’t even know if it would make it to him!”
I think it’s safe to say Vinnie and William are both happy his picture found it’s way there.
– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling
The Indians held their annual Season Ticket Holder party on Sunday evening after the Tribe completed a three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field.
Each year, we hold the event as a reward for our most loyal customers; at the event, Season Ticket Holders heard from Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Bob DiBiasio, President Mark Shapiro, Nick Swisher and Terry Francona before getting autographs from all members of the 25-man roster and some coaches.
This year, it’s also serving as a kickoff to our Season Ticket renewal process; Season Ticket Holders received renewal and Early Bird information Monday morning.
If you weren’t at the event, here are some of our staff’s favorite moments from the party; and if you aren’t yet a Season Ticket Holder and are interested, stay tuned for more information on how you can become one.
Extended time: We asked all members of the 25-man roster to stick around for an hour to sign autographs for and interact with our Season Ticket Holders. In an effort to move lines along and ensure each fan at the party has the opportunity to see as many players as possible, we do not allow fans to take pictures with the players, though they’re able to take pictures of the players while they’re signing.
Nick Swisher, though, disobeyed our rules and shook hands and took pictures with all of the 250 people in his line – up until about 6:50PM or so. The picture in the slideshow on this post gives you a sense of his mood during the event.
Indians closer Chris Perez – 8-for-8 in save opportunities since returning from the disabled list! — also signed through 6:20PM or so to accommodate fans in line.
Sign the … mustard?: First-year Season Ticket Holder Mark Szczepanik won an autographed bottle of Bertman Ballpark Mustard at a Tweetup last year, and so he decided to bring another bottle of the ballpark staple on Sunday. He got it signed by Jason Giambi, Lonnie Chisenhall, Corey Kluber, Yan Gomes, Rich Hill, Drew Stubbs and first-base coach Mike Sarbaugh.
And by the way: He’s renewing for 2014!
Other cool stuff being signed: We saw an “All-Star Game 1997” bat with signatures from dozens of Indians All-Stars over the years – including now Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Justin Masterson and Jason Kipnis.
One fan had various players sign a used lineup card from one of the Tribe’s games versus Philadelphia earlier this season. Each player signed next to their respective name in the starting lineup.
We also saw an older woman who had a Louisville Slugger bat turned into a cane, with a rubber tip protruding from the barrel and a handle from the handle of the bat. Pretty darn cool.
Fans say the darndest things: In spending time at Perez’s table, where he was joined by bullpen catcher Armando Camacaro, we decided to log the quirkiest things he heard. A partial list:
- “Does your contract allow you to play volleyball? We have a spot open on our team.”
- From a youngster: “How fast have you ever thrown a ball?”
- From a middle-aged woman: “I have to show you this picture of my cat; he’s named after you!” The name: Kissy Purrez.
Emotional Kazmir: Tribe pitcher Scott Kazmir, who we last saw allowing just one run in eight innings in a 10-1 win over Seattle on Wednesday, became emotional at times when fans expressed their gratitude and appreciation for his comeback from the Independent League to one of Major League Baseball’s biggest surprises.
- Doug Yanky (Medina, with his three children): “Our experience has] been good. This is the first year we got season tickets; we’re out in the bleachers. It’s been really fun. It’s been well worth it with the discounts you get and everything else; it’s probably the best value in town. Our favorite game so far [was] the Kipnis walkoff [May 17 vs. Seattle].”
- Kathy Porter, Willoughby (with her son, Joseph): “I think [renewing season tickets is] really worth it; the perks — like this — you get, you can exchange tickets if you can’t make a game. There’s a lot of different things that are worthwhile; you can transfer tickets to different people if you can’t go. I have five kids, so it works out well.
- Caitlin Boron (the young lady pictured above with autographs on her back): “There’s not exactly a goal; it’s just the fact that, yeah, it might come off, but it happened. (Are you going to shower tonight?) There’s always dry shampoo. So far, everyone that I’ve gone to has done it except for [Matt] Albers; it’s been 10 different players and coaches total. (Whose autograph was the best?) Chris Perez [because he] gave me a hug.”
Fans Tweet their memories: Here are some of the best tweets of the night from fans in attendance:
— Bobcatgrad (@Bobcatgrad) July 29, 2013
— Bobby Bandelow IV (@BAndelowStUd13) July 29, 2013
— tc110 (@tc110) July 29, 2013
— Joe Alven (@joealven) July 29, 2013
–TribeVibe contributors Joel Hammond, Megan Golden, Max Lom and Courtney Shilling
Parma Senior High School graduate Marty Bokovitz has moved on from his ditch-digging career and is now one of the main men on the Cleveland Indians clubhouse staff.
Formerly employed by the city for more than 16 years, Bokovitz paid his due time working the night shift as he split his time working for the city and helping out sporadically as a Tribe clubhouse attendant.
Bokovitz, who showed up for his first day of work in the clubhouse at age 17, said a long night in the clubhouse does not even compare to the night shift he worked years ago for the city.
“Usually a Friday night, Saturday day-game or when we had the long rain delay; there’s no sense in going home,” Bokovitz said, recalling the May 31extended rain delay. “I slept on the couch in the laundry room. A couple other members of the staff slept here, and they found couches or training tables or wherever they could to lay down. It was fine.”
Bokovitz, now the full-time clubhouse assistant, did need to be up and working bright and early that Saturday morning, so he could ensure uniforms had been washed and dried and any odd stains had been treated.
“He does everything for us; he is a behind-the-scenes guy,” starter Scott Kazmir said. “You name it, any type of uniform piece or clothing, he takes care of [it]. If there’s a special day we have, he needs to put on patches — anything and everything.”
Bokovitz has each player’s routine almost down to a science, knowing what time they typically arrive and what needs they usually have on game day. For instance, Bokovitz said he prints crossword puzzles and leaves copies of the USA Today on the tables for various players to relax with before the game. Former Cleveland pitcher Roberto Hernandez, Bokovitz said, used to sweat so much that he would change jerseys numerous times each start.
Aside from laundry and handing out fan mail to each player’s respective locker, Bokovitz and the staff work tirelessly to meet the needs of each player and coach upon their arrival.
“They take care of some of the other runs that need to be done for the players,” Bokovitz said. “They come in, and it’s game prep. Who needs what, who needs this, this guy may need a bat, this guy may need another pair of pants or decide to go with a short pair of pants instead of a long pair. Just tinkering with stuff like that.
“That includes making sure that they have everything they need. A guy may need a pair of socks, or Terry may need something mailed or shipped, or he may need something taken care of like that. It’s just making sure that all they concentrate on is baseball; we’ll take care of the rest of that.”
Bokovitz, who works seven days a week from February 1 through the end of October, said he has developed great relationships with numerous players and coaches, including catcher Lou Marson and outfielder Michael Brantley.
“There’s times when these guys are preparing, and there’s times when you can go up and talk to them and hang out,” Bokovitz said, adding that he is close with second baseman Jason Kipnis and set-up man Vinnie Pestano. “Some of these new guys we still haven’t developed full-on relationships, but some of the guys [have] been here for a few years.”
Developing an understanding for when it is acceptable to chat with players and when it is frowned upon is something that came easily for Bokovitz.
Dealing with former Cleveland player Albert Belle, he said, taught him much about his role in the clubhouse.
“He was a good guy, and he was a perfectionist,” Bokovitz said. “He was a great guy to be around, and you just had to know when it was a good day and when it was a bad day. He was in it to win; that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. He wanted to win and be successful 100% of the time.”
Bokovitz did say, despite having to ship forgotten bats and team luggage to other stadiums and make last-minute errands for different players, this job is “by far” better than digging ditches.
Kazmir agreed, emphasizing the players’ appreciation for Bokovitz and his staff.
“He means a lot to us,” Kazmir said. “He’s great to have in the clubhouse, just to kind of shoot the stuff with — just an all-around good dude. It makes it easier in the clubhouse when you have guys that are easy-going like that.”
–TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden
Sitting in his brother’s apartment during the 2011 MLB Draft, High Point University pitcher Cody Allen heard Bud Selig announce his name on the microphone. There was no celebration, no screaming, no phone calls; for Allen, being drafted in the 23rd round by the Cleveland Indians was no big deal.
Allen, a 24-year-old native of Orlando, Fla., signed a professional contract with the Cleveland Indians on June 15, 2011. He reported to short-season Class A Mahoning Valley, where he made just 14 appearances before being promoted to Low-A Lake County. Allen eventually made stops at five different Minor League levels, recording an 8-3 record and a 1.74 ERA in just 54 career Minor League appearances.
“Guys have done it; [Indians reliever] Joe [Smith] did it with New York, maybe quicker than I did,” he said. “I think it might be a little easier to do it in a bullpen role. I was old; I wasn’t 18 or a high school kid. It was really fast, but I don’t think it’s as odd as some people think.”
On July 20, 2012 — 401 days after signing with the Tribe — Allen made his Major League debut. He did not allow a hit or a run in an inning of scoreless relief versus Baltimore.
Allen quickly rejected the notion that he accomplished an unusual feat.
“I knew I was throwing the ball well. I knew I was doing well. Our coordinators were happy with what I was doing, but I didn’t expect to move that quickly,” he said. “Our bullpen here has been a strength for a few years; I just didn’t see a spot opening up. They told me I was going up, and it was pretty surprising.”
Allen’s memorable streak continued over his next 12 appearances as he struck out 10 and did not allow a run in 13.2 innings.
“I don’t think there was really one key; I think it was throwing strikes and getting people out and pretty much getting results. I was getting people out,” Allen said. “There wasn’t too much of a development phase where I was working on a certain pitch or anything like that. It was, ‘Go out, get some people out, see what happens.’
“Los [Indians catcher Carlos Santana] did a good job handling me when I first got here, just kind of sticking with my strengths, not trying to do too much crazy stuff. I was kind of rolling as I got here and continued to roll.”
Allen has, indeed, continued to roll through 35 appearances this season, striking out 44 through 35.2 innings and going 4-1 with an ERA of 2.52.
Tribe pitching coach Mickey Callaway raved about Allen’s mid-90s fastball and mid-80s curveball.
“What I see as a pitching coach is a guy that loves the game of baseball and is prepared every day. He’s one of the first ones here every day and is very passionate about what he does,” Callaway said. “You see the stuff — his stuff is tremendous. He goes out there and competes with those two pitches every night.”
Despite a couple hiccups over the last week, the Indians bullpen has been reliable this season, led by familiar faces in the back-end trio of Smith, Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez. The Indians are 18-8 in one-run games this season — best in the American League, second-best in the Majors — a testament to the bullpen’s ability to close tight games.
Allen said he believes the bullpen might hold the key to a spot in the postseason.
“Our bullpen is one of our strengths,” he said. “We get in tight games, when it’s kind of a horse race between each bullpen. Our bullpen versus their bullpen, I think we’re going to win a lot of games because we’re so deep.”
While Allen refuses to accept praise for his rapid rise to the big leagues and his significant contribution to the Indians bullpen, his teammates insist his signing was a big deal two years ago.
“He does things the right way; he works hard, and he’s absolutely nasty,” Smith said. “He’s one of those guys that’s going to benefit since he got up here really quick. He’s getting to learn the hitters, and that helps when you’re out there on the mound and you know what to do against [them] the next time. He’s only going to get better.
“He takes a lot of heat from all of us. We love him; he’s a good guy to have around.”
–TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden
Brad Grant, the Indians Director of Amateur Scouting, met with the media on Saturday to discuss the upcoming 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, which will begin on Thursday, June 6. Grant shared his thoughts regarding the Indians preparation and the scouts’ observations in this year’s draft.
“This year in the draft, we have the fifth overall pick, and then we pick 79th, which is in the third round. We lost our second-round selection and our competitive balance selection by signing Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn.
“I think this year’s draft, especially at five, is a very good draft.I think we’ll have a choice at five this year; I think there’s a good mix of high school pitching, college pitching, high school position players and college position players. It should be a very good pick and a difficult pick for us, and I think we’ll have multiple players there that we like. After that I would say it’s an average draft, but I think we’ve done a good job of using all of our picks [in the past]. This year [we’ll] focus on rounds three through 40 to make sure we find Major League talent all the way through the draft. We’ve been able to find [Indians relievers] Cody Allen and Vinnie Pestano and those type of guys later in the draft, so I think we’ve been effective in using the draft well in all 40 rounds.”
Are you looking for a pitcher or a position player?
Brad Grant: I think when you start to draft towards need, you get away from the strength of the draft, and you don’t want to draft away from the strength of the draft. This year’s draft, there’s really not a clear separator between college pitching and college position player[s]; there’s a good mix to it. It’s truly the best player at five is what we’re going to take.
There is a gap between the fifth and 79th pick. Do you do your due diligence on all those players that might be drafted within that gap?
Grant: We do our due diligence on everybody because you just don’t know where guys might go in the draft. We scouted 850 players this year, and we’ll have 850 players on our board. We made sure we got to know all of them; we didn’t eliminate anybody during the course of the spring. We’ve been very good in drafting later in the draft, and using the entire draft is something that we stress to our scouts and ensure that they’re actually using that entire draft. We actually bring all of our scouts in to Cleveland; they’re all here during the draft to help in that process. I’ve got all 22 of our scouts right behind me, and I can turn and ask them a question at any time for help in that process.
All 22 scouts are in the room during that process?
Grant: Yes, what we do is we bring our cross-checkers in first, and they help put the top 200 players on the board. We actually prep 200 players and order them in the way we would take them. After we stack those 200 players, we then bring area scouts in, and we stack the rest of the 850 players on our board. Everybody will be here for the draft itself. We start our meetings about 10 days before the draft.
Who exactly do you gather input from during the draft?
Grant: Main input comes from our scouts, and there are 22 scouts. They find the players, identify the players, get to know the players and bring those players to our attention. As we move on, we’ll add in statistical information [and] medical information. The training staff will use our analysis in the office, and we’ll use our player development staff and our front office staff to put everything together.
Ultimately, I make the final decision [on the draft picks]. I have a lot of people who lead me to the decision — [General Manager] Chris Antonetti, [Assistant General Manager] Mike Chernoff, [Vice President of Scouting Operations] John Mirabelli are very involved. Obviously, our scouts are very involved, too. All of those people will give me input and direction, and ultimately, I’ll make the decision as to who we’ll take.
Do you make the phone call to the draft picks?
Grant: I’ll make the phone call to the Commissioner’s Office to make the pick, and I’ll call the player right behind that. It’s usually pretty fun; it’s exciting for them; it’s a life-changing moment, obviously. Especially this year with the fifth pick, it’s a huge moment for them. It’s an easy phone call.
Is it difficult for you to constantly be looking at the future of this baseball club?
Grant: Yeah, when you come back and see this [team] it puts it all in perspective. It’s a very difficult job that our scouts have; they’re looking at 18-year-olds, 21-year-olds to try and predict where they’ll be in the future, project bodies, project toolsets.
What is the next step in signing the draft picks?
Grant: Once you take the player, my next step is to negotiate with the player, reach an agreement and get that player out to play.
- TribeVibe contributor Megan Golden