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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | July 4, 2015

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Rays Loss Has Been Indians Gain With Anderson

July 2, 2015 | 1

When it comes to truly evaluating a draft pick that was or was not made or a trade that was or was not made, fans, the media and the organizations typically can get a gauge on whether the move was right or not after about two years. Two games or so into a career for any player is impossible to really judge how his career will eventually work out.

That said, two games into Cody Anderson‘s young Major League career, the Tampa Bay Rays have to feel like they really let one get away. At least their record this season against the Cleveland Indians might be a little better.

Anderson was initially drafted by Tampa, out of California’s little known Feather River College, in the 17th round of the 2010 amateur draft. Anderson and the Rays could not come to a contractual agreement by the league’s deadline and he regained his amateur status. Read More

Powering through the All-Star Break

July 1, 2015 |

Without a doubt power is the calling card of the 2015 Lynchburg Hillcats. The team posted 25 homeruns in the month of May, which, at that point in the season, was a greater total than any other Carolina League team had amassed for their whole season. The division rival Frederick Keys were the next closest with 24 homeruns to that date.

The High-A Carolina League is generally considered to feature pitcher friendly ball parks, and to be a more difficult league for hitters. As the season passes the 70 game mid-point mark, this year’s Hillcats team has emerged as the most potent offense in the league.

With three or four games played for each team in the second half (weekend rainouts have made the schedule uneven) the Hillcats hitters have amassed a .398 team slugging percentage, featuring 52 homeruns, twelve more than the next closest team. They also hold the league lead for doubles, triples and total bases and have a team OPS of .731, also leading the Carolina League.

This potent attack is led by the Hillcats three mid-season Carolina League All-Stars, outfielders Bradley Zimmer and Luigi Rodriguez, and first baseman Nellie Rodriguez. The same trio also hold the top three spots for the league homerun leader board with Luigi Rodriguez at 11, Zimmer at 10 and Nellie Rodriguez in a third position tie with 9 (shared with Jacob Rogers of the Myrtle Beach club). Rounding out the top five is Clint Frazier with eight, yet another Hillcats hitter.

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Tribe Fans Stuffed All-Star Ballot Box in 1999

July 1, 2015 |

Kansas City fans are only the latest to stuff the ballot box for the All-Star Game.

The fans were given the opportunity to vote for All-Stars starting in 1947 – and it was taken away in 1957, after Cincinnati fans elected a Reds player to every starting position except first base. Ford Frick stepped in and disallowed two, and the fan vote was suspended for 13 years.

People even complained about the Indians doing it in 1999. Read More

Jordan Smith Continues to Improve from 2014

June 30, 2015 |

In order for someone to improve, they need to see their low points and find a way to improve from that. In 2014, Double-A Akron outfielder Jordan Smith discovered first-hand what it felt like to be overcome by the competition. After hitting .293/.370/.402 with High-A Carolina, he followed up in his first season with the Rubberducks hitting .248/.300/.331.

Smith, 24, was drafted by the Indians in the ninth round of the 2011 June Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians. Smith is a 6’4” and 235 pound outfielder who’s been primarily playing right field for the RubberDucks. Usually this position is reserved for a player who can smack a ton of home runs, or at least hit for decent power. While Smith has never really panned out to be the power hitter that everyone though he would be, he’s been consistent of keeping his ISO over .100. At High-A Carolina in 2013, he hit 29 doubles, 6 triples, and 5 home runs. Granted, the home run count is bound to be lower due to the Carolina league not being a high home run league, but then comparing those numbers to his first season in Akron, it doesn’t look so great. He hit 2 home runs, 24 doubles, and 4 triples. Read More

1995 Game Recap: 3,000! Murray’s Milestone Highlights Tribe Win—Indians 4, Twins 1

June 30, 2015 |

Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back June 30, 1995.

The Indians improved baseball’s best record to 41-17 on Friday night with a 4-1 victory over the lowly Minnesota Twins, but the best team in the Major Leagues took a backseat to one of their own player’s personal milestones.

If he hadn’t already done so in his 19-year career, Tribe DH Eddie Murray stamped his ticket as a first ballot Hall of Famer with his single in the sixth inning—the 3,000th of his amazing career. The man they call “Steady Eddie” lined a fastball from Twins pitcher Mike Trombley between first and second and past a diving Chuck Knoblauch that helped start a game changing rally and made him the 20th player in Major League history to accomplish one of baseball’s rarest and best feats. Read More

Series Preview #25: Cleveland Indians (33-41) at Tampa Bay Rays (42-35)

June 29, 2015 |

This weekend could be the precursor to a very difficult road trip.

The Cleveland Indians (33-41) were bashed this weekend, had to deal with a rainout Saturday, got into Tampa Bay much later in the night than anticipated because of the need for the second game Sunday, and on shorter rest and jetlagged, will get to play on turf for the first time this season against the first place Tampa Bay Rays. If that were not bad enough, they will deal with the Rays for four straight before heading to Pittsburgh for three more over the holiday weekend against the second place Pirates, who are nine games above .500 entering play Monday night.

A really famous guy once said, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.” The Indians are going to have to work really, really hard to earn some wins over the next week.

The Indians were disassembled over the weekend and hopefully have hit rock bottom, as frustrations mounted from the players to ejected manager Terry Francona. The O’s needed just three pitches to three batters from reliever Marc Rzepczynski in the bottom of the eighth to break up a 3-3 tie in a 4-3 win. Baltimore used three long balls to defeat the Indians, 4-0, in the first of two games on Sunday. A six-run fourth inning gave the Orioles plenty of cushion in the nightcap as the team rolled to a sweep with an 8-0 victory. Read More

Ramsey’s Consistency Could Lead to Opportunity in Cleveland

June 29, 2015 |

James Ramsey has been one of the Indians’ most consistent players since being acquired from the Cardinals for Justin Masterson last year. His steady contributions at the plate and in the outfield make the former first round pick a prime candidate for a promotion to the majors.

Ramsey’s 2014 was his best offensive season. In 95 games – split between farm systems in St. Louis and Cleveland – he hit .295, tied a career high in homers (16), and set a new best in RBIs (52).

Defensively, he was perfect, not committing a single error all season. Flawlessness in the outfield is nothing new to Ramsey, though. Up until a few weeks ago, he had not committed an error since 2013.

“The error this year was a tough play, but I expect myself to make it,” said Ramsey. Read More

Indians Roster Rebuild Leaves Them in Unenviable Position

June 29, 2015 | 2

The 2015 Cleveland Indians don’t have to believe in Sports Illustrated jinxes, but one look at the standings and they’ll quickly have to believe that their playoff chances are about done.

At 33-41, the Indians are eight games under .500 and 12 games back of first place. The 12-game deficit behind the Kansas City Royals is the most they’ve trailed by all season and only on May 12, when they were 11-20, were the Tribe farther under .500. At that point, the optimistic fans were still telling the pessimists that it was early. Unfortunately, “early” left town a while ago and the Tribe is just one game ahead of the worst record in the American League, the Chicago White Sox.

And like most underachieving, disappointing teams, the reasons behind the Tribe’s falters are quite plentiful. Aside from the starting rotation, there is blame to go around for everyone. The offense is somewhere between inconsistent and poor and the defense is on its way to finishing 24th or lower in Major League Baseball for the seventh straight season. That’s right, the last time the Indians had an “average” defense was 2008.

While the bullpen has been messy at times, the majority of the blame has to be placed on the position players—the guys who don’t hit and don’t catch—along with Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the $30 million in salary that is injured and ineffective when on the field.

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Kipnis Streaking Towards Cincinnati

June 28, 2015 |

Few things in life are a certainty.

Death.

Taxes.

And if it weren’t for a stuffed digital ballot box from overzealous Kansas City Royals fans that will inevitably (and thankfully) alter the All-Star voting procedure before next season, Jason Kipnis – 2015 American League All-Star – would be amongst the items on that short list.

In the midst of a bumpy ride down some dark and dismal roads for the Cleveland Indians this season, the 28-year-old has been a guiding light for the club at the top of the lineup as he has planted his name back at the top of the list of the game’s best second basemen. Read More

The Greatest Summer Ever: Catching Up With Wayne Kirby

June 27, 2015 |

Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today we catch up with former outfielder Wayne Kirby.

Former outfielder Wayne Kirby now coaches with the Baltimore Orioles, but he always looks back on his time with the Cleveland Indians fondly.

“There’s so many memories,” Kirby said.  “I can’t pinplace just one.”

Kirby was brought up at the end of the dreadful 1991 season, but he was a regular contributor just in time for the Tribe to break out for their mid-90’s run of success.  After spending nine years in the minor leagues, mostly with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kirby was ready for the big time by the time he came up to The Show.

“After the hard work that I put in in the minor leagues,” Kirby remembered, “I finally came up here prepared.  I look at some guys who get rushed through the minor leagues and when they get up here they’re not ready.  When I got here, I was ready.  You hear other guys who have been in the Big Leagues 10 or 11 years saying that you belong—that’s a good feeling.” Read More