Spring Training Notes: It’s Just One Game
By Mike Brandyberry
It’s just one game. One spring game in February, featuring mostly pitchers who will be in the minor leagues in six weeks when the Cleveland Indians open their season against the Toronto Blue Jays, but when Spring Training is only a week and a half old, an 11-10 walkoff win against the Cincinnati Reds is all you have. On Saturdays we’ll provide a Spring Training update of what is going on around the Goodyear complex and how the roster is shaping up.
- Indians Manager Terry Francona played his starters three innings yesterday to open exhibition play. The Cactus League begins a week early to give players necessary time to prepare and be in shape for the World Baseball Classic. Francona doesn’t feel any of his players are ready to play deep into games, so all position players will be on a three inning limit through the weekend. That should make for some deep rosters during Sunday’s split-squad games. Many players from the Tribe’s minor league camp are expected to see action.
- Francona was quick to deem his lineup for Friday’s game as, “insignificant,” but if you’re as excited as Francona has been for game action and helped acquire all the new players in Tribe uniforms, there has to be some significance to the lineup. It appears Francona has made a conscious effort to mix the switch hitters between the left-handed hitters. Michael Bourn (left-handed) lead off, followed by Asdrubal Cabrera (switch hitter), then Jason Kipnis (left-handed), Nick Swisher (switch hitter), Michael Brantley (left-handed), Carlos Santana (switch hitter), Mark Reynolds (right-handed), Lonnie Chisenhall (left-handed) and Drew Stubbs (right-handed). If this is Francona’s Opening Day lineup, the mix of switch hitters between the left-handers will make it more difficult for teams to match up against the Tribe with a left-handed reliever during late-inning situations.
- Lonnie Chisenhall hit a two-run home run in Friday’s game. Chisenhall is a player the Indians think can have a breakout season in 2013. After an injury plagued 2012, Chisenhall has put on weight and looks to be ready for the grind of a Major League season and to produce with more power. If Chisenhall provides 15-20 home runs near the bottom of the lineup, he’ll be an added offensive spark.
- Vinnie Pestano worked a scoreless inning on Friday. Indians’ closer Chris Perez is expected to pitch on Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see both relievers see a few appearances before reporting to Team USA on March 2 for the World Baseball Classic.
- Saturday the Indians are expected to start Brett Myers, followed by Perez, Corey Kluber, Matt Albers, Scott Barnes, Alexis Paredes and Bryan Shaw. Sunday, Zach McAllister, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Scott Kazmir will all see game action between the split squad games. All the fifth starter candidates will see action by the end of the weekend and will benefit from the extra week of spring games this year.
- Did The Tribe Win Last Night is excited to partner with The Sports Fix on WHK-AM 1420. “The Sports Fix”, hosted by “J-Rocc” Jerry Mires and crew is LIVE Saturday nights, 9p-12a on Newstalk 1420 WHK locally, or streaming worldwide on whkradio.com, tunein.com, dar.fm, iheardradio or on the WHK Mobile App for smartphones. I’ll be one of the show’s guests this evening, along with new Indians’ Hall of Fame member, Carlos Baerga.
Photo: Jordan Bastian/MLB.com