Posts By Bob Toth
May 3, 1948
The transition of Larry Doby from infielder to outfielder has hit its first significant bump in the road.
The 24-year-old Indians right fielder was one of a handful of options Cleveland considered during Spring Training to fill several voids in the outfield. Doby, a middle infielder off of the bench last season for the Tribe, had two giant obstacles in Lou Boudreau and Joe Gordon that he simply was not going to move past on the depth chart.
With significant needs in the outfield, Doby made the transition while beating out several of the nine different players brought into camp to compete for opportunities patrolling the pasture.
May 2, 1948
The Detroit Tigers took a second straight game in Cleveland from the Indians behind a strong starting effort from Fred Hutchinson, as the Tigers won 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Hutchinson (1-1, 6.35 ERA) rained on the Indians’ parade on a dreary afternoon at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. He was solid on the mound for the Tigers, allowing just three base runners on the day in a complete game effort. Both runs scored on a pair of home runs and he gave up only one other base hit. He issued no free passes and struck out four.
It was a significant improvement over his previous outing against the Indians this season, when he allowed six runs on nine hits (including four home runs) in five and two-thirds innings for the loss.
After a surprising 2013 Cleveland Indians season the organization has higher expectations for 2014 than any season dating back to 2008. The Indians and their fans will expect a playoff team and World Series contender. For the month of October, we’ll look at the how the Indians became a contender, but most importantly, How Do the Indians Reach the Next Level?
One of the Cleveland Indians’ best acquisitions for 2013 never once threw a ball, swung a bat, or wore a glove during a single at bat or out of a Major League Baseball game this season.
Rarely, when looking back at all of the offseason moves made by a ball club, is one transaction as significant and as influential as Terry Francona was on the 2013 Indians season.
May 1, 1948
With a five-run fifth inning against Cleveland starter Bob Feller and the aid of six errors, the Detroit Tigers handed the Indians their first loss of the season with a 10-3 victory on a sloppy Saturday afternoon at Cleveland Municipal Stadium.
Out of the gate, the matchup between Feller and the Tigers’ Paul “Dizzy” Trout appeared to be a stellar pitchers’ duel for the crowd of 52,249 in downtown Cleveland.
Detroit proved to be the day’s victors, thanks to a solid outing by Trout (1-1), who pitched eight and two-thirds innings to earn his first win of the season. The Tiger starter, rumored to have been offered to the Indians in the offseason, finished just one out shy of the complete game and allowed three runs on nine hits. He struck out four.
For the first time since 2007, Progressive Field will be host to a postseason game.
The Cleveland Indians will welcome the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League Wild Card game on Wednesday night at 8:07 PM ET at the landmark still affectionately referred to as Jacobs Field by a large portion of the Cleveland fan base. The contest can be seen on TBS and heard on ESPN Radio.
Since the return of Justin Masterson from a left oblique injury sustained in an early September start, there have been questions about how Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona would use his number one starter.
Cleveland received a giant shot in the arm last week when Masterson rejoined the pitching staff after missing three weeks with the injury. The team was cautious with the starter after he left in the second inning of his September 2nd start against the Baltimore Orioles. He faced just five batters in that appearance, walking the leadoff hitter in the first and giving up a single to start the second to his final batter.
After being shut down for nine days, he threw several sessions from 90 and 120 feet before throwing a 33-pitch bullpen session and a simulated game on Sunday, September 22nd. He rejoined the team that week as a member of the bullpen, with many believing that the Indians would use the opportunity to have him pitch in live games while stretching him back out to starter innings in the event that the Indians made the playoffs.
If, at the beginning of the season, someone would have told me Ubaldo Jimenez would be on the mound for the Cleveland Indians at the end of September with an American League Wild Card spot on the line, I would have cringed at the thought.
It is amazing how six months can completely change your mind.
For three perfect innings, Cleveland Indians’ fans were left scratching their heads asking, when did Cole De Vries become a future Hall of Famer?
After the first eleven batters were retired in order, including five on strikeouts, a Jason Kipnis single up the middle and a monster home run to right by Carlos Santana woke the sleeping offense, as the Indians went on to win by a 5-1 final over the Minnesota Twins on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
The win pushed the Indians’ season record to 91-70 and put them in the driver’s seat in the American League Wild Card race with one final game remaining. They are 20-6 in the month of September.
With the 53rd and final series preview of the 2013 regular season, the Cleveland Indians have a magic number of four to clinch an American League Wild Card spot with four games remaining.
The Indians (88-70) swept their entire homestand, winning the games that they must win to stay in playoff contention. With two more wins against Chicago, they improved to 17-2 on the season against the White Sox, including 14 straight wins. The win total for the season equaled the most wins by a team against any one opponent in the division era.
The Twins (66-92) will be the last obstacle standing in the way of Cleveland’s postseason chances. Luckily for the Indians, they catch the Twins at a particularly rough patch in an overall disappointing season. In the last 15 games, the Twins are 3-12. They have struggled to score runs (2.6 per game in that stretch) and have not limited the opposition from crossing the plate (team ERA of 6.60).
April 21, 1948
The last few months have been eventful for long-time big leaguer Hank Greenberg.
The Cleveland Indians spent the majority of the spring trying to determine what capacity Hammering Hank would serve with the ball club. He entered Spring Training as a potential candidate to fill one of the vacancies on the roster. As the spring progressed, the need for him to play the field appeared to be less and less the focus of the team.
With a new title and a new emphasis on working at the higher levels of the organization, has the playing career of the legendary Greenberg come to an end?
Cleveland picked a good month to play some better baseball. They are in full control of their playoff future, thanks to posting the third-best record in all of baseball in the month of September.
The Indians (86-70) completed their sixth four-game sweep of the season on Sunday, becoming the first team since the 1961 New York Yankees to accomplish the feat. With a 15-6 record in the month, Cleveland has played itself into the second American League Wild Card spot. They trail the Wild Card-leading Tampa Bay Rays by a game and are a game up on the Texas Rangers. While it may be too little, too late, they have gained four games on the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central this month as well.
The White Sox (62-94) will be the last team to come to Progressive Field for the 2013 regular season and may be glad to leave Cleveland for the year when the series ends on Wednesday night. They have won just two of the first 17 contests against the Indians this season and were victimized three different times by four-game sweeps. They have been outscored 106-51 by the Tribe this year and have the third-worst record in all of baseball.
Meaningful September baseball this season sure beats what fans of the Cleveland Indians had to digest in the final stretch of the 2012 campaign.
While many of the pieces have changed from the squad that finished 2012 at 68-94, 20 games out of first place and in fourth place in the American League Central, the dramatic turnaround has given the city of Cleveland its first team with a winning record since the 2009-2010 Cavaliers and its first on the baseball field since 2007.