By Craig Gifford
The second half of July provides some of the most exciting off-field moments in Major League Baseball. That is thanks to the July 31 trading deadline.
In the last several years, it has been hard for Indians fans to get too excited, however. Struggling to field a winner the last three seasons, the Tribe has spent those deadlines with an eye on the future. They traded off superstars like C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee for unproven, promising prospects to build for the coming years.
Much to the surprise of many, that future the Indians had been looking to appears to be now. The surprising Indians entered the second half of the season in battle with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the American League Central Division. It appears this year, the team could be making a deal or two for the present.
By Mike Brandyberry
The Cleveland Indians hopefully started their second half of the season like they started the first half, by jumping out to a hot start, defeating the Baltimore Orioles, 8-4. Justin Masterson, who has been moved to the front of the Indians rotation, had another strong start.
Asdrubal Cabrera wasted no time getting the Indians on top when he hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the first inning. Travis Hafner walked and Carlos Santana followed with a two-run home run to right center field and it was 3-0 Tribe after only four hitters. Santana doubled home Michael Brantley in the third inning to make it 4-0 early. Santana was 2-5, with three RBIs, for the game. Santana is a player who needs to pick up his offensive production in the second half if the Indians offense is going to come to life.
1. Wednesday, Dennis Manoloff tweeted that Lonnie Chisenhall met with the media during a workout and said that he expects to be in the lineup on Thursday evening in Baltimore. Chisenhall was hit in the face with a pitch last Thursday evening. According to Manoloff, the area around Chisenhall’s right eye is very red. Chisenhall asked the media on Wednesday to not video him because of the eye. Chisenhall suffered a concussion in Columbus in May and it was feared this hit by pitch could lead to a long stint out of the lineup. Chisenhall did miss the three games prior to the All-Star Break.
2. Shin-Soo Choo had his cast removed on Monday, and according to Dr. Graham, who performed the operation, the six screws look good. Choo will meet with Graham on Friday to plan the next step of his rehabilitation. Choo is still not expected to return to the Indians lineup until some time in August.
By Matt Van Wormer
As the first half of the season came to a close, the Indians were on a little down swing, losing their final three games to the Toronto Blue Jays. The break couldn’t have come at a better time as some pitchers needed to get some rest and get healthy. The Indians are 5-5 so far in the month of July and they could have been doing a lot better for the month if it weren’t for the three straight losses. They took 2 out of 3 from the Yankees and Reds before the Blue Jays came to town.
By Mike Brandyberry
It’s easy to point to the Indians’ first half and have a, “glass half full or half empty,” conversation. Fans can chose to focus on the 30-15 start and only being a half game behind the Detroit Tigers, or they can focus on the 17-27 stretch since the start. However, as the Indians prepare to start the second half, the team has to make many decisions regarding the players and their dedication to winning, both now and for the future, to keep that glass full.
By Tim Palumbo
O Say Can You C
To start this list I would like to make a tribute to Orlando Cabrera who has recently become a U.S. citizen. Many of us are born into this great country with the privilege of being an American citizen with no merit needed. Orlando achieved his citizenship through many years of residency, but we all know he couldn’t have made that happen without his excellence on and off the field. He is now is a proud citizen of the greatest country on Earth. Congrats O.C. – it’s been an honor to have you on the Cleveland Indians.
#5 – Travis Hafner Resurgence
Travis Hafner has answered the critics and reassured his fan base that his raw hitting abilities are not a result of performance enhancing drugs. We can close the book on the debate, and leave it with its proven and logical answer; that his slumping and limited plate appearances in the past few years were the result of the many injuries. With Pronk’s big bat back in the lineup, and the Indians fighting for command of first place in the AL Central, it feels like ’07 in ’11.
After a mostly successful start to the baseball season, the Cleveland Indians are limping into the All-Star break.
The Tribe lost its third straight game Sunday to the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-1, falling a half-game out of first place, behind the Detroit Tigers. Cleveland goes into the break at 47-42, with the Tigers standing at 49-43.
Following a dramatic comeback victory Thursday night against these same Blue Jays, the Indians fell short in the next three, all at Progressive Field.
Sunday’s game provided little for the Wahoo Warriors to be thrilled about.
There was late inning magic once again Saturday night at Progressive Field. Unfortunately, for the Indians, there was not quite enough for the home team.
The Tribe forced extra innings with a run in the ninth, but fell to the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 in ten frames.
Cleveland, which slipped to 47-41, entered the ninth trailing 4-3. This time it was right fielder Travis Buck playing the role of hero. He hit a two-out, RBI double. The hit scored Austin Kearns, pinch running for Travis Hafner, who led off the stanza with a base hit.
At the beginning of the night, many thought that Mitch Talbot may be pitching for his spot in the rotation. By the middle of the 6th inning, most would agree that he did not hold on to that spot. Whether it’s bad luck or bad pitching, Talbot showed tonight that something just isn’t right and he may need some time in Triple A to get things back on track, especially with the arms that the Indians have warm and ready to show their worth down in Columbus.
The Blue Jays jumped on Talbot in the second inning, picking up three runs, two of which came with two outs. Toronto was successful in that line on the stat sheet a couple times, as they also had two two-out, run scoring hits in the top of the 4th inning. After the Indians had picked up two runs in the bottom of the second, the Blue Jays were sparked by the number nine hitter, Rajai Davis in the 4th.
Thursday night was a grand night for the Cleveland Indians and their fans.
With one out and the bases, the Tribe trailed the Toronto Blue Jays 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Travis Hafner stepped to the plate and found a pitch to his liking. He hammered it to deep right field, sending the crowd of 18,816 into delirium and home happy.
After struggling to put anything together on offense for eight innings, the Tribe entered the home half of the ninth trailing 4-0. They were looking like sure losers in the first of a four-game series with the Blue Jays.
The two storylines headed into the rubber match of this three game series with the New York Yankees were Derek Jeter‘s pursuit of his 3,000th career hit and Phil Hughes coming off the DL to make his first start since April 13th, but Justin Masterson stole the show by throwing eight scoreless innings in the Cleveland Indians 5-3 win over the Yankees.
Despite rumors that Asdrubal Cabrera would be sitting out this game after tweaking his ankle in last night’s 9-2 loss, the All-Star was in the lineup playing second base and singled in his first at bat after Michael Brantley drew a leadoff walk. Travis Hafner followed Cabrera’s one-bagger with a hit of his own to score Brantley. Cabrera then came around to score on a wild pitch and fielding error by Yankees catcher Russell Martin, giving the Tribe an early 2-0 lead.