When I spoke with right fielder Carlos Moncrief before the Columbus Clippers’ home opener on April 18, he was happy to be home and had a feeling the team was ready to explode after a slow start on the road. In nine road contests, the Clippers went 4-5 and owned the IL’s worst batting average at .157.
“It feels good to be home,” said Moncrief. “I think the whole team will be more comfortable and I think we’re ready to explode.”
Moncrief’s prediction was right as the Clippers completed a four game sweep of the Louisville Bats on Sunday afternoon and went 6-2 in their first homestand of the year.
Entering the homestand, the Clippers had just four home runs as a team. Now, they find themselves tied for the league lead with 15 homers. They’ve also raised their team batting average .087 points to .244.
The Indians have started the season as a big question mark.
The team, which was projected by Sports Illustrated to win the whole thing come this fall, has gotten off to a less-than-stellar start this season. It’s early, so there’s nothing to say that the team should be written off yet. They’ve gotten off to slow starts the past few seasons, and have turned it around as the weather gets warmer. They were 11-13 in April in 2013 and finished that season 92-70, and last year’s squad, which has a number of similar faces to this year’s roster, went 10-17 in April before ending the season at 85-77. Just because their record after Wednesday’s game in Chicago is 5-9 doesn’t mean they’re completely out of contention.
Tyler Holt was the first player I interviewed when I started covering the Columbus Clippers last summer. He had just been promoted to Columbus from Double-A Akron. A few weeks after the interview, he got called up to Cleveland and made his big league debut on July 6.
Holt had a positive impact on the Tribe’s playoff run that fell short. If you were not watching the games and only reading the box scores, you wouldn’t have noticed his contributions as he batted .268 with two RBI and two runs in 36 games. But if you’re a regular watcher of SportsCenter Top 10, there’s a pretty good chance you saw a defensive web gem or two of Holt’s.
“That’s one of the things I pride myself on, defense and effort,” said Holt. “You can be 0-4, but also make a difference in the outfield so that’s kind of what I look at. Instead of forcing things to happen just let them happen.”
Strong Pitching Performances Highlight Season-Opening Series
The Columbus Clippers opened their 2015 campaign on the road against the Indianapolis Indians last Thursday. Manager Chris Tremie gave the opening day start to veteran lefty Bruce Chen and was rewarded with an outstanding …
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is honored to join the More Than a Fan Network in their Tribe Time Now podcasts this season. DTTWLN.com will be represented along with Indians Baseball Insider, Burning River Baseball and Itâs Pronounced Lajaway …
Last summer I stood on the field before the Eastern League All-Star Game and spoke with Francisco Lindor about his life, his development and his future with the Cleveland Indians. When I asked him if he received the call to the big leagues, if he felt he was ready, his answer was like most every thing he does; outstanding and far better than you would expect from a 21-year old.
“If they feel I’m ready, I’m ready,” Lindor said of the Indians organization. “It’s plain and simple. If they think I’m ready, I’m ready. That’s why I leave it up to them because they are the ones that know what is the best time for me.”
Just five weeks ago, we wondered when Lindor would eventually make his debut. Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, Terry Francona, Ross Atkins and anyone else a part of the decision, it’s time for Francisco Lindor in Cleveland. He’s ready.
Close your eyes and try to think of how many players you’d rather see at the plate needing a hit to help the Indians win before Lindor. Chances are, you can’t name nine. Now think of how many players you would want the ball hit to with the game on the line before Lindor. There are only a handful, if that.
When will Francisco Lindor reach the big leagues?
It’s a storyline nearly as big as what the Indians’ record will be in 2015, and some feel the two may be intertwined. While when he debuts remains a question, his prospective stardom and potential is something every one seems to agree is a positive future.
“Francisco Lindor is going to have an impact because he’s so steady,” J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently said on MLB Network. “You gaze into the future and it’s really hard to believe he won’t be a solid, big leaguer.”
Did The Tribe Win Last Night is honored to join the More Than a Fan Network in their Tribe Time Now podcasts this season. DTTWLN.com will be represented along with Indians Baseball Insider, Burning River Baseball and It’s Pronounced Lajaway in …
As the sun rises in Goodyear, Arizona this morning and pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training, many things have changed around the Indians while very little has changed internally.
Chief Wahoo smiles atop the page this morning for the first time since last season’s disappointing 85-77 third place finish. The 2014 goal, Unfinished Business, was clear: build upon a 2013 wild card birth and make a prolonged playoff journey. However, an 11-17 start in April, headlined by slow starts from Justin Masterson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher and an injury to Michael Bourn put the Indians behind in the standings and in a deficit they could never recover. Masterson, Swisher, Bourn and 2013 All-Star Jason Kipnis each spent considerable time on the disabled list in 2014.
Despite a 53-55 record at the trade deadline, manager Terry Francona, vowed his team would never wave the white flag, even when Cabrera and Masterson were traded to National League contenders at the deadline. Even though they helped contribute to the 2013 playoff season, Cabrera and Masterson were detriments to the Tribe’s first four months in 2014. The moves were made to jettison the two free-agents-to-be, and clear roster space for young players ready to assume larger big league roles.
As the calendar flips to 2015, it’s officially the time of the clean slate and the blank page, and the every-exciting New Year’s resolution.
This season, let’s adopt a short and easy resolution when it comes to the Cleveland Indians: Patience.
One word. One concept.
When the regular season ended and the focus turned to 2015, it was clear that the Cleveland Indians would not be major players in the free agent market.
With financial limitations and a significant amount of money tied up to the large contracts of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn and other dollars earmarked for young players who had been extended in the last year, it looked far more likely that if the Indians were to make any significant changes to the roster, it would have to come in the trade market.
This week’s trade rumor involving the Oakland Athletics’ Brandon Moss should then come as little surprise. While he would provide another left-handed bat, if acquired, to a lineup notably devoid of right-handed pop, the short right field walls at Progressive Field favor the lefties in the league and Moss has had three straight 20-homer seasons, including an injury-slowed 25 homer 2014 All-Star season.
The Thanksgiving turkey is starting to marinate and the first chill has already swept northeast Ohio in the last month since baseball has gone dormant.
While the Indians roster has been in hibernation for two months, the Indians front office is about to take center stage for one of their busiest times of the season. Despite a disappointing 2014, the Indians missed the playoffs by just three games and have Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, Most Valuable Player of the Year candidate Michael Brantley and solid backstop Yan Gomes to build around. With manager Terry Francona extended for two more seasons, now through 2018 (with options for 2019 and 2020) the expectation to win in 2015 will be just as strong as it was in 2014.