While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 55 days
Unlike some of the other numbers on our daily countdown thus far, the number 55 has been far more likely to settle into a home on the back of a player in the city of Cleveland than to be used by a short-time player.
Roberto Perez is the current owner of the double-five for the Indians and has laid claim to it for parts of the last four seasons as the only number he has worn during his big league career.
The Detroit Tigers’ Armando Galarraga is robbed of his perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning on a blown call at first base by umpire Jim Joyce, as Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald is ruled safe on the infield single that wasn’t in a 3-0 one-hit shutout.
The signing of Travis Hafner by the New York Yankees on Friday effectively signified an end to what should have been a period of glory and high accolades in the history of the Cleveland Indians.
Hafner was part of a collection of players who will forever be remembered in Cleveland for falling short of the lofty expectations placed upon them. After the team’s impressive run at the end of the 1990’s, Hafner and his teammates of the mid- to late-2000’s were thought to have the potential to be perennial playoff contenders, maybe even being able to reach the great heights of the World Series and bringing home the coveted World Series Championship that has eluded the city since 1948.
Instead, Hafner and his peers left the organization and its fans wondering, “what if”?
After a disappointing 2012 Cleveland Indians season the organization is at a crossroads to decide how to progress with the organization, not just for the 2013 season but several seasons to come. Decisions involve ownerships, the front office, managerial and coaching decisions and the players. For the month of October, we’ll look at how the Indians ended up in their current predicament, but most importantly, Where Do the Indians Go From Here. Today we analyze one of the three players who have team options for next season. The Indians must decide to pick up their options within three days of the end of the World Series.
There are players who are unpredictable, there are players who are enigmas and then there is Roberto Hernandez.
Hernandez had as rough a 2012 as any Cleveland Indian and his trouble began before he even reported to Goodyear, Arizona. Just being able to report became Hernandez’s problem in January when he entered the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic to apply for his work visa to return to the United States.
At the time, the 28-year old Fausto Carmona was looking to rebound from what may be his worst season as a starting pitcher in 2011. He was 7-15, with a 5.25 ERA in 2011, and despite his struggles, the Tribe elected to pick up his $7 million club option for 2012. A struggling Carmona was valued to be a bargain versus what the Indians would have to pay on the free agent market for a starting pitcher.
By Mike Brandyberry
Almost two months ago the Indians hoped a come-from-behind victory on July 26 against the Detroit Tigers would act as a catalyst to a second half of contention. It was the final game of the home stand before heading on the road to Minnesota.
Two months later, the Indians 7-6 ninth inning comeback against the Tigers on Sunday could only provide them a spark against the Twins and the hopes of avoiding a last place finish after a terrible tumble through the standings. Cleveland is 11-37 since that July win against Detroit. More likely, the loss could be one of the reasons the Tigers never catch the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central Division. Despite the Tribe struggles over the last two months, they were still able to take the season series from Detroit, 10 games to eight.
By Mike Brandyberry
Friday night the Indians weren’t able to slow down Adrian Beltre and the Texas Rangers, en route to a 5-3 loss. Beltre had four hits for the Rangers and Ubaldo Jimenez labored into the fifth inning, while throwing 117 pitches. Cleveland scored an unearned run, but showed little life until a two-run homer from Casey Kotchman in the ninth inning.
The defeat becomes the Indians’ 24th loss of the month of August. The last time Cleveland lost 24 games in a month was July 1914, when Babe Ruth was a rookie and the first stoplight was installed. The Tribe is now 5-28 since defeating Justin Verlander on July 26. The come-from-behind win by the Tribe seems to be the last flash before the season has taken a downward spiral.
“It’s been the toughest month that I’ve had in baseball,” Indians manager Manny Acta said.
By Mike Brandyberry
Twelve hours of rain in Cleveland on Monday chased all the fans away from Progressive Field. It seemed to wash away the Indian offense, too.
Roberto Hernandez (0-3) did not survive the third inning with an injured ankle, and possibly a damaged psyche while Brett Anderson (2-0) carved the Tribe up. Anderson allowed only two hits over seven innings, despite only one of the hits being earned without the help of an umpire. All of the excitement was in front of an announced attendance of 13,018–many of those must have been in the bathroom most of the night because the television camera failed to capture the robust announced crowd. A single tally in each of the first three innings was all the offense Oakland needed for a 3-0 victory.
Oakland took the early lead in the top of the first inning when after Hernandez had retired an out, Stephen Drew singled to right field. Yoenis Cespedes battled Hernandez in a 13-pitch at bats, including eight straight foul balls, before hitting a laser off the left field wall for a double. The ball was hit so hard Drew could only advance to third base. However, Seth Smith hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield deep enough to score Drew and give the Athletics a 1-0 lead.
By Mike Brandyberry
Sunday the Indians had a chance to win their first series since late July, but the offense couldn’t find a spark, despite a well-pitched game by Ubaldo Jimenez. The Tribe could only muster a two-out, two-run single from Carlos Santana in their 4-2 loss to the Yankees.
Rain seems to be following the Oakland Athletics wherever they go. Oakland had their three game series sped up this weekend so that the Tampa could prepare for the Republican National Convention this week. A hurricane is also scheduled to hit the Sunshine State in the next day. The Athletics, who have been in Cleveland since Sunday morning, have watched it rain all day. The Athletics will hope to get the game in through the dreary skies and humidity in Cleveland, so that they do not fall behind in the Wild Card standings. Oakland is currently tied with Baltimore for the final playoff spot.
By Christian Petrila
In a battle of two Hernandezes, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez outlasted Cleveland’s Roberto Hernandez as Seattle won the second game of the three-game series, 5-1.
Expecting an encore performance from their star ace, 39,204 fans packed Safeco Field only to see Felix Hernandez’s bid for a second perfect game end after the very first batter. Jason Kipnis laced a single under the glove of Justin Smoak at first. A Shin Soo Choo one-out single made it runners on first and second. The rally was killed when Carlos Santana grounded into a double play.
By Mike Brandyberry
What’s in a name?
The Mariners, winners of six in a row, send Felix to the mound for his first start since throwing a perfect game last Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Not just did Hernandez retire all 27 batters he faced, but he struck out 12 hitters, including the final out. This Hernandez has been the ray of light in a dismal season for the Mariners, always being the ace of the staff and snapping long losing streaks.