By Mike Brandyberry
Friday evening Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cleveland Indians had signed left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir to a minor league deal and an invitation to Spring Training. The Indians are taking a low risk chance on an injury-riddled pitcher who has had a strong Winter season in Puerto Rico.
Kazmir pitched in only one Major League game in 2011, surviving only 1.2 innings and allowing five runs, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He did make five starts in the Pacific Coast League in 2011, losing all five. Kazmir pitched much of 2012 with the Sugar Land Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League. He was an American League All-Star in 2006 and 2008 with the Tampa Bay Rays.
One reader tweeted DTTWLN and said, “if Scott Kazmir is the answer, I don’t want to know the question.”
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 a player that will most likely see an increased role in 2013, versus the role they had in 2012.
Better late, than never, I suppose.
Many were the voices that called for a right handed power bat in the Indians lineup in 2012, Russ Canzler could very well be that bat. He has spent very little time at the Major League level, but the time he’s spent he’s played well. 2013 might be his chance to prove what he can do with the big boys.
With the failed experiments of Shelley Duncan and Aaron Cunningham in 2012, left field has really become an open position for the Indians. The current internal options for the Indians are Canzler, Matt LaPorta and Ezequiel Carrera. LaPorta had his chances and flopped. That leaves Carrera and Canzler. Both are good hitters that have potential, but Canzler is clearly the better option of the two given the Indians current situation. Carrera is a light hitting lefty. The Indians lineup was full of light hitting lefties in 2012. What the Indians need is a hitter with some power, and a guy that can hit from the right side to counter all those lefties. Canzler is that guy.
By Craig Gifford
It is not often that Cleveland reliever Vinnie Pestano has to rebound from a bad outing. The Tribe’s star reliever just does not have many of them.
Monday night, however, Pestano gave up three earned runs, all off a three-run home run from Adam Dunn, in an eighth inning that led to a 5-4 Indians loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Pestano got his chance at redemption less than 24 hours later at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field. On Tuesday afternoon, Pestano again took the hill against the White Sox. Like Monday night, his team was ahead 4-2. This time, Pestano did not allow a run to cross the plate. He even struck out Dunn to end the eighth. It preserved what turned out to be a 4-3 win for the Indians, who improved to 64-91 with the victory over AL-Central Division-leading Chicago.
By Ronnie Tellalian
A top notch pitching performance from Zach McAllister, and a 12-hit offensive surge for the Indians went to waist as the Cleveland bull pen dropped the ball. The White Sox stopped their five game losing streak and, on the back of the powerful Adam Dunn, they took game one against the Tribe 5-4.
The Chicago White Sox come into today with a one game lead in the AL Central. Despite a five game losing streak, the Sox have managed to cling to the meager lead. They brought left handed pitcher Chris Sale (17-7, 2.82) to the mound in hopes of stopping the skid. The Cleveland Indians brought rookie right hander McAllister (5-8, 4.31) to the hill. McAllister, who made his 21st start of the season, has struggled with his consistency, but is a bright spot moving forward for the Indians.
By Bob Toth
In a normal season, the return of Travis Hafner would have created some excitement for the Cleveland Indians’ fan base.
This season has been far from normal.
A September return by Hafner, the senior member of the Tribe in terms of years of service with the club, time in the major leagues, and age, instead cuts into the playing time of call-ups Russ Canzler, Ezequiel Carrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Matt LaPorta, Thomas Neal, Cord Phelps, and Vinny Rottino.
What point does it serve playing Hafner at this point, anyways?
By Mike Brandyberry
Last night the Indians took the long road to defeat, using 10 relief pitchers behind starter David Huff and losing in 12 innings, 6-5. When Matt LaPorta forgot to cover first base on a ground ball to Jason Kipnis, the Twins Darin Mastroianni was able to score from second base on what should have been the final out of the frame.
The miscue becomes the most recent in a long list of Matt LaPorta blunders, but it could be the final nail in the coffin to his Indians’ career. The Tribe elected to invest in Casey Kotchman this season than let the centerpiece of the C.C. Sabathia trade have another season to try and grow at the major league level.
By Mike Brandyberry
Control the things you can and don’t worry about the things you can’t. Seems likes an easy learn to learn, but it isn’t always so simple.
For September call-up Russ Canzler, it was a lesson he struggled throughout this season to learn while playing in Triple-A Columbus. However, some advice along the way helped relieve some pressure from his big league pursuit, and now that same advice is helping him live in the moment of his major league opportunity.
Canzler is in his ninth professional season, but before his promotion to Cleveland on Sept. 1, he had only three big league at-bats, all of them last season in Tampa Bay. This September has provided Canzler the opportunity to play every day with the Indians, and he is making the most of his early opportunity.
“It’s been great,” Canzler said. “It’s something you work for in the minor leagues all year and prepare yourself to take advantage of an opportunity. It’s all you can ask is for a chance to show you abilities. I’m just trying to stay within myself and let the game come to me and have fun and show myself.”
By Evan Matsumoto
Tuesday night marked the first game of the last series that Cleveland will play outside of the A.L. Central, signaling the impending end to a dismal season.
The Indians started the night tied with the Twins for fourth in the division at 17 ½ games back. The night ended in a loss for starter Ubaldo Jimenez, now 9-16 on the season, and the Indians dropping another game making their record 59-83.
A routine one-hop grounder to Kipnis proved costly in the bottom of the second. After fielding the ball, the throw to first got away from Russ Canzler to advance Adrian Beltre to second. David Murphy hit a fly ball to center that moved Beltre again before a Michael Young single drove him home.
By Bob Toth
Cleveland Indians’ fans have been calling for Russ Canzler to be promoted from Columbus almost all season long, hoping that the right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder would be able to alleviate some of the offensive deficiencies of the club. As the days and weeks passed and the production from both first base and left field underwhelmed at the plate, Canzler slugged away in Triple-A, awaiting his opportunity.
It may not have happened when some fans wanted, but Canzler’s time to shine is now.
Canzler is expected to see plenty of action for the Indians. It will be the first real test at the major league level for the 26-year-old. It is believed he will split his time between designated hitter, left field, and first base during this audition.
By Mike Brandyberry
Friday evening the Indians survived a sour start by Jeanmar Gomez to come back and take the lead. The offense was spurred by Russ Canzler and his first Major League home run and the bullpen was able to hang on, giving the Tribe a 7-6 victory. Canzler was 3 for 4, with a three RBIs to go with his homer.
The win was the Indians’ third victory in four games on the current road trip. After losing 21 of their last 24 road games, it appears the Tribe is starting to regain their stride on the road. “I think it takes a bit of a toll, so many days on the road,” Indians Manager Manny Acta said. “If you’re going to be on the road for that long, it’s not as beneficial at times. But we can’t control that. I think everybody’s doing it so you have to deal with it. I think everybody has kind of the same schedule. So just deal with it.”
By Bob Toth
Significant contributions from two September callups, designated hitter Russ Canzler and pitcher David Huff, helped Cleveland overcome an early four-run deficit to claim game one from the Minnesota Twins by a final of 7-6.
The Twins struck for first blood in the bottom of the second against Indians’ starting pitcher, Jeanmar Gomez. Back-to-back walks to the dangerous Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau gave the Twins free base runners. A fielder’s choice groundout by Ryan Doumit forced Morneau at second, but moved Willingham to third. Chris Parmelee lifted the first pitch of his at bat into medium left field, deep enough to drive Willingham home from third on the sacrifice fly for the game’s first run.
Minnesota tacked on more the very next inning. Pedro Florimon singled to center with the first pitch of the inning. Ben Revere followed with a single to left center. A sacrifice bunt by Eduardo Escobar moved both runners up. Joe Mauer was intentionally walked to create a double play situation, but Willingham sent a 2-2 pitch the opposite way into the right field corner to score Florimon and Revere, making it a 3-0 game.