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It’s a column I crafted a year ago as the Indians closed in on the trade deadline, but now that the Tribe has taken three of four from the Detroit Tigers this weekend, the trade talk will begin again with fans wanting the organization to be buyers for a second-half push. Considering the injuries and inconsistent starting pitching in the first 97 games, a starting pitcher or right-handed hitting outfielder could certainly help the roster. With 10 days until the non-waiver trade deadline, rumors will begin to swirl concerning players on the trade block and if they are adequate fits for the Tribe’s hopeful return to the postseason.
Before putting on your at-home general manager hat, calling sports talk radio shows or Tweeting your favorite baseball blogger or analyst, consider a couple of rules in making trades (especially for the Cleveland Indians).
1. Your Trash is Not Another Team’s Treasure
In the days of the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff runs, this could have been called the “Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble” clause, but the idea still holds true. Now, it’s the Cavs attempt to land Kevin Love, without trading Andrew Wiggins. You can’t trade guys you no longer want, yet bring back players who make a substantial difference in a pennant race.
Three out of four ain’t bad.
After taking the first three games in a four game series with Detroit, the Cleveland Indians were unable to complete the sweep on Sunday afternoon, losing 5-1. Josh Tomlin allowed a pair of runs early and then Detroit made the most of a pair of two-out rallies to steal the final game. Drew Smyly kept the Indians offense stymied for seven, strong innings and the Tiger bullpen held the Tribe quiet late.
Cleveland was trying to issue their first four-game sweep of the Tigers in Detroit in franchise history, but the offense that has been so timely and clutch in the late innings could not make the most of opportunities in the final game. The Tribe was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
There has been a notable force missing from the Cleveland Indians lineup for the majority of this season. His name is Jason Kipnis.
If the Indians have any plans on contending throughout the second half, they will need his bat and his athleticism on the field to be at the top of his game.
The play of late from Kipnis may be an indication that he is finally starting to come back into his own and find a groove at the plate, even if the power numbers have not been as prevalent as Cleveland fans have come to know.
Chris Dickerson wowed Indians fans with a pair of home runs Saturday night, but it was Carlos Santana who saved the day, hitting a three-run double in the top of the ninth that ultimately provided the margin of victory in a 5-2 win in the nightcap of a doubleheader.
The win gave the Indians the sweep of the doubleheader. It’s their third win in a row since the All-Star break, all against the American League Central-leading Tigers.
Baseball is a game of adjustments and experience. Saturday afternoon’s game between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers is no better example.
Drew VerHagen was the early story for the Tigers, baffling the Indians through the first time through the batting order, but adjustments from the Tribe offense led to a three-run fifth inning for Cleveland. It was all the offense Corey Kluber would need, going eight and two-third innings and giving the Tribe a 6-2 win in the first half of a split doubleheader. Jason Kipnis followed up a big Friday evening with two more, two-out base hits and Kluber earned his 10th win of the season.
VerHagen made the most of his Major League debut through the first four innings. The Tigers, 12th ranked prospect according to MLB.com, allowed just one hit in the first four innings. Michael Brantley’s bunt single in the first inning was the only blemish on VerHagen’s record through four innings.
The 2014 season will mark 20 years of baseball at Progressive (ie Jacobs) Field. It’s been a relatively short history (although with the stadium building boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Progressive Field is the 13th oldest facility in the majors). Did the Tribe Win Last Night has compiled a list of the 20 most memorable moments in the field’s history. We’ll count them down for 20 consecutive Saturdays.
4. 1997 All Star Game
Three years after Jacobs Field opened, it hosted the 68th All-Star Game. It was the fifth time the Indians hosted the Midsummer Classic, setting a record.
Adam Plutko was drafted last year in the 11th round of the First Year Player Draft out of UCLA. Unlike most players making their professional debut in the same year that they were picked, the Indians held Plutko out until the 2014 season as they were concerned over the amount of innings he had already thrown for the Bruins in the 2013 collegiate season.
In 2013 Plutko was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player, helping the Bruins win the College World Series. Plutko was on the same pitching staff with the Bruins as Pittsburgh Pirates starter, Gerrit Cole, and the Indians own, Trevor Bauer. Plutko actually came into college with what most scouts thought better stuff than both Cole and Bauer, with a fastball that sat around 95 m.p.h. as a freshman. Plutko saw his velocity drop down to around 90 m.p.h. over time for the Bruins and witnessed Cole and Bauer also become first round picks. As a junior in 2013, Plutko had become the workhorse and the ace of a staff in which many didn’t have high hopes for. While Plutko and the Bruins proved many wrong in 2013, it still didn’t help his draft status as the Most Outstanding Player of the College World Series because he wasn’t taken until the 11th round by the Indians.
Seemingly dead and buried for the majority of the evening, the Indians used a seven run seventh inning to lead an exciting comeback victory against the first place Detroit Tigers by a score of 9-3. With the victory, the Indians open the unofficial second half of the season with a win, pushing them over the .500 mark and moving them to within 6.5 games of the Tigers in the AL Central standings.
The Tribe had been stymied by Detroit starter Anibal Sanchez (6-4, 3.22) for the majority of the evening, as it seemed Indians starter Trevor Bauer (4-4, 3.89) was on his way to a hard-luck loss. Bauer, however, sat down after the sixth, knowing he was finished for the evening, and watched his team put him in the winner’s circle with the biggest blow being a Jason Kipnis three-run homerun. The seven run frame was Cleveland’s biggest inning of the season.
The Cleveland Indians have fought and fought to get back to even on the season. While they have struggled to stay afloat within the division, the Detroit Tigers have reclaimed significant ground in the American League Central. This weekend’s four-game series is easily one of the biggest of the season for Cleveland, as both clubs look to start out the second half with a bang.
The Indians (47-47) completed their ten-game homestand with a 6-4 record by taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. Cleveland pulled ahead in the fifth inning in a see-saw battle after a key replay challenge went in favor of the Tribe as they stole a 7-4 win from Chicago on Friday night. Zach McAllister was dealt a tough luck loss on Saturday afternoon as Jose Abreu continued his onslaught on MLB pitching in a 6-2 loss for the Indians. A big game from Yan Gomes, including his go-ahead two-run home run in the eighth inning, propelled Cleveland to a 3-2 win over the Chi Sox on Sunday.
It was reminiscent of this week’s All-Star festivities in Minneapolis, with a home run derby and a game on a baseball diamond played by celebrities. The players, however, were a bit different.
Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden held his first annual Joe Haden & Friends Celebrity Softball Game on Thursday, July 17, at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio. Instead of the usual crowd of Classic Park fans dressed in Captains gear, those in attendance were dressed in brown and orange, cheering as their favorite football players and local media celebrities took the field to play nine innings of softball.