The excitement of the new season is not just contained up on the shore of Lake Erie, but is going strong in Columbus as the Clippers start their new season. This season marks their fifth year in their beautiful new ballpark, Huntington Park.
The Clippers ended last year by closely missing the playoffs, finishing with a record of 75-69. Last season was viewed as a disappointment, as their 2011 season was capped off by winning their second consecutive Governors Cup. This season however is viewed with the same sense of strong optimism that follows the Indians into the new season.
The Clippers this season are lead by a new manager Chris Tremie. Tremie played in the majors from 1995 through 2004, being a journeyman moving through six organizations. After his career was over, he started managing for the Tribe through the Gulf Coast Indians, working his way up to the Akron Aeros for the last two seasons and now the Clippers this year.
This Sunday Erik Pinkerman and Ronnie Tellalian discusss some recent minor moves made by the Indians, the decision making process and offseason strategy by the front office and guys who were not on the 2012 Opening Day roster, but will …
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 out of minor league options in 2013.
By Ronnie Tellalian
Matt LaPorta has been a swing and a miss, literally, figuratively and now statistically.
LaPorta was once a top prospect and thought to be a slugger of the future. After four disappointing stints at the major league level, his time in Cleveland has been tainted, and his future is uncertain.
Out of options for 2013, LaPorta either will need to be retained on the major league roster, traded or given his outright release. In order to return to the minor leagues, LaPorta will have to clear waivers each time, and despite his struggles, some team will claim him. In 2012 for the Indians, LaPorta played 22 games, moving back and forth from the big league club to Triple-A Columbus. He batted .241, hit one home run and slugged an embarrassing .328. Things were not always this bleak for the once hot prospect.
By Christian Petrila
It was a football-less Sunday in Cleveland, but the Indians more than made up for it by outslugging the Kansas City Chiefs err… Royals, 15-3.
The Indians struck in the second off of Kansas City starter, Luke Hochevar. Lonnie Chisenhall whiffed for the first out, but Jack Hannahan followed with a bloop single into left. After Brent Lillibridge popped out to shallow left, Casey Kotchman got a bloop single of his own to fall into right. “Laser” Lou Marson then slapped an RBI single to right field to score Hannahan and give the Indians a 1-0 lead before Jason Donald popped out on the first pitch he saw.
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 Christian Petrila
The Indians rallied in the ninth to overcome sloppy errors and stun the Texas Rangers to avoid the sweep on Thursday night, winning 5-4.
After three and a half innings of silent bats,Texasfinally broke through. Zach McAllister got David Murphy to fly out to left. After that, though, Adrian Beltre – a thorn in the Indians’ side all year – singled right back up the middle. Nelson Cruz then blasted a double off the wall in right field and Michael Young drove inTexas’ third baseman with a single to right field. Then, to keep up with the Indians’ trend this last month and a half, what appeared to be an inning-ending double play turned into a Rangers run when Brent Lillibridge’s throw to first sailed about a foot over Matt LaPorta’s head at first and into the dugout. McAllister prevented further damage by striking out Geovany Soto to end the inning.
By Christian Petrila
I think it’s time to say the Matt LaPorta experience is just about over.
Since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus (again) on August 24, LaPorta has only played in six of Cleveland’s 15 games.
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
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 Bob Toth
The recall of Matt LaPorta to Cleveland on Friday lacked the jubilation and hope that the former top prospect and key acquisition of the 2008 C.C. Sabathia trade had once generated with the Indians and their fans.
The 27-year-old LaPorta began his latest audition for the Indians on Friday night, batting sixth and playing first base in a 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees. A pair of strikeouts, including a key whiff with runners on second and third with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, overshadowed his lone single to center in the fifth. The performance improved his season batting average with Cleveland to .200, with three singles and four strikeouts in 15 plate appearances.
The Yankees clearly used the same scouting report on LaPorta as teams have used for years – throw lots and lots of off-speed breaking pitches.