Posts By Laurel Wilder
Having grown up in the Cleveland area, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking Lake County is an exciting place to be, especially when compared to someplace warm like, say, Arizona. However, if you’re a baseball player, being in Eastlake, Ohio, is a much more desirable location – just ask one of the newest additions to the Captains’ roster, 22 year-old catcher Richard Stock.
“Arizona gets kind of monotonous,” Stock said of his playing prior to coming to Lake County this season. “It’s great getting out here with all the guys. It’s great to play other teams for meaningful games.”
From May 6-13, Lake County Captains left-handed pitcher Ryan Merritt went 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA. He pitched a total of 12.0 innings in two starts during the week, one of which included a 7.0 inning shutout on two hits at Burlington on May 6. Some may say this performance “merritt-ed” a recognition.
On May 14, the Indians organization announced that the 20-year-old from McKinney, Texas, was the Cleveland Indians’ Minor League Player of the Week for May 6-13.
Sunday’s game against the Seattle Mariners had the Indians once again proving that Cy Young winners do nothing to intimidate their team. Following their 6-0 win, the Indians have now beat seven out of the eight Cy Young pitchers they have faced since the beginning of the season.
The Indians strong offense at the game’s beginning, coupled with Masterson’s strong outing which brought him to a straight 19 scoreless innings, brought the Tribe to 3-0 in the series against the Mariners and defeated their ace, Felix Hernandez.
Coming into his 2013 season, Levon Washington was ready to start out strong. Having had hip surgery just over a year ago, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound center fielder from Gainesville, FL, was looking forward to a season of smoother sailing, unmarred by injury.
Unfortunately, Washington found himself with a pulled right hamstring during his first game of the season.
Tonight, the Indians proved they didn’t need to be wearing blue to win. White is alright, too.
Even better, they proved that Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound is not necessarily a bad thing.
The starting pitcher has been one of the most unsteady parts of the Indians rotation thus far. Nights when he’s on the mound often have fans doubting the team’s success before the game even starts. This time, Jimenez didn’t need to fear the wrath of disgruntled fans as another solid start and four solo home runs helped lead the Tribe to a 7-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics.
For a while, it looked as though the Lake County Captains had fallen into a rut. The young team was losing more games than they were winning, giving up leads in late innings and producing plays marred by numerous errors. Fans weren’t the only ones discouraged by the games, however – Captains’ players noticed the slump just as vividly.
“I know we had been struggling and it seemed like we couldn’t win any games,” left fielder Logan Vick said of his team’s performance throughout the month of April. “We were giving up leads and just not putting hits together to get big wins.”
The absence of big wins, however, changed on Monday night, April 29, at Classic Park, where Vick played a vital role in reversing the Captains’ string of losses. The Captains won both of their games during a double header with the Kane County Cougars, restoring faith in both fans and players alike.
The first time he was on the mound in Lake County, the 6-foot-3, 173-pound, right-hander Luis DeJesus was pitching out of the bullpen for the first time in his life.
While it’s not unusual for players to be moved around to different positions in order to satisfy roster needs, DeJesus’ move during the 2012 season from starter to reliever threw a wrench in the young pitcher’s routine.
Before he was drafted by the Indians in the seventh round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Eric Haase had made a decision that will shock Ohioans – the Michigan native from right outside Ann Arbor had committed to playing baseball at the Ohio State University.
“I know almost half the baseball team at Michigan,” Haase said of his almost-traitorous departure. “That would have been a rough Big Ten match-up there.” Haase said that Michigan had recruited him “a little bit,” but OSU had, “a good staff put together, so I thought that would be a better choice for me.”
Instead of alienating himself, though, and becoming an unheard of Wolverine in a sea of Buckeyes, the 5-foot, 10-inch, 180-pound Haase found himself headed for Arizona to catch for the Indians Arizona League.
In Cleveland, it’s easy for losses to pile up and weigh on fans’ shoulders. When teams do poorly, they often quickly write them off as “just another Cleveland sports team” and start repeating the old mantra, “there’s always next year.” The Indians, however, are working hard to prove that this season is not going to be another one to add to the list of let-downs.
Even in their 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox tonight, the Indians pulled out some strong moves to keep them in the game. It wasn’t the comeback win that fans were hoping for, but it wasn’t a complete shut-out, either.
Following Tuesday night’s disappointing outing for Ubaldo Jimenez and the subsequent domination of the Indians by the Boston Red Sox, Wednesday night’s loss did not seem quite as heartbreaking. All it took was a little momentum in the bottom of the sixth inning to keep hope alive and show fans that the Indians are not a lost cause.
Mark Twain once said that “writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.” Not to discount Twain’s literary prowess at all, but – that’s easy for him to say. Writing about boys having adventures on the Mississippi River leaves a lot of room to find the right words to misplace those “wrong ones” he apparently had to cross out.
Writing about something like baseball, though, doesn’t seem to lend itself to this notion as easily. It’s easy to fall into a rut, repeatedly using the same words and phrases to describe the action on the field. This was the exact dilemma author and minor league broadcaster Jesse Goldberg-Strassler found himself facing when he started his broadcasting career in 2005.
By Laurel Wilder
The second game of the season already had the Tribe going into extra innings as they worked to regain their lead over the Toronto Blue Jays. However, Cleveland prevailed with a 3-2 victory in 11 innings, capped with a Mark Reynolds monster home run.
When asked what their favorite thing is about the game of baseball, one would expect a player to talk about making a seemingly impossible out, or driving in the game winning run. For 20-year-old Tony Wolters, however, the smell of fresh-cut grass during batting practice is far more special than any play he could make.
“It’s a great smell!” Wolters said at the Lake County Captains’ Hot Stove Dinner. But, all smells aside, Wolters admitted that he truly enjoys “taking ground balls, hitting…I love the practice [before the game].”
The importance of practice is one thing the infielder from Vista, CA, knows all too well. Selected by the Cleveland Indians in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Wolters played with the Indians’ Arizona League and in Mahoning Valley before spending his 2012 season with the Carolina Mudcats. Wolters posted fairly solid numbers during his first two seasons, batting .211 with two stolen bases during the five games he played in Arizona in 2010, and posting a .292 AVG with 19 SB in 2011 with Mahoning Valley.