It is only fitting that the Cleveland Indians would find their groove on the field again, only to welcome in a team playing even better of late. The red hot Red Sox head to Cleveland from Boston for a three-game set at Progressive Field beginning Monday night.
Home field continues to play at an advantage for the Indians (27-30). After a devastating three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox that saw the Tribe score a total of five runs, the team returned home and swept the Colorado Rockies out of town, increasing their American League-best record at home to 18-11 (.621).
A four-run fifth inning, combined with yet another quality start with 12 strikeouts from Corey Kluber, powered the Indians to a 5-2 victory over the Rockies on Friday. The bottom two hitters in the Tribe lineup drove in all seven runs, including the eventual game winner from Mike Aviles in the bottom of the eighth, as the Indians edged out a 7-6 win on Saturday afternoon. After surrendering an early three run lead, the Indians walked off a winner Sunday, 6-4, courtesy of Michael Bourn’s first career game-winning home run.
Fielding lapses and an anemic offensive output undid the Indians yet again, as the White Sox pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to win 3-2 for the three-game sweep Wednesday night. The Indians have now lost four in a row.
Bryan Shaw came on to pitch in the bottom of the ninth for the Tribe, and got Tyler Flowers to ground to Mike Aviles at third. But Aviles threw a two-bouncer to first, and Flowers was safe. It was the first error of the game for the Indians, but their 54th in as many games this season. Leury Garcia came on to pinch run, and stole second. Jason Kipnis, making his return in front of his hometown crowd after a stint on the disabled list, backed up shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, keeping an errant throw by catcher Yan Gomes from going into the outfield.
Garcia took third on a sacrifice fly by Marcus Semien, and scored when Sierra hit a ball into right, tagging Shaw with the loss.
The Cleveland Indians head to US Cellular Field on Monday afternoon to begin a three-game series with the fourth-place Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland (24-27) split a four-game set in Baltimore over the weekend. They won their fourth straight game and second consecutive 13-inning marathon on Thursday night as a Carlos Santana two-run double down the left field line proved to be the difference. Five unanswered runs in the second half of the game gave Baltimore an 8-4 win on Friday night. Cleveland rode a strong Saturday start from Corey Kluber and an offensive eruption to a 9-0 victory. The bats returned to a slumber on Sunday, as the Orioles limited the Tribe to five hits in a 4-2 final to earn a series split.
The White Sox (25-27) and New York Yankees split their four-game weekend series at two games a piece. Chris Sale won in his return from the disabled list on Thursday, 3-2, after allowing just one hit in six innings while striking out ten. They took a second straight from the Bronx Bombers in walk-off fashion on Friday, as Adam Dunn hit a two-run home run in the ninth to secure a 6-5 win. A three-run ninth inning and a Jacoby Ellsbury go-ahead home run in the tenth gave the Yankees a 4-3 come-from-behind win on Saturday. Chicago fell on Sunday, 7-1, as Masahiro Tanaka earned his seventh win of the season.
Tribe rookie T.J. House made his Major League debut last Saturday with a scoreless inning against Oakland and then made his first ML start Friday night in Baltimore. This time, the results from the southpaw were not quite as good.
The Orioles big first baseman and reigning AL homerun champion Chris Davis used a two run double and a two run homer to defeat House and the Indians by a score of 8-4. House (0-1, 6.43) allowed five earned runs on 11 hits as he struggled through six innings of work.
The Orioles hit the young lefthander hard from the start as Nelson Cruz initiated him early by smacking an opposite field homerun in the bottom of the second inning. The Birds then added two more tallies in the third when Davis rocketed his double down the right field line to score both Nick Markakis and Adam Jones to make the score 3-0.
The Cleveland Indians have called up two of their more intriguing prospects this week in first baseman Jesus Aguilar and left-handed relief pitcher Kyle Crockett. The two couldn’t have taken much more of different paths to the Major Leagues than they did. Aguilar was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela at the ripe old age of 16. Aguilar has already spent six seasons in the minor leagues from the Indians Dominican Summer League team all the way up to Triple-A Columbus this year playing for all six minor league affiliates for the Indians. Kyle Crockett, on the other hand, has spent less than a year in the Indians minor league system. Crockett was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Virginia and has made only 36 appearances for three different teams during his short minor league career. Crockett was pitching for Double-A when he got the call.
September call-ups are a time for young players to prove their worth at a major league level following the end of their minor league seasons. Guys who have been promising prospects all year are given a chance to truly integrate themselves into the system for which they have been playing.
With the Indians slew of September call-ups focusing on much-needed pitching help, one name is decidedly absent from the list of additions: Trevor Bauer.
During the off-season and heading into the 2013 season, Bauer’s name was one that was tossed around as a difference maker in the Indians organization. He was touted as one of the most promising pitching prospects, only in need of some fine tuning and adjustment to the big league lifestyle.
The Akron Aeros went 3-4 on the week, improving their record to an Eastern League worst 6-11. The Aeros have struggled at times on the mound and at the plate. They have pitched well and hit well but have yet to do both consistently. A young roster of new players has led to some inconsistent play but the talent on this roster suggests they will put it all together soon.
The inconsistency has plagued both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. They hold a team batting average of .259, Chun Chen leading the team with a .308 average. 21 year old third baseman Giovanny Urshela is second with an even .300 average. On the pitching side, Toru Murata leads all Aeros starters with a 2.60 ERA, while T.J. House leads in wins with two and strikeouts with 27. On Thursday against the Bowie Bay Sox, the Aeros smashed out 11 runs but lost the game after giving up 13 to the home Bay Sox.
As of Monday afternoon, the Indians have a need to fill. It’s not a starter, not a hitter, not a coach.
The Indians are in need of someone with superior facial hair.
On Monday, the Indians shipped 26-year-old pitcher Eric Berger to the Houston Astros in exchange for catcher Chris Wallace. While Berger never made it to Cleveland in his time with the team, he did have a major league moustache.
The southpaw’s claim to fame was his moustache, which was reminiscent to the one Rollie Fingers became famous for back in the 1970s. It was a phenomenal show of facial superiority that few others throughout the Major Leagues could even compete with. Fortunately, the Indians have a few candidates who can certainly take Berger’s spot as Cleveland’s master of the moustache.
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the young players on the 40-man roster that is a part of the Indians’ minor league system.
By Laurel Wilder
In baseball, as with most sports, players know that there is a certain aspect of their success that is out of their control. They can perform to the best of their abilities, but at the end of the day, the decisions about when, or even if, they play lie in the hands of those in charge of their team.
However, T.J. House is not one to leave things to chance.
When the left-handed pitcher found himself struggling during the 2011 season, he did not simply wait it out and hope for improvement. He knew something had to change if he wanted the chance to pitch at a higher level. Instead of remaining complacent, he worked with pitching coach Mickey Callaway to change and improve his mechanics.