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Indians Indians Archive Wahoo Week In Review: 4/1-4/8
Written by Adam Burke

Adam Burke

tribefellertributeShort of playoff success, there are very few things more gratifying than sweeping the big-market, arrogant chowdaheads to send them to 0-6 on the season. If you are a living, breathing Cleveland sports fan, you thoroughly enjoyed all three games in the series. Given the way it started for us, 4-2 looked like a pipe dream. Now, we ride a four-game winning streak to the West Coast. Eric Wedge was reached for comment on the Tribe coming to town and he responded by twitching his mustache three times and rubbing his chin.

This week’s results:


4/1: Chicago 15, Cleveland 10

4/2: Chicago 8, Cleveland 3

4/3: Chicago 1, Cleveland 7

4/4: Boston 1, Cleveland 3

4/5: Boston 4, Cleveland 8

4/6: Boston 0, Cleveland 1


Record: 4-2, 32 runs scored, 29 runs allowed (RS: 5.33/game, RA: 4.83/game)


Tribal chiefs:


Travis Hafner: 7-for-19, HR, 2 RBI

Orlando Cabrera: 6-for-22, HR, 5 RBI

Carlos “Supernatural” Santana: 7-for-21, HR, 4 RBI

Josh Tomlin: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Justin Masterson: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R/ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 17 GB outs

Jack “The Animal” Hannahan: 5-for-16, HR, 4 RBI

hafnerrunningThere are not many words to describe how great it is to see Travis Hafner punishing inside fastballs with authority. Much maligned over the last couple of seasons, Hafner showed signs of the man who had the second deck in right field named after him. He hit some rocket line drives this past week, showed a good eye in terms of pitch selection, and got all of us excited. There are no guarantees that it continues, but it was encouraging to start the season.

Orlando Cabrera just might be the team’s first week MVP. His big two-run blast off John Danks opened the rally gates and the Tribe rattled off seven unanswered en route to their first win. My first impression of OCab was impressive. From my view on the Home Run Porch, with the Tribe down 14-0, Orlando Cabrera showed the spring in his step of a rookie who would not know better that the team was getting embarrassed. He kept his spirits up, leading by example. The team followed that lead and clawed back as best they could. He has had several professional at bats and played stellar defense at a relatively new position.

Justin Masterson, the embattled centerpiece of the Victor Martinez deal, has a lot of questions to answer this season. Is he a starter or a reliever? He kept the White Sox bats at bay by pounding the strike zone early in the count. Throwing strikes forced the White Sox hitters to expand the lower part of the strike zone and kill 750,000 worms on the infield. Seventeen ground ball outs is quite a feat.

My Manny Acta Moment: Had I written this weekly column last year, my dislike for Manny Acta would have been extremely well-documented. I hated his mismanagement of the bullpen, disliked his on-field lack of enthusiasm, and abhorred his apparent acceptance of losing.

This week, Manny Acta looked like a completely different skipper. Taking Lou Marson’s sac bunt off and starting the runner in a hit & run was a thing of beauty. Will Ohman had just been visited by the pitching coach and was struggling to find the zone. Acta took full advantage. Expecting Ohman to lay in a get-me-over fa

stball so Marson could bunt the ball and give the ChiSox an out, Acta took off the bunt. Marson responded to the confidence shown in him by his manager and clubbed an RBI 2B to the warning track in RF.

Continuing to surprise me, Manny Acta micro-managed the 5th inning on Wednesday after Mitch Talbot’s pitch count caught up with his unusually high punchout count. With runners on and a meager one-run lead, Acta used newcomer Chad Durbin to strike out Kevin Youkilis. Durbin did his job. Rafael Perez came in and finished off the inning, getting David Ortiz to ground out harmlessly to first. The next inning, the Indians hung a four-spot and went on to win by four.

Then, in the series finale, much to the delight of baseball purists, ManActa called for the suicide squeeze on a 2-1 count. Adam Everett would score the game winning run on the squeeze play.

I have to give props where they are due. The manager’s job is to put his players in a position that gives them the best chance to succeed. He did that beautifully in the Boston series and the players came through in the clutch. Kudos to you, Manny Acta.

Shin Splints: Ladies and gentlemen, Shin-Soo Choo will hit. Believe me, he is entirely too good of a baseball player to continue slumping like this. The 2010 version of our favorite South Korean began the season 3-for-23. The following week, he was 11-for-19 with 3 HRs. He is currently 3-for-24. Some poor pitcher ischooroundingthird going to have a bad night thanks to Choo in the very near future.

Everyone wants an explanation. What’s wrong with Choo? Quite honestly, not to undermine your baseball intelligence, but he’s just simply missing the ball. Choo made contact with 87.1% of pitches in the zone last year, according to So far, this year, Choo is making contact with less than 60% of the pitches in the strike zone. He isn’t picking the ball up and is trying to guess rather than react. Let him get a couple opposite field hits and start staying on the baseball. The least of our worries is #17.

The three biggest plays from this week: Man, it is hard to pick just three. But, that’s the segment I’m going to try and follow, so here we go.

#3: Asdrubal squeezes the life out of Red Sox nation: I guess money cannot necessarily buy you a win in your first six games. How Asdrubal Cabrera got that bunt down, I may never know. The pitch from Bard was at least a foot outside. Like he had telepathic control over the ball, the first bounce looked like it hit chalk, or was barely inside/outside the line. It spun to the right to hug the grass and Adam Everett scampered home. The Northern Lights, the Grand Canyon, and the Las Vegas Strip at night do not hold a candle to the beauty of a well-executed suicide squeeze.

#2: Absent-mindedness from a veteran catcher: With the bases loaded and nobody out, Michael Brantley strolled to the plate on Wednesday night. In full protect mode with two strikes, Brantley slashed a line drive at Kevin Youkilis. The ball rattled in and out of Youk’s glove. Making the smart play, Youkilis stepped on third and fired home to get Travis Buck and likely diffuse the rally.

tekumpireInexplicably, Jason Varitek, a veteran of almost 1500 games behind the plate, stepped on home and washed his hands of the play. Correctly, the umpires called Travis Buck safe. The play is no longer a force and Buck must be tagged out. Buck was not tagged out. The next hitter, Asdrubal Cabrera, hit a three pointer to the right field seats and the Indians were en route to being over .500.

#1b: The Wonderful World of Disney: Orlando Cabrera was a brilliant signing. Nobody wanted to watch Luis Valbuena hack away and play mediocre defense every night at 2B. Adam Everett is a judy hitter. No punch, just judy. Jayson Nix fielded ground balls with cinder blocks on his feet and a glove made out of plywood. So, to answer the problem, Chris Antonetti signed 15-year vet Orlando Cabrera.

After giving up 23 runs in two games, the Indians needed a timely hit in the low scoring finale against the White Sox. Orlando Cabrera gave them that and then some. After Travis Hafner’s two-out single, Cabrera jumped on the first pitch from previously-locked-in John Danks, and blasted it to the Home Run Porch. The Indians had their first lead of the season, and subsequently, their first win.

#1a: Black Magic Defense: I have to admit, I was not quite sure how the Carlos Santana, first baseman experiment would go. Skeletor Ramirez helped me find out. Alex-ay squared to bunt with nobody out, the White Sox leading 1-0, and two men on. Santana, charging down the line, made a splendid diving catch on Skeletor’s horrible bunt attempt. With both runners off and moving on the pitch, Carlos threw to OCab at 1B and ACab at 2B for the conventional 3-4-6 triple play.

Looking ahead: As mentioned at the top of the column, the Indians get to renew their pleasantries with former skipper Eric Wedge as they head to Seattle for their first road series of the year. Following three games there, the Indians will travel down the left coast to take on the Los Angeles Alameda Orange County Angels of Southern California Anaheim.

One final note: Much has been made of the Indians’ pathetic attendance thus far. Justifiably so? Maybe. But, you know what, for people citing the Indians lack of success, the Browns get a pass year after year for winning four or five games. Grown men get all PMSy about the Dolans being cheap and whatever else. These same people conveniently forget that the Lerner family that owns the Browns cares more about their Aston Villa soccer team than they do our beloved Browns.

The hypocrisy shown by Cleveland “fans” regarding the Browns and Indians incenses me. This is OUR team, for better or for worse. These same backside orifices will come crawling back to the bandwagon when the Indians are back to contending again. As we always do, we will graciously let them back on. Some of us are sports sadists. We loyally, if not blindly, follow our teams no matter their performance. To those of you who are diehards like me, I salute you. And, damnit, we will all be rewarded one day.

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