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Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Booming Bats Come Alive in Boston
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

drubalandkipAre the Windians back? The offense may be, or they just enjoyed a much-needed trip to Boston. Time will tell. But let's celebrate when we can.

August 1st, 2011

Cleveland Indians - 9

Boston Red Sox - 6

W: Rafael Perez (4-1) L: Daniel Bard (1-5)


What's this? Home Runs?! Cabrera, Hafner, Kipnis, CABRERA AGAIN! The last time the Indians homered at least twice in a game was on July 18th against the Twins. It was a win.

If this is what we're going to be doing now, I don't think another bat is needed. Just get Choo back and we may be golden.

Of course, this is one game. But it was so nice to see the bats come alive in that way. Of course all the credit will go to the guy who's been the MVP all season for this offense, Asdrubal Cabrera.

"Asdrubal is the one who sets the whole thing," said manager Manny Acta. "Because we've been trying to keep [Carlos] Santana in the five- or six-hole to keep the pressure off of him, and Asdrubal sets the tone. Swinging the way he's been swinging, like a legit third guy, which to me he's a No. 2 guy. And he's filled that role for us since [Shin-Soo] Choo and Grady [Sizemore] have been out."

Remember when the hope was that Asdrubal Cabrera would just play excellent defense and swing a bat that was playable? Essentially, be what the Indians would like Lou Marson to be now? Then it was, well, if this kid can be a solid number two hitter. And now, he's pretty much the man. He's the centerpiece to this offense right now.

Cabrera blasted off last night, inching ever so closer to 20 home runs. And now it's looking more likely he hits 25 when all is said and done. Who would have thought? It was the second mutli-homer game of his career and with the second one, he surpassed his career total coming into the season in just a little over four months.

I love praising the Clutchrubal one more than anyone, but there's something more at work here. Of course, when Cabrera hits a pair of jacks, this team will be hard to beat. But there's a new number two hitter making a name for himself.

Jason Kipnis so far seems to be taking to the pressure thrown upon his shoulders as the second hitter in the lineup. It's only been a few games, but he's already homered twice, and turned in a great game last night with three hits, one of the other's being a double. Remember what I said about the ice water veins in this kid? He hits with no pulse and he's showing right now that even as a rookie, he can undertake the pressure of hitting in such an important part of the lineup.

We are all Kipnisses to the The Kip Show ladies and gents.

And according to Manny Acta, it's all about a positive effect, which this win creates. It's a very young club now with the likes of Orlando Cabrera and Shelley Duncan no longer around.

"Big win," Acta said. "You start a road trip here in Boston and then go to Texas. If you start losing, things could easily snowball against these types of clubs. Getting the first one was important. We have a young ballclub, and that can carry a positive affect."

As Acta would later mention, last week was tough with both Cabrera and Hafner struggling. Hafner has struggled much to no one's realization. He hasn't been hitting all that well. So it was good to see him break out last night too with the big home run. A big reason for the offensive let-downs as of late has been those two not hitting. And now you see what happens when both get it going at the same time.

It's times like this you wish Justin Masterson could get some flipping support, but you'll take a Josh Tomlin effort, even though it wasn't his best game in the boxscore. He ended up with five runs off 10 hits, but like always he didn't walk a hitter and put any unnecessary traffic on the basepaths. He gave up the two home runs to Crawford (solo shot) and the Salty one (two-run shot). If Tomlin's going to give those up, you'd prefer it that way rather than with both of them having two or three guys on.

The home run was not only a bat breaker on Salty's park (not often you see that), but it was a back breaker because it tied the game in the sixth. Tomlin was so close to getting out of the inning with a 5-3 lead and doing his usual cowboy work. Still, a lot of fight from the offense there in the eighth to save Tomlin's bacon. But Tomlin know's what kind of lineup he is facing, and he's okay with the results.

"That lineup, one through nine, they have a solid lineup," said Tomlin, the only pitcher in Indians history to pitch at least five innings in his first 34 career appearances. "Any mistake I made tonight, they hit it. And even some good pitches I made tonight -- that ball Crawford hit out, that's kind of what I wanted to do, down and in. And he put a good swing on it and hit it out of the park. They're just good hitters."

And so am I when you can get the offense to combat it. That will be the key moving forward in this four-game set.

Random Details...

Red Sox Reliever Daniel Bard can't solve the Indians apparently. He's given up just 13 earned runs this season for a 2.58 ERA. He's given up five of those runs to the Indians. Bard was on a Joe Smith like streak, having not given up an earned run since the last time the two teams met on May 23rd. He essentially went two entire months without an earned run given up. The Indians are his doom.

You couldn't really tell at first look what happened with that Cabrera home run off Bard. It bounced awkwardly, which is clear in the replays. And there is one angle that shows plain as day that the ball hit behind the wall and was a home run. But you can't blame the umpire's for not being able to see that live. It's one reason to have instant replay on those calls. Umpire's are not even that close and those things happen so quickly, it's hard to even judge without a few extra looks.

It wasn't just Cabrera and Kipnis in this one. .Sure they knocked in and scored most of the runs, (Cabrera had a hand in most of them). The whole lineup was getting in on the action. LaPorta doubled, Fukudome knocked in a run and got a hit. The only one that really struggled was Lonnie Chisenhall, who was 0-for-4. Even Zeke got in on the action with a pair of hits.

Speaking of Zeke Carrera. What was that throw in the second inning when the Red Sox plated one and almost plated another on the Youkilis triple? He's a great fielder, but that was a very questionable throw. It wasn't really to anyone in particular. Luckily a real heady play by Josh Tomlin to leave his post behind home plate to grab it behind third and throw to Santana to peg him at home. Gold Glove anyone?

Vinnie Pestano, boom.


Ubaldo Mania continues even days after the Indians acquired the big right-hander. You can already purchase Ubaldo Jimenez jersey online from You can also enter to win a Jiminez jersey on the Indians Facebook page if you like them.

It will continue until Friday when Jimenez will make his official debut with the club as the starter to kick off the series against Texas. Jimenez is expected to arrive on Wednesday in Boston to meet his new teammates. Acta had the option of starting Jimenez on Thursday, but wanted to get Masterson in against his former team in his old barkpark. Masterson has good numbers against the Sawx.

"Obviously, it was a roller coaster for him over the last 10 days," Acta said. "That's the only team he's ever known. He joined them when he was 16 years old. Going through this type of situation for the first time in his career wasn't easy for him. He's relieved that it's over."

This is something I thought of when I was watching John Lackey implode for the Red Sox. No not the big contract that they gave to what looks to be a very mediocre pitcher.

I'll take the Indians rotation in the postseason over just about any other. Let's look at it this way...

Boston's Top Four: Beckett, Lester, Lackey, Bedard

New York's Top Four: Sabathia, Colon, Burnett, Garcia/Hughes?

Texas' Top Four: Wilson, Lewis, Harrison, Ogando

Los Angeles' Top Four: Weaver, Haren, Santana, Pineiro

Cleveland's Top Four: Jimenez, Masterson, Tomlin, Carmona

Do any of those rotations scare you as much as the four-some fielded in Cleveland? I mean, Beckett and Lester would be tough in a short-series, but they have just the two horses. New York's is nothing after CC, and Texas, while powerful and experienced, is just as good as Cleveland's.

The only that I wouldn't want to face is that duo in LA and Santana, if he's on like we saw him just last week. But they may not make the playoffs anyway.

The Indians have a rotation to win in the postseason if they get there with Ubaldo at the top. A 1-2-3 of Jimenez, Masterson, and Carmona in a short-series could potentially be deadly.


Carrying on the theme of introducing some of the other lesser-known prospects since the Jimenez deal went down, every day we'll learn a little more about one of the prospects in the Indians system.

Meet Tony Wolters, shortstop for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Wolters was selected by the Indians in the third round of last year's draft out of Rancho Buena Vista High School in California. He's a left-handed hitting shortstop that started the year in extended spring training after breaking a bone in his hand. He made his professional debut last year in Rookie ball, playing just five games for the Arizona Tribe. He could have probably started the season in Lake County as the shortstop if healthy, but the injury and his youth made it easier to just start Wolters out with the short-season club.

This season, Wolters has hit .296 in 41 games for the Scrappers.. He's hit one home run, but scored 29 runs with a .388 on-base percentage for the first-place NY-Penn League team and one of the best offenses in that league. He's just 19-years-old right now and the Tribe was able to lure him away from U of San Diego with a $1.35 million dollar deal.

Wolters debuted at number eight in Tony Lastoria's Top 50 Indians prospect list. Wolters is a good defender at short, and even though the Indians drafted shortstop Francisco Lindor with their first round pick this year, Wolters could still be the future at the position. Lindor could grow into more power and be more of a third base option. Or Wolters could fit into a second base spot. Either way, it's good to have a few athletes at shortstop like Wolters.

You can follow Tony Wolters on Twitter. Oooomama.


Carlos Carrasco will still make his scheduled start on Wednesday against Boston, despite being suspended for six games for "head hunting" Billy Bulter in last Friday's game. Carrasco was handed a six-game suspension from the Commissioner's office, but will appeal the suspension, pitch Wednesday, then drop it and serve the six games.

That means David Huff, who starts tonight, will likely be sticking around for at least another start. I think if Carrasco goes out and has a horrible game, and Huff turns in two brilliant starts, the Indians have to seriously consider going with the hotter hand, but it's likely, despite struggling as of late, Carrasco stays regardless. He's lost five straight, but it's in the Indians best interests if he gets his stuff together and he is better off doing it in Cleveland rather than Columbus.

It sucks for David Huff, but I'm sure he'll get another opportunity at some point.

I can feel Shin-Soo Choo getting closer. The outfielder will take batting practice this week while the Indians are on the road. He's with the team in Boston, but Manny Acta won't speculate when Choo will start playing again, because as he said, there's more steps after batting practice that he has to go through. Still, it's looking like he's very much ahead of schedule in returning from his surgically repaid thumb.

Maybe last night's victory was fueled by a talk that Manny Acta had with the club about them seizing a golden opportunity in front of them.

"In a way, I felt like I needed to let them know that we're still in it," Acta said. "Just take the team's temperature and let the guys know that this is fun when you're focused and say, 'Hey, we're a couple of games out and two months to go. Every game is important. Enjoy it.'"

"Our guys are fine," Acta said. "We're blessed we have a bunch of guys that are high-character, and a lot of them have been together for a while. The guys that are gone haven't been together that long. Our core group has been here for a while, and they handled everything pretty good. They're excited that we're making the club even better."

Well okay, he didn't put it the way I would have. But he knows the club's personality way better than I would ever know. So he probably used the right words.

I wasn't going to really mention the addition of Argenis Reyes back to the minor league system, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to mention the Indians purchased his contract from the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball and a team called the New Jersey Jackals.

Reyes was a Indians farm hand until signing with New York, after a trip to Boston, he signed with the club last year and has now returned for his third stint. Columbus needs warm bodies.

Jackals also makes me think of this. There's your TV reference of the day.


I was kind of serious yesterday about what I'd be replacing TV Reference of the Day. Just Follow LeVon Washington so we don't have to through this charade. But I will be featuring a minor league tweet every day here, since Rafael Perez is silent.

Yesterday, I dubbed Cole Cook as the best Tweeter in the Indians Organization. So you can expect to see him frequent this space. It also gave me a unique idea that I'll be rolling out soon. Our first featured tweet though comes from the newest member of The Clip Show, Thomas Neal...

This lil boy was standing next 2 his mom it's super quiet he farts really loud As im walkin by I LOL & said Good 1 on accident #whoops :-x

I challenged Neal to take on Cook as the best Tweeter in the Indians system. Cook welcomed the competition. We'll see if Neal has the chops everyone says he does.

Days Without a Tweet: 70


You can follow Nino on Twitter @TheTribeDaily where he initiates challenge tweets between Cole Cook and Thomas Neal. You can also read more Morning Rundown and other features at his blog, The Tribe Daily.

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