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Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Cabrera Sets Marks, Fukudome Leads the Way
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

cabrerahomerWhoa, tell us how you really feel...


September 22nd, 2011

Chicago White Sox - 2

Cleveland Indians - 11

W: Jeanmar Gomez (5-2) L: Philip Humber (9-9)




Fukudome, Kipnis, boom hit the ground running.


The night started with a bang and ended with one as well. Heck, when you look at it in a certain way, the Indians actually scored more innings than they didn't. Subtract the second, third and fourth innings and the Indians scored in every inning.


Where's this offense been hiding? Maybe on the Disabled List, I don't know. But really, lookie here. The game started off with the back-to-back shots and that was the first time the Indians did that since 2007. But after the White Sox tied things up in the fifth, the Indians answered right back. Huge.


And from there, they went off. Imagine what a healthy core can do, right? Cabrera powered things, he must be feeling really rested and recharged. I'm not saying a healthy Tribe lineup is going to that every night, but. It can do that every night if it is healthy.


You never know where to start in a win like this one. You had so many factors at work, but Kosuke Fukudome was essentially the catalyst in this one. He's been a catalyst in many ways since coming over though. Acta said that there has been so much stability established by Fukudome since coming over.

"This guy shows up and plays every single game pretty much and every single inning," Acta said. "[He's hit] wherever we've needed him -- sixth, leadoff -- and the defense that he has played has been fantastic."

Fukudome says he's more aggressive in the American League. His uncertainty about the league made him be more aggressive and man is it showing the way he swings the bat. The good news is he still gets on base like he did with Chicago, so he's really found himself in Cleveland. I'd really like to have him back next year, especially with the way Grady, Choo, and Brantley have all had injuries to deal with and Sizemore just being flat out injury prone.


Whether or not the Indians will be able to keep him is a story we can talk about in the offseason, but flat out, I'd like to see him back next year. Hopefully the bugs do not deter him from considering a return.

"I do enjoy playing baseball here," said Fukudome, who then flashed his sense of humor. "I like it, but there's too many bugs."

Oh and the catch he made? In the fourth inning his diving snag to rob Adam Dunn. He does it all really. On base three times, scored twice, knocked in a few runs, made a big catch. All in a days work, right?


Fukudome was the catalyst, but Asdrubal Cabrera was the start of the offense on this night. He blasted the big three-run shot in the 7th that created the separation needed in the game and made some history in the process.


His 25th home run set the club record home runs by a shorstop, passing Jhonny Peralta. He also became the first Indians shortstop to hit 90 RBI in one season since 1948. The last to do it? Lou Boudreau of course. With eight more he'll joint the exclusive club of 100-RBI shortstops for the Indians, with Boudreau and Joe Sewell.

"What a night," Acta said. "Three-run homer and then the two-run single. This guy is putting together some really good numbers. ... It's been remarkable what he has been able to do offensively this year."

Oh and get this... He'd be the first Indian to knock in 100 runs in a season since 2007, when Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner both did it. Can you believe that? The Indians haven't had a 100-RBI guy the past three seasons? If you wondering if another club has done anything like that, Oakland and San Francisco both have. Oakland may break that streak this year with Josh Willingham, but they haven't had one since Eric Chavez did it in 2005. San Francisco has been so close so many times in recent years, falling short several times, but still not having a legit 100-RBI guy since Barry Bonds in 2004. Seattle has had Raul Ibanez in 2008, Pittsburgh had Jason Bay in 2006, and Houston with Carlos Lee in 2009.


So it isn't that uncommon and some teams have had longer streaks, but it is kind of weird to not see that feat done in four years.


I digress, Cabrera has had a wonderful season and it would be nice to see him top it off with a 100-RBI year just to show off.


Finally, let's talk about our little Jeanmar there. A few weeks ago it was David Huff. He was on a roll, everyone was penciling him into the rotation. Now, Jeanmar Gomez is on that type of role where people are penciling him into the rotation. I think Manny Acta put it best in regards to what Gomez has done.

"We're not handing out jobs right now in September," Acta said. "But he certainly has put himself in the mix to be competing in our rotation. He knows that."

 David Huff didn't earn his job earlier and he didn't lose it with the way he's pitched lately. But what happens now can certainly add or take away from one's case. The same will go for Jeanmar Gomez. I like the kid, I do, but he hasn't earned the spot yet. You can't decide next year right now, so let's go easy on penciling him in. Gomez will be in that battle, so will Huff and a few others. They'll probably be the main competitors, but they haven't won anything.

Gomez was good last night, as he has been for several starts now. He's 5-0 over his last five starts and it hasn't just been offensive support, he's carried a 2.10 ERA. He's not overpowering by any means, but he just seems to get results. 

As he turned over a Josh Tomlin-type leaf in terms of being a guy with pinpoint control? Not quite, which has me a little tentative to crown him.

All in all though, a great night and a great step towards finishing this thing off in second place. With no more games against the White Sox left, the Tribe is 1.5 game ahead of them with seven of their own games left to play. Four against the Twins this weekend and three against the Tigers next week. The Sox meanwhile have three against Kansas City and three against Toronto.

Thing is, Chicago is four games behind the .500 record, the Indians are just one. So in reality, Chicago has a lot of ground to make up with the Indians being so close to the .500 mark.

Random Details...


Unnoticed in the offensive outburst was the 2-for-3, three run, one walk performance by the Lil Pip-Zeke, Ezequiel Carrera. We talk about solidifying spots, right now, Zeke is getting an upper-hand in the battle for the fourth outfield spot with what he's doing right now.


Not every night you win 11-2 and Hafner, Santana, and Sizemore combine to go 3-for-12 with one run scored and ultimately not playing a large factor in the scoring.


Jack Hannahan scored twice and was on base twice via the walk. I said it during the game last night on Twitter, but Hannahan makes those charging barehanded throws (a really difficult play) look entirely way too easy and routine.


Zach Putnam, 1-2-3 inning on 10 pitches, seven of those strikes. Turn it around Putnam, good work.




thomevizquelhomeplateIt was perhaps a fitting way to kick off this weekend that is going to be used to celebrate Jim Thome. With Chicago in town one last time, Omar Vizquel of course with the White Sox, the Indians and Sox had a nice pre-game exchange of lineup cards with Omar and Thome.


"To be able to still play and to be able to take the lineup card and have him do it as well," Thome said, "is very special, especially here in Cleveland, where we played during the golden years of our career. To have fun with that is great."

"You don't realize what kind of team and what kind of teammates you have until you see it now from where we are," Vizquel said. "Now, you look back and say, 'Wow, those guys were amazing. We had one of the greatest teams ever.'"

Whoever thought of this idea. Brilliant. It was a nice touch. This was an opportunity you probably wouldn't have ever again. So really, it's a moment that can be etched in time. Omar plans on returning next year and Thome hasn't really decided either way yet. But with Thome having this last go around with the Tribe, or presumed last go around, if this is the end for him, it certainly is going to be a memorable one, even though he won't be going to the postseason or anything.


It has a little meaning to it and I defy anyone to tell Cleveland fans otherwise.


Oh and people that are complaining to Shapiro on Twitter that "they already heard" the surprise he was talking about. Please shut up. Seriously. Shut up. Cussing him out is downright silly.




When the game got out of hand, it was probably exactly what Manny Acta wanted to see as the season comes to a close. It means he has to rely on Tony Sipp and Vinnie Pestano less. Acta will probably try and run guys like Kluber, Judy, Putnam, Hagadone, and any of the other youngsters out there before any one else.


"We're not in the race anymore," Acta said. "I have to be careful with those guys, because we have more baseball to play next year."


Remember when Joe Smith was like, crap, for awhile? Remember how the Mets abused him? Yeah, well that happened, so I cannot blame Acta for easing up. Especially how he's used those guys this season. Rafael Perez is one guy that will not worry me, because he is the rubber arm of the group. But Smitty had a stellar season (and has topped his career high in innings) and it would be wrong to push him. Pestano is a young guy so you don't want to push him.


Sipp, Smith, Raffy and Vinnie all are in the top 15 in the American League in appearances and Chris Perez is 20th.


And really, as I was alluding to the other day, you'd like for one of these young guys like Judy, Putnam or Hagadone to step up and claim spots... It would be nice to give guys some of those good opportunities, like when the team is looking to keep it close. However Acta isn't going to give up winnable games to test his young guys, he'll still stick to his rotation.


"When we have a chance to win the ballgame, when we're ahead in the game and the guys are rested," Acta said, "we're going to pitch our main guys. But we're not going to be throwing guys out there just to keep the game close."


Magic Sarbaugh has joined the Indians and will be with the club the remainder of the season. He has a first hand account of the "revitalized" and "new" Mitch Talbot that we're about to see tomorrow.


"He gained confidence with his fastball," Sarbaugh said. "He has plus movement on it, and I think pitching off of that, Mitch found out that it's a good pitch and gets the hitters to be a little more aggressive, so his secondary pitches became more effective."


Hey... What's his best pitch? The changeup, the changeup is his best pitch. What makes that pitch even better? A good fastball? What makes the fastball good? A good changeup? But if your fastball sucks, it doesn't matter. If he's got the fastball, the changeup is not just good, it's great. So let's hope all the adjustments he's made.


"I wouldn't say my whole front side is different," Talbot said. "I've still got that leg kick. It's a little bit less, but it's more just keeping my hips closed. My lead arm is a lot shorter. It's not a big flail."


Talbot is back on the 40, so that's good for him. Will he stay? A lot of guys got added that needed it, so certainly there may not be that many more people left to add. There will be some shakeup. Will he be in the rotation battle next year? Possibly, even if he isn't on the 40-man. He can do a lot with this start on Saturday, that is for sure.


Talbot could be in that rotation competition, and we talked about Gomez and Huff being in it. Don't forget about Hector Rondon, even though he is still recovering and rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Rondon took a step towards that with two scoreless innings in the Arizona Parallel League a few days ago.


You can read more Morning Rundown and other features on Nino's blog, The Tribe Daily.

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