The Cleveland Fan on Facebook

The Cleveland Fan on Twitter
Indians Indians Archive Morning Rundown: Asdrubal's Own Personal Lazy Sunday
Written by Nino Colla

Nino Colla

JGomez03Pedro Alvarez is now hitting over .200. He wasn't coming into the series. He did hit a few home runs, but he hit a few more that counted big time in the past two games. In other news, somebody kick me. I also dropped him from my fantasy team last week. So kick me again. It looks like Asdrubal Cabrera thinks you can take Paulie C's 'Lazy Sunday' literally.

June 17th, 2012

Pittsburgh Pirates - 9

Cleveland Indians - 5

W: Tony Watson (4-0) L: Jeanmar Gomez (4-6)


It's hard to really crucify Jeanmar Gomez when his shortstop makes THREE errors in one game. So let's crucify the shortstop before we get to Gomez.

I'm the first to puff my chest out and say things when Asdrubal Cabrera makes a breathtaking play. Many go around and claim that Asdrubal Cabrera is nothing more than your below average shortstop because they have a few statistics that the public is unfamiliar with that say so.

But excuse me if I don't take any stock into a statistic that says Jhonny Peralta is a better shortstop than Cabrera. I know what I see and regardless of what your stat says, Cabrera is a good shortstop and I'd take him over many people at the position.

However he gets lazy and he has his moments and everything reared it's ugly head at once in this game. Not just with the errors, but just...bad. And I'll be the first to pile on him as well as the first to praise him.

Two of his errors led directly to the two Pedro Alvarez three-run bombs. The first in the fourth inning when Casey McGehee grounded out with two outs. Cabrera misses the throw, runners safe and advance and Alvarez goes deep a hitter later.

Then it got even worse in the fifth inning when the bases were loaded and McGehee again grounded to shortstop, this time with one out and the bases loaded. Cabrera simply got lazy fielding the ball, kicked it around and not only did the double play not happen (it would have ended the inning), it set the stage for Alvarez's second three run homer. So essentially you have five runs in the fifth score because of Cabrera and all three in the fourth score because of Cabrera.

"You want them to make every single play," Tribe manager Manny Acta said of Cabrera, "But you also need to step back and know that this guy has won a lot of games for us with his glove. You just have to understand that those are physical errors. Those are easier to swallow than the mental error. He's going to make a lot of plays for us. He's one of our best fielders. You want everybody to make every play. It's impossible. He just showed his human side today."

Manny is right in one aspect. He showed his human side. And if anything, I'm glad he got it all out at once, however if he just made, say one of those mistakes, like in the fourth, then the game even then is still very much winnable. Heck, it was winnable even after the second mistake because the Indians were swinging well and within striking distance. 

Jeanmar Gomez still gives up the home run to Alex Presley in the fifth, but he not only finishes the fifth inning, he doesn't give up eight freakin' runs.

And with the way the Indians swung the bat in this one? Granted five runs isn't a lot, but it's way more than the Pirates are normally capable of (worst offense in the MLB, remember?) and it is plenty to win the game. They even out-hit the Pirates, so that tells you the Pirates simply took advantage of the extra opportunities that the Indians Asdrubal Cabrera gave them.

So, about Gomez. What can you say? He got hung out to dry in this one. You simply cannot say anything to fault him because he did his job more times than not and kept getting put in these rotten situations. The way he threw the ball in the first three innings? He looked fabulous. He looked like the Gomez that was having much success early on in the season.

He was aggressive, he was hitting his spots, he was getting the hitters to do what he wanted them to do. This really looked like it was going to be a good game for the Indians. Gomez was going to cruise, the offense was going to obliterate a guy in Brad Lincoln who just was slowly leaking and giving way, the bullpen would take over with some sort of a lead and this would be a series win.

Then Asdrubal's wheels fell off and so did this game. He got lazy and he cost the Indians a game, which at this point is huge because of A) Where this team is in the standings and B) Who they were facing. The Pirates are not a bad team, but they are not offensively powerful and in these past two games they found a way to put 18 runs on the board. 18 runs! The team that is last in offense put 18 runs on the board in two games, right after they were shutout.

"It was a really bad day for me," Cabrera said. "That was a perfect ground ball you need for a double play. We lost the game right there on two errors by me." 

I'm willing to move on though because again, I'll reiterate it. I'll take him at shortstop everyday of the week and he swings a solid stick. Bad days will happen, errors will happen. You hope the errors don't end up costing you a game and cause minimal damage, but today they were the reasoning for the loss. As Acta would go onto say, you just come out the next day and fight again. The fight wasn't the problem in this one, the production wasn't the problem. It was the mistakes and if you eliminate the mistakes, you easily beat a team like Pittsburgh.

Random Details...

Jason Kipnis, homer, steal, three hits, just another day in the life of the American League's All-Star Second Baseman. Don't make the last part of that sentence a lie people....

I'll keep championing for Asdrubal because despite the errors, he is still a big part of this team and ultimately, he just had a bad game. The laziness has to stop though and it was even more evident in his final at-bat when he rocketed a double off the wall in right. You can tell me all you want about Tabata fielding the ball perfectly and making a good throw, but Cabrera not only made that a close play, he made it an out.

Initially, he thought it was a home run, so he didn't hustle out of the box. In fact, he even took a second to look at it. I can take the second to look at it, but you do not slow up until you know that ball is gone. The stop, okay fine, but he started super slow out of that box and that is completely unacceptable. It will go down as a footnote because of the horrific game he had defensively, but it plays into his laziness and should be given equal attention. Manny was nice post game, but I hope he says something in private. I can handle errors to some extent, I can't handle stuff like this.

Let's end this Jose Lopez madness please. I don't care anymore. I'm done. You put him in your DH spot and hit him cleanup and what does he do? In his most important at-bat he weakly fouls out to the catcher on the first pitch with runners on and nobody out. On Friday he pinch-hit for Lonnie Chisenhall (against a left-hander) in a similar situation although late in the game. Two on and nobody out, he pops up weakly to second on the second pitch.

In this one, had he done his job and at least put in a decent at bat that advanced a runner, Brantley's fly ball to center scores a run instead of moves a runner over to third. But, whatever. Let's continue to run him out there at a high spot in the batting order. That's fine.

Lou Marson has another good game at the plate, reaching base three times. What have I been saying for the past week? Start him everyday against the lefties and mix and match with the righties. Call up Luke Carlin if you are worried about not having a catcher, give Santana the majority of starts at DH. Seriously.

Johnny Damon with two hits, two runs, stole a base. He was a regular spark plug. He's still hitting under .200 and has a long way to go though. More on this later.

Jack Hannahan was back in the lineup after sitting it out on Saturday. And of course Johnny Damon almost killed him running in from left and not calling for the ball. Super Jack is going to be in the lineup every other day for a bit to get him acclimated to playing everyday at third. Hannahan has been putting some real good swings on the ball if you ask me. On Friday he seemed to hit the ball hard to the outfield but it just happened to go to the people patrolling the outfield. I feel that he's close.



Something that has helped this offense is definitely the progression of Michael Brantley, who we can now bounce around as someone who you can now seemingly rely on after he went on the 22-game hitting streak. It is more than the streak, it's what he did during it, hitting .337 and knocking in 16 runs.

"You don't want to make too many mechanical adjustments for that reason," Brantley said, "Because you are hitting the ball, you're just having no luck. You just gotta hope it turns around. Just continue to put good swings on the ball and hopefully find some holes." 

Out of anyone, it was probably Brantley who we've abused the most over the first few months and spring training. The guy needed to start to produce in such a critical role as the leadoff position. Now he seems to be turning his career around. Acta will tell you he's always been a good hitter, and I can agree with that to an extent. He's always had the potential and the ability to hit for a good average. With his speed, I've always said he just needs to be a slap hitter and take what comes to him and use his speed.

I saw something Friday that made me think hes come along in that regard and he's finally "gotten it" in terms of doing that. With his streak on the line and the Indians in need of that insurance run, I was thinking all he had to do was slap it over the heads of the infielders, easy money, right? But I also remember that it was Michael Brantley and in the past he has never really done that.

Then he surprised me and did just as I had predicted. I was shocked, yet pleasantly surprised and going forward I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt. He seems to be realizing what type of hitter he is and what he can do. Better late than never.

And I keep him where he is. The move down in the order is working, so don't even play with it. Choo is handling his business in the leadoff spot, just keep this formula right now. I think over time you could consider shaking things up, but with no Hafner and a struggling Santana, just hold with this until things get going. 

I think an optimized looking lineup has Kipnis leading off, Brantley hitting second, Cabrera hitting third, and Santana cleaning up. You look at how Texas runs their lineup with Ian Kinsler as the guy that makes things go and I think Kipnis is similar to that. Brantley, even in his new found way of hitting, does not really do what you need to do as a leadoff hitter. He isn't really one to work the walk and he shouldn't, because as we've seen during this streak, that does not make him successful.


Don't even think of bringing up Manny Ramirez. Just don't put it in your mind. We see how poorly Johnny Damon is working out right now, do we even want to consider going down this road? I certainly don't.

It's looking more and more like the Indians will need to make a move though, somewhere. Who really knows where though at this point. Can the Indians expect Grady Sizemore back anytime soon seems to be the biggest question, and if so, they'll need to give him a shot. So acquiring some sort of bat doesn't seem like a sound idea.

What about the rotation? The way things are rolling now, they need another consistent arm and if one is available for a good price, I wouldn't fault the Indians for jumping at that idea. One thing is for sure, with all the teams still in the race, there are fewer teams with players to deal.

"It seems like there will be more teams that are buying than selling," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "And if you have that asymmetry in the market, those teams that are selling players may be able to command a higher return than they have in the past."

Just look at a team like Pittsburgh. They're normally in a position to sell off players like Joel Hanrahan, A.J. Burnett, etc. This season though? They're still in the race and with a winning season realistically possible, they might not necessarily be a buyer, but they won't be a seller.

Regardless of that, Antonetti goes on to note that there are players on the roster they are still waiting for to produce and I'd have to agree with that. There's one big bat in the middle of that order that hasn't even come close to hitting his stride in Carlos Santana. 

One thing that I'm kind of wondering about... Why not give Shelley Duncan a chance? At this point, he's just sitting there. I don't buy this "adjusting to reserve role" crap considering he's done it before and done it well.

"It's always tough when you have sporadic playing time," Duncan said. "Sometimes it's trickier getting the stick going. It's more of a little mind game sometimes. Sometimes when you think about it too much it just hinders the process, instead of just going out there and hacking your way out of it."

I think it is a mind game, a different kind of mind game. One that is playing with Duncan because he doesn't know what he means to this team. He gets the opportunity, is hitting well and the team goes out and gets veteran Johnny Damon right when Duncan is at his high point. And ever since then, it's been a nose dive in terms of his numbers.

Damon isn't doing anything special right now, and you have that open DH spot. So why not make sure Duncan is in there every day? Who's it hurting? Jose Lopez? Cause that's really working out with him in the cleanup spot... Just give Duncan the shot. As far as I'm concern, he never proved he wasn't the answer, he only proved the Indians had a lack of confidence in him.

Speaking of the open DH spot, Travis Hafner is on the mend and could be back relatively soon. He's been swinging the bat and will advance to a running program soon. There's still some uncertainty when he'll be back, but the timetable looks to be roughly drawn out to have him back sometime between the end of the month and around the All-Star break.

"I don't really know at this point," said Hafner, referring to his possible return date. "But everything is going really well, so hopefully I can be on the short end of that."

That alone is a trade addition if he can come back. This offense is no doubt missing the presence of Hafner, who even if not hitting, can still give other hitters some pitches to hit.

Part of the problem with the rotation is, as discussed earlier in part Jeanmar Gomez, and the inconsistency of Josh Tomlin. Justin Masterson seems to have fitted into form, again, better late than never, and even Ubaldo has gone out a few times and not been horrendous. But Gomez has regressed and Tomlin is simply not getting the job done right now. Does he need to adjust? Acta seems to think he does.

"Everybody knows everybody in this league," Acta said. "They know he's going to attack the strike zone. It's about him making quality pitches. You can't go from one week everybody knowing you and throwing seven scoreless innings, and then the next week everybody knows you but they hit you around."

Whatever needs done, he better do it. Zach McAllister is still in Columbus and pitching well and sooner or later there will be a groundswell to at least give him a full-time shot if there continues to be struggles within the rotation.

Also in Columbus is Russ Canzler, who has hit three home runs in his past four games and has knocked in 12 runs in his past five games.

Chalk up one for Steve Smith. It was his doing in putting Jason Kipnis in some sort of position to make play on that incredibly difficult over the shoulder catch against the Pirates on Friday. 

"When I'm looking at it, there's three guys next to each other. How many times do you have the shift on with the infield in? It very rarely happens. So, to me, it was like, if that ball is hit in between, we're going to have a collision. That kind of went in my head.Another thing is [Jones] is a power hitter. So I just put [Kipnis] back five steps to give him a little more range. It worked out," Smith said.

Kipnis was shallow enough still to be able to hold the runner at third and if the runner did go, he would have surely been out by a mile with the throw Kipnis delivered to home. Love the anatomy of a good defensive play when there is something like that goes into it. Love it.

Finally a few notes on Chris Perez. The first is that he has a little impressive streak of is own, having saved 21-consecutive save opportunities which ties him for the fourth longest streak in club history. Of course he is still a ways out from coming close to Jose Mesa's 38 from 1995, but he has at least tied Doug Jones and Bob Wickman.

More importantly, his dad probably has the line of the week in Jordan Bastian's Father's Day story about the elder Perez and his All-Star closer son.

After watching his son throw up on the mound against the Cardinals after he closed out his 20th save, Tim Perez thought back to when Chris overheated and threw up on one of the job sites he employed Chris at.

"Just like he did the other night in the game in St. Louis," Tim said with a laugh.

Gotta love dads... Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there. Hope it was a great one!


Tyler Naquin inked his deal with the Indians on Friday, joining second rounder Mitch Brown and then on Sunday they were joined by third rounder Kieran Lovegrove. Both Naquin and Lovegrove signed under slot price, which let the Indians go over slot for Brown, inking him a $800k contract. Naquin got $1.75 million, which is half a million lower than slot and Lovegrove got just under the slot for his round with $400K. 

You will hear a lot about slot signing prices and signing prices now with the change in how the draft is done, with teams getting a cap of how much they can spend on the first ten rounds. It was really important for the Indians to get guys like Naquin under slot so they can sign a guy like Mitch Brown, who would require an over-slot price.

With Mahoning Valley now starting up this week, this new system is great if you ask me. Naquin will be with the club from the very start and could progress to Lake County by the time the season is over, giving it a realistic possibility that he's moving from Carolina to Akron by the end of next year. Naquin is advanced with the college experience and getting him in quickly to Mahoning Valley can only help.

You may also start to see some movement among the teams in the minors as Mahoning Valley and other shortseason teams start up, players get placed, some get moved up, etc etc. The Indians have already released Hector Ambriz to make room for the optioned out Scott Barnes. So here come the dominos already as filler players will probably start dropping.

The Mahoning Valley team is shaping up to look real good with a lot of picks already on board. They'll have Naquin, infielder Joe Wendle, and other top 10 picks Josh Marin and Jacob Lee.


Successful weekend for the Tigers with a pair of wins over the Rockies after getting blown out of the water in the first game and two losses from Chicago and Cleveland. They're now just a game and a half behind the Indians for second place and they are just three back of first. A pair of good pitching performance from Max Scherzer and Doug Fister is just what this team needs. Let's hope that doesn't continue.



Nino has a blog that is protected by a statue of Luke Carlin. Give it a vist at The Tribe Daily, or he might eat your face off.

The TCF Forums