To discuss the Cleveland Indians in the Post Season. Hopefully this thread is used more than just Wednesday night against the Rays.
To discuss the Cleveland Indians in the Post Season. Hopefully this thread is used more than just Wednesday night against the Rays.
http://www.mlb.com/news/article/cle/...&vkey=news_cleThe American League Wild Card Game will be decided on the field, but how does it look on paper? We discussed the matchup with MLB.com reporters, columnists and editors. Let's take a look, position by position, to see whether the Indians or Rays might have an edge Wednesday night at 8:07 ET on TBS.
Both clubs feature two starting catchers, though the Indians' definition has shifted considerably. Manager Terry Francona hasn't made it official in his public statements, but his lineups demonstrate that Yan Gomes has taken over for Carlos Santana behind the plate, where Gomes, with a 39.1-percent success ratio on stolen-base attempts, is a huge defensive improvement with a strong bat. The Rays split the job 50-50 between the Joses -- Lobaton and Molina -- with the former making considerable offensive and defensive strides this season. Gomes has the most upside here.
James Loney resurrected his sagging career this season with the Rays and has been a key offensive contributor. But between Nick Swisher, the primary first baseman, and Santana, who sometimes gets the start at first against right-handers, the Indians simply have more power in play here.
Hopefully by now, baseball fans everywhere realize what an incredible asset Ben Zobrist is for the Rays. He can play just about anywhere, but he spends most of his time at second base, and Kelly Johnson is another attractive option there. But Jason Kipnis is one of the game's rising stars. He carried Cleveland with a scorching June (1.216 OPS), and he was getting hot again in the season's final week (1.127 OPS).
Evan Longoria is simply one of the best all-around players in the sport. A 27-year-old power hitter in his prime and a game-changing defender at the hot corner, Longo stepped up huge in the tiebreaker against Texas. The Indians hoped for a breakout season from Lonnie Chisenhall, but his continuing struggles at the plate have forced the need in recent weeks to give utility man Mike Aviles more playing time at third.
Asdrubal Cabrera was a big piece of the Indians' core, but he's had a frustrating season at the plate (.242/.299/.402). Yunel Escobar was a risky addition on the part of the Rays, given his past, but he's been a solid offensive contributor and has been stellar defensively (12.1 UZR/150 innings mark, per FanGraphs).
The Rays use a rotating cast at this position, with Matt Joyce, Sam Fuld, Sean Rodriguez, Johnson, and in recent weeks, David DeJesus, all employed as options. The Indians' Michael Brantley, meanwhile, has been as steady as they come. The man they call "Dr. Smooth" had a .284/.332/.396 slash line while batting in virtually every lineup spot.
B.J. Upton left the Rays in free agency to sign a gargantuan deal with the Braves, replacing Michael Bourn, who signed a less gargantuan but still substantial deal with the Indians. Bourn has been a little bit of a disappointment for the Tribe in the leadoff spot (23 steals and a .316 OBP). Desmond Jennings, meanwhile, had a .333 OBP and 20 steals. Both players have been banged up recently, but Jennings returned to the Rays lineup on Monday and provided an immediate spark.
The Indians' right-field spot all depends upon whether Francona puts Santana at DH or first base. If it's the former, then either Ryan Raburn or Drew Stubbs will get the start in right. If it's the latter, then Swisher will shift from first to right. Whatever the case, the impact Wil Myers has made in his rookie year -- and particularly the past month -- can't be overstated. And while he might be one of the most inexperienced players on the field Wednesday night, he's also one of the players most capable of changing the game with one swing.
A moving target for both clubs. Delmon Young has filled the role for the Rays in recent days and done well, and he has a strong postseason pedigree. Santana, though, has had a superb season, posting an .832 OPS, 20 homers and 74 RBIs. In recent days, though, Francona has used veteran Jason Giambi (.183 average, .653 OPS) as his DH against right-handers, so this could go a number of ways. We'll bank on Santana for now, though, and say ...
The strength of both of these clubs is the ability to rotate guys in and out of the lineup and in and out of various positions and stay afloat. So this one could be a wash. But has any bench player in baseball made a bigger impact than Raburn? He has a .901 OPS, 16 homers and 55 RBIs in just 86 games.
One of the beautiful things about this particular matchup is that it will pit two of the lesser-known but must-see young pitchers against each other in Danny Salazar and Alex Cobb. Salazar began the year in Double-A but has provided the Indians with a huge pick-me-up in the second half (3.12 ERA in 10 starts), and he has only recently seen restrictions lifted on his pitch count. Cobb survived a scary batted ball to the head in mid-June and returned two months later to continue what has been a terrific breakout year (2.76 ERA in 22 starts). Because of his experience and his 0.59 ERA over his past two starts, we'll give Cobb the nod.
Both bullpens have suffered regression from a season ago. The difference-maker right now is Justin Masterson, erstwhile ace of the Indians who is pitching in a relief role after coming back from an oblique strain. The length he can provide in a game like this could make a big difference.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Fernando Rodney took a huge step back from his incredible 2012 season, so the Rays don't have nearly the closer strength they once did. And Chris Perez was rocked the past two months, essentially losing his closing job and forcing the Indians to go with a committee approach. Maybe playing the percentages and matchups is a better arrangement than going with Rodney, but Rodney did allow just one run over his last 12 innings, so we'll give the Rays the edge.
@hoynsie: Bourn goes through outfield drills and runs the bases to test left left knee. GM Chris Antonetti says he should be good to go Wednesday.
@MLBastian: Lineup will be announced Wednesday a.m. Asked if Chris Perez will be on WC roster, Antonetti said, "You'll find out tomorrow."
Was listening to Chris Rose and he mentioned that he wouldn't be surprised if Francona put in Ubaldo for an inning of relief. Pitchers typically throw between outings and because it is an elimination game all hands on deck. I think if Salazar can give us 6 innings, we should be set with relief of McAllister, Allen, Scrabble, Shaw, Smith, and Masty. I think Ubaldo would only come in if Salazar gets knocked out in the 3rd or 4th.
If Salazar gets rocked early your prob see Masterson. Ubaldo couldn't go more then an inning if for some odd reason they did use him. If its a close game or Indians are winning I don't see them using him at all. Since he would start Friday.
For not honoring a sig bet I now own YEDB90
I don't expect to see Ubaldo at all tonight unless its that bad and Salazar gets knocked in the 1st or 2nd which put me on the spot right now WILL NOT HAPPEN. Or if the game goes into Extras.
I see Danny going 4 or 5 innings tonight with Shaw, Albers, Hill, Scrabble, Allen, Smith and Masty all being ready. Shaw can give you two innings, while Allen and Smith can both go 1 and Hill and Scrabble will be situational pitchers. Masty if the came is close I would not be suprised to see Tito save him for the 8th to 9th innings. Either way this is what Tito gets praised for so we will see what kind of hook he has tonight and what matchups he plays with.
Im interested in seeing if Chiz gets the start having better periphs against the righty Cobb or if Aviles gets the start due to it being a more pressure game and his defense.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Tito giving the start to Chiz either and going 8 Lefties in the lineup to start with Swish playing RF and Giambino DH'ing while having Yan behind the plate as the only RH bat in the lineup.
**** Work today, I can't sit still right now. 6 years in the making for 1 game, needless to say I am pumped. Sucks I can't be in Cleveland for the game. Win Win and Win some more Tribe and by some miracle maybe I can get a STL vs Tribe WS for once in my life.
Tito has shown that he manages the playoffs pretty much like he manages the regular season. That is.. he sticks with his Right/left convention for the most part and gets the best defensive team on the field after the 7th inning, especially, if the Indians have a lead.. So, with the Rays starting RHP Alex Cobb, Tito will probably follow suit with a strong left handed lineup.. That includes Lonnie Chisenhall. Chiz had a knock in the April 6th game along with grounding into TWO double plays.. Not exactly the kind of results that you'd want..
http://www.rotoworld.com/playernews/...ll-player-newsChris Perez is on the Indians' roster for Wednesday's Wild Card game against the Rays.
The Indians will carry 11 pitchers and 14 position players for the game. Perez was recently pulled from the closer role and Indians manager Terry Francona has indicated that he could use Justin Masterson as an alternative.
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/20...d-card-roster/The Indians have released their Wild Card roster for tonight’s game with the Tampa Bay Rays. It looks like this:
Position Players (14)
Catchers: Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes
Infielders: Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Giambi, Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez
Outfielders: Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, Drew Stubbs, Matt Carson, Ryan Raburn
Right-handers: Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Matt Albers, Justin Masterson, Chris Perez, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, Joe Smith
Left-handers: Scott Kazmir, Rich Hill, Marc Rzepcynski,
Yes, Chris Perez is on the roster. I am not surprised, though I am mildly surprised that third catcher kelly Shoppach was not added in case of injury.
Remember this can all be changed b4 Friday as well if they win the WC game.
Not really surprised by anything here. Carson added for OF defensive purposes. Jose Ramirez for late Pinch Running purposes. Kluber/Kazmir there for that long reliever in case Salazar has to be pulled early as like said previously Masty will probably man the late innings.
No Ubaldo. Rose needs to wake up at times.
Last edited by ottograham14; 10-02-2013 at 11:11 AM.
http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/20...ampa-bay-rays/Their skipper Joe Maddon is one of the best in the game. He is an interesting character who has a group of players every single year that want to run through a wall for him. The be-speckled manager possesses one of the most brilliant baseball minds, working off hunches and the eye test more than “the binder.” He prefers versatile grinders and plays deep into his bench, something that most AL managers do not do. The Rays are a true 25-man effort.
Does that sound similar to any team and manager you know?
When you are talking about the Rays offense, the conversation starts with Evan Longoria (.269/32 HR/88 RBI). The All Star third baseman does it all. He is a plus defender at the hot corner who hits for both average and power (who is also the Doppleganger for MTV Challenge start Johnny Bananas). Longoria sits in the cleanup spot and to me, the Indians pitchers should treat him like Miguel Cabrera. This is the one guy in Tampa’s lineup you cannot let beat you. Unlike Miggy, Prince Fielder is not protecting Longoria.
Maddon likes to change his lineup around more than any other manager you will fsee. Depending on how the mood strikes him tonight, Longoria could be followed by either DH Delmon Young, OF David DeJesus, or 1B James Loney.
Young (.258/3 HR/7 RBI) played 80 games with Philadelphia this season before being DFA’d and picked up by Tampa Bay, the team that originally drafted him. He played 23 games with the Rays but has a history with the Indians as a member of the Twins and Tigers for the previous five seasons. DeJesus (.251/8 HR/ 38 RBI) was a waiver trade deadline acquisition as well. He plays a solid left or center field depending on where he is needed. The veteran will put up professional at bats. Loney (.299/13 HR/75 RBI) is the Rays big surprise.
The former Dodger was supposed to be a star but never lived up to the advanced billing. Los Angeles shipped him to Boston as a part of the big deal last season that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and others to the West Coast. The Sox non-tendered him and Tampa Bay picked him up on a 1 year, $2 million deal. All Loney has done is put up his best numbers in five years while playing gold glove caliber first base. He also neutralizes left handed pitching, hitting .299 against them (yes, he is lefty).
The Rays usual leadoff man is Desmond Jennings (.252/14 HR/54 RBI/20 SB). A lot was expected of him this season. Jennings was expected to take that next step and become their new Carl Crawford. Instead, he struggled with the bat and is strikeout prone. The centerfielder was also supposed to be more of a stolen base threat, but he only swiped 20 in 28 attempts (sounds kind of like Michael Bourn’s season a little, doesn’t it?). Jennings can really pick it in center and gets to balls that many can’t, but is struggling with soreness in his legs.
Another Tampa mainstay is Ben Zobrist (.275/12 HR/71 RBI). The uber-versatile switch hitter has played third, short, and both corner outfield spots in his years with the Rays, but he has settled back into his natural position of second base in 2013. The 32-year old All Star is a tough out and is a catalyst for this offense. Like with Longoria, it will be of the utmost importance for Tribe starter Danny Salazar to keep Zobrist off base. He was much better after the All Star break, hitting .294/.365/.427.
The guy the Rays have that is the great unknown to the Tribe is Wil Myers (.293/ 13 HR/ 53 RBI). Heading into this season, Myers was dubbed one of the top hitting prospects in all of baseball, on top of many lists depending where you looked. The Rays were able to snag him in a trade with the Royals for ace James Shields. Myers started the season in AAA but came up in mid-June and just took off. His 53 RBIs led the team from the time he arrived in South Florida. The rookie helped carry this team in September, hitting .309/.362/.542 with 14 RBIs. He swing is a thing of beauty and the Rays offense really started to take off once Myers was called up. The Royals will rue the day they let this kid go.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar (.256/9 HR/56 RBI) and catcher Jose Molina (.233/2HR/18 RBI) finish off the Rays starting nine. Escobar is a defensive wizard who nobody wanted after making off-color remarks and being known as a clubhouse cancer who wore out welcomes in Toronto and Atlanta. Maddon and the Tampa Bay clubhouse have been the perfect match for Escobar who has been steady yet unspectacular all season. His shortstop play has the rock of the one of the best defensive teams in baseball. Escobar has pop in his bat, but doesn’t scare you. When Molina is in the lineup, it is for his defense. It is very possible that Maddon could go with Jose Loboton (.248/7 HR/32 RBI) behind the plate. Molina appeared in 99 games, Loboton 100.
Bench options for pinch hitting include UTL Sean Rodriguez, OF Sam Fuld, 2B Kelly Johnson, and OF Matt Joyce. All of these guys have played significant roles this season and aren’t just a cold group. Again, like Terry Francona, Maddon knows how to utilize his bench to the fullest.
As for the pitching, the Indians will have to face right-hander Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 ERA). You may not know the name, but you should know his game. Cobb shut out the Indians for six innings in April in Tampa, but that was a long time ago. Things have dramatically changed for both Cobb and the Tribe. Cobb was drilled in the head by a line drive on June 15th against Kansas City. It looked very serious and nobody knew if or when Cobb would come back to pitch. Not only has he come back, he has been a better pitcher.
With such a small margin for error over the last three weeks of the season, Cobb made three starts and won them all, giving up just three earned runs in 23.1 innings of work. While he is not a classic strikeout pitcher with high 90s velocity, Cobb K’d 26 in those starts – 12 in one and 10 in another. He is a fastball/changeup/curveball guy. This will be no easy task.
Should this get to the bullpen early, the Indians will have an advantage. While Maddon has a bevy or arms he trusts, this has not been one of his better pens. He likes lefties, carrying three of them that he went to often down the stretch in Wesley Wright, Alex Torres, and Jake McGee. McGee (28 holds, 4.02 ERA) is his most trusted set up man. Torres (39 appearances, 0,91 ERA) will be more of a matchup guy (.175 vs lefties). From the right side, veteran Joel Peralta (41 holds, 3.41 ERA) would match McGee from the right side. He made a team high 80 appearances and has been Maddon’s horse for three seasons.
If things work out the way Maddon wants them to, he will hand the ball to his closer Fernando Rodney with a lead in the ninth. Last season, Rodney was the top closer in baseball, posting career bests in ERA (0.60), WHIP (0.78), saves (48), and Strikeouts (76 in 74 innings). 2013 has not been as smooth. While he saved 37 games, he has blown eight, second in the AL. Rodney also walked 36 in 68 innings and his ERA jumped more than two and a half runs to 3.38. The Tampa closer can be wild and easily rattled. Lets hope we don’t have to see him.
Full read on Rays. Really the main guys that scare me in the lineup for them tonight are Longoria, Dejesus, Myers and Delmon Young. Not really worried about much that lineup has to offer outside of that especially with Jennings hobbled. Young is a power pitcher type hitter so he worries me in that regards. Dejesus has lite it up since coming Chicago/Washington and Myers has been tough since being called up.
Can't let Longoria beat them though tonight. Pitch around him if you must.
Wild Card Roster.. just posted..
PITCHERS (11): Matt Albers (RHP), Cody Allen (RHP), Rich Hill (LHP), Scott Kazmir (LHP), Corey Kluber (RHP), Justin Masterson (RHP), Chris Perez (RHP), Marc Rzepczynski (LHP), Danny Salazar (RHP), Bryan Shaw (RHP), Joe Smith (RHP)
CATCHERS (2): Yan Gomes, Carlos Santana
INFIELDERS (7): Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera, Lonnie Chisenhall, Jason Giambi, Jason Kipnis, Jose Ramirez, Nick Swisher
OUTFIELDERS (5): Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, Matt Carson, Drew Stubbs, Ryan Raburn