Series Preview: Seattle In Cleveland

 

Cleveland Indians

2011 Regular Season Record: 23 – 13, 1st in AL Central (3.5 GB)

 

Seattle Mariners

2011 Regular Season Record: 16 – 22, 4th in AL West (5 GB)

Pitching Matchups:

Friday, May 13 – Fausto Carmona vs. Doug Fister

Fausto Carmona

Carmona has posted a 2.22 ERA with a .206 opponents’ batting average over his past seven outings. In his last start in Anaheim, he walked away with a no-decision after holding the Angels to three runs (none earned) over seven innings.

Doug Fister

Fister’s 3.40 ERA is right near his overall 3.12 FIP which means he’s right around as good as he’s going to get.  I would caution that his xFIP is 4.19 due to an increadibly low HR/FB ratio that is bound to eventually regress.

What has been important for Fister this year is the slight increase in swinging strikes which I attribute directly to throwing his fastball less and throwing his curve ball more. At times it has shown to be a good out pitch for him.

Saturday, May 14 – Alex White vs. Erik Bedard

Alex White

It took two starts for White (Cleveland’s first-round Draft pick in 2009) to notch his first career win in the Majors. HIs last outing saw him limit the Angels to three runs on seven hits over six innings in a solid road effort.

Erik Bedard

Bedard has strung together a few good outings that it’s hard to tell what type of pitcher he’s going to be.

What we’ve seen of late is his ability to procure swings and misses as well as ground ball outs. This is important for him to be successful.

Sunday, May 15 – Josh Tomlin vs. Michael Pineda

Josh Tomlin

Tomlin turned in another solid effort on Tuesday, but he walked away with a no-decision at home against the Rays. Over six innings, the right-hander allowed three runs on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

Michael Pineda

My one concern at this point with Pineda is that he seems like he loses his stuff after the third inning. I would still really like to see more ground balls like what he got in the minor leagues, It worries me slightly. But other than that he has AMAZINGLY great stuff.

 

Who’s Hot

 

Cleveland:

  • The Cabreras are both hot for the Indians,  Asrubal and Orlando. Asdrubal was 6 for 14 with two homers and three RBIs, while Orlando was 6 for 10.

 

Seattle:

 

 

Who’s Cold

Cleveland:

  • Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo have been off to slow starts for the Indians, but have recently began to pick their play u p as the Calendar has turned over to May.

 

Seattle:

 

 

 

Cleveland:

Mitch Talbot Disabled List 15-day DL *

Jared Goedert Disabled List 60-day DL **

Trevor Crowe Disabled List 60-day DL **

 

Seattle:

David Aardsma Disabled List 15-day DL *

Shawn Kelley Disabled List 60-day DL **

Mauricio Robles Disabled List 60-day DL **

Adam Moore Disabled List 60-day DL **

Franklin Gutierrez Disabled List 15-day DL *

 

Sodo Mojo to Deep Left Field

1. How have fans responded to Michael Brantley finally producing? He seems like Cleveland’s version of Michael Saunders. Any advice you can give us in regards to possible hope with Saunders?

The Tribe “faithful” (And I use “faithful” in quotation marks because for all of the talk I hear about Cleveland having great fans has appeared like a load of crap thus far) is undoubtedly pleased with Brantley but not necessarily surprised. He’s showed flashes that he can play at this level in previous stints with the club and last season towards the latter half of the season he really solidified himself as a major league ballplayer. Personally, Saunders reminds me a lot of Michael Brantley. Clearly is capable defensively but his bat may be a little slow and it may be just as simple as a confidence issue as was much of the case with Brantley. Nothing a stint in Triple-A can’t help. Unfortunately I’m not as up to date with Seattle’s outfield situation so this may be a necessity for Saunders to be inserted into the lineup. Regardless it should serve as a growing experience to pick up on the speed of the Major League game and give him something to work on should he see a return to the minor leagues.

2. Mariner fans are familiar with third basemen Jack Hannahan. He’s always had a lot of potential in our eye, in regards to possibly being an every day player. Do you have that faith in him or do you expect him to fall off a cliff (statistically speaking) at any moment?

When the Indians signed Jack Hannahan it was the direct result of Jason Donald getting hurt in Spring Training. Donald was supposed to keep the hot corner warm for prospect Lonnie Chisenhall whom we thought we might see at some point this season. Fast-forward to now and Hannahan has solidified what was a murky situation at third base last season and halted Chisenhall’s fast-track to the big leagues. Should Hannahan begin to falter at third we may see Chisenhall make an appearance on the big league roster. BUT if Hannahan does prove to be for real, he could be a nice bit of trade bait for the Tribe later this season.  I’ve been really impressed with Hannahan this season. He plays great defense and brings a solid bat to the bottom of the order.

 

3. What do you think of Josh Tomlin, is his start REALLY sustainable or are you holding your breath?

Coming into this season the Tribe’s rotation was, well a question mark at best. They have a lot of young pitchers who showned potential down the stretch last year but no one was really sure who would pan out over the long haul. Tomlin’s start has been delightful to watch and as far as his numbers go, he looks to be more than just a fluke. He’s given up 31 hits in approximately 46 innings and his strikeout totals are much higher than his walks. He’s given up some home-runs but the majority of them have been solo shots which is nice to see. Also, his WHIP is a 0.86. Impressive.

 

Deep Left Field to Sodo Mojo

1. How has manager Eric Wedge prepared for his return to Cleveland and what type of response does he believe he will get?

I think he’s the type of guy that doesn’t hold a grudge about a situation. Ultimate what happened was bad both for him and the organization and the two needed to part ways. I think he looks back on the time fondly but I don’t think he’s looking for any type of reception.

I would like to the Cleveland “faithful” (as you say) give him a good welcome. Though, with the shoe on the other foot it’s not like we did that for Don Wakamatsu when he came back with the blue jays… but maybe that was too soon.

2. What have been the major factors that have led Seattle to drop five straight and come into Cleveland winning just three of their last ten?

Big factor is the offense not captilizing on all their opportunities. But, I can name about a dozen different calls which could have gone in the Mariners favor that didn’t also. I think predominately it’s just been a series of misfortune events.

Brandon League was bad Thursday evening when he blew the save. But really wasn’t bad at all Tuesday night when he was the pitcher that was tagged with the loss. He didn’t get hit hard at all. His command went away here and there and then he got a bunch of ground balls that got out of the infield.

Mariner fans of course will and are overacting from the years of terrible bullpens, but he’ll recover and be fine.

They are still the same team (short Milton Bradley) that won 5 of 6 in that Detroit/Boston road trip and we should be getting our Center Fielder (Franklin Gutierrez) back soon too.

 

3. The Indians scored 20 runs in route to a series sweep against the Mariners in Mid-Early April. How do the Mariners come back and try to limit the Tribe’s big bats?

Ultimately it’s going to making good pitches. It sounds corny and cliche but it’s true. The pitchers really missed their spots up in the zone and the tribe’s bounty of hitters captilized. It didn’t help that the Mariners didn’t play very good defense either. But this time around I think you are going to see a different team. Well… I hope you do anyways.

 

 

 

 

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