The Indians split tonight’s double header with the Toledo Mud Hens. The Tribe offense backed up game one winner Daniel McCutchen (8-5) by hitting two early home runs to beat the Hens 7-3. The Mud Hens flipped the script getting to Ty Taubenheim (4-8) and Steven Jackson (IP, 3ER) to win 7-2.
1B Steve Pearce continues to impress going 3-4 with 3 doubles and 3 runs batted in. Pearce walked three times in tonight’s DH and is 4-12 in his return to the Indians line up with only three strikeouts. I expected Pearce to struggle because he lacked at bats during his three week stay with the Pirates, but he has not missed a beat and is a boost to the offense. OF/1B Brian Myrow and All-Star C Erik Kratz each homered in game one while C Hector Gimenez went deep in the nightcap. There was a lot to be pleased with tonight and the Indians will shoot for the split in this four game series tomorrow night.
OF Lastings Milledge showed off all of his tools in the twin bill. The 24 year old went 2-5 in the DH scoring two runs, stealing 2nd base, and throwing out a runner at home plate.
The first thing that surprises you about Lastings is his size. He is 5’10 or 5’11 and has a thick build. He is built more like a free safety than an outfielder. Each one of his new teammates have told me they didn’t know he was that big and strong. In game one Lastings laid down a push bunt for a sacrifice that he almost beat it out for an infield hit. The sac set up the Indians third run of the game. He singled up the middle in each of his next two plate appearances. After the second hit Milledge stole second base getting a great jump forcing Toledo C Max St. Pierre to rush his throw into centerfield and Milledge advanced to third.
Lastings Milledge on getting his first hit…
It feels good and I’m trying to get my timing back and see pitches. It’s good to get a couple of hits and get things going.
In game two Milledge would show off his defensive skills by making several nice running catches in the outfield and throwing out Brent Clevlen at home plate. In the 2nd inning 2B Will Rhymes (how is he not a rapper?) hit a fly ball to medium left and Milledge let it fly nailing Clevlen with a few feet to spare.
I’ve been trying to work on my defense and trying to get some work in on the transition to left. I put in some overtime in left with Princey (GCL Pirates Manager Tom Prince) trying to really, really focus on my defense because it’s big up in Pittsburgh. So if I ever get a chance to play in left field I want to be able to take advantage of it.
In the first inning of game one Milledge was thrown out at the plate trying to score from first on a double by Pearce. Toledo CF Don Kelly (yes…that Don Kelly) hit SS Brent Dlugach at the cut off who threw a strike to home that caught Milledge off guard. He told me he didn’t think they would get him and he failed to knock the ball from the catcher during the collision. Overall tonight there was a lot to like about Lastings Milledge.
The Tribe will have some reinforcements arriving after the All-Star break. The team is not only expecting 3B Neil Walker to return from the DL, but C Robinzon Diaz will join the club after the break. Diaz was optioned to Indy from Pittsburgh yesterday and will take his full 72 hours to give him 6 days off.
On Friday Detroit Tigers lefty Dontrelle Willis threw a simulated game. The D-Train has been on the DL since the end of May dealing with anxiety disorder.
He threw four innings or so and the good news is he appeared to be in good spirits. There have been way too many players struggling with anxiety and depression. This is not an easy business especially when you can’t throw strikes.
Add Lastings to the list of unusual names on the Indians squad. I have not asked him about his first name, but can tell you the story behind two other players. RHP Ty Taubenheim likes to tell people his name is short for Tyrone, but sadly that’s not the case. Due to his long last name his parents wanted to keep his first name short. So they decided on Ty. Ty didn’t do his son the same favor naming him Charlie. UTIL Robert Bozied has been going by the name Tagg ever since he can remember. Tagg’s grandpa was once nicknamed Tiger and through the years it was shortened to Tig (like tide). From there, Tig turned into Tagg and that turned into the middle name for Bozied. So Robert Tagg Bozied has always gone by his middle name in honor of his grandpa. Just thought you would like to know.