Usually when the Indians visit Fifth Third Field I count down the days until we leave. Toledo has simply owned the Tribe over the years with blow out wins, playoff wins, extra-inning wins, and several heart breaking wins in the late innings. So it was great to not only see the team win both games, but score 23 runs while pounding out 33 hits. I overheard last night the Indians 18 hits were one or two shy of a Fifth Third Field record. During the 5th inning I left the booth to snap a couple of pictures for you. The first is from the first base concourse. Erik Kratz is at the plate and he has been some kind of hot. Kratzy was 5-10 in the two game set scoring 4 runs and driving in three.
The next two pictures are from “The Roost.” ESPN.com voted this the best seat in minor league baseball a couple of seasons back. The shots are from the second row and it’s hard to argue with the view.
Unless you are behind the foul pole
The Indians will next host the Mud Hens at the end of June and will not visit Toledo until July. Remember when I told you not to expect much from Luis Cruz? Um, yeah, about that, he had FOUR hits last night including a two run home run. What I forgot about Cruz is he can hit a curveball. Luis received a steady diet of breaking balls while growing up in Mexico. He is a good enough hitter to put a fastball or sinker in play, but it you give him uncle charlie he will make you pay. His blast over the wall in left field last night was on an 0-2 curveball.
The Pirates should be happy Cruz has such a level head on him. He told me that Brian Bixler is the next everyday shortstop in Pittsburgh and Cruz wants to be their utility guy. It’s unusual to find someone who understands his role and accepts it. Luis is excited to be playing and played first last night for the first time outside of spring training. Cruz made his teammates laugh when a Hens batter reached first and Cruz forgot to hold him on the bag. Cruz slowly walked to his defensive spot and then realized he needed to be holding the run at first base and sprinted over while the pitcher was in the stretch. We’ll see where he plays tonight.
One last note on last night. Daniel McCutchen gave up a run in five innings for the win, but was one pitch away from not making it to the 2nd inning. The Pirates have a rule that prevents any pitcher from re-entering a game if they threw more 30 or more pitches in an inning. That was the reason Ty Taubenheim was lifted after two innings on April 15th and the rule almost bit McCutchen. Jeremy Powell was warming up in the first inning as Hen DH Ryan Roberson came to the plate. Five pitches later Roberson struck out and McCutchen left the mound having thrown 29 pitches. He made it under 30 and stayed in long enough to earn the win.
Game Notes: OF Garrett Jones brings a 10 game hitting streak into tonight game. The starting pitchers will be Indians right-hander Virgil Vasquez (0-1, 3.27) and Columbus lefty Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 1.64)