The Indianapolis Indians smacked four home runs and won both games in last night’s double-header at Scranton. With the wins the Tribe snapped a three game losing streak and got some revenge against the Yankees. Scranton swept a twin bill from the Indians back on May 7th. Last night’s offensive heroes included OF Garrett Jones (5-7, HR), Erik Kratz (HR), and Jeff Salazar (HR in each game). On the pitching side of things Tom Gorzelanny (W, 5IP, ER, 7K) won game one and looked very sharp. He had command of the fastball and didn’t waste anytime in beating the Yanks. Daniel McCutchen (6IP, 3ER) was a winner in the nightcap and retired the last 9 batters he faced. It was great to see the players bounc back after sitting for two days. They didn’t show any rust and bring a little momentum into this upcoming series at Lehigh Valley.
I want to share with you two updates on a couple of boots. The first boot has been on the left foot of Larry Broadway. Last Wednesday Broadway was accidently spiked when he beat out an infield hit at first base. Since then he has been in a walking boot protecting his stitches. I spotted Larry this afternoon walking through our hotel without the boot. He says he is officially out of the boot, but still may be a week away from playing in a game. Larry isn’t on the DL and he plans on sitting in the dugout tonight. The injury has forced him to sit in the clubhouse during games.
While the improvement for Larry is certainly good news the news continues to get better for Tribe closer Chris Bootcheck. “Booter” converted his 8th consecutive save in game two last night by working a scoreless 7th inning (remember only 7 inning games when you play two). Bootcheck struck out two raising his season total to 46 in only 31 innings of work. Booter is 1-0 with 4 saves in his last 9 appearances. Over that stretch he has worked 8.2 innings of scoreless relief giving up just four hits and striking out 15. Friends, Chris Bootcheck should be a Triple-A All-Star. Here is a picture of Bootcheck finishing off Yankees OF prospect Austin Jackson.
The much anticipated Triple-A debut of RH Brad Lincoln will come tomorrow night. Tribe pitching coach Ray Searage likes the 65 K’s in 75 inning that Lincoln put up in Double-A Altoona, but wants the ’06 first round pick to know this is a much different level than the one he just dominated. In just two short days I’ve come to like Lincoln. He has been sitting back and watching the vets and asking questions in preparation for his start. It appears he is humble and I’m excited to see him toe the slab tomorrow night.
The Indians leave PNC Field (new name, but a 20 year old stadium) for Coca-Cola Park. I’ll have some pictures of CCP later this week, but here are some shots from Scranton’s home.
Tom Gorzelanny is set to face Yankees SS Justin Leone. PNC sits near the base of Montage Mountain. This place was cut into the mountain side giving it a very unique feel. Hitters tell me it’s a great place to hit because of the Mountain. You can really see the ball out of the pitchers hand and it jumps down the lines.
This view gives you a better idea of where the stadium sits within the mountain. That is a movie theatre at the top of the mountain and most of the players went there to watch “The Hangover” on Saturday afternoon. Plenty of movie quotes have been spit out by the guys over the past two days.
When the Yankees moved their Triple-A team to Scranton the first thing they did was rip up the Astroturf and put down natural grass. The natural grass is a HUGE improvement not only for the players, but for the look of the stadium. The dimensions are the same as old Veterans Stadium. Until the Yanks moved in this was Phillies country. Ryan Howard won an IL MVP in Scranton and Derek Jeter played an All-Star game here, but unless you have a Phillies media guide you will never know that information. For some reason when New York rolled into town Scranton management took down anything that had to do with Philly and replaced it with Yankees memorabilia. These types of moves really bother me. (Did you know that RB Earnest Byner is in the Baltimore Ravens Ring of Honor? Did they take his fumble?) From 1988 through 2006 the Phillies called Scranton home and yet there are pictures of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and other Yankees greats on their concourse walls. Come on guys…Really? There have been several different affiliates come through Indianapolis and the Indians do a terrific job of highlighting the players who were in Indy. You don’t see pictures of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell at Victory Field because THEY didn’t play for the Tribe. I understand the boost in merchandise sales and ticket sales the Scranton area received when the Yankees came into town, but the kids and fans in that area need to be reminded of the great stars the called Scranton home.
Time to go watch some batting practice. Tonight our pitching match-up has RH Virgil Vasquez on the hill for the Tribe opposite Iron Pigs righty Rodrigo Lopez. Lehigh Valley took three out of four from the Tribe June 2 through the 5th at Victory Field.
So is Virgil Vasquez going to the Big Leagues? Vasquez started tonight for the Indians and retired the side in order and didn’t show any signs of discomfort. “VV” needed only 12 pitches to set the Iron Pigs down in order. When it came time for him to begin the bottom of the 2nd inning he was in the dugout and Ty Taubenheim was in the game.
Was he hurt? No, Indians trainer Jose Ministral was in the dugout and I noticed Virgil was there as well and appeared to be joking with teammates. This is only speculation, but he didn’t appear to be hurt and I noticed in Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ian Snell lasted only 2.2 innings before Jeff Karstens entered the game. Perhaps the Pirates pulled Virgil because with Karstens pitching in relief the Pirates will need another arm in the bullpen. That all sounds good, but Virgil was lifted in our game before Snell was lifted in the Bucs game. This story makes sense, but the timing doesn’t. In any event I get the feeling Vasquez is on the move…whether it’s Pittsburgh or another organization remains to be seen.
First the good news, everything is fine with Virgil Vasquez. He was pulled from tonight’s start because he may be needed later this week in Pittsburgh. Here is what the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has on a potential move. If the Pirates need Virgil he will make his Pirates debut on Friday, but if he isn’t needed expect him to make his start for the Indians on Sunday.
As for tonight, Lehigh Valley beat the Tribe 6-3. RHP Brad Lincoln makes his Triple-A debut tomorrow night for Indianapolis.