Is this thing on?

A play-by-play guy trying to survive in a mid-major world

A YouTube and Pirate sensation

Here are some numbers from last night’s game between Pawtucket and the Tribe. 

3:38:  Game time (9 inning game no less)

12 walks issued by Pawtucket pitchers (2nd highest total in the IL this year)

6 Indians hit by Pawtucket pitchers (4 by knuckleball starter Charlie Zink)

192 pitches thrown by Paw Sox pitchers…only 92 for strikes

16 men left on base by the Indians (5-17 with runners in scoring position)

Indianapolis had at least three runners reach base in 7 of 9 innings

7 of the Indians starting 9 reached base at least two times w/6 of them reaching at least 3x’s

OF Lastings Milledge reached base 5 consecutive at bats and has reached base safely in 9 of his 11 plate appearances against Pawtucket.

It all added up to an Indians 7-3 win and LHP Tom Gorzelanny earned the win allowing 1 run in 6 innings of work.  Since Gorzelanny was optioned from Pittsburgh to Indy on June 10th he is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA.  The 26 year old has giving up only 4 earned runs in 32.2 innings of work while striking out 34.  An Indians win tonight will match their longest road winning streak of the season at 3 games. 

Since joining the Indians on July 10th Milledge is 9-19 with only one strikeout.  His right hande is feeling better by the day and he is working hard with Bar (Tribe strength coach) on getting back into shape.  Lastings admits his weakness is defense, but he is working overtime during batting practice and each day he arrives early to improve his foot work.  The 24 year old is on his third organization and deserved or not has a reputation for being cocky.  After spending the past week with him, I can tell you that he is cocky when he is between the lines.  Personally, I think Lastings and Nyjer Morgan (traded for each other on June 30) tend to rub teammates and opponents the wrong with their antics, but Nyjer’s upbeat personality tends to overshadow his behavior.  When Lastings is issued a walk (so far 4 times) he drops the bat at home and trots to first.  He is not the first or the last baseball player to do that, but it can rub guys the wrong way.  When a routine fly ball is heading his way, Lastings will slap his thigh with the glove then make a one handed catch.  Again, nothing major, but it just adds to his reputation.  He has yet to hit a home run, but I’m sure fans and players will find something wrong with his trot around the bases.  The one things you can’t say is he is dogging it.  Milledge is playing hard and his talents have opened my eyes.

With all of that said, Lasting Milledge is a good guy away from the diamond.  His teammates like him and I have had the pleasure of talking with on a couple occasions about things other than baseball.  A Post Gazette report says Milledge will spend sometime in Indianapolis before a call up to Pittsburgh.  I’m fine with that because it’s fun watching his approach and I want to see him improve in the outfield.  Of course if he is still hitting .474 with an OBP above .500 he will be in Pittsburgh before the end of the month.  On the two occasions I’ve interviewed Lastings he has mentioned “…if I get the chance in Pittsburgh…”  

“I’m working on my defense so I’ll be ready if I get the chance to play in Pittsburgh.”

“I have a plan for each at bat and that takes care of 80% of my at-bats.  I want to have a quality approach so if I get the chance in Pittsburgh I can make a contribution.”

After one week he appears Major League ready at the plate and is growing as an outfielder.  He is not taking anything for granted and is not assuming that he is heading to Pittsburgh. 

Here is a You Tube clip of Indians 1B/OF Tagg Bozied doing the starting line-ups prior to an ABQ Isotops game last summer.  You have to check it out and it really picks up when he introduces the home team.  He said he couldn’t do this for the Indians because he needs time to figure out his teammates personalities.  When he figures that out and has nicknames ready…this should be done at Victory Field. 

Garrett Jones is becoming a folk hero in Pittsburgh.  The Bucs OF blasted two home runs yesterday, including the game winning off Bobby Howry in the 14th inning.  After hitting .307 with 12 home runs and 49 runs batted this season for the Tribe, Jones has exploded for the Pirates.  His contract was purchased by the Bucs on June 30th and is hitting .313 with 7 bombs and 9 ribbies in just 12 games.  He is already 3rd on the team with 7 homers (1B Adam LaRoche 12, former OF Nate McClouth 9) and has gone deep in four straight games.  About a dozen or so guys watched the end of last night’s game in the clubhouse and they erupted when Jones connected for the game winner.  C Erik Kratz joked that it would have been a double at Victory Field and a few guys felt he should have posed a little longer after the swing.  Keep it up Jonesy and maybe he can have the type of late 20’s success that longtime Minor Leaguer Ryan Ludwick is enjoying in St. Louis.

RHP Ian Snell is still with the Indians and we’ll see if that is still the case on July 31st.  This headline had the Pawtucket press box believing Snell was not going to make his scheduled start.  Upon further reading it’s a hopeful fan wanting the services of Snell.  I told him about the story and his reaction was priceless.  He inquired about any other rumors and I didn’t get the same reaction as before when I told him no. 

Here is the Indians roster move for tonight’s game.  RHP Brad Lincoln is back with the team an will make his 4th Triple-A start.  Lincoln has in 0-1 with a 7.69 ERA since his Indians debut on June 24.  To make room for Lincoln the Indians have placed RHP Ty Taubenheim on the disabled list.  RHP Jeremy Powell moves from the stating rotation back to the pen to help with the loss of Tauby.  The sun is shinning and it’s time to go check out some batting practice.  We’ll see if the Indians keep their hitting shoes on.  The Tribe has outscored the Paw Sox 16-8 out hitting them 27 to 16. 






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