Indianapolis is 12-6 since the All-Star break winning number 12 Monday night at Durham. The Tribe took a page from Durham’s offense blasting three home runs in their 6-2 win giving them 13 home runs on this 8 game road trip. 1B Jeff Clement has three, OF/INF Brian Bixler has two (8 HR’s in his last 27 games), OF Brian Myrow has two, OF/INF Chris Barnwell has two (zero home runs first 64 games played), and 3B Neil Walker has a pair. Catcher’s Robinzon Diaz and Erik Kratz have each hit solo shots on the trip. Indy has cleared the fence in 6 of their 7 games on this South Division swing.
Even with all the power the most important at bat last night never left the infield. With two outs and nobody on LF Tagg Bozied stepped to the plate. Bull’s starter Andy Sonnanstine needed only three pitches to retire the first two men and quickly got ahead of Tagg oh and 2. Bozied proceeds to put together the at-bat of the night…
Ball in the dirt, foul, foul, foul, foul, ball, foul, ball in the dirt, foul, foul, and on the 13th pitch of the at-bat he hits a Phil Mickelson flop shot over the mound and it drops in front of the charging 2B for a single. The ball never left the infield and it changed the game. Walker singled sharply to right Tagg was digging for third and would have been out by 10 feet if not for a poor throw. He then scored on a single by Robinzon Diaz and the Indians were on the board and the momentum had shifted.
“Basically, I used 22 inches of my bat and it is covered with ball marks. It was ugly but everything was near the zone and I couldn’t make solid contact. Then of course, I blasted it over the pitchers head for a 70 foot single.”
Tagg’s buddy CF Chris Barnwell almost made a spectacular catch up against the wall. Durham RF Matt Joyce hit a deep drive to the left of center and Barnwell immediately jumped on his horse. He raced back and jumped at the wall…and…
He missed the ball and slammed hard into a rotating billboard. RHP Chris Bootcheck said you could hear the air come out of Barney as his body crashed into the wall. The police tape was added today and the good news is Chris will be ok and took some of the wall with him.
Monday night RHP Chris Bootcheck nailed down his 19th save of the season. The all-star has converted his last 15 saves and I want to take a deeper look into his numbers. For the season “Booter” is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 39 games. The LaPorte, IN native has 53 strike outs and only 7 walks in 41.2 innings of work. Chris has converted 19 of 22 save opportunities and in save opps he has a 2.43 ERA with 30 strikeouts over 22.2 innings and holding opponents to a .222 batting average. In non-save situations his ERA jumps to 4.74 and opposing batters are hitting .294. Why?
The former 1st round pick of the Angels spent parts of the previous three seasons in the halo’s bullpen. Their dominant closer was Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez (ML record 69 saves in ’08) and nobody is better when it’s closing time than K-Rod. However, Bootcheck noticed when it was not a save situation, the games best closer would get rocked and didn’t appear to have his normal edge. This is Booter’s first year as a closer at any level (3 saves previous 8 years) and he notices his approach is different when the game is not on the line. His adrenaline level feels the same, but instead of putting away hitters, he works on different pitches and that puts him in a different state of mind. Bootcheck has not blown a save since May 12th and even though he has slammed the door shut each of the past two nights, he’ll be in tonight if the game is on the line.
RHP Mike Koplove has been busy since the All-Star break. The 32 year-old pitched a scoreless 7th inning last night and has appeared in 9 of the Indians 18 games since the break. “Kop” says his right wing feels fine, but there is no denying the work is starting to catch up with him. Koplove has given up 4 runs in his last four games after giving up on 4 runs in his first 18 games with the Tribe. Manager Frank Kremblas has called on Koplove (13IP last 9 games) because of his ability of clean up other people’s messes. One of Koplove’s former managers called him toilet paper because he cleans up others…well, you get the idea. Since joining the team on June 5th he has inherited 19 runners on base and allowed only five of them to score. Did you know, 11 of the 19 inherited runners were in scoring position and only TWO of them touched home plate. Plus, he has inherited 8 runners in scoring position with less than two outs and only ONE of them has scored. That’s why he has pitched in 9 of the Indians last 18 games. The Indians are 17-5 when Koplove pitches and 8-1 since the All-Star break.
The Indians will return home Thursday night and there is a real good chance you’ll see a great game. An incredible 79 of the Indians 109 games this season have been decided by three runs or less. Too bad they are 35-44 in those games. I don’t have to sell you on Victory Field, but 43 of the team’s 52 home games have been decided by three runs or less including all 8 games on their last homestand. Only 9 games the Indians have played at home this year have been decided by MORE than three runs. You’ll pay for the whole seat, but you’ll only need THE EDGE! (Best when using your movie trailer voice)
I’ll be keeping an eye on tonight’s Cubs/Reds game. LHP Tom Gorzelanny will make his Cubs debut and according to reports will make at least three starts for the Northsider’s. The 27 year-old made 15 starts for the Indians going 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA. Good luck tonight Tommy and enjoy the pennant race. The Cubs are 56-48 entering play tonight making this only the 5th time in 76 career games (65 starts) that Gorzelanny will pitch with his team having a record above .500. The last time Gorzelanny started a game with his team’s record was better than .500 was back on April 2, 2008…the second Pirates game of the season.
Gorzelanny was on the Indians opening day roster and a lot has changed since April 9th. Here is a look at the Indians players at the start of the season…
RHP Jimmy Barthmaier…DL April 11, released May 18, and resigned to a Minor lg. deal
RHP Denny Bautista
RHP Chris Bootcheck
LHP Dave Davidson…designated for assignment on April 15
RHP Jason Davis
LHP Tom Gorzelanny…traded to Cubs on June 30
LHP Corey Hamman…sent to Double-A Altoona on June 5
RHP Daniel McCutchen
RHP Evan Meek…promoted to Pittsburgh on April 25
RHP Jeremy Powell
RHP Brian Slocum…released on July 16
RHP Virgil Vasquez…optioned back to Indy after 7 starts in Pittsburgh
C Robinzon Diaz
C Erik Kratz
SS Brian Bixler
1B Jason Delaney…sent to Double-A Altoona on April 21, Eastern League All-Star
INF Anderson Machado…sent to Double-A then traded to Chicago White Sox
1B Steve Pearce…promoted to Pittsburgh on two occasions, most recent July 22
2B Andy Phillips…traded to White Sox April 17 and now playing in Japan
3B Neil Walker
OF Larry Broadway
OF Garrett Jones…promoted to Pittsburgh on June 30 and now a ‘burgh Legend
OF Andrew McCutchen…appearing nightly on SportsCenter, promoted June 3
OF Jeff Salazar…promoted July 1
The names in bold are still with the team. Bixler, Diaz, and Vasquez have been with the Pirates at some point this season. Walker and Broadway have missed time on the disabled list. Only Kratz, McCutchen, Powell, Bootcheck, Davis, and Bautista have been on the active roster the ENTIRE season.
Did you know? 19 players have worn an Indians uniform and a Major League uniform at some point this season. The position players are…Bixler (8 games PIT), INF Luis Cruz (PIT), Robinzon Diaz (31 games PIT), C Ryan Doumit (rehab PIT), Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, OF Lastings Milledge (WAS, PIT), Steve Pearce, Jeff Salazar, and SS Jack Wilson (rehab PIT, SEA).
The pitchers are…Jose Ascanio (CHC), David Davidson (FLA), Tom Gorzelanny (PIT, CHC), Steven Jackson (PIT), Evan Meek (PIT), Charlie Morton (PIT), Ian Snell (PIT, SEA), Virgil Vasquez (PIT), and Donnie Veal (rehab PIT).
Time to go check out some batting practice. I’ll leave you with a view from the booth.
RHP Mike Koplove has been traded to the Seattle Mariners today for SS Deybis Benitez. Benitez is a 22 year old who was playing in Class-A ball. I guess while scouting Snell the Mariners liked what they saw from Koplove. He first heard about the deal last night after the game and is now on his way to Triple-A Tacoma. The good news for Mike is Seattle wants him and that likely means he will get a chance to pitch in the Major Leagues. Even with all the success he had with the Indians it was a long shot for him to get a call from the Pirates.
Ten minutes after I took the picture from the radio booth a heavy rain (nothing like back home) fall entered the Durham area and look who helped pull the tarp.
That’s Indians UTIL Hector Gimenez lending a hand. He played for the Bull’s a season ago and decided to help out. Hopefully that is the last of the rain and same for those of you back in Indiana.