Daniel McCutchen has done enough…UPDATE
Later tonight the Indians were planning on sending RHP Daniel McCutchen to the mound for the final time this season. The 26 year-old was looking to match a career high with his 14th win and push the Tribe above .500 for the first time all year. However, McCutchen will miss today’s start and make his Major League debut tomorrow for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs have a double-header tomorrow and it’s McCutchen who starting one of the games at Cincinnati. He was planning on pitching today and on Tuesday flying off off to Durham and the Team USA complex. McCutchen was going to be a starting pitcher for the United States in the World Cup. The plans have obviously changed and now it’s RHP Brad Lincoln taking McCutchen’s spot on the team. A few things come into play with the move. First of all, McCutchen was going to be the Indians fantasy football commissioner. Instead he becomes the 3rd commish lost this season. (Tom Gorzelanny was in line, but was traded. Then it was Mike Koplove, but he was traded. My guess is Corey Hamman takes over for McCutchen.) Second, when he gets to Pittsburgh are the Pirates going to have to add an “A” to Andrew McCutchen’s jersey? Finally, the smile I saw on his face this morning in the hotel lobby isn’t going anywhere. It’s a life long dream realized for Daniel and I wish he all the best. Good luck ‘Cutch and keep the ball down against the Reds.
Saturday night the Indians pounded the Mud Hens 12-0 and guaranteed themselves a winning month for the first time since May 2007. Think about the talent that has come through the Victory Field clubhouse the past couple of years without finishing a full month above .500.
Lincoln was the winner last night and may take home IL pitcher of the week honors. The 24 year-old went 2-0 pitching 11 shutout innings allowing only 5 hits and striking out 11. If he is selected he will be the third Indians player in the past four weeks to take home the honor. It might be his new haircut…Lincoln shaved his head before this week. I’m talking razor shave, not a buzz cut and he is maintaining the clean look.
I think coming back from my injury I had a lot of time to think and when I was hurt I had a lot of time to watch baseball. I think it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I really wanted to make a conscience effort when I came back to play this game as hard as I can and prepare myself as well as I could on a daily basis. This whole month of August has been great. It’s probably the best I’ve felt in my pro career and I’m hoping this will catapult me to the next level and continue to play this game the way I know how.
That quote is from 3B Neil Walker after he smacked two home runs and drove in a season high 5 runners. Walker was batting .151 with a home run and 3 runs batted in the first 13 games back from the disabled list. On July 30th he was schedule to get the afternoon off, but a late scratch put him in the line-up and his season has not been the same since. On that afternoon in Norfolk he went 3-5 with two home runs and 4 RBI. On more than a few occasions he’s mention to me that this hot stretch may have never started without that unexpected start. Since July 30th the 23 year-old is hitting .375 with 6 home runs and an astonishing 34 runs batted in. Only Phillies 1B Ryan Howard has as many RBI since July 30th. That’s the list…Howard and Walker.
Walker will not turn 24 until September 10th and one current member of the Indians who has spent a majority of his time in the PCL tells me that Walker is a much better player than current Pirates 3B Andy LaRoche. The problem for Neil is making each at-bat and game count and moving pasts the belief that you are going to be given anything in this game. Walker is starting to realize that hitting .250 with 12 home runs and 80 RBI’s doesn’t get you to Pittsburgh. It puts you right back in Indianapolis.
Walker isn’t the only player on a roll this month, OF Brian Myrow is hitting .357 with 6 home runs and 24 runs batted in. It’s doubtful that Myrow gets called up by the Pirates (I’d rather have him pinch-hitting than Bixler or Cruz), but this month is setting up a return to the game next year. Myrow will turn 33 in early September and he realizes that he is entering the twilight of his career. Myrow has been a difference maker for the Tribe on and off the field. Take a look at his numbers since joining the team in late June. Myrow is hitting .392 after the 4th inning. Not to mention he is second in the league in on-base-percentage. There was a time a month ago when Myrow wondered aloud if this would be his last season. Since that time he’s proven to himself and other teams that there is still a little something left in the tank.
With the change in starters RHP Ty Taubenheim will go for the Indians tonight against LHP Dontrelle Willis. The “D-Train” has been on the Detroit Tigers DL since June 15th with recurring anxiety disorder. Willis has ZERO control right now and is walking everybody. The game plan tonight is to take pitches.
RHP Jorge Julio has signed a Minor League deal and is with the Indianapolis Indians. Julio appeared in 15 games earlier this season with the Brewers and then surfaced in Durham. He appeared in 19 games with the Bulls having last pitched way back on August 2nd.
McCutchen is still in Toledo and will be driving to Cincinnati later this afternoon. His parents will make the long drive from Texas and the Indians will be watching his debut in the clubhouse tomorrow afternoon. Pitching coach Ray Searage stressed he needed to keep the ball down because he was playing in Great American Smallpark. The two of them shared a hug and Searage simply told McCutchen he deserved this chance.
RHP Jeff Karstens, who will pitch at least one rehab inning tonight for the Indians, joked that McCutchen’s lucky he isn’t facing California. He was referring to the Little League team that hits home runs like the ’27 Yankees. Myrow told McCutchen he was making his debut against the Louisville Bats. Which isn’t a bad thing since he has faced most of the Reds multiple times this year.
Lincoln is excited about the chance to pitch in the World Cup. He thanks McCutchen for getting called up and although he isn’t thrilled about the flight across the Atlantic he is excited about touring Europe. He isn’t sure what he role will be, but he hopes to be a starter. Lincoln finishes up his ’09 season on a really good note with 4 consecutive wins and 11 straight scoreless innings.