The DEFEND Cleveland Show

August 16th, 2011 DC Show Report

Today starts the hard push of 45 games in 44 days for the Tribe. hooray. Well, at least they start it while being the second youngest team in baseball (here’s to those young legs, arms and backs), and only 2 games out of 1st place in the Central. And big thanks (and congrats) to former Tribesman Jim Thome in getting both his homers needed for 600* last night while helping the Twins beat the Tigers, and helping our club draw that half game closer in the chase of a pennant.

All told, August has been pretty good to our team sitting at the official starting point of pennant races. Here’s hoping this level of ball of their’s continues and that their youth keeps them fresh. They’re going to need both. Especially since over the last two months plus of games leading up to August, only Baltimore and Seattle performed worse in the American League.

Focusing on this month alone though, let’s take at peak at some of the numbers so far for the Tribe that’s finds them in this place and time:

Hitting – After spending three months ranking way into the back end of the AL in runs produced and OPS*, and now with twelve games in the books for August, the Indians only sit behind Texas and the Yanks in runs scored (with the comparison based fairly at the 12 game mark for all), and they also rank in the top 6th of OPS. Nice turn around, and a lot of which can be attributed to the boomsticks of the phenom Kipnis, the MVP Asdrubal, don’t take that tone with me Carlos Santana, “I’m back, baby!” Pronk, and a man from the east they call, Fukudome.

Pitching – Forget about it. Top to bottom they’ve ranked as the best in the league with an ERA of only 3.19 (the major league average is a full run more than that for the month so far) and teams are only hitting .226 against them. A lot of this of course can be attributed to the continued excellence of Masterson, the return to form of Fausto Carmona (who has pitched like the Fausto of old since coming off the DL four starts ago), and of course the key big trade acquisition of Ubaldo “Big U” Jimenez. Having Jimenez, Masterson and Fausto go the next three days in Chicago, and then the rest of the year, is about as capably a formidable starting three as you’ll see on any team that will reach the post season this year not dressed in a Philly uniform. They’ll also have to continue to factor heavily if we are to see any Tribe uniforms in the playoffs.

*OPS is one of the easier advanced stats (Billy James and his wonderful world of sabermetrics) to understand, and it’s kind of a catch all for hitting. It stands for On Base Percentage + Slugging which simply is an average of how much a hitter gets on base added to how much of that is hit for power. Even more simply, the higher the percentage the better.

If these stats bore you we’ll just look at the results they’ve produced: 7 wins to 5 losses.

Keep in mind 10 of those 12 games played were against 1st place clubs and four of those losses happened in Boston and Texas; the two best hitting teams in all of baseball, that when at home, they even hit better. Also, the Tribe fought to leads in all those losses to the Sawks and Rangers only to end up losing on the last swing in each. In other words, that win loss record could, or should (depending how optimistic you are today), just as likely read 11-1. That fifth loss of the month was inevitably to Justin Verlander which is a game you’re going to lose 4 out of every 5 times you play it no matter what since he’s the best pitcher in all of baseball (happens, just be thankful there’s only one Verlander, and that he can’t pitch everyday).

This all equals a pretty good month so far that’s only comparable this year to the month of April where the Tribe led the majors in runs scored and were 4th in pitching. Their record was 18-8 in April, and that record led all. Everyone around here contracted 1st place-itis because of it. I hear there’s no cure for that “itis” known,  and if it comes out of remission, it comes back with a vengeance.

Some other Tribe info to note is that last night just before the midnight deadline to sign 2011 draftees, the Dolan’s and their Indian organization made 17 year old Francisco Lindor a multimillionaire. The 8th overall selection in this year’s draft, the Puerto Rico born Lindor (who’ll turn 18 in November) moved to Florida at the age of 12 and during his senior year this past season at Montverde Academy in Florida, the switch-hitting shortstop hit .528 in 53 at bats with six home runs, seven doubles and two triples. He also piled up 13 RBIs, stole 20 bases and scored 32 runs. He was ranked the 9th overall as prospects go this year by MLB.com. He now has 2.9 million dollars.

Lindor had originally committed to Florida State but a signing bonus of 2.9 million at the zero hour somehow convinced him otherwise. I always envision dump trucks filled with money pulling up in said convincing fashion for these situations. And who doesn’t wish to one day wake up to 3 as such dump trucks parked in the driveway next to the morning paper?

Do people still get the morning paper?

Either way, at that point, couldn’t Lindor just buy his own newspaper company and a college degree? I would bet from the strict university curriculum one must find at Florida State, he could probably negotiate that price down as long as he stuck with a liberal arts degree.

The other last minute key signing last night was for 19 year old Dillon Howard, the teams second round pick (67th overall). A big right handed hurler (6’4 and 210lbs) who’s senior season at Searcy High School in Arkansas while going 58 innings in 12 starts, went 9-1 and only gave up 19 hits and 2 earned runs all year. He also struck out 115 batters on his way to being named the Arkansas High School Player of the Year by both Gatorade and MaxPreps, as well as other accolades and mentions one finds for players ranked as high as the 18th overall prospect (again MLB.com) coming out of high school.

These two both represent a new promising future for Tribe fans (all told the Indians signed 15 of the 16 they drafted back in June), so be sure to tune to STO’s well packaged and informative ‘Minor League Report Magazine’ for info regarding their progress throughout the upcoming years in the Indians farm system. But for the sake of all that’s good, be sure to flip off before ‘Chuck’s Last Call’ occurs.

Man, who can’t wait for the day he actually does get his last call? It has to be that only those looking to call in a penis prank, or folks who fell asleep during the game, can actually suffer through being tuned into that embarrassment. Seriously STO, you have some really good people under your employ, Chuck Galeti and his show are not only a black eye for your whole network, he’s a showcase of how the train is too often allowed to derail within small market telecasts. This should be something to easily figure out really, if you respect your audience, they’ll in turn respect you. If you give them a dick, they’ll often call in and act like one.

Fire Chuck Galeti.

Hell, make an example out of him when you do and publicly issue an apology to help ward off the threat of others as such from having programs as bad as his in the future. I mean come on, you already have Bruce’s “All Bets Are Off” which is essentially the exact same call-in sports show as Chuck’s, the only difference is that Bruce is mostly likable, and so is his show.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah, go Tribe!

That said, the Browns are starting to make some “real” news with an exhibition win under their belt that was only furthered by the sights of Montario Hardesty in pads and practicing yesterday, as well as Mohamed Massaquoi finally out of a walking boot. Montario was the Browns 2nd round pick last year, a pick they sent off two 5th round selections and a 3rd round to acquire, and one who came with all kinds of question marks in regards to health. Then of course he got hurt last year and has yet to even see a down. His being healthy, and subsequently staying healthy, will really add to what might just turn out to be a rather potent offense this season. Here’s hoping…

And yes, I am getting excited about the teams offensive potential even though it’s only been two weeks of practice to base that assumption upon. And further yes, I’m finally starting to get a little excited about football in general with it officially now one month away from being (thus my remarks now being upgraded from just being a part of the PS to these daily’s). Go Browns.

 

-Mike James

PS – Towards the end of yesterday’s show I made an appeal to all listeners to name me an establishment in town, bar or restaurant, that shows the Indians games with the sound on. Finding a TV with a Cleveland game is easy enough around here (even if you still have to ask them to turn it on some of the time), but finding a place that would rather show a telecast with sound for anything other than a Browns game, over that of an iPod, Pandora or a Sirius station set to a drowned out who cares background of white noise, is near impossible. In fact, outside of playoff games I’ve yet to discover such a place. This is an outrage. So I put you all to task of finding (or creating) such a place.

We are a sports town home to THREE professional teams, one of which this year (which will the be the only case of it), the Indians, are in a real pennant race and have a legitimate chance of the playoffs. We should not ever be without locations to go to watch, listen and enjoy our teams. Ever.

One fine listener has so far recommended Mitchell’s Tavern in Westlake. I’m excited to verify this and when I do I will notate it. Other than that the phones and emails stayed silent for reasons I can only assume to be what I feared most, that this kind of fine establishment does not exist in Cleveland (see “outrage” in the paragraph above). So here’s what we’re going to do from now on, we’ll keep a tally as we go aand we’ll call it, “The Search for a Real Cleveland Sports Bar”. When our tally gets to at least 5 locations, we’ll rent a party bus, and we’ll “real sports bar” hop across our fair city some night all compliments of The Defend Cleveland Show. Good hunting, good people~

The Search for a Real Cleveland Sports Bar

Day 1 = 0

To reach me with a suspected glorious location, email the show at defendclevelandshow@gmail.com or post a comment here.

And a “real sports bar” denotes an establishment that plays all 162 Indians game, all 82 Cavs game, and the given, all 16 Browns games, WITH THE SOUND ON, and without having to be asked to turn it on. Basically, they advertise that they provide this service. A good choice of IPA’s will be a bonus, but I’m not going to be greedy when I’m actually just asking for something that should so clearly already be, and be in abundance.

 

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Posted by on Aug 16 2011. Filed under Show Reports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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