Jason Bay: It Wears on You After a While

Thanks, Jason Bay, for admitting baseball’s not about winning when you’re a Pittsburgh Pirate. In an article running in today’s Toronto Star, the Pirates’ slugger sounds like a beaten man: “It is definitely frustrating,” Bay admitted. “It wears on you after a while. You can only hear, ‘We’re looking forward to next year,’ so many times. The fans get agitated and it starts up...

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Tribe Wins in Eleven on Ordaz’s Blast

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Victor Zambrano -- photo by NancyZ
Luis Ordaz’s third home run of the year may have been his biggest. In the bottom of the 11th inning, he blasted a 0-1 pitch from Louisville Bats’ closer Ricky Stone over the left field wall and onto the grass berm, giving the Indianapolis Indians a 3-2 walk-off win at Victory Field this afternoon.
Both the Indians and the Bats had several opportunities to break the tie. There were a total of 20 base runners left stranded over 10.5 innings, as neither team was able to capitalize on their own hits and the other team’s mistakes.
Victor Zambrano (photo) made his second start since joining the Indians. He was aided by his infielders, who turned three double plays in the first four innings. (They turned a fourth double play in the 11th inning.) He started the first inning by blowing three strikes past Bats’ lead-off hitter 3B Anderson Machado. But trouble followed immediately, as SS Paul Janish, LF Joey Votto, and 2B Jorge Cantu got three consecutive hits, with Janish scoring. CF Jay Bruce hit a fly ball that would have scored Votto anyway, but the ball bounced off Tribe RF Brad Eldred’s glove, putting runners on the corners. Zambrano was rescued when 1B Jesse Gutierrez bounced a grounder right back to him. He whirled and threw to SS Brian Bixler covering second, who in turn threw on to Steve Pearce at first base (1-6-3) for the Tribe’s first double play.
A double play also got Zambrano out of trouble in the second inning. RF Jeff Bannon led off with a single to left, and C J.C. Boscan walked, putting two runners on base. Bats’ starting pitcher Tom Shearn laid down a bunt that rolled toward third base faster than he’d intended it to. Zambrano pounced on the ball and without hesitation fired to third base to force out Bannon, and Indians’ 3B Yurendell de Caster still had time to fire to first base to get Shearn at first for the double play (1-5-3).

Zambrano seemed to settle a bit after that. He faced only one batter over the minimum for the next three innings. He gave up a single to Joey Votto, but Votto was thrown out trying to steal third base. He hit Jesse Gutierrez with a pitch (on the back of the helmet, but he was ok and stayed in the game), but a third double play, started with a lunging catch by de Caster (5-4-3), erased Gutierrez. J.C. Boscan hit a pitch right back at Zambrano, which bounced off his glove and landed where neither Zambrano nor de Caster could get to it quickly, but Boscan was left stranded on base. At the end of Zambrano’s 5 innings, he had thrown 81 pitches (49 for strikes) and given up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts.
Bats’ starter Tom Shearn pitched 6 innings, also giving up 2 runs, on 5 hits and one walk, with 4 strikeouts. Over the first three innings, he gave up only one walk, to lead-off hitter 2B Don Kelly. The Tribe broke through in the 4th inning. SS Brian Bixler led off with a single into right field, and 1B Steve Pearce followed with a double down the left field line, which allowed the speedy Bixler to score all the way from first base. Pearce moved to third base on a ground out by LF Michael Ryan, and he scored on a bloop hit into left field by Yurendell de Caster (de Caster’s 46th RBI of the season).
The Indians had at least one hit in each inning for the rest of the game, but until Ordaz’s smash, the Tribe could not get any of the base runners across the plate. Pinch hitter Chris Aguila, in his first at-bat since returning from the disabled list, had a single off Shearn in the 5th, and Steve Pearce had his second hit off Shearn in the 6th. Reliever Brad Salmon came in to pitch the 7th inning, and he gave up a walk to 2B Luis Ordaz and a hit to Don Kelly (who had moved to right field on the double-switch that brought Ordaz into the game), but struck out Brian Bixler to end the inning. Reliever Marcus McBeth pitched the 8th inning, gave up a single to Yurendell de Caster, and promptly stranded him on base.
Mark Corey, who also had just returned from a stint on the disabled list, relieved Zambrano to begin the 6th inning. Manager Trent Jewett had only planned to have Corey pitch one inning, to ease him back into working in game-situations. Corey gave up a single to Jay Bruce and a walk to Jeff Bannon, but got out of the jam by striking out J.C. Boscan, dashing the Bats’ scoring hopes again. Josh Sharpless followed Corey, and he pitched two perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts.
The Tribe squandered a bases-loaded situation in the 9th. Luis Matos and Luis Ordaz both singled off Marcus McBeth with one out. Jon Coutlangus replaced McBeth, and his first four pitches were balls, walking Don Kelly to load the bases. The Bats escaped that situation by getting their only double play of the game, when Brian Bixler grounded to third base. Anderson Machado had to merely take two steps to touch third base, forcing out Ordaz, and then throw to first base for the second out on Bixler. That sent the game into extra innings.
Jonah Bayliss was the 4th pitcher for the Tribe. He pitched a perfect 9th, and then teased the Bats with a single and a walk in the 10th — but ended the inning with those two Bats stranded on base. There was a scary moment, when Paul Janish came to the plate with one out and CF Chris Dickerson on second base, after a single and a steal. Janish hit a hard liner right to 3B Yurendell de Caster, and de Caster realized that he had a chance to double Dickerson off second base. He fired to Luis Ordaz, who was moving toward second base from the right as Dickerson was moving to the bag from the left. Ordaz had to reach to get the ball, and tried to jump over Dickerson to avoid running into him. Dickerson is 6’3″. Ordaz is… not. Ordaz was certainly the biggest man on the team today, but that does not refer to his height. At the top of his leap, Ordaz’s knee struck Dickerson’s head, and both men went down, and the ball rolled free. Dickerson did not appear to lose consciousness, and he was up first, and remained in the game. Ordaz took longer to get up, and he later said he’d hurt his knee and his lower back, but he continued to play.
The bottom of the 10th inning also brought disappointment for the Tribe. Steve Pearce’s third hit of the game, and a double by Mike Ryan put runners on 2nd and 3rd bases with no outs. Jon Coutlangus struck out Yurendell de Caster, and pinch-hitter Michael Tejera (as manager Trent Jewett was running out of bodies), and then got Luis Matos to fly out, ending the inning with Pearce and Ryan still perched on the bases.
Brian Rogers came in to pitch the 11th inning for the Tribe. Back-to-back singles to Jon Coutlangus (Bats’ manager Rick Sweet was also running out of bodies) and Jesse Gutierrez gave the Bats some hope. The Indians’ fourth double play of the game, Bixler to Ordaz to Pearce (6-4-3), erased Gutierrez and moved Coutlangus to third base. J.C. Boscan hit a liner that looked like it was going into right field to score Coutlangus. Luis Ordaz tested his bruised knee and back by leaping up, and while he didn’t make the catch, he knocked the ball down, and then quickly picked it up and fired to first base just in time to beat Boscan and end the threat.
Luis Ordaz homers -- photo by NancyZ
That set the stage for Ordaz’s heroics in the bottom of the 11th. Ordaz had a homer, a single, and a walk in his 3 plate appearances. Yurendell de Caster had two singles, and Steve Pearce had two singles and a double. Brian Rogers got the win for the Tribe, his second for the season. Bats’ Ricky Stone took his second loss in two days.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Luis Ordaz, of course, with his game-winning home run in the 11th inning. “It was a really good pitch, a change-up at the letters,” Ordaz said in the post-game interview. “But I read it very well, and the ball flew out of the park.”
Indians’ defensive gems of the game: The infield, along with pitcher Victor Zambrano, with four double plays.
NOTES:
Roster Move:
As expected, the Indians added a catcher — Milver Reyes was promoted from Altoona and was with the team today. He had a short visit with the Indians earlier in the season, with appearances in two games.
What is the Indians’ record for the most double plays in a game?
On May 14, 1998, against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Indians turned 5 double plays.
Go Tribe!

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You People Sicken Me: Ryan is NOT the Answer

Dear Pirate fans, I’m tired of griping about the uselessness of Matt Kata and Cesar Izturis. I’m tired of hearing about how Rajai Davis is the second coming of Lou Brock, and how Nate McLouth deserves an extended look as an everyday center fielder. I’m tired of talking about the pros and cons of having Josh Phelps as a backup catcher. I’m tired of Shawn Chacon pitching like Shawn Chacon. I’m tired of...

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Tribe Wins in Eleven on Ordaz’s Blast

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Victor Zambrano -- photo by NancyZ
Luis Ordaz’s third home run of the year may have been his biggest. In the bottom of the 11th inning, he blasted a 0-1 pitch from Louisville Bats’ closer Ricky Stone over the left field wall and onto the grass berm, giving the Indianapolis Indians a 3-2 walk-off win at Victory Field this afternoon.
Both the Indians and the Bats had several opportunities to break the tie. There were a total of 20 base runners left stranded over 10.5 innings, as neither team was able to capitalize on their own hits and the other team’s mistakes.
Victor Zambrano (photo) made his second start since joining the Indians. He was aided by his infielders, who turned three double plays in the first four innings. (They turned a fourth double play in the 11th inning.) He started the first inning by blowing three strikes past Bats’ lead-off hitter 3B Anderson Machado. But trouble followed immediately, as SS Paul Janish, LF Joey Votto, and 2B Jorge Cantu got three consecutive hits, with Janish scoring. CF Jay Bruce hit a fly ball that would have scored Votto anyway, but the ball bounced off Tribe RF Brad Eldred’s glove, putting runners on the corners. Zambrano was rescued when 1B Jesse Gutierrez bounced a grounder right back to him. He whirled and threw to SS Brian Bixler covering second, who in turn threw on to Steve Pearce at first base (1-6-3) for the Tribe’s first double play.
A double play also got Zambrano out of trouble in the second inning. RF Jeff Bannon led off with a single to left, and C J.C. Boscan walked, putting two runners on base. Bats’ starting pitcher Tom Shearn laid down a bunt that rolled toward third base faster than he’d intended it to. Zambrano pounced on the ball and without hesitation fired to third base to force out Bannon, and Indians’ 3B Yurendell de Caster still had time to fire to first base to get Shearn at first for the double play (1-5-3).

Zambrano seemed to settle a bit after that. He faced only one batter over the minimum for the next three innings. He gave up a single to Joey Votto, but Votto was thrown out trying to steal third base. He hit Jesse Gutierrez with a pitch (on the back of the helmet, but he was ok and stayed in the game), but a third double play, started with a lunging catch by de Caster (5-4-3), erased Gutierrez. J.C. Boscan hit a pitch right back at Zambrano, which bounced off his glove and landed where neither Zambrano nor de Caster could get to it quickly, but Boscan was left stranded on base. At the end of Zambrano’s 5 innings, he had thrown 81 pitches (49 for strikes) and given up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 5 strikeouts.
Bats’ starter Tom Shearn pitched 6 innings, also giving up 2 runs, on 5 hits and one walk, with 4 strikeouts. Over the first three innings, he gave up only one walk, to lead-off hitter 2B Don Kelly. The Tribe broke through in the 4th inning. SS Brian Bixler led off with a single into right field, and 1B Steve Pearce followed with a double down the left field line, which allowed the speedy Bixler to score all the way from first base. Pearce moved to third base on a ground out by LF Michael Ryan, and he scored on a bloop hit into left field by Yurendell de Caster (de Caster’s 46th RBI of the season).
The Indians had at least one hit in each inning for the rest of the game, but until Ordaz’s smash, the Tribe could not get any of the base runners across the plate. Pinch hitter Chris Aguila, in his first at-bat since returning from the disabled list, had a single off Shearn in the 5th, and Steve Pearce had his second hit off Shearn in the 6th. Reliever Brad Salmon came in to pitch the 7th inning, and he gave up a walk to 2B Luis Ordaz and a hit to Don Kelly (who had moved to right field on the double-switch that brought Ordaz into the game), but struck out Brian Bixler to end the inning. Reliever Marcus McBeth pitched the 8th inning, gave up a single to Yurendell de Caster, and promptly stranded him on base.
Mark Corey, who also had just returned from a stint on the disabled list, relieved Zambrano to begin the 6th inning. Manager Trent Jewett had only planned to have Corey pitch one inning, to ease him back into working in game-situations. Corey gave up a single to Jay Bruce and a walk to Jeff Bannon, but got out of the jam by striking out J.C. Boscan, dashing the Bats’ scoring hopes again. Josh Sharpless followed Corey, and he pitched two perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts.
The Tribe squandered a bases-loaded situation in the 9th. Luis Matos and Luis Ordaz both singled off Marcus McBeth with one out. Jon Coutlangus replaced McBeth, and his first four pitches were balls, walking Don Kelly to load the bases. The Bats escaped that situation by getting their only double play of the game, when Brian Bixler grounded to third base. Anderson Machado had to merely take two steps to touch third base, forcing out Ordaz, and then throw to first base for the second out on Bixler. That sent the game into extra innings.
Jonah Bayliss was the 4th pitcher for the Tribe. He pitched a perfect 9th, and then teased the Bats with a single and a walk in the 10th — but ended the inning with those two Bats stranded on base. There was a scary moment, when Paul Janish came to the plate with one out and CF Chris Dickerson on second base, after a single and a steal. Janish hit a hard liner right to 3B Yurendell de Caster, and de Caster realized that he had a chance to double Dickerson off second base. He fired to Luis Ordaz, who was moving toward second base from the right as Dickerson was moving to the bag from the left. Ordaz had to reach to get the ball, and tried to jump over Dickerson to avoid running into him. Dickerson is 6’3″. Ordaz is… not. Ordaz was certainly the biggest man on the team today, but that does not refer to his height. At the top of his leap, Ordaz’s knee struck Dickerson’s head, and both men went down, and the ball rolled free. Dickerson did not appear to lose consciousness, and he was up first, and remained in the game. Ordaz took longer to get up, and he later said he’d hurt his knee and his lower back, but he continued to play.
The bottom of the 10th inning also brought disappointment for the Tribe. Steve Pearce’s third hit of the game, and a double by Mike Ryan put runners on 2nd and 3rd bases with no outs. Jon Coutlangus struck out Yurendell de Caster, and pinch-hitter Michael Tejera (as manager Trent Jewett was running out of bodies), and then got Luis Matos to fly out, ending the inning with Pearce and Ryan still perched on the bases.
Brian Rogers came in to pitch the 11th inning for the Tribe. Back-to-back singles to Jon Coutlangus (Bats’ manager Rick Sweet was also running out of bodies) and Jesse Gutierrez gave the Bats some hope. The Indians’ fourth double play of the game, Bixler to Ordaz to Pearce (6-4-3), erased Gutierrez and moved Coutlangus to third base. J.C. Boscan hit a liner that looked like it was going into right field to score Coutlangus. Luis Ordaz tested his bruised knee and back by leaping up, and while he didn’t make the catch, he knocked the ball down, and then quickly picked it up and fired to first base just in time to beat Boscan and end the threat.
Luis Ordaz homers -- photo by NancyZ
That set the stage for Ordaz’s heroics in the bottom of the 11th. Ordaz had a homer, a single, and a walk in his 3 plate appearances. Yurendell de Caster had two singles, and Steve Pearce had two singles and a double. Brian Rogers got the win for the Tribe, his second for the season. Bats’ Ricky Stone took his second loss in two days.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Luis Ordaz, of course, with his game-winning home run in the 11th inning. “It was a really good pitch, a change-up at the letters,” Ordaz said in the post-game interview. “But I read it very well, and the ball flew out of the park.”
Indians’ defensive gems of the game: The infield, along with pitcher Victor Zambrano, with four double plays.
NOTES:
Roster Move:
As expected, the Indians added a catcher — Milver Reyes was promoted from Altoona and was with the team today. He had a short visit with the Indians earlier in the season, with appearances in two games.
What is the Indians’ record for the most double plays in a game?
On May 14, 1998, against the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Indians turned 5 double plays.
Go Tribe!

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Indians: Suicide Is Not Painless for Louisville

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Jose Hernandez -- photo by NancyZ
It all comes down to the fundamentals. The fundamentals of baseball: Can you put the ball into play when necessary? Can you scoop up the grounders? Can you make the throw on target? Can you steal a base? Can you successfully put down a bunt?
Indians’ infielder Jose Hernandez has been playing baseball for 20 years, and he has the fundamentals down. So, when Indians’ manager Trent Jewett told him to drop down a bunt in the bottom of the 8th, with the score tied and runners on the corners, Hernandez proceeded to do just that. A beautiful bunt, lazily rolling along towards first base, about a third of the way between the foul line and the mound. Yurendell de Caster, who had been on third base, is pretty good at the fundamentals, too. As the pitch was sailing towards Hernandez at home, de Caster was already running, so that when Hernandez hit the ball, de Caster was already half way home. The suicide squeeze was carried out perfectly, and de Caster crossed the plate easily with the go-ahead run. Hernandez was out at first base, but with some bobbling and confusion between Bats’ 1B Jorge Cantu and pitcher Ricky Stone, baserunner Mike Ryan, who had been on first base, made it all the way to third base. The inning ended with Tribe reliever Juan Perez, in a rare plate appearance, grounding out.
Juan Perez had pitched perfect innings in the 7th and 8th, and in the 7th, he struck out the side. Left hander Perez started the top of the 9th inning by getting the dangerous Bats’ CF Jay Bruce to fly out. Righty Bret Prinz then was brought in to face the switch-hitting 2B Mark Bellhorn. Prinz struck out Bellhorn, and then got C Ryan Hanigan to ground out, ending the game, with the Tribe winning 3-2.
The Indians and the Louisville Bats traded runs in the first inning. The Bats led off with RF Chris Dickerson slicing a single into right field. He stole second base and advanced to third base on starting pitcher Marty McLeary’s wild pitch. McLeary struck out 1B Jorge Cantu, and LF Joey Votto flied out to short left field, on a running and sliding catch by Tribe LF Michael Ryan. After making the catch nearly lying out on the field, Ryan popped up to his knees and quickly threw the ball back into the infield, making sure that Dickerson was not going to get any ideas about scoring on a tag up. Dickerson did score on another wild pitch, before 3B Aaron Herr struck out to end the inning.

The Indians scored their first inning run with two outs, when 1B Steve Pearce doubled and LF Michael Ryan singled into the right field gap, with Ryan getting the RBI.
Bats’ starter Richie Gardner followed the first inning with two near-perfect innings. He gave up a hit up the middle to C David Parrish, but Parrish was caught stealing on a hit-and-run play that got busted when pitcher Marty McLeary couldn’t get the ball into play.
The Indians took the lead again in the 4th inning. Michael Ryan started things off with his second hit of the game, a single. He advanced to third base on Jose Hernandez’s double down the right field line. A single through the hole into left field by SS Luis Ordaz brought Ryan across the plate. The inning ended when David Parrish hit a fly ball that was not quite long enough. Jose Hernandez, who had been on third base, tried to tag up and score after the fly was caught, but Bats’ CF Jay Bruce threw a bullet to home plate, where Hernandez was tagged just in front of the plate, to end the inning with the Indians up 2-1.
After the Bats’ run in the first inning, Tribe starter Marty McLeary held the Bats scoreless for the next four innings. He worked with runners on base in each inning, giving up two hits in the 2nd, and one hit in each of the next three innings. He also gave up two walks. Each time, though, he got out of trouble. Two double plays helped him out. In the 2nd inning, P Richie Gardner stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. He ripped the ball straight back at McLeary, who stuck out his glove in self-defense, and found the ball stuck in it. A quick flip to first base doubled off SS Paul Janish, who surely thought that any ball hit that hard would have gone further than just 66 feet.
McLeary made one mistake in the 6th inning, but that one mistake tied up the game again. The Indians’ infield had been using a big shift on Bruce, with only 3B Jose Hernandez standing on the left side of the infield, approximately where the shortstop would usually play. The other three infielders arrayed themselves on the right side of the infield, with 1B Steve Pearce guarding the foul line. This time up, Bruce took the infielders out of the picture, but hitting the ball way over their heads, and over the left field wall for a solo home run.
Bats’ reliever Todd Coffey took over for starter Richie Gardner in the 5th inning, after 2B Yurendell de Caster got on base due to an error by 3B Aaron Herr, and Steve Pearce walked. Mike Ryan took Coffey’s first pitch deep, and it looked like it was going to be over the right field wall, but Bats’ RF Chris Dickerson made a leaping catch at the wall, robbing Ryan of a 3-run homer. Coffey pitched two more scoreless innings, before turning things over to Ricky Stone in the bottom of the 8th. A single, and error, and a suicide squeeze later, and the Indians took the lead, and went on to get the win.
Marty McLeary pitched 6 innings, giving up 7 hits and 2 walks, for 2 earned runs, plus 6 strikeouts. He exited the game with the score tied, increasing to 14 his streak of consecutive starts without a win. Juan Perez took the win for the Tribe, his second, and Bret Prinz earned his 4th save for the Indians, and his 5th overall for 2007. Ricky Stone was tagged with the loss, his 5th. Michael Ryan had two singles for the Indians, and Steve Pearce and Jose Hernandez each had doubles.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: A beautiful suicide squeeze bunt for the game-winning RBI, by Jose Hernandez in the 8th inning.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the top of the 5th inning, with two out and a base runner on second, Joey Votto hit a screaming line drive that looked like it was going into right field, probably bringing in the baserunner. Steve Pearce either suddenly grew stilts or else he really did jump about 6 feet into the air, and pulled down the liner for the out.
NOTES:
Many Roster Moves:
The Pittsburgh Pirates put pitcher Zach Duke on the 60-day disabled list, retroactive so that he will be eligible to return to the roster at the end of this month. That also suggests that he might get some minor league rehab work, hopefully with the Indians, and hopefully during the last homestand and not on the road.
C Ryan Doumit was put on the 15-day disabled list, due to a sprained wrist, injured when he made a diving catch in the outfield on Monday.
P Masumi Kuwata was designated for assignment. If he clears waivers, he can elect to be assigned to the Indians or retire.
To give the Pirates a back-up catcher and more outfield help, with Doumit on the DL and Xavier Nady’s hamstring still a problem:
C Carlos Maldonado, whose hand was not broken when he was hit by a pitch yesterday, was called up to the Pirates.
Utility man Matt Kata, who can play infield and outfield, was also called up to the Pirates.
Trickle-down effects:
OF Chris Aguila and P Mark Corey were reactivated from the disabled list, and are back on the Indians’ active roster.
OF Adam Boeve was reassigned to the Altoona Curve.
That leaves the Indians with 23 players and one empty roster spot — but only one catcher. I’d expect the next move to bring another catcher to the Tribe.
Take a look at what happened a couple of weeks ago in Altoona. That would have been a sight to see!
Go Tribe!

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Pirates Shuffle Roster; September Call-ups Near

As Randy noted in the game thread yesterday, the Pirates made a number of roster moves on Tuesday: Designated RHP Masumi Kuwata for assignment; Purchased the contract of INF/OF Matt Kata from Triple-A Indianapolis; Placed C/OF Ryan Doumit on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left wrist and transferred LHP Zach Duke from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list; Purchased the contract of Carlos Maldonado from Triple-A...

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