More Booms, But From the Wrong Side for the Tribe

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
The Louisville Bats got their revenge on the Indianapolis Indians tonight, after last night’s 13- 5 win by the Tribe. The Bats hit four home runs, including two grand slams, as they got back at the Tribe, winning by a score of 16-1, at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky. The game time temperature was 97 degrees, which certainly didn’t help the Indians at all.
Indians’ starter Marty McLeary did not appear to have good control of his slider tonight. He struggled through two innings, giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 5 hits and 2 walks. The unearned run came in the bottom of the first inning. LF Chris Dickerson led off with a ground ball into right field for a double. Tribe RF Steve Pearce, in his second game ever as a right fielder, had trouble picking up the ball as it bounced around in the right field corner, and Dickerson went to third base. A sacrifice fly by 1B Joey Votto brought in Dickerson for the Bats’ first run of the game.
Josh Sharpless -- photo by NancyZ
The second inning spelled big trouble for McLeary. RF Jay Bruce led off with a single, and 2B Jorge Cantu and C Ryan Hanigan both walked, loading the bases with no one out. SS Paul Janish stepped to the plate and blasted a grand slam over the left field wall. After a quick fly out by pitcher Richie Gardner, Chris Dickerson also homered, bringing the lead to 6-0. McLeary gave up another single, to Joey Votto, before ending the inning. McLeary had thrown 49 pitches by that time, and he was removed from the game after just those two innings.
Josh Sharpless (photo) came in from the bullpen to pitch the next two innings. He gave up a harmless single in the 3rd, but he also had “grand” trouble in the 4th inning. Two walks and another single to Joey Votto loaded the bases again with one out. Then Aaron Herr smashed a grand slam over the left field wall, to give Louisville a 10-0 lead.

Steve Pearce -- photo by NancyZ
Reliever Brian Rogers was the next pitcher in from the Tribe bullpen. He set down the Bats in order in the 5th inning. In the 6th inning, Rogers gave up a single to CF Josh Hamilton and a walk to Aaron Herr, but got out of the inning without allowing a run to score when he struck out Jay Bruce for the third out.
Meanwhile, Louisville starter Richie Garder was holding the Indians’ batters scoreless for the first 5 innings. He allowed only two hits, singles to 1B Brad Eldred and pinch-hitter Yurendell de Caster, and two walks, to C David Parrish and RF Steve Pearce, over 5 innings. The Tribe got on the board in the 6th inning, when Pearce (photo) lifted a long fly ball over the left field wall near the foul line for a solo home run. Reliever Todd Coffey came in for Gardner, and gave up a triple to Eldred before Luis Matos grounded out to end the inning.
Russ Johnson -- photo by NancyZ
Jonah Bayliss pitched the 7th inning for the Indians. He struck out Jorge Cantu before giving up a single to Ryan Hanigan, a double to Paul Janish, and a single to pitcher Todd Coffey, who had his first professional RBI as Hanigan came in to score. A four-pitch walk to Chris Dickerson loaded the bases. Josh Hamilton hit a screaming line drive, but right to Tribe 2B Luis Ordaz, for the second out. Joey Votto gave the Indians a scare and the Bats’ fans a thrill when he lifted a fly ball down the left field line — but the ball went foul. He then singled into center field, bringing in two more runs, and raising the score to 13-1. That was the end of Jonah Bayliss’s pitching, and Tribe Manager Trent Jewett called down to the bullpen and brought in a new pitcher… Russ Johnson (photo). Yes, Russ Johnson, the veteran infielder, brought in to pitch.
Johnson has pitched before. In 2004, when he played with the Iowa Cubs (AAA), he pitched in two games, for a total of 4 innings, gave up r hits and a home run, walked three and struck out one, and had a 6.75 ERA. Johnson entered tonight’s game with two outs and runners on first and second bases. He first faced Aaron Herr, who had homered earlier in the game. On a 1-2 pitch, Herr lifted Johnson’s pitch over the right field wall for a 3-run homer. Johnson then got Jay Bruce to fly out to end the inning. Score: Bats 16, Tribe 1.
Luis Ordaz -- photo by NancyZ
Johnson returned to pitch the bottom of the 8th inning. He gave up a double to Jorge Cantu and a single to Ryan Hanigan. Then he got Paul Janis to ground into a double play, 3B Jose Hernandez to 2B Luis Ordaz (photo) to 1B Brad Eldred, and got pinch hitter Chad Moeller to fly out, ending the inning without allowing a run to score.
Reliever Todd Coffey pitched two more perfect innings for the Bats, setting 6 Tribe batters down in order. Bill Bray came in to pitch the 9th inning, and he also set the Tribe down in order to end the game.
Starter Richie Gardner took the win for the Bats, his 4th of the season. Marty McLeary was charged with the loss, his 5th of the season with the Tribe. The Indians managed only 4 hits, the homer by Steve Pearce, a single and a triple by Brad Eldred, and a single by Yurendell de Caster.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Steve Pearce’s home run, the only run and RBI by the Tribe. It was Pearce’s 4th homer for the Indians, and his 3rd in the past 3 games.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: Russ Johnson, an infielder, helping out the team by coming in to pitch 1.1 innings. He gave up a home run in the 7th, but then came back to pitch a scoreless inning in the 8th.
NOTES:
Michael Ryan left last night’s game in the 3rd inning because of a hip injury. He didn’t play in tonight’s game.
RHP Victor Zambrano, recently released by the Toronto Blue Jays, was picked up by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and signed to a minor league contract. He will be assigned to Indianapolis, and is scheduled to be tomorrow night’s starting pitcher.
Go Tribe!

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Game #111 at Arizona

Chase Field | 9:40 | Snell vs. Doug Davis | Box After the first inning, it was all Doug Davis. He yielded a two run homer to Jason Bay in the first and that was about it. The Bucs hit into three double plays to help kill off whatever chance they had. The good news is that Ian Snell was effective. He struck out seven and allowed only two runs in six innings pitched. The Bucs dropped two of three to Arizona, but when I take a step back,...

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Pirate Minor Leaguers are a Welcome Diversion

I’m having a hard time getting excited about the 2007 version of the Pittsburgh Baseball Club.  The shine that came from a winning second half in 2006 wore off long ago, and our marginal players are being exposed as weak spots in a rebuilding franchise. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pulling double duty—writing both here and at Sandlot Swashbucklers.  The minor-league blogging makes it a little easier to...

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Pirate Affiliates Have Interesting Outfielders

As I did for the Pirates’ catchers and fielders on Tuesday, I’m here to provide an update of sorts on the progression of our outfield prospects.
Last time, I went position by position listing the most interesting sandlot swashbucklers. Today, I’m going to sort each section by affiliate: Starting with Indianapolis and ending with State College, I’ll list the starting outfielders and try to separate the legitimate talent from the veteran filler.
As I said Tuesday, I’ve only included stats for interesting players; that is, if you?re 30 years old and still in Double-A, I didn?t bother looking up your numbers.
I’ll be back for a look at the pitching staffs later in the week.


Indianapolis

Pos.

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Michael Ryan

LF

306

.265

15

44

26

75

Nyjer Morgan

CF

130

.308

0

9

13

22

Brad Eldred

RF

232

.211

11

35

17

66

Luis Matos

OF

324

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ryan is the most likely candidate to get a call from Indianapolis before September, as he hit well in the month of July. Still, he’s nothing more than veteran filler at this point in his career.
Morgan, like Rajai Davis, is a speedster who won’t hit for power. He hit the disabled list earlier in the year, losing precious development time. He hasn’t played since May 14; he’ll likely need to start next year at Triple-A before ever getting a shot as a fourth outfielder.
Eldred is the minor-league flop of the 2007 season. After a white-hot spring training, Big Country has gone ice cold. Steven Pearce is the new Eldred, being shuffled between first base and right field in Indianapolis with the hope that adding a little versatility will help him earn a promotion to Pittsburgh.
Luis Matos and Chris Aguila have seen time in Indy’s outfield—like Ryan, they’re just there to fill out a roster. Adam Boeve, a fan favorite at Altoona who’s been shuffled around a bit in his career, also fits into that category.


Altoona

Pos.

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Brett Roneberg

LF

176

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew McCutchen

CF

414

.251

9

46

42

78

Vic Buttler

RF

184

 

 

 

 

 

Roneberg and Buttler are non-prospects at this point. They’re joined by Peter Bergeron, a former Montreal Expo, in an outfield led by the gem of the system, McCutchen. After Pearce’s promotion to Indianapolis, Jason Delaney was shifted from the outfield to first base, his natural home.
McCutchen’s line is disheartening—especially considering how well he performed against big-league competition in March—but he still has the shine of a first-round pick. Reports are that he’s been more comfortable at the plate as the season’s gone on, and that’s reflected in his monthly batting average. McCutchen hit .309/.385/.404 in 109 July plate appearance.
Before his dismal April, I thought Andrew was a shoo-in for a September call-up, but whether the Pirates will (or should) give him a look this year is debatable.


Lynchburg

Pos.

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Jamie Romak

LF

220

.232

12

33

48

71

Pedro Powell

CF

388

.245

0

28

48

76

Brad Corley

RF

411

.277

11

74

9

81

James Boone

CF

192

.255

6

34

17

35

Where to start with this bunch?
There’s Romak, the quasi-prospect the Pirates picked up in the LaRoche-Gonzalez deal who has a terribly low batting average but an impressively high on-base percentage; there’s Powell, who WTM calls the fastest player in the Pirates system (and who’s swiped 55 bags this season); Corley, the corner outfielder who’s on pace to drive in 100 runs for the second straight year but who also has zero plate discipline (evidenced by his nine walks); and Boone, a third-round pick from the 2005 draft who can’t seem to stay healthy long enough to make a name for himself.
All four are intriguing, and yet all four have somewhat obvious flaws. Still, the Hillcats’ outfield is the most talented of the Pirates’ affiliates. If any of these four turns it on, there’s room for him at Altoona going forward.


Hickory

Pos.

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Jared Keel

LF

261

.284

16

52

42

54

Alex Presley

CF

398

.296

9

50

36

95

Jonel Pacheco

RF

370

 

 

 

 

 

Albert Laboy

CF

159

.270

5

24

12

21

If Jared Keel could field worth a darn, he’d be someone to keep an eye on. All he’s done since being selected in the 31st round of last year’s draft is hit. He started as a third baseman, moved to first and the corner outfield spots, and now is regularly slotted into the Crawdads’ lineup as a designated hitter. His .958 OPS is impressive, but he’ll need to figure out how to use his glove, too.
Presley, with an OPS near .800 and a little speed, seems like a Nate McLouth type to me. In the past that would’ve been a compliment, but it’s not any longer. The system is filled with four outfield candidates.
Laboy doesn’t bring much to the plate. The fact that Pacheco, a minor-league veteran from the Mets’ system, has stolen so many at bats from him doesn’t speak well for his standing within the Pirates’ organization.


State College

Pos.

AB

AVG

HR

RBI

BB

K

Marcus Davis

LF

106

.264

7

15

14

29

Austin McClune

CF

125

.312

0

14

5

23

Erik Huber

RF

107

.252

0

5

8

20

Keanon Simon

CF

97

.320

1

12

15

15

Miles Durham

OF

97

.268

1

10

10

24

Not too much to say here, as I haven’t been following these guys much.
McClune, Huber, Davis and Simon were drafted this year. McClune and Simon are likely center fielders; the other three are corner outfielders. From the numbers alone, it appears that the guys in center are the most impressive.
WTM says McClune is “a raw player with speed and power potential.” Huber has a good bit of size, but he hasn’t hit his stride yet professionally. Davis’ seven homers have him tied for third in the league, two off the leader’s pace despite having 70 fewer plate appearances.

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Indy Indians: Ka-BOOM!

boxscore (photos by NancyZ)
Don Kelly -- photo by NancyZ
Did you hear some booming noises tonight, when there were no thunderstorms in sight? And did those booms seem to come from the south (if you were in central Indiana)? That might have been the Indianapolis Indians, playing against the Louisville Bats, at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Kentucky. The Tribe put up 19 hits, including three homers, two triples, and five doubles, as they scored 13 runs, to beat the Bats by a score of 13-5. It was the third straight road win for the Indians, who have not won that many consecutive road games since the first week of May.
“We were struggling over the last couple weeks and it feels great to get on a roll on the road,” said Tribe first baseman Brad Eldred, who had two of the team’s three home runs. “Throwing 13 runs together always feels good and continuing to get wins on the road will help us down the stretch with getting into the playoffs. Every win counts and hopefully we can keep riding this streak.”
Michael Tejera  -- photo by NancyZ
The game did not start off with a boom. Neither starting pitcher, not lefty Michael Tejera (photo) of the Indians nor righty Elizardo Ramirez of the Bats, allowed a run in the first 2.5 innings of the game. Both pitchers put runners on base in the first inning, and both got out of the inning with a double play. Tejera initiated the Indians’ double play himself. The Indians posted singles by CF Matt Kata and SS Brian Bixler, and a double by 1B Brad Eldred, and Bixler also reached base on a throwing error in the first inning, but none of them could come around to score. Tejera gave up one single, to Bats’ CF Josh Hamilton, and one walk to Joey Votto, in the first inning, but they could not score either.
Louisville got on the board in the bottom of the 3rd inning. SS Paul Janish smashed a triple to the right field wall, and scored on Chris Dickerson’s sacrifice fly. An inning later, Louisville led off the inning with three consecutive line drive singles, by 1B Joey Votto, 3B Aaron Herr, and 2B Jorge Cantu, loading the bases. After a strikeout by RF Jay Bruce, a sacrifice fly by Ryan Jorgenson plated Votto, but that was all the Bats could get, as Tejera got Paul Janish to ground into a force out to end the inning. The Bats had the 2-0 lead.
Brad Eldred -- photo by NancyZ
The Indians came roaring back in the top of the 5th inning, on a 7-run rally that saw the line-up bat around and keep going. 2B Luis Ordaz got things started with a line drive into left field, and he made it to second base when LF Chris Dickerson fumbled while fielding the ball. C Carlos Maldonado and Michael Tejera both grounded out, and Ordaz was able to advance to third base on Tejera’s grounder. Then the fun really began. With two outs, the Tribe put up 7 consecutive hits. A double by Matt Kata scored Ordaz. A triple by Brian Bixler scored Kata. Don Kelly, who had entered the game in the 3rd inning, replacing LF Michael Ryan, singled to score Bixler. Steve Pearce’s single moved Kelly to third, and both Kelly and Pearce came in on 3B Yurendell de Caster’s double to center field. Bats’ CF Josh Hamilton froze as the ball was coming toward him, and so had to chase the ball, and he missed the cutoff men when he threw the ball back to the infield. Elizardo Ramirez headed to the showers, and Bats’ reliever Steven Kelly came into the game. But Steven Kelly didn’t fare any better, as his second pitch to Brad Eldred (photo) landed 439 feet away, a huge blast over the left-center field wall, over the lawn area, and into the first row of terrace seating, for a 2-run homer. Luis Ordaz added his second single of the inning, and then Carlos Maldonado grounded into a force out, ending the inning, with the Indians in the lead, 7-2.

The Bats did not give up. They got one of the runs back in the bottom of the inning. Relief pitcher Steven Kelly was up first, and he singled into center field. He moved to second base on a ground out, and scored on Joey Votto’s single. Tejera struck out Aaron Herr to end the inning. Score: Indians 7, Bats 3.
Michael Tejera would have been the first batter in the top of the 6th, but he was removed from the game, in favor of pinch hitter Adam Boeve. Tejera seemed to be tiring, as he did not have his usual amount of control, and also likely due to the extreme temperatures — 97 degrees at game time. He threw 73 pitches, 42 for strikes, and gave up 3 runs on 7 hits and one walk, with 3 strikeouts.
Steve Pearce  -- photo by NancyZ
The Tribe batted around again as they put up 6 more runs in the 6th inning. Adam Boeve walked to start the inning, but he was then thrown out trying to steal second base. Matt Kata singled up the middle, and that ended Steven Kelly’s night. Jon Coutlangus, just optioned down from the Cincinnati Reds, entered the game in relief, and he started by walking Brian Bixler. Both Bixler and Kata scored when Don Kelly grounded the ball up the right field line. The ball got past RF Jay Bruce and went all the way to the right field wall, which allowed Kelly to make it a triple. With still one out, Steve Pearce (photo) boomed a homer over the left field wall, bringing in Kelly. Yurendell de Caster wanted in on this fun too, and he singled on a grounder deep to shortstop. Bats’ SS Paul Janish dove and did come up with the ball, but his high and wide throw would not have been in time to get de Caster even if it had been on target. That set up things for Brad Eldred, who proceeded to smash his second homer of the game, and second in consecutive innings, over the left-center field wall, another 2-run homer. Jon Coutlangus, who had given up 5 earned runs without making an out, was removed in favor of righty reliever Brad Salmon. Salmon gave up a single to Luis Ordaz, before striking out Carlos Maldonado and getting Adam Boeve to ground into a force out to end the inning. Score: Indians 13, Bats 3.
Matt Kata -- photo by NancyZ
Louisville added two more runs in their half of the 6th inning. Jesse Chavez had entered the game in relief of Michael Tejera. Chavez gave up singles to Jorge Cantu and Jay Bruce. LF Anderson Machado, who had entered the game on a double switch, knocked a triple into right field, scoring both Cantu and Bruce. Indians 13, Bats 5.
Brad Salmon came back to pitch the top of the 7th inning for the Bats. He gave up a double to Matt Kata (photo) and hit Don Kelly with a pitch, and left the game with two outs in the inning. Tyler Pelland was the fourth Bats’ reliever to pitch. He ended the 7th inning by striking out Yurendell de Caster, and then returned to pitch a scoreless 8th inning, giving up only a double to Luis Ordaz. Ricky Stone, the fifth reliever for the Bats, pitched the 9th inning, and put the Tribe down in order.
Jonah Bayliss -- photo by NancyZ
Jesse Chavez pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Tribe, and then gave way to Jonah Bayliss (photo) for the 8th inning. In his first appearance since being optioned to the Indians from the Pirates, Bayliss set the Bats down in order.
Brian Rogers pitched the bottom of the 9th. He gave up a two -out single to pinch hitter Chad Moeller, but the game ended when Yurendell de Caster caught Jesse Gutierrez’s sharp line drive to third base.
Michael Tejera earned the win for the Indians, improving his record to 7-2. Elizardo Ramirez, who had given up the first 6 runs in the 5th inning, took the loss, putting his record at 2-3. Matt Kata and Luis Ordaz (photo below) led the Indians’ offense with 4 hits each, and Brad Eldred had 3 hits, two of which were homers. Steve Pearce also homered. Brian Bixler and Don Kelly both tripled, and Eldred, Kata (twice), Ordaz and Yurendell de Caster all doubled.
Luis Ordaz -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ hitting gems of the game: Three home runs, each for two runs — two by Brad Eldred, in two consecutive innings (5 and 6), and one by Steve Pearce also in the 6th inning. Those were Brad Eldred’s 12th and 13th homers of the season with the Indians. Pearce’s homer was his 3rd with the Tribe and his 28th for the season. Said Brad Eldred after the game: “It feels great when you get an inside fastball and are able to square it up by getting your hands through the pitch. It is always nice to know you don’t have to sprint full speed out of the box.”
Indians’ defensive gems of the game: In the bottom of the first inning, starting pitcher Michael Tejera made two outstanding plays. The first batter, Chris Dickerson, dropped a bunt down on the first-base side, and Tejera made an excellent fielding play, scooping the ball and firing to first base in time to beat Dickerson. Minutes later, with men on first and second bases, Aaron Herr grounded a ball back to Tejera, who turned and threw to second base, starting an inning-ending double play.
NOTES:
Michael Ryan left the game in the 3rd inning, also with an unspecified injury.
Luis Ordaz extended his hitting streak to 8 games.
Adam Boeve walked and had a hit in the same inning as a pinch hitter in the 6th inning. When did that last happen? According to Howard Kellman and Scott McCauley, it happened on April 20th, when Rajai Davis pinch hit and walked and got a hit in the 8th Inning. Davis pinch hit for pitcher Kevin Gryboski, and led off the inning with a walk. Luis Matos singled, Brian Bixler reached on a fielding error, Chris Aguila and Nyjer Morgan singled (Aguila’s hit scored Davis), Russ Johnson walked, and Ryan Doumit singled. A throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Jose Hernandez scored more runs, followed by a ground out by Yurendell de Caster. Then Rajai Davis tripled in his second at-bat in the inning. Seven runs scored in that inning.
Steve Pearce started the game in right field tonight, for the first time in his 303 minor league games. His homer was his 28th of the season, and he increased his season RBI total to 102.
It was the first time Brad Eldred had hit two homers in one game in over a year.
The Indians now have 92 home runs for the season, with almost 3 weeks left in the season. The 2006 Indians hit a total of 88 home runs.
Go Tribe!

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Game #110 at Arizona

Chase Field | 9:40 | Maholm vs. Byung-Hyun Kim | Box 14 walks total in the game. Neither starter pitched well. Paul Maholm took the loss by giving up six runs. Only four of them were earned, but the error that allowed unearned runs was his own. He was staked to the lead twice, but couldn’t hold it. Salomon Torres gave up three runs in one inning to help the D-Backs put the game away. Franquelis Osoria made his Pirates debut and...

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