Who is YOUR Indians MVP?

With the mid-way mark of the 2007 quickly approaching, who do you think should be the Indians’ MVP for the first half of the season?
Who has contributed the most? Who has been the best overall?
Please click on ‘comments’ below and let me know what you think.
It doesn’t have to be a player currently on the team, if you think someone who has left has been the best. It doesn’t have to be only one, if you can’t decide between two or three players. Just let me know what you think about the team MVP.
We’ll review our picks this weekend.
Go Tribe!

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Game #70 at Seattle

Safeco Field | 10:05 | Gorzelanny vs. Miguel Batista | Box Jason Bay got a night off—well, sort of—and the Pirates’ offense didn’t skip a beat. Jim Tracy took advantage of the American League rules and used Bay as his designated hitter in an effort to give the slugger’s legs a break. Xavier Nady and Ryan Doumit played left and right field, forming a Nate McLouth sandwich. Skipper proved once again that...

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Indians: Walking Off With a Win

boxscore (Photos by NancyZ)
Sean Burnett -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians avoided extra innings with a walk-off run in the bottom of the 9th tonight, to beat the Pawtucket Red Sox 4-3 at Victory Field. The run was scored on a walk to C Carlos Maldonado with the bases loaded, giving the Indians their 41st win of the season. Relief pitcher Juan Perez, who took the loss last night, got his first win of the season tonight for the Tribe.
Indians starter Sean Burnett (photo), fresh off the disabled list because of elbow problems, started the game off by retiring the top of the Pawtucket line-up in order. In the bottom of the first, the Indians put up the first run of the game, when Red Sox starter Devern Hansack walked Tribe SS Brian Bixler on four straight pitches, and then 1B Yurendell de Caster ripped a double into the gap in right-center field, scoring Bixler.
The Red Sox came right back in the 2nd inning. With one out, RF Brandon Moss smashed a ball to deep center field. Everyone in the park, including Moss, thought it was a home run. Tribe CF Luis Matos did not run back to the wall to get it, and Moss himself didn’t run to first with much speed — thinking he was going to break into the home run trot in just a few seconds. But to everyone’s surprise, the ball bounced on the top of the outfield wall and bounced back in to center field, luckily towards Matos, who at that point started hustling to reach it. Moss also started running faster, but only got to second base. If he’d been running at top speed as soon as he left the batter’s box, he could have had a triple. It turned out that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because the next batter, 1B Jeff Bailey, crushed a rising fly ball just inside the foul line in left field for a 2-run home run, to give Pawtucket the lead.
Jewett congratulates Kata  -- photo by NancyZ
The Tribe tied it up in the 3rd inning, on Matt Kata’s solo home run, which sailed over the right field wall at the 360 foot mark. Kata (photo, being congratulated by manager Trent Jewett) had worked the count to 2 -1, and then fouled off the next 4 pitches before launching the big blast. It was Kata’s first home run and RBI with the Indians, and his first hit for the Tribe in his new home at Victory Field.
“I battled throughout the whole at bat, until I saw the pitch that I wanted”, said Kata in the post-game interview. “I put a good swing on the ball and was able to get it over the fence. It is nice to be able to contribute in my first home game as an Indian.”
Burnett again retired the side in order in the 3rd inning, but by then he had thrown 56 pitches, and that was enough for his first outing off the disabled list. Reliever Josh Sharpless, who had just joined the Tribe after being optioned down from the Pirates, pitched the fourth inning.
Andrews, Maldonado, and Sharpless on the mound - photo by NancyZ
Brandon Moss led off the inning with another smash, this time to straight center field, near the camera post. And the almost the same thing happened again — everyone thought it was a certain homer, Moss started a slow run to first base, though Matos in center field made more of a hustle toward the wall. Once again, the ball bounced off the top of the wall instead of sailing over it, and once more, Moss ended up on second base instead of reaching third. Again, it ended up not making a difference. Sharpless walked the next two batters, 1B Jeff Bailey and DH Michael Tucker, to load the bases with no one out. Pitching coach Jeff Andrews made a brief visit to the mound (photo), and as usual was a man of few words. Whatever he said was enough for Sharpless to get focused, and he struck out the next two batters, SS Ed Rogers and 3B Chad Spann, on 6 straight pitches. That brought up CF Jacoby Ellsbury, who took a ball and a strike, and swung for a strike, then fouled off 5 more pitches, before finally popping up to Tribe 3B Matt Kata for the out, to get out of the no out-bases loaded jam.

Maldonado blocks the plate  -- photo by NancyZ
With the score tied at 2 runs each, reliever Brian Rogers pitched the 5th and 6th innings for the Indians. He set the side down in order in the 5th, and pitched a scoreless 6th, thanks to a spectacular play by de Caster. With one out, PawSox’s Jeff Bailey grounded to third base and reached first base safely when Matt Kata’s wide throw to first pulled de Caster’s foot off the bag. Bailey advanced to third base when DH Michael Tucker singled on a sharply hit grounder that got under the diving de Caster’s glove. Ed Rogers tried a squeeze bunt to get the Bailey home, but he didn’t count on de Caster. The bunt went about half way down the first base line, and de Caster charged in, gloved the ball, and flipped it with his glove to C Carlos Maldonado, who planted himself in front of the plate and tagged out Bailey as he got there (photo).
Mark Corey relieved Rogers to start the 7th inning. Coreygave up a walk to CF Jacoby Ellsbury, a strikeout to 2B Bobby Scales, an intentional walk to LF David Murphy, and a strikeout to C Kevin Cash. When Scales was batting, Ellsbury stole second base, and reached third when neither middle infielder covered second base and Carlos Maldonado’s throw went into the outfield. Murphy also stole second, putting two runners in scoring position. Manager Trent Jewett pulled Corey, and brought in left-hander Juan Perez. Perez was greeted by another hit from Brandon Moss, his third of the game, to score Ellsbury and give the PawSox the lead. Perez then struck out Jeff Bailey to end the rally.
Matos slides in safely -- photo by NancyZ
That lead didn’t last long, however. Pawtucket starter Devern Hansack had held the Indians to those two runs and only 4 hits, while walking one and striking out 6. He was lifted after 6 innings and 94 pitches, with Craig Hansen coming in for relief in the bottom of the 7th. With one out, Luis Matos laid down a beautiful bunt along the third base line for an infield hit, and moved to second when the throw from the PawSox 3B Chad Spann went wide of the bag and into the outfield. A grounder to the right side by LF Michael Ryan moved Matos to third base. With 2B Luis Ordaz batting, Hansen threw a wild pitch, and Matos headed for home. Hansen was a little bit late covering home, and his tag appeared to hit Matos in the face, as Matos slid in safely to tie the game again (photo). Matos got up slowly but was ok and continued to play in the game.
Juan Perez came back to pitch scoreless 8th and 9th innings for the Indians, giving up only one hit and one walk. The Indians went down quickly in the 8th inning, with reliever Bryan Corey pitching for Pawtucket.
Carlos Maldonado -- photo by NancyZ
Travis Hughes entered to pitch the bottom of the 9th for the PawSox, and he had some problems with his control. The inning opened with DH Jose Hernandez walking on four straight pitches. Chris Aguila came in to pinch-run for Matos. Luis Matos attempted to put down a sacrifice bunt, but the ball bounced in foul territory and came back to hit Matos as he was running to first — the runner hit by a batted ball is out. Michael Ryan singled sharply into right field, moving Aguila to third base. That brought up Luis Ordaz, who was intentionally walked, loading the bases with one out, but giving the PawSox a chance at an easy double play. Carlos Maldonado (photo) stepped to the plate, and looked at ball one, way wide of the plate. The next pitch sailed high, for ball two. Third pitch — also high, ball three. The fourth pitch was also way outside, for ball four, and Carlos walked, to force in the winning run.
Travis Hughes, who had thrown 14 pitches, only 2 of which were strikes (the bunt and the single), took the loss for the PawSox, his third of the season. Brandon Moss had 3 hits in 5 at bats for Pawtucket, and Michael Tucker went 2 for 3.
The Indians had only 6 hits in the game, by Kata, Bixler, de Caster, Matos, Ryan, and Ordaz.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Matt Kata’s solo home run, his first as an Indian, and his first hit for the Tribe in Victory Field.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: 1B Yurendell de Caster’s charge-and-glove-flip of Ed Roger’s bunt in the top of the 6ht, to allow Carlos Maldonado to tag out Jeff Bailey at home plate and prevent another run from scoring.
NOTES:
Lots of Roster Moves–
Onto the roster:
- LHP Sean Burnett has been activated from the Disabled List, in time to pitch tonight.
- RHP Josh Sharpless was optioned to the Indians from the Pirates, and met up with the team today.
- C Humberto Cota cleared waivers and accepted the assignment to Indianapolis, and he was said to have also joined the team today, although I didn’t see him in the dugout.
Off the roster:
- RHP Mike Nannini, who had joined the team over the weekend to help with the shortage in the bullpen, was placed on the disabled list.
- INF Nick Green was first assigned to Lynchburg (A), and then during the game tonight, it was announced that Green has been traded to the Seattle Mariners.
- C David Parrish was reassigned to Altoona (AA).
Chris Truby  -- photo by NancyZ
- INF Chris Truby (photo), who has been on the DL, is going to be working for the Pirates as the hitting coach in Bradenton for the rest of the season. It’s unclear whether or not he plans to return as a player next season, or if he is going to retire as a player and turn to coaching. Truby has been sitting near Trent Jewett and Jeff Andrews in the dugout during most of the games when he isn’t playing…. he’d make a great coach.
Bryan Bullington was throwing some long-toss today. He reported that his arm is feeling OK.
Award:
Shane Youman was named International League Pitcher of the Week for June 11 – 17. Last week, Shane had two starts, and he won both while giving up only one earned run in 15.1 innings (0.59 ERA). He pitched 8 scoreless innings against Charlotte on June 11th, his longest scoreless appearance in his career. On June 16th, he struck out 10 Durham batters, another career best. Overall in 2007, Youman’s record is 3-5 with a 4.44 ERA.
The end of the streak:
Columbus’s Brandon Watson’s hitting streak ended at 43 games, as he went 0 for 5. He beat the previous record, held for 95 years, by one game.
Go Tribe!

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Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 13

Let’s have a look at some post-1979 trades to see what those brought. I’ll go chronologically starting with the the 1979 post-season and in this post, I’ll cover all the trades leading into and through the 1980 season. Larry Andersen On December 21, 1979, the Pirates sent Larry Littleton and career minor leaguer John Burden to the Indians for pitcher Larry Andersen. Littleton is best remembered as having the most at...

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Finding Homes for Pirate Scraps at the Deadline

Yesterday we determined the bait. Jack Wilson, Shawn Chacon, Tony Armas, Salomon Torres, Dan Kolb and John Grabow should be available at the trade deadline. While every club could use more pitching, there are only a few contenders in need of a shortstop. We’ll talk more about the arms later; this morning, let’s find Jack a new home. At first glance, I see three winning teams that could use an upgrade in the middle infield,...

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Suppose the Pirates are Trade-Deadline Sellers …

… what moves could they make? A couple of days ago, Nicolas sent the Pirate bloggers an e-mail asking us to weigh in with our thoughts on a few trade possibilities: Chacon to Cleveland? Torres to the Mets? Jacko to … Toronto, I suppose? Do you think there is any actual merit to those rumors, and if there is, then is there any actual value to be had? It seems like a short post would do the job, but I’m long-winded by...

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