Game #43 vs. Arizona

PNC Park | 1:35 | Maholm vs. Randy Johnson | Box Randy Johnson struck out 10 and then got some help from the bullpen. After a shaky start that saw him give up a run in the first, the Unit rebounded to notch his first win at PNC Park. Paul Maholm was the loser, giving another subpar performance. The Pirates had just seven hits and no walks. Jack Wilson made a pinch hitting appearance, his first game time in a couple of days, and struck...

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Indians vs Buffalo — live blog

Just for something different to do — a live blog of the game between the Indy Indians and the Buffalo Bison.
Brad Eldred -- photo by NancyZ
Pre game notes:
Humberto Cota’s rehab assignment has ended, and he has gone back to Pittsburgh. To make room for him on the roster, Pittsburgh has sent us Brad Eldred ( photo by NancyZ ) — who has been doing pine duty and not getting very many at-bats– only 7 AB’s in the past three weeks. He’s going to need lots of at-bats to get himself back into a groove. A few homers would be nice for the Tribe too. To make room for Eldred on the Tribe roster, the Indians will place RHP Mark Corey on the DL.
Pitching matchups:
Bryan Bullington for the Indians : 6-1, 2.40 ERA
Sean Smith for the Bison: 3-1, 1.78
Indians’ Lineup:
Rajai Davis, CF
Brian Bixler, 2B
Yurendell de Caster, 1B
Chris Aguila, LF
Michael Ryan, DH
Russ Johnson, 3B
Luis Matos, RF
Nick Green, SS
Einar Diaz, C (former Bison )
Bisons’ lineup:
Franklin Gutierrez, RF
Luis Rivas, SS
Ben Francisco, CF
Keith Ginter, 3B (former Indian, briefly )
Jason Cooper, DH
Ryan Mulhern, 1B
Trent Durrington, 2B (former Indian, 2004 )
Brad Snyder, LF
David Wallace, C
The Bison are wearing pink hats today — they must have been rained out last Sunday? The pink hats are to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation, supporting breast cancer research. Last night they wore camouflage caps for Armed Forces Night.
A gloomy-looking gray day, 52 degrees, in Buffalo. Not very many people in the stands (on
Top of the First Sean Smith pitching
Davis– 0-2 count, Rajai fouling off a few; Rajai bloops a single to left field, that the shortstop and left fielder can’t get to.
Bixler — yup, there goes Rajai stealing second, his 23rd in 30 attempts. He made it easily, and the throw was to the first-base side.
Bixler still up — a pick-off attempt but Rajai gets back just in time. Rajai is making Smith nervous. A fake to second. Another throw to second. Bixler might be feeling neglected here.
Bixler — 3-2 count now, and fouling off a few. Swing and miss — struck out swinging on one in on his hands. 1 out
De Caster — Rajai still dancing around at second base. 3 strikes, out swinging, as Rajai moves to third…. and Wallace’s throw is in the dirt and goes into the Indians’ dugout…. no, wait, Rajai going back to second….??… ok, it’s inadvertent interference when De’s backswing interfered with the throw to third, so Davis goes back to second. 2 out
Aguila — 2-2 count, strikes out swinging 3 out
So, Smith gives up a hit and then strikes out the side.
bottom of the 1st Bryan Bullington pitching
No pink bats to go with the pink hats.
Gutierrez — has a 17 game hitting streak, though 16 of those were before he was called up to Cleveland; he just came back to the Bison yesterday and got a hit. Lined out to short, with Bixler catching it on the fly at his ankles. 1 out
Rivas — first pitch popped out to Davis in CF 2 out
Francisco– quick fly out to Matos in RF. An easy one for Bullington. 3 out

Top 2nd
Ryan — another strike out, Smith’s 4th in a row. 1 out
Johnson — flyout to centerfield 2 out
Matos — 1-2 count and fouling some off; easy fly out to right field 3out
Bottom 2nd
Ginter — 4 pitch walk
Cooper — bouncing to Bixler, and a throw to de Caster, low and to his right, but De said in the pre-game interview that he’s become very comfortable picking those throws from whereever they come. Ginter to second 1 out
Mulhern — strike three, though it bounced at the plate, and Diaz has to throw to first, pretty easy; Ginter still at second; 2 out
Durrington — a swing, and Durrington’s bat goes flying back to the backstop; 3-2 count; strike three looking 3 out
Top 3rd
Green — fly to centerfield, carried all the way to the track 1 out
Diaz — 3-2, a pitch high and tight that Einar had to back away from; another foul ball; grounder that went under Ginter’s glove and into left field. He just didn’t get down far enough, and probably should have had that one. No error, though — Einar gets the hit.
Davis — pop up in the infield, Ginter calls off Smith and tries to atone by making this catch. Diaz stays at first. 2 out
Bixler — 1-2, fouling off again; another view of the stands — this would be perfect for little Buffalo kids who want souvenirs, as Bixler is providing a lot of foul balls, and there aren’t many people to compete for them in the stands. Bixler swings and misses for Smith’s strikeout #5. 3 out
Bottom 3rd
Snyder — first pitch goes all the way to the warning track in center field, and Rajai catches it over his shoulder with his back to the infield. 1 out
Wallace — called strike, called strike, swinging strike 2 out
Gutierrez –comebacker to Bullington, easy throw on to de Caster at first; another easy inning for Bullington. 3 out
Russ Johnson -- photo by NancyZ
Top 4th
light misty rain falling
de Caster — fly out to right field 1 out
Aguila — double line drive to center field
Ryan — strike out 2 out
Johnson — smashed a stand-up double into the Left-center gap, scoring Aguila for an RBI (photo by NancyZ )
Matos — bounces a grounder to short, thrown out at first. 3 out; Indians 1, Bison 0
Bottom 4th
Rivas –2-0 count, slammed a ball to the wall, still going, Rajai Davis leaps — and can’t catch it. Home run.
Francisco — grounds first pitch to left field for a single
Ginter — singles a liner to left field, moving Francisco to 3rd.
Cooper — walk, loading the bases with no outs.
A visit to the mound by Einar Diaz
Mulhern — plunked! Bullington hits Mulhern on the left hip (?maybe arm?), forcing in Francisco. Bases still loaded. Not that I want to see players get hit, but a hit batter only gets to first, and only makes one run score, as opposed to a double or more…
Trent Durrington  -- photo by NancyZ
Durrington (photo by NancyZ ) — well, I spoke too soon. Durro blasts a triple into the rightfiield corner, and Matos has to track it down. Durrington runs fast, so he gets to third and three runs score (Ginter, Cooper, Mulhern). still no outs, Buffalo with 5 runs.
Snyder –former teammate of Bullington at Ball State. Grounder to first, with infield drawn in, de Caster fields it backhanded, and steps on first, while making sure Durrington stays put at third. 1 out
Wallace — grounder to third, Johnson looks at Durrington, and fires to first; de Caster catches it and looks at Durrington again. Durrington isn’t stupid — he stays put. 2 out
Gutierrez — two long fouls to first base stands, then inside pitch, high and tight…. nope, it didn’t hit him, just the handle of the bat, and so it’s a foul ball; another foul, that looked like it hit Einar’s foot; more foul balls. Bullington is racking up the pitch count here. Finally! Gutierrez lifts one to center field, an easy play for Rajai Davis. 3 out, Indians 1, Bison 5
Top 5th Smith still pitching, rain stopped
Green — high pop fly toward the dugout… no, Wallace runs over to try, but it’s out of reach. A swing and a miss on the next pitch– strike out. 7 K’s for Smith. 1 out
Diaz — first pitch grounded down the left field line for a double.
Davis — Another pop fly in foul territory. Wallace has this one, just to the side of the dirt around home plate. 2 out
Bixler — high pop, just into short right field, Durrington goes back and has it easily behind first base. 3 out
Bottom 5th Bullington still pitching
Rivas — liner to Aguila — he had to take one step to the side and it was right to him. 1 out
Francisco — strike out, Bullington’s 5th 2 out
Ginter — double down the left field line
Cooper — grounder to second, broken bat; Bixler has an easy play to first 3 out
Top 6th someone warming up in the Bison bullpen
De Caster — single to right field, near the foul line
Aguila — 3-2 count, fly out to right center; De Caster stays at first. 1 out
Ryan — works a walk. De Caster to second. That’s it for Sean Smith –5.1 innings, 1 run, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K.
Matt Miller comes in to relieve Smith. A submariner-type delivery.
Johnson — four pitch walk. De Caster to third, Ryan to second.
Matos — 3-2 count; strikeout swinging 2 out
Green — bases still loaded; Josh Sharpless starts warming up in the bullpen; 2-2 count, strikeout swinging. 3 out
Bottom 6th Bullington still pitching, though Sharpless continues to work in the bullpen.
Mulhern — pop out to de Caster in foul territory in front of the dugout 1 out
Durrington — bunt attempt goes foul; another foul; Bullington comes up short in his delivery, but since no one is on base, it isn’t a balk; bouncing grounder to short, easy play for Green, throwing to de Caster. 2 out
Snyder — strikeout, Bullington’s 6th. 3 out, Indians 1, Bison 5
top 7th Bubbie Buzachero comes in to relieve; Miller’s line: 0.2 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 1 BB, 2K.
Diaz — pop out to SS Rivas at the foul line behind third base 1 out
Davis — grounder right to Ginter at third, easy play. 2 out
Bixler — fly ball to right center. 3 out
Josh Sharpless  -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom 7th Sharpless in to pitch (photo by NancyZ ); Bullington’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R (all earned), 2 BB, 5 K. Five good innings, and one awful inning.
Wallace — greets Sharpless with a homer to left field on an 0-1 pitch. Aguila ran a little way, then just stopped and watched it sail way over his head. Wallace’s second HR of the season.
Gutierrez — double down the line into left field, extending his hitting streak to 18 games.
Rivas — grounds a single to center, Davis got there but couldn’t get his glove down and the ball gets by him. Gutierrez scores. Rivas moves to third on the error by Davis.
Francisco — sacrifice fly to center field. Fielded cleanly, but Rivas scores (unearned run, at least at this point). 1 out
Ginter — pops up, Johnson makes an easy catch, just into foul territory next to third base. 2 out
Cooper — another pop fly to Johnson, who runs back to the bullpen to make the catch next to the bullpen mound. 3 out Indians 1, Bison 8
Top 8th Juan Lara in to pitch for Bison; Buzachera goes one inning, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 BB, 0 K.
de Caster –strikes out swinging 1 out
Aguila — high fly down the right field line, caught right on the foul line at the warning track. 2 out
Ryan — singles into right field.
Johnson — line drive to right center, but right to Gutierrez 3 out
Brian Rogers  -- photo by NancyZ
Bottom 8 Brian Rogers in to pitch for the Tribe (photo by NancyZ ); Sharpless: 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (two earned), 0 BB, 0 K;
Mulhern — grounder to de Caster, who throws to Rogers covering first 1 out
Durrington — 1-2 count, strikeout swinging 2 out
Snyder — 3- pitch strikout swinging 3 out, Indians 1, Bison 8
Top 9th Mike Koplove now pitching for Buffalo; Lara went one inning, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.
Matos — lines out to left fielder. 1 out
Green — strikeout swinging 2 out
Diaz — last chance; grounder to shortstop, easy play to first, to end the game. 3 out, Indians 1, Bison 8
Rogers’ line: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Koplove’s line: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.
The Bison scored 8 runs on 8 hits; they left only 3 runners on base, and made no errors. Buffalo’s offense was led by Luis Rivas, who went 2 for 4 with two RBI; Keith Ginter, who went 2 or 3; and Trent Durrington, who hit a tremendous triple to clear the bases and knock in three runs. Starter Sean Smith got the win, his 4th.
The Indians scored one run on 7 hits, with 8 left on base, and one error. Einar Diaz went 2 for 4, and Rajai Davis, Yurendell de Caster, Chris Aguila, Michael Ryan, and Russ Johnson had one hit apiece. Johnson had the only RBI for the Tribe. Starter Bryan Bullington took the loss, his second.
The Indians and Bison have each won one game in this 4-game series.
No word on when Brad Eldred will join the team, and he has 72 hours to report. But, the sooner he gets with the team, the sooner he can get into games and get at-bats.
Indians’ hitting gem of the game: Russ Johnson’s RBI double to score Aguila, and give the Tribe a (temporary) lead.
Indians’ offensive gem of the game: In the 4th inning, after Trent Durrington’s triple, Bryan Bullington settled down to get the next three Bison out (grounder, grounder, fly out ) and leave Durrington stranded on third.
Go Tribe!

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Indians Win on Combined Shutout

Sean Burnett -- photo by NancyZ
The Indianapolis Indians started their four-game series against the Buffalo Bison with a 6-0 win in Buffalo, NY. Starter Sean Burnett (photo by NancyZ ) threw six innings, and Franquelis Osoria and Jesse Chavez both pitched in relief, to combine for the shutout. Burnett got his fourth win, and his first win since April 18th.
Burnett won his first three starts of the 2007 season, but then had three losses mixed in with some no-decisions. He had been having control problems in his last few starts. He credited working with Indians’ pitching coach Jeff Andrews and manager Trent Jewett in the past week.
“They told me to stay calm, just throw the ball, and not worry about where it goes, not worry about walks”, said Burnett after the game. “I was struggling a little with my control in the first few innings tonight. Fortunately, I was able to find a rhythm and settle down over the last three frames. I was able to make the big pitches and get the double plays when I needed them.”
Tonight, he pitched six scoreless innings, throwing 99 pitches (59 strikes) while allowing only 3 hits, all singles. He walked 5 Bison batters and struck out three. His record now stands at 4-3, and his ERA is 3.81. As he said, Burnett did seem to struggle with control early in the game. In the first inning, he gave up a single and two walks, but a double play and a smooth pick-off move got him out of the inning without a run scoring. Burnett also gave up back-to-back walks with two out in the 3rd inning, but a strikeout ended the threat. Burnett sailed through the next three innings, and got the timely double plays he mentioned.

Franquelis Osoria -- photo by NancyZ
Reliever Franquelis Osoria, (photo by NancyZ ) fresh off the disabled list, pitched a scoreless and hitless 7th inning, giving up one walk and striking out two. Jesse Chavez came in to pitch the last two innings, also hitless and scoreless, with one walk and one strikeout.
Meanwhile, the Indians posted 10 hits on their way to 6 runs. Bison starter Rafael Perez took the loss, going 6 innings. He gave up 6 runs, 2 earned, while striking out 5 Tribe batters. The Indians wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard. In the first inning, SS Brian Bixler (photo below, by NancyZ ) tripled to left field. An RBI single by 1B Yurendell de Caster plated the first run.
Brian Bixler, here with Trent Jewett, hit a triple  -- photo by NancyZ
The Tribe took advantage of Buffalo errors to score two more runs in the 3rd. With one out, Yurendell de Caster singled. C Humberto Cota was safe at first on a throwing error by Bison SS Hector Luna, and that advanced de Caster to third. LF Chris Aguila reached first on Luna’s second error of the inning, and that fielding error allowed de Caster to score. RF Luis Matos hit a liner to left field for the RBI single that scored Cota.
Another error and another RBI by Matos led to three more runs for the Indians in the 5th inning. De Caster led off the inning with a single, and Bison SS Hector Luna committed his third error (throwing ) of the game to allow Cota to reach base again. 3B Russ Johnson advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. De Caster scored on Chris Aguila’s RBI single to center field, and Cota and Aguila scored on Luis Matos’s line drive double to left field. Cota’s run was unearned because he reached base on the error, so Matos only got credit for batting in one run.
Reliever Matt Miller pitched a perfect 7th inning for the Bison, and Jake Dittler pitched a perfect 8th inning. In the 9th inning, Dittler gave up a double to CF Rajai Davis and a walk to Yurendell de Caster, but a double play ended the Tribe’s last scoring chance.
Yurendell de Caster  -- photo by NancyZ
Yurendell de Caster (photo by NancyZ ) hit three singles in 4 at-bats, with one RBI. He also stole one base (third base ). Luis Matos went 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI.
Indians hitting gem of the game: Brian Bixler’s triple to the left field wall, opening up the game for the Tribe. He scored on a single by Yurendell de Caster, and this turned out to be the game-winning run.
Indians defensive gem of the game: Six shutout innings by Sean Burnett, followed by one by Franquelis Osoria, and two by Jesse Chavez.
RHP Franquelis Osoria came off the disabled list today — and got right into the game. He had been on the DL since May 7th.
RHP Kevin Gryboski was placed on the DL, retroactive to May 17th.
Go Tribe!

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Game #42 vs. Arizona

PNC Park | 7:05 | Gorzelanny vs. Micah Owings | Box Earlier in the day, when I read Jim Tracy’s comments about how he was reluctant to hand the 5th starter’s job to Shawn Chacon in part because Chacon was doing a great job in long relief, I kind of chuckled to myself. Tracy spoke about how important the 7th inning was and how he didn’t want to mess with the bullpen. At least for one night, his comments look like the...

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Tribe Splits Season Series With Chiefs

The Indianapolis Indians took advantage of mistakes by the Syracuse Chiefs to score 4 unearned runs, but it wasn’t enough, as the Chiefs beat the Indians 7-5 in Syracuse, NY. This ends the season series between the Chiefs and the Indians in a split, with each team winning 4 games.
Michael Tejera  -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ starter Michael Tejera (photo by NancyZ ) went 5 innings, and got no decision, as the score was tied when he left. He gave up 3 runs, all earned, on 6 hits and 5 walks. Syracuse starter John Thomson, on a rehab assignment from the Toronto Blue Jays, also pitched 5 innings and also gave up 3 runs and 6 hits, but only one of those runs was earned.
The Chiefs matched the Tribe run for run in the early innings. In the top of the 3rd, 2B Luis Ordaz and 3B Nick Green put up back to back singles, and an RBI double by SS Brian Bixler scored Ordaz. In the bottom of the third, Chiefs’ 2B Russ Adams walked, and C Curtis Thigpen hit a ground-rule double to center field. A ground out to first base by 1B Kevin Barker scored Adams.
In the top of the fifth, the Indians put up two. Nick Green hit a ground-rule double to left-center, and Rajai Davis followed with a single. Davis stole second base, his 23rd stolen base of the season. A wild throwing error allowed both Green and Davis to score, both runs unearned. The Chiefs countered with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Curtis Thigpen walked and advanced to second when LF John-Ford Griffin grounded out. SS Howie Clark hit his first homer of the season, scoring himself and Thigpen, to tie the game again.
Rajai Davis -- photo by NancyZ
Photo: Rajai Davis — photo by NancyZ
Syracuse scored again in the 6th and 7th innings. Chris Hernandez entered the game in relief of Tribe starter Michael Tejera. He started off the inning by walking CF Jeff Duncan, who then stole second base. DH Ray Olmedo hit a bunt, intending to sacrifice, but Tribe 3B Nick Green’s throw to first base went wild, allowing Duncan to score. In the 7th inning, with Hernandez still pitching, Howie Clark walked and stole second base. RF Wayne Lydon singled, allowing Clark to score. Lydon advanced to second on the throw home to try to get Clark. That sent Hernandez to the showers, in favor of Indians’ reliever Matt Peterson. Peterson started by walking Jeff Duncan. Ray Olmeda hit a line drive single to right field that scored both Lydon and Duncan. Olmeda advanced to second on a throwing error by Tribe SS Brian Bixler but then a pop-out by Russ Adams ended the inning. At the end of the 7th, the Chiefs were leading by a score of 7-3.

Justin James relieved Chiefs’ starter Thomson, pitching perfect 6th and 7th innings. The Indians rallied in the top of the 8th, to score two more unearned runs. Russ Johnson walked, and with two outs, James was pulled in favor of reliever Mike Venafro. DH Michael Ryan greeted Venafro with a double to left, which moved Johnson to third. LF Chris Aguila grounded to third base, but the throw from Chiefs’ 3B John Hattig bounced off 1B Kevin Barker’s glove for an error. Johnson and Ryan both scored on the error. Jordan De Jong came into the game to get the last out of the 8th inning, ending the Tribe’s rally. De Jong also pitched a scoreless 9th inning, for his first save. The win went to reliever Justin James, his first of the season.
Indians’ Chris Hernandez got the loss, his first of the season. He pitched 1.2 innings, giving up 3 runs, all earned, with 2 hits and 2 walks. Matt Peterson went 1.1 innings, giving up one unearned run and one hit, with 2 walks.
Nick Green went 3 for 4 for the Indians, with a double. Brian Bixler and Michael Ryan also doubled for the Tribe. Curtis Thigpen went 3 for 4 for the Chiefs, with two doubles. Ray Olmeda and Wayne Lydon each had two hits, and Howie Clark went 1 for 4 with 2 RBI.
Brian Bixler -- photo by NancyZ
Indians’ offensive gem of the game: Brian Bixler (photo by NancyZ ) hit a double, scoring a run in the third inning. It was the Indians’ only RBI in the game.
Indians’ defensive gem of the game: In the bottom of the second, Howie Clark reached base on a fielder’s choice, and moved to third when Wayne Lydon singled with two out. Michael Tejera got Jeff Duncan to ground to first, where Russ Johnson scooped it up and fired to Brian Bixler covering second, to force out Lydon.
It’s off to Buffalo, where the Tribe will play four games.
In the eighth inning, when the Indians started scoring, manager Trent Jewett was clearly pondering what to do for pitching for the last innings of the game. The bullpen has been doing a lot of work this week, including the four relievers used two days ago when Shane Youman missed his start. Who to use next? Who to use if the game was clearly out of reach? The player who hustled down to the bullpen to start warming up was…. Einar Diaz. It turned out that he didn’t have to pitch, since Matt Peterson stayed in the game when the Indians scored some runs in the 8th. But it would not have been the first time Diaz pitched. He threw one inning for the Buffalo Bison last season, giving up one run, two hits and a walk, and taking the loss for the game.
Go Tribe!

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Playing to an empty park

The ending note to Dejan’s article on the Armas/Chacon situation inspired me to stop procrastinating and put up the post I’ve been thinking about for a week. The Post-Gazette’s beat writer said that “the crowd of 9,582 [last night] that endured brisk temperatures left the series total at 50,395, smallest for any four-game set at PNC Park in four years.” That follows up on the introductions to three recent...

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