Indians’ Struggles Continue; Presley Is Player Of The Month

 
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Justin Wilson (above left photo) gave up two hits in the 2nd inning.  The first was another grounder to deep short by 2B Omar Luna, which SS d’Arnaud again was able to field, but his throw across his body was wide and pulled Hague off first base.  Luna took too big a lead off first base, and was picked off/caught stealing, on a throw from Wilson to IMG_5451Hague and on to d’Arnaud for the tag out (above right photo).  That was a big play for the Tribe, because the next Durham batter, Jennings, ripped a triple off the wall in right-center field.  Jennings was left on third base, though, as Wilson struck out Ruggiano and got a ground out to end the inning.

Wilson settled down after that.  He gave up a walk in the 3rd, then retired the side in order in the 4th.  He walked Ruggiano to begin the 5th inning, but C Jason Jaramillo (photo) threw out Ruggiano as he tried to steal second base.  It was another big play for the Indians, since one out later, DH Carter doubled down the left field line and into the left field corner, which would have scored Ruggiano if he’d still been on base.  Wilson got out of that inning with a fly out, then retired the side again in the 6th.  It took Wilson about 33 pitches to get through the first inning, but his pitch counts were much better in the rest of his innings, and he finished his 6-inning stint having thrown 95 pitches (57 strikes).  Wilson allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, and struck out 5 batters.

The Indians’ offense was thin, with the Tribe collecting only 4 hits, all singles.  The Indians squandered one big scoring opportunity, and were not able to take full advantage of another opportunity, and that meant that they had no chance to catch up to the Bulls.  Durham starter Alex Torres retired the Tribe in order in the first two innings of the game.  3B Andy Marte led off the bottom of the 3rd with a single lined into left field.  After a line out and a fly out both to right field, Wimberly grounded up the middle.  Durham SS Ray Olmedo made a dive behind second base and was able to keep the ball from going into center field, but when he tried to make the glove-flip to 2B Luna, the flip sent the ball over Luna’s shoulder and off towards third base — both runners safe.  D’Arnaud (photo below) also grounded up the middle, slipping the ball under Torres’ glove and just past the middle infielders, for an RBI single that scored Marte from second base.  That left the Indians with runners on the corners, but a fly ball ended the inning with the two stranded in place.

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With one out in the 4th, the Tribe rallied again.  RF Andrew Lambo zipped a single under Luna’s dive.  DH Dusty Brown walked on four pitches, and Marte walked on five pitches, loading the bases.  But Torres buckled down and struck out 2B Brian Friday, then got CF Gorkys Hernandez to ground out.  The three runners were left on base, and the opportunity was missed.  

Torres walked d’Arnaud in the 5th inning, then got two outs in the 6th before being relieved by former Indy Indian Chris Bootcheck.  Bootcheck finished the 6th by striking out Marte, then gave up only a walk to Hernandez in the 7th.  Friday was the only batter to reach base for the rest of the game.  With two outs in the 9th, Friday grounded to third, and made it all the way to second base when 3B Furmaniak’s throw sailed past first base and all the way to the rolled-up tarp.  Friday was left on base when a fly out ended the inning.

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IMG_5447Chris Leroux (photo, with Jason Jaramillo) came on to pitch the 7th inning in relief of Wilson, and Leroux quickly got into trouble.  A walk to Luna and a fly out started the inning.  Ruggiano drilled a grounder just inside the third base bag, down the line, and into the Tribe bullpen for a double, scoring Luna from first base.  Ruggiano stole third base, where Marte’s leap kept the throw from Jaramillo’s high throw from going into the outfield.  RF Brandon Guyer lined a single into left field, plating Ruggiano from third, then Carter lined into the right field corner, driving in Guyer.   Canzler was hit by a pitch, giving the Bulls runners on first and second.  C Jose Loboton grounded right to 2B Friday, who made the scoop just at the baseline.  Friday swiped a tag at Canzler as he ran past, then threw on to first base to make the out on Loboton.  But the umpires ruled that Friday’s tag had missed — it was not an inning-ending double play.  Leroux made it not matter, though, with a quick ground out by Furmaniak to end the inning.  

Cesar Valdez pitched the final two innings for the Tribe, and the 8th inning proved to be interesting.  With one out, Valdez appeared to skip a high pitch off the top of Luna’s helmet.  Almost everyone in the stadium thought Luna had been hit, including Luna, who was looking a little dazed, and Jaramillo, who was looking amazed when plate umpire Gerard Ascani did not wave Luna to first base.  After some discussion with the Durham manager, and a conference with the other umpires, Ascani’s ruling was reversed, and Luna trotted down to first.  That brought out Tribe manager Dean Treanor — who had already made 3 other trips out to “discuss” his issues with all three of the umpires.  It looked like Treanor was going to get himself ejected on the third trip out, but the umpires were being patient.  The fourth time was the charm, or the un-charm, and Treanor was ejected after arguing about whether or not Luna had been hit.  (photos below)  With Luna on first base, Valdez walked Jennings, then struck out Ruggiano.  Valdez then got two strikes on Brandon Guyer — then appeared to get strike three on a foul tip.  But it did not appear that way to umpire Ascani, who ruled that Guyer had checked his swing.  Jaramillo leaped up and turned to Ascani, showing him the ball sitting in his big glove.  Before it could go much further, crew chief David Rackley, who was working at first base, came over and conferred with Ascani, without either team or Ascani asking for the help.  The result was that Rackley overturned Ascani’s ruling, saying that yes, there had been a foul tip for strike three, and the inning was over.  Valdez retired the Bulls in order, and without controversy in the 9th inning.  

Photos:  Dean Treanor gets into it with Gerard Ascani early in the game, then later with Ascani and 3B ump David Rackley……

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… then with 1B ump David Rackley, until he was ejected…

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…. then “got his money’s worth”

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Indians’ Hitting Gem of the Game:  An RBI single by Chase d’Arnaud in the 3rd inning, drove in the only Indians’ run.  

Indians’ Defensive Gems of the Game:  Two plays that removed Bulls’ runners from the base paths, saving at least two runs from scoring.  In the 2nd, Justin Wilson picked Omar Luna off first base, and he was tagged out at second base on the throw from Matt Hague to Chase d’Arnaud.  That kept Luna from scoring on a subsequent triple by Desmond Jennings.  In the 5th, Jason Jaramillo threw out Justin Ruggiano stealing second, preventing him from scoring on Chris Carter’s double.  

NOTES:
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Alex Presley (photo) was named the Indians’ Player of the Month for April.  There was a brief ceremony before the game, and Presley was given the traditional watch for the award.  Presley had appeared in each of the Indians’ games up until today (when he got the afternoon off), and hit .333, scoring 13 runs, with 4 doubles, a triple, and 3 homers.  He reached base safely in 20 of those 24 games, and had hits in 19 of those games.  Presley had two hitting streaks lasting 7 games each during the month.  He went 14-for-29 (.483) in the streak that opened the season, then hit 9-for-22 (.409) in the streak at the end of the month.  Presley has the 7th-best batting average in the IL for April.

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Two former Indy Indians were in today’s game for the Bulls. Infielder JJ Furmaniak (photo) played for the Tribe in 2005 – 06.  Today he was at third base for the Bulls.  He had his own private cheering section sitting in the stands near home plate  — he’s from the Chicago area, and must have had family and friends come down to see him play.  

The other Bull who used to be an Indian was relief pitcher Chris Bootcheck (photos below).  Bootcheck was with the Tribe in 2009, then he pitched in Japan for 2010.  He signed with the Rays for this season.  Bootcheck hasn’t pitched in nearly 3 weeks, because he was on the DL after hitting his head on a utility pipe at the stadium and had a concussion.  He was reactivated today.

Today’s game was played under overcast skies, after a morning of steady rain.  The Victory Field ground crew removed the tarp about 35 mins before game time, and despite many dark clouds, the game proceeded without any rain.  The rain-free window closed shortly after the game ended, and the central Indiana area has had rain for most of the evening.

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Go Tribe!

(Photos by Nancy)

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