Tag: Justin Thomas

Missed Opportunities And Homers Sink The Tribe

Columbus Clippers  6,  Indianapolis Indians  4
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IMG_5151A big inning by the Clippers and too many missed opportunities by the Indians added up to another loss for the Tribe as the two teams opened a 3-game series at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio.  Neither starting pitcher made it out of the 4th inning.  3B Josh Harrison (photo) had two hits for the Indians and came around to score twice.


The Indians got started with an unearned run in the top of the 1st.  With one out, SS Chase d'Arnaud singled up the middle and LF Alex Presley singled into left field, sending d'Arnaud to third.  Presley stole second base, then 1B Matt Hague walked to load the bases.  DH Andy Marte grounded to short, where Columbus SS Cord Phelps had the ball pop out of his glove.  Everyone was safe on the error and d'Arnaud scored from third.  But the inning ended with a strikeout by C Dusty Brown, and all three runners were left on base.  Josh Harrison made it a 2-0 lead when he led off the top of the 2nd with a long and high blast into the left field bleachers.  

Brian Burres, in his fourth start of the season, zipped through the bottom of the 1st, thanks to a stunning play by Harrison at third.  His counterpart at third base, Lonnie Chisenhall, smacked a sharp grounder to third, where Harrison made the scoop, then made a throw across his body on the run, in time to nab Chisenhall at first.  Burres gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 2nd, to RF Travis Buck, followed by a double by Phelps, though Burres was able to work around the double and leave Phelps on base.    

Wilson Pitches Six Scoreless In Early Game Win

Indianapolis Indians  4,  Toledo Mud Hens  2
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IMG_5214The Indianapolis Indians battled the blustery weather as well as the Toldeo Mud Hens in a late-morning school day start in Toledo today.  They earned the win, giving them a 3-1 record on the road so far this season.  

Justin Wilson (photo) pitched 6 scoreless innings in his third start of the season, to earn his first AAA win.  He gave up 2 hits, both in the 3rd inning.  RF Andy Dirks dropped a looper into short right field, just out of reach of the leaping Tribe SS Chase d'Arnaud, then 2B Scott Sizemore put a sinking liner into right field, off the glove of RF Gorkys Hernandez.  Wilson left both on base with a fly out and a ground out.  Wilson also worked around two singles and a batter reaching on a fielding error by SS Pedro Ciriaco in the 2nd inning.  That was a wind-blown ball into short right field, with Ciriaco, 3B Josh Harrison, and LF Alex Presley all chasing after it.  Ciriaco tried to make a last-second twisting over-the-shoulder catch and missed.  Wilson threw 97 pitches with 62 strikes in his 6 innings.

The gusty wind helped the Indians as well as hurt them.  In the top of the 2nd, DH Andy Marte lifted the first pitch he saw into the wind, which took it over the left field wall for a solo home run.  Marte nearly had another home run in the 5th inning, but that time his fly to left field was just short, and was caught at the wall.  

The Tribe had only one hit over the next three innings -- a double by Harrison in the 5th, when the wind did the same thing to the Mud Hens that it had done to Ciriaco and the Indians in the 3rd.  Harrison's high pop got caught in the wind, and with the infielders running out and the outfielders running in, the ball fell in just out of reach of SS Cale Iorg.  In both instances, the outfielders might have had a better chance at running in to make the catch, but instead they let their shortstops take over.  Harrison made a quick steal of third base, but he was left stranded when Hernandez struck out.  

Tribe Lose In 13 After Strong Start By Burres

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Brian Burress pitched 7 shutout innings and struck out 8 in today's start.












Louisville Bats  6,  Indianapolis Indians  4
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A two-run home run by Bats' RF Brian Barton in the bottom of the 13th gave the Bats the win over the Indians, on a long sunny afternoon in Louisville today.  Tony Watson had come on in relief to begin the 13th, and after two quick outs, he was one out away from ending the game, when he gave up a single to 2B Kris Negron.  That was followed by the long blast over the left-center field wall.  

IMG_5268Brian Burres made the start for the Indians, facing off against the Cincinnati Reds' Homer Bailey, who was making a rehab start.  It was a pitching duel, and though Burres looked better than Bailey, neither one of them allowed a run.  Burres gave up two singles to open the bottom of the 1st, then struck out the next three batters to get out of the inning.  He gave up a single in the 2nd, but struck out two of the other three batters he faced.  Then Burres struck out the Bats in order for the next 4 innings -- 14 consecutive batters retired.  With one out in the 7th, Burres gave up the Bats' 4th hit, then set down two more to finish his afternoon's work.  Burres struck out 8 batters and did not walk any.  He threw 81 pitches, with 56 strikes.

Homer Bailey (photo) allowed only 2 hits in his 5 innings, with 2 strikeouts.  He buzzed through the first inning, then with one out in the 2nd, Bailey gave up a double into left field to RF Andrew Lambo.  3B Josh Harrison grounded to third, but a throwing error put him safely on first.  C Dusty Brown's fly out let both runners advance.  2B Brian Friday worked a full count, then took a walk, but with the bases loaded, Burres bounced to third, where  3B Todd Frazier took just a couple steps to force out Harrison and end the threat.  


Bats Shut Out Indians Behind High-Kicking Willis


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Manager Dean Treanor stands with Dusty Brown, one of only two Indians' runners to reach as far as third base.  






Louisville Bats  3,  Indianapolis Indians  0
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IMG_5232Louisville starter and former major league pitcher Dontrelle Willis (photo) held the Indians to 6 scoreless innings, and his relievers did the same for the remaining 3 innings, as the Indians lost to the Bats at Victory Field tonight.  

Willis allowed 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 6 batters in his 6 innings of work.  The Indians had only two base runners reach as far as third base.  In the 2nd inning, C Dusty Brown worked a walk with two outs.  He advanced to third base on RF Gorkys Hernandez's line drive single down the right field line.  Brown got no further, as Willis struck out both 2B Brian Friday and starting pitcher Brad Lincoln to end the inning.  

Willis gave up back-to-back singles in the 4th inning, but the Indians could not capitalize on that either.  1B Matt Hague slapped a grounder that took a goofy hop on the mound.  Willis stabbed at the ball, but he stumbled, then took a tumble (but came up laughing), and Hague was safe at first.  Moments later, Bats' catcher Corky Miller picked Hague off first base, and threw him out trying to reach second base.  3B Josh Harrison also lined a single into right field, then stole both second and third bases.  Two strikeouts left him standing there too.

Bats Pound On Indians

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Dusty Brown is congratulated after his home run







Louisville Bats  10,  Indianapolis Indians  4

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The Louisville Bats started their onslaught with 5 runs in the top of the 1st inning, and never looked back at Victory Field tonight.  The Indians out-hit the Bats 12-11, but the Tribe left 10 of their runners on base, while the Bats left only 6.  One high point for the Tribe was that RF Andrew Lambo and 1B Andy Marte, both of whom had been struggling at the plate, both hit well tonight -- Marte singled twice and drove in a run, while Lambo singled twice, doubled, and brought in a run.

IMG_5206With Sean Gallagher (photo, with C Dusty Brown) on the mound, things got crazy right away in the top of the 1st.  CF Dave Sappelt lined a double into left field to lead off.  Gallagher got a strikeout and a grounder to first, which moved Sappelt to third.  Then he walked 3B Todd Frazier and hit RF Jeremy Hermida with a pitch to load the bases.  C Devin Mesoraco singled into right field, bringing in both Sappelt from third and Frazier from second.  When Lambo threw the ball in from right field to the plate, it came in up the line, and C Dusty Brown had no chance of tagging Frazier.  Instead he tried throwing to second base, in hopes of catching Mesoraco, who was trying to advance on the throw.  But Brown's throw bounced in the dirt and away from SS Chase d'Arnaud for a throwing error, and that let Hermida score too.  Mesoraco remained on second base, but only for a few minutes, because 1B Danny Dorn smacked a 2-run homer over the right field wall, giving the Bats a 5-0 lead.  

The Indians answered back with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Corey Wimberly, who had center field duties tonight, was hit by a pitch on the right foot to begin the frame.  He was forced out at second when d'Arnaud grounded to third, though there was not time for a double play.  LF Alex Presley kept right on hitting, with a grounder up the middle for a single, and the Indians had runners on the corners.  Matt Hague, playing third tonight, lifted a fly into left center, but it was caught with a very nice effort by Bats' LF Yonder Alonso.  Andy Marte slipped a single up the middle just past the diving Bats' shortstop, driving in d'Arnaud from third base.  Andrew Lambo lined a single into left center also, bringing in Presley.  SS Pedro Ciriaco struck out to end the inning, but the Indians had made a dent in the Bats' lead.  

Indians Swept Despite Homers By Marte And Brown

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Andy Marte is congratulated on his home run in the 5th







Columbus Clippers  7,  Indianapolis Indians  5

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IMG_5042A pair of home runs and 11 hits were not enough for the Indians to overcome the Clippers and escape the sweep at Victory Field on Sunday afternoon.  Like in the three previous games, the Indians had a runner on base in the bottom of the 9th, but could not keep the inning going long enough to bring him in.  

With the scheduled starter, Daniel McCutchen, called up to the Pirates, Brad Lincoln (photo) made the start for the Tribe.  Lincoln has been on the Pirates' 15-day Disabled List due to a forearm bruise, which happened when he was hit by a come-backer in a game at the end of spring training.  Lincoln was originally due to start for the Bradenton Marauders today, but the roster shuffling saw Lincoln traveling to Indiana instead.  Before the game, manager Dean Treanor said that he was hoping to see at least 4 innings from Lincoln, who had not really had enough time to get completely stretched out in his shortened spring training.


Lincoln looked great on the mound, and even looked like he may have lost some weight since he was here last year.  He buzzed through the first three innings, allowing only a double to the Clippers' 9-hole hitter RF Bubba Bell in the 3rd.  Eight of the first nine outs were groundouts, with Lincoln also getting one strikeout.  Clippers' 2B Cord Phelps led off the top of the 4th with a solo homer to straight away center field, which landed in the ground cover in front of the pine trees.  Lincoln hit the next batter, 3B Lonnie Chisenhall, with a pitch, but C Dusty Brown cut Chisenhall down as he tried to steal second base.  Two more quick outs finished the 4th inning.

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Lincoln did come back out to begin the 5th.  He got SS Luis Valbuena to line out right to 2B Pedro Ciriaco (photo)for the first out.  (Ciriaco just had to stick out his glove, and didn't even take a step.)  Then he hit LF Jared Head with a pitch, and got a fly out.  That was all for Lincoln for the day.  He had thrown 72 pitches (42 strikes), a very reasonable count for where he is in his "spring".  Lincoln was responsible for 2 runs on 2 hits, with 2 strikeouts in 4.2 innings.  


Cesar Valdez came in from the bullpen to relieve Lincoln, but he struggled in his 0.2 innings.  With two outs and a runner on first when he entered the game, Valdez gave up an RBI double to Bell (Bell's second hit of the game).  That scored the runner from first, and Bell advanced to third on the throw.  CF Ezequiel Carrera walked on a full count, then Phelps blasted his second home run in two innings, this one sailing so high over the right field wall, that RF Andrew Lambo merely turned in his tracks and watched it go.  That gave the Clippers 4 runs in the inning, one charged to Lincoln and three to Valdez, for a 5-0 lead.  Chisenhall reached base next, on a grounder to first that popped out of 1B Matt Hague's glove and over his shoulder for an error.  It turned out to not matter, as Valdez finally got a strikeout to end the inning.  

Tribe Come Within Inches Again

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Pitching coach Tom Filer, catcher Wyatt Toregas, and pitcher Justin Wilson









Columbus Clippers  8,  Indianapolis Indians  7
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For the third night in a row, the Indians were down by one run in the bottom of the last inning with at least one runner on base -- and couldn't capitalize.  In addition, it was Pedro Ciriaco who was the last man to bat in each game.  That's not to place the blame for the losses on Ciriaco -- other players had also had opportunities to drive in runs and were not able too.  It's just an odd coincidence that Ciriaco ended the three games with a grounder into a double play, a ground out, and tonight a pop out.  

IMG_5009Like in the first two games, the Clippers were first onto the scoreboard.  Indians' starter Justin Wilson (photo) retired the first 8 batters he faced, including 5 strikeouts, with 4 of those in a row.  He struck out the side in the 2nd inning, then struck out the first batter of the 3rd inning.  Like the first two games, this game featured a diving catch of a low line drive by the Indians' shortstop.  In the first two games, that shortstop was Ciriaco; tonight it was Chase d'Arnaud, who recorded the second out in the 3rd inning.  The Clipper's ninth batter, RF Jerad Head, then rocketed Wilson's 2-1 pitch over the wall in right-center field for a solo homer.  Wilson then walked the next batter, CF Ezequiel Carrera, who promptly stole second base on the first pitch to the SS Cord Phelps.  Phelps slipped a grounder up the middle, just out of reach of d'Arnaud, and Carrera came around to score from second.  A walk to 3B Lonnie Chisenhall prompted a visit by pitching coach Tom Filer (photo above).  After catching his breath, Wilson got a fly out to end the inning.
 
Wilson also had to work around base runners in the 4th inning.  After another strikeout, Wilson gave up an infield single to 1B Jordan Brown.  Brown grounded back to the mound, and the ball tipped off Wilson's glove and over towards short.  SS d'Arnaud had to change his direction, but he got to the ball and made a rushed throw to first.  The throw pulled 1B Matt Hague off base, though it appeared that Brown might have beat the ball to the bag anyway.  DH Wes Hodges also tapped back to the mound, where Wilson whirled and threw to second, forcing out Brown.  But 2B Brian Friday's throw on to first went wide, and Hodges was safe.  C Paul Phillip walked, but then Head grounded to short, and the inning ended on the force out at second base.  

2011 Prospect Watching: Thomas, Gallagher, Yates

Finishing up with the rest of the Pirates' minor league pitchers:

Justin Thomas  --  L/L,  6' 3",  215 lbs
Thomas is a 27-year-old reliever, chosen by the Mariners in the 4th round of the 2005 draft.  He'd moved steadily up through their organization, mostly as a starter and made his major league debut in September 2008.  He was moved to the bullpen, but struggled there in 2009 at AAA Tacoma, and at the end of that season, he was put on waivers and claimed by the Pirates, who later outrighted him to AAA Indianapolis.  Thomas started the 2010 season at Indianapolis, where he generally shut down the opposition.  After allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits over his first 3 appearances (5.1 innings), Thomas did not allow another run in his next 15 innings/ 9 appearances, and gave up only 4 hits in that time.  He gave up a homer in his next appearance, then allowed only one run over his 13.1 innings/ 11 appearances, with 5 hits.  Thomas was promoted to the Pirates in late June, but appeared in only 3 games there, allowing 6 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings.  After about 2.5 weeks, he was returned to Indianapolis.  Over the next 6 appearances, he allowed 7 runs, though 6 of them came in two games.  Thomas was back up to Pittsburgh at the beginning of August, and got into 4 games in a week, and this time pitched very well -- 3.2 scoreless innings and 5 hits.  Even so, he was heading back to Indy after the week, where he gave up 2 runs in one of his 5 outings, and otherwise pitched 5.1 scoreless innings.  Thomas must have been thinking that he was a yo-yo -- back to Pittsburgh for one game in late August, when he gave up 2 runs in 2 innings.  The yo-yo bounced right back to Indy, for another 5 games, and only one run in 6.2 innings.  When the minor league season ended, Thomas was again brought up to the Pirates, to appear in 4 more games, allowing one home run in one of the game, but pitching 2.1 scoreless innings in the other three.  (Whew!)  Thomas's final stats at Indianapolis:  5-0 record and 4 saves, with 2.48 ERA, and 15 earned runs on 33 hits over 54.1 innings; also 10 walks (1.7 walks/ 9 innings) and 31 strikeouts (8.5 K/ 9 innings).  And his final stats in Pittsburgh, not as impressive:  0-1 record, with 6.23 ERA, and 9 earned runs on 21 hits in 13 innings; also 5 walks and 5 strikeout, for 3.5 walks/ 9 innings and 3.5 K/ 9 innings.  Thomas was again removed from the 40-man roster at the end of the season, then signed to a minor league contract.  Thomas also pitched 19.1 innings of relief for Los Bravos de Margarita in winter ball.  He earned a 1-2 record and gave up 11 earned runs, for a 5.12 ERA.  He had trouble with walks for Los Bravos also (10), and struck out 14 batters.  Thomas was invited to the Pirates' major league spring training, but was reassigned to Indianapolis, where he will begin the 2011 season.  If he can repeat last season's domination in AAA, he will see Pittsburgh again.



Sean Gallagher  --  R/R,  6' 2",  235 lb
Gallagher came to the Pirates from the Padres, who had designated him for assignment in June 2010.  He'd initially been drafted by the Cubs in the 12th round of the 2004 draft, and later was traded to the A's and then to the Padres.  Gallagher began the 2010 season with the Padres, and allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in 13 innings of relief over 9 appearances.  He was sent to AAA Portland in mid-May, and made 3 starts there, where he gave up 6 runs over 11 innings.  Gallagher was called back to San Diego at the end of May, resuming a relief role for the next 6 games.  He allowed 4 runs in 10.1 innings, including one game in which he pitched 3.1 scoreless innings and gave up just 2 hits.  After arriving in Pittsburgh, Gallagher again pitched out of the bullpen.  He made 7 appearances in July, and allowed 4 runs on 7 hits in 9 innings (4.00 ERA).  He made another 13 appearances in August, and gave up 4 runs on 5 hits in the first 9 of those (7.2 innings).  That was followed by a tough week, when Gallagher gave up 5 runs in two different games, and one run in each of three more games.  He finished the season with 10 better outings, allowing 2 runs over 9.2 innings.  His stats for Pittsburgh:  a 2-1 record and a 6.03 ERA, with 23 earned runs and 38 hits in 34.1 innings, with 22 walks and 22 strikeouts, for 5.8 walks and strikeouts per 9 innings.  Like Thomas, Gallagher was removed from the Pirates' 40-man roster and assigned to Indianapolis.  At age 25, he'll begin the season at Indy, where he will need to regain the form he had in the lower minors in the Mariners' organization.

Atkins Released; Thomas And Nieve To Minors

The reassignments were not as sweeping as some had thought they'd be, but the Pirates did make three roster moves this morning:

Garrett Atkins was given an unconditional release.  He had signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent over the off-season, and had been in competition for the back-up corner infielder spot.  But Atkins was not able to get his bat going this spring.  In 17 Grapefruit League games, he was just 4-for-31 at the plate (.129) with 11 strikeouts.   

LHP Justin Thomas and RHP Fernando Nieve were reassigned to minor league camp.  They were both signed as minor league free agents over the winter, and were long shots to make the big club's bullpen.  Thomas has pitched 4.1 innings this spring in 5 games, and allowed one earned run on 8 hits, for a 2.08 ERA.  He's walked 4 and struck out 4.  Nieve has also pitched in 5 Grapefruit League games this spring, and has earned a 1-1 record and 2 saves.  In 7.1 innings, he's given up 17 hits and 2 walks, for 8 runs, and he's also struck out 8 batters.  Both Thomas and Nieve should be assigned to Indianapolis.  

Indians Top Yankees; Pirates’ Top Red Sox

Indianapolis Indians  7,  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees  2
The Indians had both the pitching and the hitting tuned up this afternoon as they defeated the Yankees at Bradenton.   SS Jordy Mercer, 2B Josh Harrison, and C Eric Fryer each drove in two runs.   The scoring started when Harrison tripled in the 3rd inning, when 3 runs came in. Mercer blasted a solo homer, then Fryer's 2-run double was the gem of the 8th inning, as 3 more runs scored.  Starter Justin Wilson pitched 3 scoreless innings, with 4 strikeouts, to earn the win.  The Yankees scored their 2 runs in the 5th, with reliever Jared Hughes on the mound.  Hughes pitched 2 innings and also struck out 3 batters.  Tony Watson pitched 2 scoreless innings (3 K), and Anthony Claggett (2 K) and Ramon Aguero each pitched a scoreless frame.  

Pirates  7,  Red Sox  5
A 5-run 4th inning put the Pirates well on their way to a win this afternoon at Bradenton.  The rally began when 2B Neil Walker reached base on a fielding error and CF Andrew McCutchen walked.   1B Lyle Overbay lifted a double into left field, which brought in both Walker and McCutchen.  3B Pedro Alvarez grounded to third, where Overbay was out, leaving Alvarez on first.  RF Matt Diaz lined a single up the middle, and C Dusty Brown loaded the bases on an infield grounder that bounced off Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett.  With two outs, Pirates' starter Kevin Correia slipped a grounder into left field, driving in Alvarez and Diaz.   When the throw in to the plate was not in time to get Diaz, the Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia tried to throw back to third to surprise Brown.  The real surprise was when Saltalamacchia's throw sailed into left field, allowing Brown to score and Correia to move up to third.  LF John Bowker gave the Pirates 2 more insurance runs with a homer in the 7th inning.  Correia also singled in the 3rd inning but was out in a force play at second.

2B Pedro Ciriaco doubled after Bowker's homer in the 7th.   CF Corey Wimberly, RF Josh Fields, and SS Josh Rodriguez got into the game.  Steve Pearce played a few innings at third base as well.

Correia pitched 5 innings in his start.  He gave up two singles in the top of the 1st and one in the 2nd, but double plays got him out of both innings.  He zipped through the 3rd and 4th innings, then gave up 3 runs in the 5th.  A walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly brought in the first run.  Two more singles added a second run, then a throwing error by Walker at second and a sacrifice fly added an unearned run.  Joel Hanrahan pitched a scoreless 6th, with 2 strikeouts.  Then Justin Thomas allowed a run to score in the 7th on a run, a double, and a wild pitch.  Fernando Nieve pitched the final two innings and earned the save even though he gave up a run on a double, a walk, and a single in the 9th.  

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