Red Right 88

Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the category “Cleveland Indians”

From the editor’s notebook …

david blatt cavsThe Cleveland Cavaliers landed their man on Friday, naming David Blatt as the team’s latest head coach.

We admit to knowing next to nothing about Blatt before the Cavs undertook their third head coaching search in the past four years. But the more we learn about him the more we are intrigued by the hiring.

Blatt comes to the Cavs fresh off leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship. His coaching job in the tournament led one NBA general manager to observe that “Maccabi was outgunned at every position except coach. David took down two Goliaths in a weekend. He belongs in the NBA.” (h/t to @WFNYJacob for the link to that story.)

Over the past four seasons, Blatt’s teams went 222-55 and, in addition to this year’s Euroleague title, won the Israeli Cup and Israeli league title. He’s been a head coach in Europe for 15 years and coached the Russian national team from 2006 to 2012. (So at least he will be used to the harsh winter weather in Northeast Ohio.)

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The Tribe’s $56-million question

Nick+Swisher+Cleveland+Indians+v+Minnesota+DIPqAEf9VfllAs the Cleveland Indians continue to try and keep pace in the American League Central Division, manager Terry Francona faces an important question.

What to do about the Tribe’s $56-million man, Nick Swisher?

Since signing the largest free agent contract in franchise history prior to the 2013 season (more on that in a moment), Swisher has been average at best and pretty horrible at worst, considering that he has batted .225 or less in five of the nine months he has been a member of the team.

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Lonnie Chisenhall has a night to remember in Texas

lonnie chisenhall big nightRaise your hand if you saw this coming from Lonnie Chisenhall.

Chisenhall entered the season with a lifetime batting average of just .194 against left-handed pitching (and a pedestrian .254 against righties) but something has clicked for the Cleveland Indians’ third baseman this year – in a major way.

Chisenhall has seen his average go up each month of the season, and since he hit .362 in April, that’s saying something. He batted .373 in May and through the first nine days of June he is hitting .452. More importantly, he is ripping left-handed pitching, batting .520 on the season. He may only have 25 at bats against lefties, but that’s still impressive.

His season may have reached its high point Monday night in Texas, as Chisenhall had what may have been the best offensive night in the history of baseball. It was certainly the best in Tribe history.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Emre Can liverpoolLiverpool continued its summer makeover with the news on Thursday that they have agreed on a transfer deal for Emre Can from the German club Bayer Leverkusen.

The 20-year-old Can for four goals in 39 games with Leverkusen last season after joining the club from Bayern Munich. He was a key figure as Leverkusen finished in fourth place in the Bundesliga.

“Emre Can has developed very quickly at Bayer 04 Leverkusen over the past 12 months,” Michael Schade, the club’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We wanted to keep Emre at Leverkusen but the release clause is part of his contract. So we wish him all the best and lots of success in his time in the Premier League.”

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Thumbs up, thumbs down as we try to get a handle on the Tribe

tribe up and downWith a little more than a third of the Major League Baseball season now in the books, it is still hard to get a handle on the current edition of the Cleveland Indians.

Are they the team that was swept at home by Oakland, being outscored 30-6 in the three games? Or the one that followed that series by winning five-of-six, including a three-game sweep of Detroit?

Did we see the true Tribe during last week’s sweep at the hands of the Chicago White Sox? Or was it this past weekend when they swept the Colorado Rockies?

Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle, which would explain the Tribe’s current record of 27-30, which leaves the Indians a (somewhat) manageable six games out of first place in the A.L. Central Division and three games out of the Wild Card (although their are six teams ahead of them).

As the Indians host Boston before heading out on a 1o-game road trip – just in time for school to let out and the weather to warm up – that will take them to Texas, Kansas City and Boston, let’s look at what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong so far this season.

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We’ve been doing the fan thing wrong all these years

red right 88We have been a Cleveland sports fan our entire life. And while there have been more disappointments than triumphs, we’ve never thought about being anything other than a Cleveland sports fan.

It hasn’t been easy, of course. And looking back over the decades, the level of sub-par play from the local sports teams has, if we’re being honest, rather depressing more often than not.

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Did the Tribe save its season by sweeping Detroit?

tribe sweeps tigersWe are always a bit hesitant when people try to add extra significance to a particular win, thinking that one night of success will somehow fix all that ails a struggling team.

That is especially true in a sport like baseball, with its 162-game marathon of a season. For example, when the Cleveland Indians scored 15 runs last week in a win against Toronto, there was talk that game would finally wake up the anemic offense. That didn’t happen, of course, as the Tribe was embarrassed over the weekend by Oakland.

But the three-game sweep the Indians just handed Detroit may truly have saved the Tribe’s season.

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From the editor’s notebook …

Nrendan-Rodgers_AP_2900575bWhile Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko may not have officially buried Liverpool’s title hopes on Saturday, he went as close to putting the final shovel of dirt on the dream as possible.

Dzeko’s two goals helped push City past Everton, 3-2, at Goodison Park and level with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table. Most importantly, City had a nine-goal lead over Liverpool in goal differential, so it will take one more miracle from Brendan Rodgers’ squad to finish off the dream season with a league title.

Even though his team is in control of its own destiny, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is not ready to make room in the trophy case just yet.

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From the editor’s notebook …

pettine nfl combineThe NFL certainly did the Cleveland Browns no favors when it came to laying out the 2014 schedule.

The Browns open the season in Pittsburgh, where they haven’t won in more than a decade, followed by home games against New Orleans and Baltimore. The team will also finish the year by playing four of their final six games on the road.

Welcome to the NFL, head coach Mike Pettine!

“Browns at Steelers in Week 1, in your first game as an NFL head coach? It doesn’t get any better than that. I love this division,” Pettine said in a team statement.

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Indians quickly learning that it is no longer 2013

tribe lost in chicagoThe Cleveland Indians won 92 games and captured the second Wild Card slot in the American League in 2013 thanks in large part to two incredible, but ultimately unsustainable stats: their record against Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox (a combined 30-8) to go along with 11 walk-off wins.

Through the first two weekends of this season, it has become evident that it is no longer 2013.

The Tribe had a disappointing weekend in Chicago, dropping three-of-four to the White Sox. Add that to last weekend’s series against the Twins, when the Indians lost two-of-three, and things have taken a turn for the worse early in the season.

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