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Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Archive for the category “Cleveland Indians”

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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Are the Browns going to lose their Alex Mack gamble?

alex mack offer sheetEver since early in the 2013 NFL season when the news came out that Alex Mack was not going to negotiate a new contract with the Cleveland Browns until after the season, we’ve been on the side of not worrying about anything until their is something to worry about.

Well, we may now have something to worry about.

The news came out today that Jacksonville will sign Mack to an offer sheet on Friday, one that will be for five years and is reportedly “designed to make it as difficult as possible for the Browns to match” the offer.

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From the editor’s notebook …

tribe carrasco twinsIt was a rough start to the home portion of the 2014 schedule for the Cleveland Indians.

In dropping two-of-three to the Minnesota Twins who are not … very good … the Tribe was done in by its starting pitching and lack of clutch hitting.

Danny Salazar had the best start of the weekend, even through the struggled through 5.2 innings of work in Friday’s home opener. While he gave up seven hits, Salazar managed to find a way to hold the Twins to just two runs and give the offense time to rally.

Carlos Carrasco had his own issues on Saturday, but unlike Salazar, Carrasco doesn’t have the makeup to work himself out of problems. Carrasco followed Salazar’s lead by working just 5.2 innings and giving up seven hits, but he couldn’t keep the Twins off the scoreboard in giving up five runs (four earned).

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Five and fly: Indians take opening series from A’s

tribe opening series oaklandThe Cleveland Indians did an effective job in taking two-of-three from Oakland to open the 2014 Major League Baseball season.

While the Tribe left in late in both wins – scoring twice in the ninth in the first game and three times in the ninth in the third game – they got things done when they needed to.

Here are five quick takeaways from the series:

The starting pitching was iffy …

Justin Masterson looked primed for a big contract year in the season opener, holding the A’s to just three hits and no runs over seven innings. If he keeps pitching like that, the Tribe will be happy, even though each successful start brings Masterson closer to the type of big-money contract the Indians have no way of matching.

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Time for Indian summer to return to Cleveland

Terry Francona, Jason GiambiThe Cleveland Indians open the 2014 season tonight in Oakland as Justin Masterson takes the mound for what could be his final Opening Day start in a Tribe uniform.

The Tribe surprised last year by winning 92 games and capturing the second Wild Card spot in the American League. It was the team’s first winning season and first playoff appearance since 2007. The Indians will be looking this season to post consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2000-01 and make back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 1998-99.

It won’t be easy, though. (Of course, this is Cleveland, so when is anything easy?) The Detroit Tigers are still the team to beat in the American League’s Central Division even though they traded Prince Fielder and Doug Fister. The Tigers can still hit, though, with Miguel Cabrera (.343 with 17 home runs and 55 RBI against the Indians over the past three seasons) and Victor Martinez (.380 vs. the Tribe over the past three years), and pitch, with Justin Verlander (7-3 with a 2.96 ERA against the Tribe in the same time frame), Anibal Sanchez (2.20 ERA in the past three years vs. Cleveland) and Max Scherzer (7-1 vs. the Tribe), so the Indians are not catching any breaks there.

The Kansas City Royals are also a trendy pick after posting their first winning season in a decade; they have also been stockpiling young talent that may be ready to pay off. And even though the Indians finished six games better than the Royals in the standings, they were only 10-9 against Kansas City last year.

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5 Questions: Cleveland Indians ready to open 2014 season

tribe giambi homerThe Cleveland Indians open the 2014 season Monday night in Oakland.

The Tribe is coming off a season that saw the team win 92 games and earn the second Wild Card slot in the American League. They did it by winning 20 of their final 25 games (including 10 consecutive to close out the season) as pretty much everything that manager Terry Francona did in his first season in town worked.

The Indians enter 2014 looking to close the gap with Detroit in the A.L. Central Division, post consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the start of the millennium and go to the playoffs for the first time in consecutive years since the 1990s.

To get ready for the season, we brought together some of the best baseball minds on the Internet to talk about what is in store for the Tribe this year for an installment of 5 Questions in 5 Minutes.

Today’s participants are:

Nino Colla from The Tribe Daily. He can be found on Twitter @TheTribeDaily.

Mike Brandyberry from Did the Tribe Win Last Night? Follow him on Twitter @DidTribeWin.

Adam Burke, formerly of The Cleveland Fan, and a contributing writer at bangthebook.com. Find him on Twitter @SkatingTripods.

Andrew Clayman, founder of East of Ehlo. He is on Twitter @EastofEhlo.

Ash Day from Let’s Go Tribe. He is on Twitter @AshDay29. (He’s also an Arsenal fan, but he’s still OK, so be nice.)

Al Ciammaichella from The DiaTribe. Find him on Twitter @Gotribe31.

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Four the hard way

anniversary 4Today marks the four-year anniversary of the launch of our site.

As a lifelong Cleveland fan, we knew what we were getting into when we decided to get the voices out of our head and put them down on (virtual) paper. But even by the standards of Cleveland sports, it’s been an interesting four years.

Consider that since we made our maiden post:

  • The Browns have gone 18-46 (a .281 winning percentage), are on their fourth head coach and fourth front office combination, and have had seven different starting quarterbacks.
  • The Cavs are 90-210 and counting (a .300 winning percentage), have had three coaches (counting Mike Brown twice) and just as many general managers, had an NBA record 26-game losing streak, and have yet to post a winning record despite drafting four players in the top four of the NBA Draft – two of which were the No. 1 overall pick.
  • The Indians have gone 309-339 while employing two different managers. The Tribe is the only team of the three to have a winning season and a playoff appearance – which they promptly lost.

More than just wins and losses, though, is the fact that writing has made us enjoy sports even more. Having an outlet to vent after the never-ending losses and personnel moves has helped us learn to not carry around another dismal performance by the local sports teams. We’ve also tried to develop a different perspective on what – and most importantly why – the Browns, Indians and Cavs are doing what they are doing.

A big part of how we have been able to do that is through the people we have met – either in person or in the online world – since we started the site (if the analytics are to be believed, we’ve had visitors from 154 different countries). We’ve been fortunate enough to meet some cool people (you know who you are) and our interactions with everyone has opened up our thinking and helped redefine, in a good way, how we look at sports.

And for that we say “thanks!”

So what’s next?

The Indians open up the season next week and will try and build on last season’s 92-win team that finished the season strong and made the playoffs. The Cavs are heading into the “most important off-season” since, well, the last one. And the Browns have (yet another) new coach and (yet another) new front office and the annual hope of the NFL Draft.

In other words, just another year in the life of a Cleveland sports fan.

(Photo by Getty Images)

Are Pro Days really that important? – Part 2

johnny manziel pro dayA few days ago we raised the question of whether or not there is any real value in attending a college player’s Pro Day.

That was in response to the reaction from a few members of the local media who were furiously trying to manufacture a controversy because Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer and the team’s scouts were attending the various Pro Days – rather than head coach Mike Pettine and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

We thought about that today at the gym while watching ESPN’s coverage of quarterback Johnny Manziel’s Pro Day at Texas A&M. After watching Manziel do his thing, we came away with two indisputable conclusions.

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From the editor’s notebook …

tribe starting pitchingThe Cleveland Indians are just 22 days away from the opening of the 2014 season and so far they are only having the good kind of spring training problems.

The Tribe hasn’t had to deal with any major injury issues; the outfield rotation is looking good, particularly left fielder Michael Brantley, who is now hitting .615 in Cactus League play after going four-for-four on Saturday; Carlos Santana is doing what he can in the field at third base; reliever Vinnie Pestano seems to be on the right track to fixing what ailed him last season; and, most importantly, the starting pitching is looking solid.

The top three of Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Zach McCallister have quietly gone about their business this spring, and with Danny Salazar expected to make his first start with the regulars on Monday, the rotation is shaping up nicely.

The best part of the rotation may be at the No. 5 spot, of all places, as is it looks like manager Terry Francona is going to have a hard decision to make when it comes time to make the final roster decisions.

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Never underestimate the power of a good day in Cleveland

Steven GerrardIt’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away
It’s a beautiful day – U2

When we woke up this morning we were afraid that Tuesday’s blockbuster news from the Cleveland Browns had only been some beautiful dream.

But then we realized that it was true, Jimmy Haslam really had rid the Browns of general manager Mike Lombardi (and CEO Joe Banner) and we knew it was going to be a beautiful day.

The day only got better with the news that new general manager Ray Farmer is not only talking with Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden about a contract extension, but Farmer may also value Pro Bowl centers and Pro Bowl safeties more than Banner.

The news was so positive surrounding the Browns that the good vibes spread far beyond the walls of 76 Lou Groza Blvd. in Berea.

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