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Flash Forward: A look ahead at the Indians 2013 season

Flash Forward: A look ahead at the Indians 2013 season
April 1, 2013
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The esteemed Paul Cousineau of The Diatribe penned my favorite Tribe post every year.  Usually occurring right before Opening Day, Paul wrote a lengthy post chronicling the future season, predicting in vivid detail how he felt the Indians would fare that year; since Paul has resigned his position as chief scribe for The Diatribe these posts have left the internet landscape.

Well, the roster has been set, the schedule released and the season on our doorstep.  Therefore, gazing into my crystal ball I have foreseen how our Cleveland Indians will do this season….

April 2nd vs. Toronto

In the opening matchup Justin Masterson toed the rubber against NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, shutting down the Jays for six innings until Jose Bautista slammed a homer over the centerfield wall just out of Michael Bourn’s reach, plating three runs.  Although Masterson will pitch well all year, he would constantly struggle against true frontline starters.  Mark Reynolds struck out three times, in the first eight innings until he belted a homer over the wall in the ninth, scoring Nick Swisher, but leaving the Tribe just short, but displaying the Jay’s weak bullpen.

April 6th vs. Tampa Bay

Scott Kazmir blanked his former team over seven innings while the Tribe crushes Fausto…..errr…Roberto Hernandez for eight runs.  Jason Kipnis hits for the cycle, displaying solid power, and great contact en route to a 20/30 season and an All-Star appearance in New York.  However, Matt Albers struggles and surrenders five runs in the eighth forcing Chris Perez to close the door, notching his 3rd save of the year.

April 8th vs. New York

Tribe Opening Day is a slug fest against the struggling New York Yankees.  Although Ubaldo has not walked a batter in ten innings this season he has surrendered twenty hits, and four homeruns, including a pair to Robinson Cano.  However, Tribe batters torch Hiroki Kuroda, who is finally showing his age this year.  Santana, Swisher and Reynolds hit back-to-back-to-back homeruns against Kuroda in the first on the way to a 15-11 victory.  Vinnie Pestano finishes the ninth, striking out the side, an omen for things to come later in the year. 

April 9th vs. New York

That morning Bryan Shaw is sent to the minors, despite tossing three scoreless innings, and Jason Giambi returns to the bench.  Giambi promptly rakes against Phil Hughes, blasting a grand slam in the first.  However, Brett Myers struggles against the Yankees surrendering seven runs in the fifth.  The Tribe falls short in the ninth, when Drew Stubbs strikes out with runners on second and third, losing 9-7.  Althogh Stubbs runs well, and plays great defense he fails to find his stroke, barely hitting above the Mendoza line.

April 16th vs. Boston

Zach McAllister pitches six solid innings, and the Tribe scrapes four runs across the plate.  Michael Bourn makes three diving catches and steals four bases.  Bourn will go on to have an inspired season, stealing 45 bases, and batting .300 all year, making the All-Star team as a reserve.  Nick Hagadone and Cody Allen bridge to Chris Perez without incident, striking out four in two innings, solidifying the middle of a deep Bullpen Mafia. 

April 20th vs. Houston

Brett Myers is torched again, this time against a terrible Astros team which goes on to lose 100 games.  Thankfully Nick Swisher smacks two homers and two doubles, pacing the Indians offense which scores thirteen runs against a Triple-A pitching staff.  Although Terry Francona promises the media after the game that Brett Myers will be “just fine” and that he has every confidence in the veteran, it’s announced that Carlos Carrasco has been called up to replace him, while the struggling Matt Albers has been designated for assignment, and Brett Myers moves to the bullpen. 

April 24th vs. Chicago

Ubaldo pitches seven innings, and is pestered for eight runs.  Jake Peavey shuts down the Tribe offense, striking out thirteen batters, going the distance in an 8-0 loss to the Sox.  Ryan Raburn strikes out four times, batting only .150 with no extra base hits.  Meanwhile in Columbus Trevor Bauer dominates the Scranton Yankees, striking out twelve, walking four, in a complete game shutout.

April 30th vs. Philadelphia

Francona decides to give Ubaldo a day off to ‘clear his head’ and hands the ball to Carrasco, who pitched six solid innings in his first game back.  Carlos rewards the manager and pitches seven innings of two run ball, scattering six hits, striking out seven.  Asdrubal and Kipnis combine for seven hits, and three doubles.  Asdrubal ends the month batting over .300 with seven homers, nine doubles and four stolen bases.  However, Cabrera makes two errors in the game, and despite Francona’s insistence that his defense is “just fine” many scouts question whether Asdrubal can remain at shortstop long-term.  The win gives the Tribe a 14-13 record for the month, just three games off the division leading Tigers who have not lived up to expectations thus far. 

May 8th vs. Oakland

Michael Brantley rakes Oakland pitching for four hits, including a triple and two doubles, pacing the offense which scores nine runs.  Francona, who wants to take advantage of Brantley’s “hot bat” intermittently slots Mike in the leadoff spot when Bourn gets a day off.  Another revelation is Cord Phelps, called up to replace Ryan Raburn, just placed on the DL with “back spasms” and knocks in Mike all four times.  The win puts the Indians on a hot streak, winning six in a row and catching up to the Tigers, who are struggling with Victor Martinez, Torii Hunter  and Prince Fielder all on the DL.

May 12th vs. Detroit

Justin Masteron matches Verlander pitch for pitch in the game of the season.  Going the distance Masterson surrenders only one run, a solo shot from ‘Triple Crown’ Cabrera who is in the midst of another excellent season.  Carlos Santana walks in front of Nick Swisher who belts a homerun over the right field wall against temporary closer Bruce Rondon.  Drew Stubbs, who struggles again, and is now hitting below .200 with only three homers, strikes out thrice against Verlander.  The win gives the series to the Tribe and ties the Indians with the Tigers for first place in the division.

May 22nd vs. Detroit

Ubaldo gives up back-to-back-to-back homers to Cabrera, Avila and Peralta.  Francona insists the pitcher looked “a lot better” and was just “unlucky” and things will get better.  Giambi, in his weekly game, smacks a homerun over the wall, but strikes out three times, providing his continually streaky production.  Brett Myers pitches the final three innings, providing steady, if unspectacular, mop up work in the bullpen.  However, after the game Myers gets into a fight with Comerica Park workers and openly complains to the media about “lack of respect” and wants “his due” in the rotation.

May 27th vs. Cincinnati

Ubaldo is placed on the DL with “arm soreness”  and the sizzling Trevor Bauer is brought up to replace him in the rotation.  The red hot Bauer makes mincemeat of the Reds lineup for seven innings before walking the bases loaded in the eighth.  Thankfully Joe Smith strikes out Brandon Phillips and induces an inning ending double play, to save the pitcher who talks about adjusting his ‘neuromuscular mechanics’ after the game.  Bauer continues to pitch well throughout the season, as Bauer Outage proves to be a capable front of the rotation starter.

May 31st vs. Tampa Bay

That morning it is announced that Brett Myers and Matt Albers have been traded to Toronto for RHP Daniel Norris, who has struggled in the Jays farm system.  Bryan Shaw is brought up to replace Myers in the bullpen, and pitches well for the Tribe, slotting right behind Joe Smith in the Mafia totem pole.  Scott Kazmir continues his hot start, tossing six innings of one run ball, while Swisher continues to produce at first base, batting .290 with nine homers, thirteen doubles.  The Tribe remains right behind the Tigers in second place, with the improved Kansas City Royals right behind them.

June 5th vs. New York

The Indians slaughter the moribund Yankees again, as the Tribe breezes to a 12-3 victory in New York.  Texiera strikes out four times, and is booed relentlessly as he slugs back to the dugout.  Cody Allen strikes out the side in his one inning of work, and Chris Perez goes up in the ninth to finish the game.  In a freak accident, Cano laces a line drive and hits Chris in the hand, breaking it.  Perez goes on the DL, and Vinnie Pestano takes up permanent closer duties for the remainder of the season.

June 14th vs. Washington

Zach McAllister walks off the mound in obvious pain after the seventh inning and goes down to a shoulder injury which ends his season.  In response the Tribe calls up Corey Kluber, who struggles to take Zach’s place in the rotation.  In a 5-4 loss to Washington, Lonnie ropes three doubles, sporting a strong bat all year.  Although Lonnie’s 10 homeruns and 20 doubles look good, he walks little and only gets on base at a .320 clip.

June 19th vs. Kansas City

Corey Kluber labors through six innings, surrendering five runs.  The offense lights up Progressive Field plating seven runs, and Vinnie shuts the door in the ninth.  However, on a diving catch in left field Michael Brantley breaks his elbow, and is placed on the DL and will not return until August.  With Zach McAllister and Michael Brantley on the DL, the Tribe struggles to find replacements in the minors.  Tim Fedroff is called up and gets an opportunity to prove himself in the Majors.

July 2nd vs. Kansas City

Tim Fedroff strikes out in the ninth against Greg Holland, going 0-4 on the day.  Bauer pitches eight strong innings, only giving up a pair.  However, the loss of Brantley is beginning to be felt as the Tribe’s momentum slows, while the Tigers take off when Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder return from the DL and rake for in the middle of the lineup.

July 11th vs. Toronto

In a rematch against R.A. Dickey, Justin Credible twirls a complete game shutout and scatters twelve hits, walking none, letting a 1-0 lead stand.  In the eighth Bourn walks to open the inning, moves to second on a sacrifice bunt from Asdrubal, and steals third and home to take the lead.  The win ends a five game losing streak and rebuilds some momentum into the All-Star break.

July 14th vs. Kansas City

The All-Star game rosters are announced.  Jason Kipnis, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Bourn and Vinnie Pestano all make the roster.  To celebrate Kipnis strokes a homer over the wall, giving him twelve for the opening half, and Pestano shuts down the Royals, striking out Hosmer, Moustakas and Salvador Perez on nine pitches, the thirteenth of thirty saves he would notch on the year.  The win leapfrogs the Indians ahead of the Royals for second place, with a record just above .500 for the year. 

July 16th All-Star Game

Jason Kipnis plates Bourn and Cabrera home on a triple in the corner at Citi Field in New York, leading the AL to a 5-4 victory over the NL.  In his final All-Star appearance of his career Mariano Rivera strikes out the side and leaves to a standing ovation.

July 21st vs. Minnesota

Christ Perez shuts down an anemic Twins offense in the ninth, returning from the DL and proving he can pitch in the league again.  That night the Tribe trades Perez to the St. Louis Cardianls, trailing the Cincinnati Reds and desperate to compete, for Trevor Rosenthal.

July 31st vs. Chicago

Antonneti remains relatively silent at the trading deadline, only trading Ubaldo to a struggling Houston team for cash, and the Tribe edges the White Sox 5-4.  Nick Swisher hits a walk-off grand slam against Matt Thornton, and is mobbed at home plate by an excited Indians team.  Carlos Carrasco pitches six shutout innings, continuing an excellent year, slotting behind Bauer for a solid one-two punch.

August 9th vs. Los Angeles

Scott Kazmir is shelled against a renewed Angels’ offense.  Trout ropes two doubles and steals three bases, en route to a well-deserved MVP season.  Although Kazmir started hot, he tires as the season comes to a close, and is placed on the DL with a “tired arm” and is replaced by Daisuke Matsuzaka.

August 14th vs. Minnesota

Michael Brantley returns from the DL allowing Tim Fedroff to return to the minors.  He rewards the Indians with three singles and a walk, solidifying the back of the Tribe lineup.  Trevor Bauer continues to pitch well, although he still walks too many batters.  Cody Allen strikes out the side, sliding smoothly into the 8th inning slot while Pestano shuts down the side in a 6-3 win.  The win pulls the Tribe within two games of Detroit, who are struggling again.

August 27th vs. Atlanta

Daisuke struggles again, squandering a six run lead given to him by Mark Reynolds who belted three homeruns, giving him 30 on the season.  Reynolds, despite the strikeouts, hits 42 on the season with a low .233 batting average.

August 31st vs. Detroit

Verlander throws his third complete game shutout of the season, and Detroit wins their fifth game in a row.  Although the Tribe is playing better the Tigers are on a hot streak, and are pulling away from the AL Central. 

September 2nd vs. Baltimore

With rosters expanded the Tribe calls up Jesus Aguilar.  Aguilar gives Swisher a rest and belts a pair of homeruns in a tough loss to the Orioles, who are in the middle of a pennant race behind Toronto and Tampa.  Although Aguilar shows good power, he struggles to make contact hitting nine homeruns, but batting only .215 for the month of September.

September 11th vs. Kansas City

Dice-K struggles again, and Antonneti ends the experiment, cutting him loose, and plucks Giovanni Soto from the minors to replace him.  With the Tribe out of the race, seven games behind Detroit, Francona tries to get a closer look at some of the younger players and calls up Fransico Lindor, who has risen meteorically through the minors. 

September 15th vs. Chicago

Masterson pitches well, Phelps and Lindor plate five runs in a victory over the Sox.  Lindor has played well in the Majors, batting over .300 with terrific defense spelling Asdrubal at the end of the season.  Francona raves about how Lindor is ready “for the next step” and is excited to have Lindor up here “full time.”

September 22nd vs. Houston

The Tribe pummels Houston for ten runs, and wins their 81st game of the year, assuring a .500 finish.  Trevor Bauer wins his 11th game of the season, finishing third on the team behind Masterson’s 15 and Carrasco’s 13.  Carlos Santana hits his 20th homer of the year, and finishes the season with a strong .260/.370.470 line, and wins the Silver Slugger award for catchers.

September 29th vs. Minnesota

The Tribe beats Minnesota in the final game of the year, improving their record to 85-77, six games out of first place and behind Detroit, and second in the division.  Terry Francona raves on how proud he is of his team, and carry’s home a Manager of the Year award for the season, as the Tribe’s 17 win improvement is tops in the AL.  Tribe fans kick back in excitement looking forward to 2014.

User Comments

Tony
April 1, 2013 - 5:30 PM EDT
I hope some of these injuries predicted here do not come to pass! Ouch. Overall, nice job with this. The Matsuzaka thing probably doesn't happen that way (no way he sticks in the minors until August, he'll be up before then or request his release by June).......but I like some of these predictions and agree that the overall scenario of the team finishing in 2nd with 85 wins would have to be deemed a successful season.
jwahoo
April 1, 2013 - 4:06 PM EDT
I doubt Houston would want Ubaldo even for just cash. No team in the game is in more of a "rebuild" mode. They would be better off finishing last place and getting another 1st round draft pick. If it comes to that hopefully we can move him to someone like The Brewers for a lottery ticket.

As I said below I think we should also try and package Chris Perez and Asdrubal for a "Bauer" like starter. Thats of course assuming we have no chance and both players are having all star level seasons.
jwahoo
April 1, 2013 - 3:12 PM EDT
I do like the Daniel Norris trade though.

One thing I would like to say. If we do struggle this season and by the trade deadline it is clear we are not going to make the post season, we need to take a hard look at trading key players.

Asdrubal and Chris Perez being the main cogs. We could package those two to get a "Bauer" like young stud along with more young pitching depth.

We should also look to move Meyers, Kazmir, Ubaldo, Reynolds and Joe Smith. Maybe even Justin Masterson if the price is right. You might not get much for some of them but we have gotten key players for less before. Let Shapiro map out the trades.

Most of our starting lineup will be intact for the next 2-3 years. Only SS and DH will have holes. Obviously Lindor will take over at short and it should not be that hard to find someone to DH. So, we should look to add the missing ingredient through trades which is obviously starting pitching. We should also look to add a corner outfield bat that could replace Stubbs or DH.
Jwahoo
April 1, 2013 - 3:02 PM EDT
Our pitching isn't great but I still doubt we see Soto as a starter this year. It might sound crazy but anything less then a playoff apperance this year will leave be unsatisfied.

But, anyway I used to read these as well. Thanks for keeping it alive.
Rich
April 1, 2013 - 10:45 AM EDT
I'd take that scenario.

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