Indians best Giants in twilight 12-11 shootout
No shortage of fireworks at Goodyear Ballpark as both sides combine for 37 hits
Despite the 49ers scoring a touchdown (with a missed PAT), kicking a field goal and recording a safety, they were no match for the leg of Billy Cundiff, who kicked four field goals in the Browns' 12-11 win.
At least, that's how tonight's score could be interpreted in football terms since it doesn't make all that much more sense as a baseball score.
These are the types of games that can be fun to recap during the regular season when the games mean something, but in terms of spring training, where we're more interested in individual performances in preparation for the season rather than wins and losses, a high-scoring shootout isn't exactly what we're looking for.
With what little weight exhibition stats carry already, having them blown up during one game because both teams were hitting everything in sight only makes it more difficult to keep things in perspective.
Regardless, the Indians were 12-11 winners at Goodyear Ballpark with both the Tribe and the Giants combining for 37 hits.
Player of the Game: Yan Gomes (3-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI)
Terry Francona made it clear after the game that Yan Gomes's first priority is his defense behind the plate, but added that it was nice to see him swinging the bat well on Tuesday.
The new Tribe starting catcher recorded both of his first Cactus League home runs of the spring against the Giants, with his second being the deciding run in this game. Gomes was off to a bit of a slow start offensively this spring, but has since gotten up to speed and is now batting .294.
This season, the Brazilian native is expected to garner the lion's share of the catching duties after having a breakout year coming off the bench in 2013.
The French Revolution
At the end of 2013, Jeff Francoeur was at about the lowest point in his major league career after being cut by the Royals and the Giants. During the offseason, he pledged to make changes and adjustments that would put him back on top of his game this season, such as undergoing lasik eye surgery and switching to a lighter bat.
After signing a minor league deal with the Tribe, it appears that "Frenchy" may be following through on that goal as he is now batting .273 in exhibition play this spring with a home run and nine RBI after racking up two hits and four RBI on Tuesday, thanks mostly to a three-run blast in the third inning.
As things stand right now, Francoeur is one of the finalists to land a bench spot along with Elliot Johnson and Nyjer Morgan, depending on how long Michael Bourn is sidelined with hamstring issues.
Four Relievers, Two Spots
If Terry Francona and the Indians plan to carry the standard seven pitchers in their bullpen to start the season, there are currently two vacant spots and four viable candidates, all of whom pitched on Tuesday night against the Giants and helped stop the bleeding in order for the Tribe to rally to take the lead
Vinnie Pestano, Blake Wood, C.C. Lee and Scott Atchison have all impressed so far this spring. Pestano is more likely to claim a spot than the others as he has now pitched in six games and has only allowed one run. On Tuesday, he struck out the side as he continues to show flashes of his old dominant form.
That leaves the latter three to battle for one spot. Wood and Lee are younger with higher upsides, plus they have each struck out more than a batter per inning so far this spring. On the other hand, Atchison brings veteran presence and has only allowed one run in six innings of work. In addition, Atchison has familiarity with Terry Francona as he pitched with the Red Sox from 2010 through 2012.
Francona has said himself that he would like as many relievers capable of pitching at any point during a game. And considering the way these guys have been pitching, the depth in the bullpen could be just what the Tribe skipper was hoping for.
Facts and Tidbits
- The six earned runs given up by Zach McAllister on Tuesday matched the six earned runs given up by Trevor Bauer to the Angels on March 10th for the most given up by a Tribe pitcher this spring.
- Yan Gomes became the first Indian this spring to hit more than one home run in a game.
- Indians relief pitching prospect Brett Brach appeared in his first career Cactus League game on Tuesday and recorded his first save.
- Michael Brantley had three hits in four at-bats on Tuesday with all three hits being doubles.
Up Next: A's (10-8) vs. Indians (15-4-2) @ Goodyear Ballpark. First pitch at 4:05 pm ET.
In a preview of the upcoming opening day matchup in Oakland, the Indians and A's will face off at Goodyear Ballpark. Carlos Carrasco will continue his bid for the fifth starter job against righ-hander Dan Straily. Carrasco is 2-0 with an impressive 1.29 ERA and is coming off a shutout apearance in a simulated game at the player development complex. Straily, on the other hand, hasn't been as successful as he's given up four runs in three outings thus far.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
Agree with this completely....though he's really not much worse than Bourn in the leadoff spot...
I was going to mention Cabrera as a leadoff possibility, as odd as that might sound after last year, but I know Tito had used him there, so he might be considering it in Bourn's absence, plus the fact that maybe Cabrera will be more consistent offensively when he's focused on getting on base and not swinging for the fences (I.e. Isn't trying to pull everything).
As for Marcum, I consider him an option, as he'll probably be here still to start April, but not to start the season; I think it comes down to Carrasco and Tomlin, with an outside chance at Harang. I think Marcum's chances are essentially nil; the only way he makes himself a viable option is if he stays healthy, and can regain the command and stuff he had before the surgery. He'll likely have to go to Columbus for the first month before he becomes a viable option for the Indians (only if Carrasco falters and Tomlin either doesn't perform at Columbus or is injured).
I would love to keep Harang, too, but I would have to imagine one of Atlanta, Oakland or Arizona would welcome him with open arms given all their injuries.
One thing that I forgot to put in the article was the fact that Cabrera batted leadoff for the third time in the last week yesterday. First time I saw that when I was in Arizona last week, I didn't think much of it, but three times in one week? Now I'm wondering if Tito thinks there's potential for him there. I know he doesn't have a ton of speed, but if he continues hitting and getting on base consistently, you could do worse.
I was thinking along the same lines in regards to Harang, not a bad guy to keep, but probably only could as a starter, and with all of the starting spots opening up, his best opportunity as a starter would be elsewhere, since Carrasco has and still is the favorite for the fifth spot.
If Bourn can't go for the opener, who's in the lead- Morgan or Carson? Morgan has speed (how much still, not sure) and could fit in the leadoff spot, but Carson has played better and is healthier, even though he's not a leadoff guy (could shift Brantley or Kipnis up there temporarily, though. Suppose you could even put Swisher up there for a brief period if you had to), so I'm not sure Morgan would get it just because he can fit the leadoff spot better than Carson could.
I feel like there needs to be a book/manual or something detailing all these option/roster rules and all their exceptions...sometimes question where anyone knows every single little rule (obviously there are people that do though).
I think that Johnson makes the team regardless if Bourn starts on the DL or not. Likely Francoeur too; I think Morgan or Carson could benefit by being added to the roster if Bourn starts the season on the DL. In my mind, both Johnson and Francoeur are pretty close to locks (Johnson is 95-100% a lock; Francoeur 85-90% a lock).
Is the real Pestano back to the 2011 and 2012 form?
If you are optioned to minors but do not remain there for at least 20 days, it does not count as an option. For example, Josh Tomlin was optioned to AAA after his rehab stint last August but was recalled to the big league club within 20 days, so still has an option. Since we'd need Salzar on the 8th, he wouldn't have been down for 20 days, hence not losing his option.
However as Tony pointed out...this probably won't work as there is also a rule that you need to stay down for at least 10 days when optioned (unless there is an injury). I thought maybe you could option him down a few days before opening day but doesn't sound like this is the case (if I'm understanding Tony correctly).
But I agree that Hynes is definitely a DFA candidate. He probably clears and the Indians control him this year anyway.
With all the pitching injuries throughout MLB I do not see Harang , Aardsma, Atchison accepting minor league assignments. If LaHair finishes Spring Training strong I don't see him accepting to go down to Columbus. There are teams still looking for 1B.
Indians showed last year they very willing to be creative with their roster management. I'd assume Lee is ticketed for AAA. Has options and couldn't hurt to get a bit more time at AAA. Wood I thought was out of options but looks like he does still have one left. I'd probably start with him and Atchison (if going with 8 bullpen arms) and see how the first week plays out. Could then option Wood to AAA and have him as a first option if an injury happens or someone struggles.
This is something I really want to see more from Brantley this year. Yeah it was nice seeing the HRs increase, but his extra base hits and overall power has actually been in decline the last two years. He doesn't need to be a 15--20 HR guy to bat 5th or 6th in the lineup (though won't argue if he is)....but some extra bases there would really help out.