Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiters, not Irving, leads Cavs to end 11-game skid vs Bulls

By: Stephen Parsons

After hearing  that Cavaliers All Star point guard Kyrie Irving would be out tonight with a sore right knee, not many people would have given the Cavaliers a chance to beat the Bulls on the road.  Don’t let Byron Scott hear that, because the Cavs were ready to end the 11-game losing streak to the Chicago Bulls.

March 19, 2010 was the last time the Cavaliers defeated the Bulls, according to my math that was when a certain player used to be a part of this franchise.  That means the first win over division rival Bulls since LeBron James left the organization in the summer of 2010.

As previously stated, no Kyrie Irving tonight, Shaun Livingston started in Irving’s place.  It started as we would expect it to, ugly.  But Cavalier rookie guard Dion Waiters picked a good night to be on.  It was his night to lead the team with Irving on the sidelines.  Waiters scored a team high 25 points and shot 10 for 16 from the field.  Waiters would lead the Cavaliers to 101-98 victory at the United Center.

Both Tristian Thompson and rookie center Tyler Zeller recorded 8 rebounds for the Cavs.  Thompson also scored 10 points.  Shaun Livingston did a solid job filling in for Irving, scoring 15 points shooting  6 for 11 from the field.

Wayne Ellington was the leader coming off the bench with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.  Luke Walton also added 8 points, 5 rebound, 5 assists including a huge mid range jump shot within the final two minutes to help seal the victory.

A key stat of this game, the Cavs were able to force 15 turnovers.  The Cavs shot 84.2% from the free throw stripe.  The Bulls only shot 73.3% from the charity stripe.

Carlos Boozer scored a game high 27 points along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.  Luol Deng was Chicago’s top performer with 26 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists, playing 40 minutes.
The loss drops the Bulls to a record of 32-25, they are just 15-14 at home this season, and currently hold the #6 seed in the Eastern conference.

The Cavaliers improve their record to 19-38, and have won 3 of their last 4 games, and if you are still keeping track, 9 games back of the 8 seed.

Coming up next:
Tomorrow night, the Cavaliers come back home to Quicken Loans Arena to host the Toronto Raptors.  The Raptors are 23-34 this season and have split the first two games with the Cavaliers this season.  Kyrie Irving is listed as day-to-day with a right knee injury.  Tip-off is at 7pm.

Perfect Record Ends, Soto Struggles Continue

By:  Stephen Parsons

Well the pursuit for perfection ended today in Goodyear as the Tribe fell to division rival Kansas City Royals by a score of 4-1.  The Indians averaged 9.6 runs per game in the first five games this season resulting to a 5-0 start in Cactus League play.

Indians hitters could not figure out the Royals pitchers today, heading into the bottom of the 7th inning, the Tribe found themselves shutout and only recording 2 hits against Kansas City hurlers.  The Royals made a big offseason trade acquiring pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis.  Davis started today and looked good pitching 2 scoreless innings only yielding 1 hit.  Right hander Yordana Ventura also threw 2 scoreless innings allowing 1 hit but also struck out 2 Indians batters.

Left hander Donnie Joseph stuck out the side in the 5th inning in a perfect outing.  And to finish it off, former Indian Dan Wheeler got the save in the 9th inning allowing 1 hit but striking out 2 batters.
Cleveland’s only run came off the bat of outfielder Matt Carson.  Carson is 3 for 6 this spring with 2 home runs and 3 runs batted in.  Both Asdrubal Cabrera and Nick Swisher went 0-3 today, stranding a combined 3 runners.

Closer Chris Perez pitched a clean 2nd inning.  Giovanni Soto had yet another day to forget, going 2/3 innings pitched allowing 1 home run and 2 earned runs also walking two batters.  Soto has pitched 1 2/3 innings so far this season allowing 7 earned runs already.

Coming up tomorrow:
Veteran right handed pitcher Brett Myers is expected to start tomorrow against the Mariners at 3:05 EST from Goodyear, AZ.  Myers signed a one year contract this past offseason and is expected to be the Indians number 3 starter in the starting rotation.  Also expect to see Corey Kluber, along with bullpen candidates Cody Allen, Rich Hill and Nick Hagadone.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tribe Bats Sizzling in Arizona

By: Stephen Parsons

Okay, I realize that it is only Spring Training, but the Indians bats have come alive in the first two exhibition games against state rival and Goodyear, Arizona roommates the Cincinnati Reds.
Giovanni Soto couldn’t have a worse first impression for new manager Terry Francona.  He could only get 2 batters out in the debut game of the spring.  Allowing 3 hits and walking 2 batters, he gave up 5 earned runs before being pulled in favor of Fernando Nieve.

The Tribe would battle in this game, but found themselves down 10-7 in only the 5th inning.  Reliever Joe Martinez didn’t look much better, in fact somehow he was worse.  In 2 innings pitched Martinez yielded 5 earned runs on 5 hits including 2 home runs.

Vinny Pestano and Frank Hermann were the only pitchers to have perfect innings pitched.  Mike McDade, who the Indians acquired from Toronto, sliced a 3 run double to give the Tribe the victory in walk off fashion.

In Saturday afternoon’s game, the Tribe didn’t wait till the 9th inning to get ahead.  They jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the 4th inning.  Newly acquired veteran pitcher Brett Myers went for 2 innings pitched, allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits, and struck out two batters.  Indians closer Chris Perez pitched one inning allowing one hit and striking out one batter.

Utility man Ryan Raburn hit 2 home runs today giving him 3 home runs total.  He hit 6 home runs last spring with the Tigers.  Raburn is wasting no time in getting a leg up on other players for a roster spot.

The Reds and Indians have combined for 44 runs and 62 hits while playing for 6 hours, 47 minutes.  It may only be spring training, but with a lot of new faces, it’s good to see the Tribe putting up some good numbers offensively for a team that has struggled in that department for the better part of the past 5 years.  Now it’s time for the pitching to start getting some consistency because that is the biggest question mark heading into the season.  Zach McAllister will take the mound tomorrow against the Reds as a split squad takes on the Milwaukee Brewers as well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fans are looking forward to the 2013 Indians Campaign

By:  Stephen Parsons

Cleveland Indians management has responded to the Cleveland fans this offseason and in a huge way.  Let’s start with the hiring of a high profile manager, Terry Francona.  He led the Red Sox to the World Series Championship in both the 2004 and 2007 seasons.  Indians fans remember the 2nd championship because it was against the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS where the Red Sox came back from a 3-1 deficit to move on and beat the Colorado Rockies for the World Series Crown.  2007 is a year that seems so long ago, it was also the last time the Indians made the post season and have not had a winning season since.

Francona brings instant credibility to the Tribe.  It has had a different feel this off season   Some of the notable signings include Mark Reynolds, a right handed hitting first baseman with power.  Going the complete opposite route this year, Casey Kotchman, who played 1st last year was defensive specialist.  The Indians are looking for more production from that position.  Reynolds has averaged 34 home runs and 85 runs batted in over the past 4 seasons.
The Tribe also signed veteran starting pitcher Brett Myers to join the rotation.  Myers has bounced around from Philadelphia to Houston in years past.

The big signing this off-season has to be Nick Swisher from the New York Yankees.  Swisher is a switch hitting outfielder who can also play 1st base.  Last season Swisher hit 24 home runs and 93 runs batted in while posting a .272 batting average for the Yankees.
At this point you would think the Indians had a great offseason, moving forward away from Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, and using some money on proven players.
Well last week the Indians front office flexed their muscles once again signing top of the line free agent Michael Bourn.  The Tribe inked the free agent outfielder to a 4 year $48 million deal with an option for a 5th year.  Bourn led the National League in stolen bases 3 of the past 4 years.  Bourn brings legitimacy to the Indians lineup.  For the first time in years the Indians will have a true lead off hitter as well as a 2-time gold glove winner.

The Tribe also brought in other veterans to help out in spring training, who knows maybe they can even get a roster spot.  Jason Giambi, Matt Capps, and Daisuke Matsuzaka aka Dice-K, are among the players who have been given spring training invitations.

The bullpen is strong with Chris Perez, Vinny Pestano, and Joe Smith anchoring the pen, the hitting is much improved on paper.  The big question at this point is the starting rotation with no clear cut ace on this pitching staff, someone is going to have to step up this year if the Tribe has any hope in competing with Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central crown.  Only time will tell if this off-season will end up being successful.  What is certain is the fans are more optimistic and excited about this team then they have been in a very long time.

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