Yesterday's Game: San Diego 11, Cleveland 8
As usual, the Indians scored a lot of runs, and gave up a lot of runs. It's still too early to call this a preview of how regular season games are going to go, though it does feel like how things are going to go. Ubaldo Jimenez pitched well for a couple of innings, then imploded in what would have been his last inning.
The starters were pulled between the fourth and sixth innings, so if you want to look at what the potential 25-man roster did, you could the Indians and Padres played to an 8-8 tie, as that's what the score was after four innings. Ryan Raburn homered again, Asdrubal Cabrera finished off his pre-WBC spring with a 3-for-3 day, and Nick Swisher also was perfect in 3 at-bats.
The pitching was, as you would expect by the score, not very good. Among the pitchers in contention to make the Opening Day roster, Ubaldo Jimenez allowed 5 runs on 7 hits in 2 innings, and Matt Albers allowed 3 hits and a run in an inning. There was some good performances later in the game, though those game against minor-leaguers and NRIs not likely to be in the majors this year. Brian Shaw (6th inning) and Rich Hill (7th inning) each pitched a scoreless inning of work. Scott Barnes pitched the 8th and allowed San Diego's only home run of the day. Matt Packer, who was brought over from minor-league camp, pitched a scoreless ninth.
With Chris Perez out possibly 3-4 weeks with a shoulder injury, it's looking likely that Vinnie Pestano will come in to a save situation if one is there on Opening Day. Pestano said the right things when asked about it:
"CP is our closer," said Pestano. "Until it's a clear-cut decision that he can't go, then we'll cross that bridge."
If Perez is going to be out, that shifts Pestano and Smith up an inning, and turns guys like Matt Albers and Cody Allen into key setup men (not they weren't already). Perez's injury also potentially opens up another spot to some guys on the NRI list, whether it be Rich Hill, Matt Capps, or even Corey Kluber or David Huff if Terry Francona wants a longman in the bullpen. Frank Herrmann, who would have been included in the above list, is sidelined with an elbow strain and potentially major surgery.
But first Pestano will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball, the only Indian to do so now that Perez is out. But the Indians will be represented elswhere, as Carlos Santana (DR), Asdrubal Cabrera (Venezuel), Mike Aviles (PR) and Geovanni Soto (PR) will also be on WBC teams.
So what does Chris Perez himself think of his injury?
It sounds like the decision not to play in the WBC was made by Perez, and for the right reasons. This injury needed some rest (although he may have only rested it a couple days had this happened in June) and there's plenty of time for him to rest it in preparation for the regular season. Though in order for him to get it 100% for Opening Day, that meant missing the WBC, which he was looking forward to. So this wasn't Francona or Antonetti telling Perez he needed to miss the WBC like I speculated when the news first came out; both player and management were on the same wavelength.
Since the Indians Hall of Fame was revived, Belle was an obvious selection, but until last season the non-existent relationship between Belle and the Indians was the main reason why he wasn't selected. Now, that isn't an issue, so I'd expect him to be selected any time now.
Al looks back at the career of Jim Thome.
AL Central News
Sale dominated the Indians this past week, looking much like the pitcher who dominated the Indians (and everyone else) last season.
Mauer and his wife are expecting...yes..twins.
Before, teams had to give up first round picks if they signed a Type A free agent, but they could make up for that by selecting a player who had fallen in the draft due to bonus demands (think Rick Porcello). With the draft pick compensation cap in place, that can't happen, so that's why you saw the Mets balk at offering Michael Bourn a contract and why Kyle Lohse is still (!) unsigned. But as to the question posed by the article...no, it doesn't; the rules are actually helping teams who finished in the bottom third of MLB rebuild quicker by having this advantage. And there aren't as many free agents who qualify for compensation, so it's going to affect only a couple of players a winter.
Chris Brown tries the impossible.
Today's Classic Clip: Abbott and Costello attempt to make change.