Last night the Indians got knocked around pretty good in their first game against Detroit this season, losing 10-4. Corey Kluber was not ready for the Tigers' lineup, allowing 8 runs before being chased in the 5th inning. Nick Swisher had 3 hits, but there's not much else good to say about it. Michael Bourn went 0 for 4 in his return.
Jordan Bastian's notes from MLB.com include mention of Kipnis tinkering with his swing, Raburn reflecting on his return to the Motor City, and a plan to monitor Michael Bourn's playing time over the next couple weeks.
At Fangraphs, Dave Cameron take a look at Scott Kazmir's velocity, location, and contact rates from his recent starts, concluding that:
"Kazmir is showing the tools that make up a quality starting pitcher once again. His fastball again appears to be a real weapon... we shouldn't assume that his walk problems magically went away... he'll always give up his fair share of home runs, but the strikeouts make the rest of the skillset work."
If you feel like being encouraged, it's a good read. The return of his velocity is what I find most striking. If he can keep it up, he'll be one of the best minor league signings the Tribe has made.
Fangraphs has also introduced its own standings, and they're unlike the ones you can find in other places. They provide a good explanation, which is worth looking at. The feature I find most interesting is the projected standings for the rest of the year. You sometimes see something like this, but Fangraphs has done a far more sophisticated version. They project the Indians to 81-81 right now, mostly because they see the pitching staff allowing a lot more runs than they have so far.
It received a lot less fuss than Angel Hernandez's blown call in Cleveland, but Thursday night the umps dropped the ball in Houston, where Astros manager Bo Porter made a pitching change and then another, without the first reliever throwing facing a batter. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was none too pleased, and filed a protest. The Angels went on to win, so there was no real harm, but it was another case of umpires missing something that should have been fairly obvious.
A key difference is that the mistake made in the Cleveland/Oakland game is viewed as a judgement call (one with really, REALLY poor judgement), whereas what happened in Houston was a failure on the part f the umpires to follow and enforce the rules correctly. MLB, probably wanting to feel like it was doing SOMETHING about this series of errors, took action against the umpires from the Astros/Angels series, suspending crew chief Fieldin Culbreth for two games and fining the entire crew an undisclosed amount.
I'm hesitant to bring this up, but since attendance has been a hot topic around here, and since comparisons to the Marlins' attendance situation have been a big part of that, here are a couple looks at the situation in Miami:
Bryan Curtis at Grantland looks at the ticket scalping market for Marlins games, where a huge number of the tickets sold go unused. For those of you lamenting the Tribe supposedly drawing fewer fans than Miami, it may interest you to know that huge blocks of tickets are being sold for $1 apiece to scalpers who then try to sell them for $5.
Mike Oz at Yahoo's Big League Stew reports on a disastrous MLB Fan Cave contest the Marlins held, which led to an outpouring of angry responses from would be fans.
For this week's non-baseball topic, I'll turn back to running through film history, this time entering the 1960s, a decade that saw the rise of the spy movie, heist flick, and spaghetti western and more elaborate and involving science fiction and fantasy.
At this point , I feel like ten years is too wide a span for just six movies, so I'm going to start cutting decades in half.
My favorite films of the early 60s (1960-64):
6) Psycho - Probably Hitchcock's most famous film, it's been parodied to death, but get past that and it's a story that holds up surprisingly well.
5) The Manchurian Candidate - American war veterans have been brainwashed by the KGB into becoming assassins.
4) Dr. Strangelove - Dark humor, some of the finest satire in popular film history.
3) The Apartment - Sort of like 'Mad Men,' but as a comedy starring one of the underlings. One of Billy Wilder's best films and some of Jack Lemmon's finest work.
2) The Great Escape - A fantastic cast of allied POWs plan their escape from a Nazi camp during World War II. Steve McQueen plays someone much cooler than you.
1) To Kill a Mockingbird - The rare film version of a classic novel that lives up to the text, aided in large part by Gregory Peck being just the right man to play Atticus Finch.