Last Night's Game
Every season there are at least a couple players that change your perception of them. TJ House has been one of them, in that he's pitched this season like you'd envisioned he'd pitch in his prime. Compared to Corey Kluber and Zach McAllister, TJ House has been very impressive in his first MLB experience. His stat lines certainly won't overwhelm you, nor has his stuff dazzled you. But still, you see game after game in which he did well enough to set up the club to win. Last night was House's first individual win, but he's deserved a win in five of his seven starts this season. He's pitched like a good fifth starter, and I mean that as a compliment. When the season began, House was the eighth starter on the depth chart, and hadn't yet pitched in a major-league game. His numbers in AAA were rather pedestrian, so (the thinking went) if the Indians had to use him for any major stretch, it would mean very bad things. That hasn't happened, as House has given the Indians a surprisingly decent 7 starts.
One of the few bad things that happened last night was when Michael Bourn left the game with tightness in his left hamstring. Apparently this is a not re-aggravation of the injury that caused Bourn to miss time earlier this season, but still, it's concerning for a player whose value mostly comes from his speed. If the Indians had to place Bourn on the Disabled List, there are three potential call-ups in Columbus:
- Carlos Moncrief - on the 40-man roster, which is a plus, but isn't going to play center field. Hit .309/.358/.536 in June, and has all the tools to be a MLB corner outfielder. If he'd be called up, Michael Brantley would be your everyday center fielder.
- Tyler Holt - certainly can fill in as a center fielder, and has been an on-base machine for the Clippers since he was promoted from Akron in late May. Not on the 40-man roster, but the Indians do have an open spot.
- Matt Carson - just came off the AAA Disabled List a couple days ago, so may be rusty at the plate. Still, if the Indians just need another outfielder while Bourn sits until the All-Star Break, he may be the best option, in that he could be DFAed and outrighted without much of a problem. The only one of the three with MLB experience.
There hasn't been many GM openings lately (and quite a while since someone filled an open GM spot from outside their organization), so it's interesting that Chernoff declined to even interview. Chernoff's responsibilities are at the major-league level: MLB scouting/analytics, and salary and arbitration management.
Latest 25-man/40-man Roster
If you're looking at the possibilities for All-Star team selections, you'd have to start with Michael Brantley (3.3 WAR) and Corey Kluber (2.7), both of whom in my opinion deserve to make the AL squad. Lonnie Chisenhall (1.8) just hasn't played that much, which isn't his fault. Yan Gomes (2.2) has been one of the best defensive catchers in the AL, but I don't think he has much of a chance to make the team.
AL Central News
Viciedo is your prototypical offense-first left fielder, and several contenders need one of those, including Seattle and San Francisco. The White Sox would undoubtedly want some pitching back in return.
This is the best visual recap you're going to get, as the game was not televised in either market (thanks, FOX!)
That could mean the dreaded oblique injury and a month on the DL, or it could mean Victor will be 100% healthy and singlehandedly beating the Indians the weekend after the All-Star Break.
Speaking of offense-first left fielders, Josh Willingham is also going to be available to contending teams this month.
This Week's Video Clip
Earlier this week, Vin Scully told several stories about Jackie Price, who played briefly with the Indians after World War II. Although his major-league career was very short-lived, he was an amazing showman, performing insane baseball tricks around the country. Here is an MGM short showing his crazy baseball stunts.