The Indians are in Glendale at Camelback Ranch (I’m sorry, that really sounds like a strip club) this afternoon. Ubaldo Jimenez is on the mound for the Indianthere and there are a lot of regulars in the lineup. I’ll provide some thoughts and observations throughout the afternoon.
Top 1st: Rienzo retired Bourn, Cabrera and Kipnis on just a handful of pitches. Two groundouts and a strikeout.
Bottom 1st: Ubaldo was having some trouble finding the strike zone against first batter DeWayne Wise, but got him to fly out to left. It appeared to have some sink to it, and Wise got under it. Ubaldo ended up giving up a solid single to Alexei Ramirez (who eventually stole second), but managed to retire Brett Morel and Adam Dunn to escape any problems. (And my phone just wanted to correct “problems” to “lens blemish.”)
Top 2nd: Even though Swisher took off before the pitch was thrown, Brantley still managed to ground into a double play. It had been a good at-bat to that point too. Reynolds gave it a ride, but it’s just a long out.
Bottom 2nd: Another solid single by Paul Konerko. Both he and Ramirez both punched the ball out to left. Two grown men just wrestled in an isle for Viciedo’s foul ball. He then grounded into a double play, but it was still really solid contact. He gets Danks to ground out; he’s inducing a lot of ground balls so far, at least. I should add that the vast majority of people at this game are 65 and over. If a foul ball comes my way, I think I could take them. Guy behind me may be some strong competition though.
Top 3rd: Wow, with a full count, Chisenhall slammed that one into the alley. Solid at-bat. Reinzo blew through the lineup in the first, but the Indians have shown a lot more patience at the plate since then. Chisenhall and Yan Gomes both ran the count full. Drew Stubbs’ strikeout provided me with a nice breeze on this very hot day. Bourn shattered his bat, but avoided the double play. I’m not at a great angle, but I thought he was out. Surprised to see the safe call. Asdrubal really worked the count during his at-bat, and it paid off with a 2-run double. Overall, very pleased by the plate discipline I saw this inning.
Bottom 3rd: After another solid single off Ubaldo, they decide to play “Whoomp there it I wasn’t aware it was the mid-90s. Gordon Beckham just absolutely assaulted that ball. Over Bourn’s head to the deepest part of the park. Then a wild pitch and a hit punched to right. The White Sox have already plated 2, have a runner on first, and there’s still nobody out. Ubaldo looks like Ubaldo so far. The Morel bunt puts runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. This inning could get ugly fast. Adam Dunn watched strike 3 just sail by, really helping him out. Sox fan off to my right is less than pleased with Dunn right now. Konerko flies out to end the inning and neutralize the damage at 2 runs. I’ll give Ubaldo this – he’s kept some of their best hitters in check. Just not much of the rest of the lineup.
Top 4th: Mark Reynolds showed some solid plate discipline and drew a walk. For a minute when I looked down at the plate, I thought he was Shelley Duncan. I’ll blame the heat. It’s super hot…my brain is working not so good.
Bottom 4th: Fantastic nab by Chisenhall to get Viciedo at first. The Indians went to toss the ball around the infield after Jordan Danks struck out, and somehow it ended up in right. So that was a super fast 1-2-3 inning from Ubaldo. I have no idea. I want to say maybe he was trying something last inning, but I feel like that’s just wishful thinking and he’s just madly inconsistent, like usual.
Top 5th: Yan Gomes’ bat literally exploded. Bourn singled and Asdrubal walked, bringing Kipnis to the plate with 2 out. He put a charge into it, but got under it too much…he flew out to center.
Bottom 5th: I was completely convinced that someone other than Ubaldo was out there, but it’s still him. Kipnis and Cabrera are out though – replaced by Cord Phelps and Juan Diaz. It looks like someone is up in the Indians’ pen, but I can’t see who it is. Fantastic throw by Gomes to nab the runner trying to steal second. Jimenez allowed a single, but no other damage. I’m going to take a break for a bit to see about finding some food to stuff in my face.
End of 6th: Indians managed to plate a run last inning to take the lead. Nice hitting by Chisenhall and an almost-nice play by the Chicago shortstop to keep a Yan Gomes single on the infield. Unfortunately (for him) he air-mailed the ball to first. Matt Albers looked good in the bottom of the inning.
Top 7th: Cedric Hunter’s fan club isn’t in the house today. If so, I can’t hear them. Cord Phelps was all over that pitch…absolutely crushed a home run to center with Hunter on base. Pretty much no doubt about it as soon as it left the bat. Indians now up 5-2. I have to say, I’ve never been that high on Cord Phelps, but he’s impressed me so far this spring.
Bottom 7th: Looks like Bryan Shaw is in now. I missed the announcement and it looks like him. Anyway, he let Viciedo launch a double. He’s pulled for a pinch runner. Lead off double does no damage, as Shaw gets out of the inning without allowing any runs.
Top 8th: What’s a Brian Jeroloman? He’s batting with 2 outs, and I don’t remember seeing him before now. Raburn and Hernandez already made the first 2 outs. Regardless, he struck out.
Bottom 8th: Every time they say the Chicago shortstop’s name (Carlos Sanchez) I think they’re going to say Carlos Santana. Hagadone got the call on the tagout at first; the umpire signaled that he snagged the runner Sanchez under the arm. Hagadone has a 1-2-3 inning…he looked sharp. There are 5,303 in attendance, even though it looked like it was less than that. This is a big park though.
Top 9th: Cedric Hunter was caught stealing; had a nice jump, but a strong throw nailed him. It’s too bad, because Juan Diaz singled in the next at-bat. The inning ends without the Indians adding to their total. It’s the last chance for the White Sox.
Bottom 9th: Looks like Jerry Gil warming up for the Tribe. I thought that ball by Josh Bell was gone, but Hunter tracked it down in the deepest part of the park (410 to dead center). Another really well-hit ball, but it’s tracked down in right to end the game.
I’ll have some wrap up thoughts, otherwise I’ll do this again on Friday when the Indians are in Maryvale to take on the Brewers.
I found Jimenez to be typical Jimenez – somewhat uneven, looking both fantastic and terrible. Even when he struggled, at least he managed to minimize damage and hold the White Sox to two runs. This gave the team a chance to win, plus Jimenez was able to contain the big hitters on the White Sox, like Dunn and Konerko. On the offensive side, I thought Chisenhall looked good, and Phelps has impressed me this spring. It sounds like the Indians may try him at some different positions, in order to make him more versatile.