The Rangers really didn’t have a good weekend here in Cleveland, when you think about it.  They arrived on Thursday, and right away there were stories that relief pitcher Tanner Scheppers was sucker punched downtown by some random strangers while going to get dinner.  The story then changed a bit, and now it looks like he was in a bar fight while out with a couple of other players at 2:30 a.m. on W. 6th St.   Then they got swept by the Indians, losing in extra innings on Friday, and getting shut out on both Saturday and Sunday.  From the Indians’ perspective, it was a pretty good series.  The bullpen struggled on Friday, but they scored plenty of runs (which they needed with the bullpen mishaps).  The offense was shut down by Yu Darvish on Saturday, but Justin Masterson was even better.  Ubaldo Jimenez followed Masterson’s great outing with a dynamic performance on Sunday, and the offense was able to get to Alexi Ogando and the Texas bullpen.

When the Indians managed to squeak out one run against Ogando, I thought we may be in store for another 1-0 game today.  Texas has a fairly strong bullpen, so I was not overly optimistic about the Indians getting more runs off of them.  However, they knocked Robbie Ross and Ross Wolf around in the sixth and eighth innings, to set up a comfortable cushion against a team that’s often an offensive force.  I know the Texas offense has struggled at times recently, but you can never really count them out of a game.  Take Friday night for example – they just keep coming back and the bullpen threw some gasoline on that fire.  Plus, you have to consider that prior to this year, the Indians have had some trouble with the Rangers.  For Masterson and Jimenez to completely shut them down over the past two days is quite impressive to me.  I also liked that Jimenez was able to get deeper into the game today than he has in his past couple of outings.  There are a lot of times this season that Jimenez has pitched well enough, but struggled at times and just threw a lot of pitches.  This translated into an early exit for him – sometimes as early as the fifth or sixth inning.  He made it through the eighth today, only allowed two hits and three walks, and struck out six.

Ogando shut down the offense early in the game, but several players still managed multi-hit performances, including Nick Swisher, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Yan Gomes.  Michael Bourn got a hit and two more RBI today; since the All Star break, he’s batting .296 with 2 home runs and10 RBI.  Prior to the All Star break, Bourn had only hit 2 home runs and 19 RBI; he’s almost matched those totals in just a little over a week.  During his scoreboard interview postgame last night, they asked Bourn about his approach – he said he just tries to see the ball and hit the ball.  He is seeing and hitting the ball quite well right now.

Today was also the annual season ticket holder party, which always seems to end up being really good or really bad (from my experience), but really good for the most part.  The really bad – what I refer to as “The Great Shin Soo Choo Riot of 2009″ back when the party was still held at the zoo.  All of the players are available for autographs, but they obviously cap the line since the players won’t be there for the entire night.  After I waited in line for a Choo autograph for about 45 minutes, they walked up and capped the line…in front of people that had been standing there for the better part of an hour thinking the line was still open.  Everyone, predictably, went absolutely berserk.  Because they waited in that line, they missed autographs elsewhere, there was lots of yelling, and I actually got a bit scared because everyone was freaking out.

When it goes well (which is actually most years) it’s a lot of fun.  You just have to be realistic about the autographs you’re going to acquire, since players only sign for an hour.  You can pick one of the bigger names, like Nick Swisher or Jason Kipnis, and not get many other autographs.  Or you could go for quantity, and get a fair amount of the less popular players.  It’s always important to come up with a game plan and stick to it, and the whole evening goes much better.  We decided to go for Scott Kazmir and Jason Giambi, since there’s a good chance they won’t be around next year.  We also ended up with Corey Kluber and first base coach Mike Sarbaugh (sharing a table), Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw (sharing a table), Michael Bourn, Justin Masterson, and Chris Perez and bullpen catcher Armando Camacaro (sharing a table).  This was far better than I anticipated, so I was pretty pleased.

They also had some news about changes to season tickets, although we missed some of it by leaving to get in line for autographs.  Basically, they’re pushing people to go to paperless tickets, and will have an early renewal period that already starts next week.  They’re also eliminating a lot of the plans in the upper deck and forcing those people to move to other parts of the park.  There will also be price increases, by how much dependent on how early you renew.  Since my prices have actually fallen over the past several years (they reduced them as the team played badly and people ran away in droves) I can understand an increase.  I’m not a fan of the paperless tickets though, I guess that’s one thing I stubbornly don’t really want to modernize.

After a frustrating road trip, this weekend was just what the doctor ordered.  The Indians have been strong against the AL West this year, but this was still the first time they swept Texas at home since August of 1980.  Anytime you can sweep a strong contender like Texas, it’s a good series; shutting them out in two of the three games is just icing on the cake.  Their 14th shutout now leads all of baseball.

 

9 Comments

  • shaun says:

    our starters have really been a treat to watch the month of july…the team seems very unified and supportive and has a resiliency that takes after their manager (something i never saw in acta)…go tribe!

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Paperless tickets for season ticket holders could be kind of a drag. When we were part of a season ticket group, one of my favorite rites of spring was meeting everybody in the bar to divvy up the tickets for the season.

    • Sean Porter says:

      I know I’m probably in the minority, but for some odd reason I really like the Jimmy Fallon/Drew Barrymore movie ‘Fever Pitch’, where Fallon plays a guy obsessed with the Red Sox.

      The scene where he and his friends are divvying up the season tickets always makes me jealous – that has to be so much fun! I can imagine getting the tickets with a foot of snow still on the ground, but opening them up and literally feeling like summer was right around the corner.

      Then again, I still enjoy reading an actual newspaper and an actual book, paper and all… (I know, I know… Bitching about the “good ol’ days of newspapers and books and real paper tickets on an internet blog is, well, silly. I know…)

  • Sean Porter says:

    So I’ve got to ask – whatever happened to the alleged “the tickets have been selling like hotcakes” spiel the Tribe was telling everyone who would listen right after the signings of Swisher and Bourn?

    I recall reading that there was a “substantial increase” in ticket sales for the upcoming season back in February/March, and as we enter August the Tribe has now officially been in contention for the first four months.

    Yet I still see the same 75,000 attendance totals for weekend series. An obvious question, of course, is where are the fans – but another question is how is this team on pace to barely eclipse last year’s attendance totals? Especially if there was a “substantial increase” in pre-season ticket sales?

    • Drew says:

      That is an interesting catch, Sean. I wonder if the claim was based on season ticket purchases versus walk-up purchases? I seem to remember huge walk-up totals (relatively speaking) for 2012 than I have heard from this season. But yes, this team needs to draw 100k fans from a weekend series. If the team goes 5-2 this week and follows it up with at least split with Detroit, then I’d bet they’d break the 90k mark for the Angels series.

      • medfest says:

        The walk up crowds have been really small all season,they’ve had a bump in pre-sales like they claimed, but they aren’t getting the 7000-8000 walk ups like they used to.

  • Jeremy says:

    Sean: I can def understand the reference. Back when a friend of mine was a season ticket holder with a group, seeing his allotted games and picking out the ones I’d go with him was so much fun. However, I’ve hated the Red Sox passionately ever since 2007 (never liked them before, but can you blame me for increasing the animosity?) and have never found Jimmy Fallon funny or even remotely entertaining, SO ….I can’t say I share your sentiment about the movie.

    ANYWAYS, I’ve never understood the whole autograph craze. Personally, I’d just rather have a moment to say “hi” and shake the hands of a few players and thank them for giving it their all with the Tribe. I like your approach Stephanie: Giambi and Perez are two guys I’d love to shake hands with. Giambi because he’s a former MVP, elder statesmen, and just seems like a good guy. Perez because he’s been so vilified in Cleveland despite what I feel has been great overall play. You really seen a great collection of players; I’m certainly envious.

    It’s amazing to think that the Tribe swept both the A’s and Rangers this season in fairly convincing fashion. I know it’s just a series, but you can’t help but get excited for this team’s chances to stick around the rest of the summer!!

  • The Doctor says:

    “After a frustrating road trip, this weekend was just what the doctor ordered.”

    WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS EARLIER?

    • Weston says:

      And it’s certainly what Dr. Smooth ordered! Brantley had a great series and it was also his jersey giveaway on Saturday! Man I wish I would’ve gone to this series. I hope we play this well against the Angels, I’ll be there.