To give you a bit of insight into the highly scientific way this blog is run, we set up a schedule to determine which writer will cover which game on a biweekly basis.  This is done by basically instituting a free-for-all “whoever e-mails first gets first dibs” kind of situation.  (I said it was highly scientific).  A week and a half ago, I decided to pick Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies because it fit into my schedule and because I used to go to Phillies games when I lived in eastern Pennsylvania for six years.  (It ends up being the co-owners’ prerogative to get first dibs.)  At the end of last week, I realized that Cliff Lee was scheduled to pitch (barring any more of the copious amounts of rain-outs) and I thought “well that’s pretty neat…Cliff Lee comes back to Progressive Field.  I made a good choice.”  A few days ago, I heard that Trevor Bauer would be brought up from Columbus to start the game and I was even more intrigued.  It was as if the past ace of the Indians was returning to face the (hopefully) future ace of the Tribe.  While Bauer wasn’t perfect, he more than got the job done.  Lee faltered and got absolutely no help from his offense.  The result was the Indians’ fourth straight victory; the fourth game in a row that they’ve scored more than five runs.  In those four games they have outscored their opponents (the Royals and the Phillies) 39-5.

Even though this wasn’t a game in my season ticket package, I just couldn’t miss a Bauer-Lee match-up; especially on a beautiful night like Wednesday.  So I convinced Susan to join me and we went downtown to see this one in person.  On Tuesday when the Indians scored 14 runs, I kept joking that because I was going the next night they’d manage to find a way to score negative five runs.  Definitely not the case – even though Bauer threw a lot of balls (43 balls out of 93 pitches) and gave up six walks, he still struck out five and gave up just one hit through five innings.  He earned his first win in an Indians uniform – hopefully there will be many more to come in his future.

I’ve been hearing so much about Bauer’s warm-up routine, that I was kind of excited to finally see it for myself.  When he started his long toss in the outfield, he kept moving further and further toward the right field corner, as he threw to someone in the left field corner.  Eventually he was launching the ball so far across the outfield that a cutoff man stepped in to help get the ball back to him.  I honestly never thought that I would be so entertained just by watching a guy throw a ball really far, but it was pretty neat to see.  I think he still may need some time to refine his pitches in the minors – he needs to cut down on the balls and the walks.  If you give people free passes and then leave a pitch hanging over the plate, it could end up putting a quick two or three runs on the board.  He almost got burned by one walk – when Chase Utley walked in the fourth inning, Ryan Howard slammed a ball to the wall in right field.  Ryan Raburn made a fantastic catch up against the wall, showing that he’s hot with the glove as well as hot at the plate right now.

Speaking of the offense – it just kept rolling.  Fourteen more hits tonight and six runs; Ryan Raburn had yet another big night as he went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI.  In the past week, Raburn is hitting .429 with 4 home runs and 7 RBI.  Remember last year, when we would have killed for any warm body that batted right-handed?  It feels good to have a utility player that’s still better than most of the starters from last season.  Not that I think Raburn will necessarily continue this pace for the entire season; last year it didn’t even seem like Aaron Cunningham, Shelley Duncan and company had that many good weeks.  On the season Raburn is hitting .364/.407/.655 for a 1.061 OPS.  Michael Brantley went 3 for 5, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Santana both went 2 for 4, and Asdrubal Cabrera had 2 RBI.  They scored 4 earned runs off a former Cy Young winner tonight and they did it without their two marquis free agent signings of the offseason – Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher.  Heck, they scored 8 earned runs off a former Cy Young winner on Tuesday without Bourn and Swisher.  Can you imagine what this offense could be like once they return and get into the groove?  (Particularly if they can get Jason Kipnis going as well)?

The Indians are red hot right now, and I really hope they’re able to maintain this performance for as long as possible.  On a warm night that already felt a bit like summer, you had to hope that you were getting a glimpse at a bright future.  The Indians’ young pitcher conquered their former ace, who looked vulnerable against his old team.  I half expected Lee to return and punish the Indians (I haven’t forgotten Travis Hafner’s home run during the home opener), but for once the past didn’t return to haunt us.


  • Mary Jo says:

    What impressed me was every time Bauer had someone on base he took it up a notch and stayed out of trouble. How many of our young, promising pitchers panic and fall apart once a runner is on base? In Bauer’s case he didn’t seem to let that rattle him, putting them on and letting them die. He is only 22, so if he can ever get “it” and limit base runners I can only imagine how good he will be then.

  • Josh says:

    Why does ESPN hate Cleveland. There is not one note about the Indians or raburn anywhere it is absolutely ridiculous

  • Erod says:

    One Indian that isn’t hot is Kipnis. I was shocked to see a guy with a line of .189/7R/4RBIs/8BBs/23Ks batting in the two hole. At some point I would hope they would challenge him by moving him down to bottom half or with playing time. Not trying to be a negative Nelly but it seems to be a weakness loss in a winning streak.

  • Jeff says:

    Kipnis is struggling more than you perhaps realize. If you look back at last season his second half was weak, so add that plus his cold start this year and it’s worrisome.

  • Jeremy says:

    I wouldn’t add the two seasons together. 2013 is a new slate……and yeah, JK the Kid’s struggles have continued into this young season. I don’t think moving him down is the answer. Give him time. We are right there.

    As for Bauer, color me not impressed. I loved his breaking stuff…that was amazing. But 13 free passes in two starts? You can’t live on the edge like that in major league baseball and expect to get by. I know this team was built on D and speed (esp once the Bourne Identity makes it back) so those will help cover Bauer’s butt once men get on base. Nonetheless, while I was happy with his pitch selection and ability to work out of jams….he’s got to cut down on those BBs.

    As for the offense…..what more can you say? I haven’t seen a stretch like Rayburn is having since Inge went off for the Tigers to begin the season a few years ago (thinkin 2008 or 2009).

  • DaveR says:

    Bauer is 22. He’s a spot starter at this point in his career. He will get better. You have to commend him for being able to bear down when things got dicey even if the control was inconsistent.

    • Drew says:

      All of these spot starts are going to extend out his permanent call-up date. The front office will do what it needs to ensure that his service time fall short super-2 status at the deadline.

  • thirdsaint says:

    Yeah, Bauer will get better. The thing with young pitchers is they tend to have control issues when they first come up. Once they figure it out (which most of the highly touted prospects tend to do) they take off. I’m hoping the same will be for Bauer.

  • Swift says:

    Nice to see them score a bunch of runs without the HR, showing they can do it the old-fashioned way too.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I was impressed that Bauer managed to work his way out of trouble with minimal damage. Even though he obviously still has some things to work on, he’s an exciting pitcher to watch.

    And Kipnis had a very poor spring training. At the time I wasn’t very concerned because I kept thinking “oh, it’s just spring training.” I’m almost wondering if he has some kind of nagging injury that’s hindering him at the plate. Supposedly there’s been some elbow soreness…even if that’s true, I’m not sure how much of an impact it would have anyway. I do think he should be moved down in the order for now. Put him back when (hopefully when not if) his bat starts to wake up.

  • medfest says:

    I had the Tuesday game in our season ticket package and like you wanted to see Bauer’s routine, so I got the tickets for Wednesday’s game as well(I’ve got to spring for a dinner at Fatheads).
    Thank God, or I would have had to fight the mob of 20 or so people that were the walk-up on a lovely spring evening!

    I found Bauer’s routine interesting and a bit amusing,hey if he thinks it works that’s all that is important.

    The third base side scouting report:

    The big tweak he needs to make to his mechanics is to stop starting with his hands at waist level,I think it throws him off balance a bit right away and correcting for it makes his release point erratic.He’s got to bring them up higher.
    He’s got a wicked curve ball,that he can change speeds on.
    His slider was pedestrian,he could have gotten hurt on a couple of the spinners he threw up there.
    His fastball has late movement in the strike zone,and positively explodes when its up in the zone.
    He only threw a couple straight changes ,but they were really nice.

    Best stuff I’ve seen from a young Indians pitcher since Cliff Lee,odd how that works out isn’t it?