Roster Update: A couple moves went down this afternoon so here is a primer before tonight’s game. Travis Hafner was put on the disabled list with lower back pain after he was only able to start one game after coming back from his son’s birth. The DL stint could be his last of many with the Indians as his 2012 option is unlikely to be exercised. In his place, Jason Donald has returned to his glory as the Indians utility infielder.
In other Jason Donald news, he will be starting and hitting lead-off in tonight’s game as Jason Kipnis is out with neck stiffness. Let’s hope that it is only a temporary setback as this season has already been bad enough without losing the Indians best player to injury.
The most important item of the day is that the Indians fired their pitching coach, Scott Radinsky today. Radinsky was the architect behind the Bullpen Mafia, responsible for the greatness that has been the Indians bullpen the last three years. This was his first season as pitching coach and since the starting rotation has not played up to expectations, he was forced to become the scape goat. Radinsky was asked to take the job in the offseason when Tim Belcher retired after the 2011 season. The real shame here is how great a bullpen coach he was. If he had just stayed hidden away by the mafia this could have been avoided and the Indians would be a stronger team for it. He will be replaced for the moment by AAA pitching coach Ruben Niebla, but they will likely look for a permanent solution in the offseason.
The Indians officially released Johnny Damon and Jeremy Accardo today after designating them for assignment last week. They also released minor leaguer, Jason Knapp (picked up as the major piece of the Cliff Lee trade). Knapp hasn’t pitched in an official minor league game since 2010 when he had surgery on his torn labrum. He has since had a second surgery and hasn’t even thrown for months. The Indians will now have to look to Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson to make that trade worthwhile.
Player of the Game
In his first game back with the team, Jason Donald won his first Player of the Game of the season. Donald hit a lead off home run and later walked and scored. He finished the game off with an RBI fielder’s choice and a steal.
Jason Donald leading off the game was not the original plan or anywhere near what the Indians would prefer, but he came through anyway with a solo home run, his first of the season.
When Ubaldo is on, like he was tonight, it almost always centers around his breaking pitches. There were plenty of swings and misses on his slider and curve tonight, but the one time he got in trouble, when he allowed four hits in the fourth, he had trouble throwing his fastball down the center of the plate.
The Indians came through with runners in scoring position, something that has become a rarity, to take the lead in the fifth inning. Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley all had RBI as the Indians scored three runs in the inning.
Milestone Update: Vinnie Pestano has tied the Indians single season hold record with his 31st of the season. He ties Rafael Betancourt‘s 2007 season for best of all time (or since they started counting holds as a stat).
After having three straight bad games, a clean shaven Chris Perez came in to close out the game for the Tribe. Perez didn’t allow a single baserunner as he shut down the Red Sox in order.
A win, followed by another win, is called a winning streak.
It is about time to shut down the Shelley Duncan experiment. In the 7th inning the Indians put in Ezequiel Carrera for Duncan as a defensive replacement, but there is little doubt that Carrera would have played better the entire game even on offense. Duncan ended the game 0-3 with two strike outs and 4 left on base in scoring position. Carrera on the other hand has been dynamite so far this season, coming into the game with a line of .381/.381/.714 so far in limited action. Carrera singled and scored in his only at bat.
Play of the Game
Bonus points for this double play turned by a combination of Asdrubal Cabrera, Brent Lillibridge and Jason Donald. Great field presence by Asdrubal to go to third in the first place and then to make the turn and throw to second for the second out.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Boston Red Sox 3