hey, Indians fans! Happy Opening Day Eve! well, we made it through another offseason and spring training! after a 169-day waiting period, the Tribe will begin the 2018 campaign and embark on their journey toward a championship in just a mere 27 hours! who's ready?👏👊
in the meantime, what do you say to a recap of the Tribe's spring? i've divided this blog into several sections including a quick Cactus League overview, a summary of our offseason free agent signings, and of course, my player evaluations. you'll also find a couple Tribe predictions that i made here, as well as predictions for the American League Championship Series, National League Championship Series, and World Series matchups. in addition, i incorporated my final thoughts and some miscellaneous game talk at the end, too. so scroll through everything and let me know what ya think!😉
real fast though, let me first welcome the new visitors who i noticed checked out my blog during the offseason. if you are from Cambodia, New Zealand, and/or Kuwait, thank you very much for stopping by!👋 i'm so grateful and honored that you found All Things Brantley, All Things Tribe and i hope you continue to read my posts during the 2018 baseball season! feel free to leave comments and have your say about any of the topics that interest you.💭💻
Cactus League 2018 Overview
because Major League Baseball is starting their season earlier this year--March 29 is Opening Day for every team--Cactus League games had to commence earlier to compensate. that meant the Indians only had four full workout days after all the players reported to camp before the first game was scheduled. having such little time to prepare definitely didn't go over too well with manager Terry Francona, so he opted to bring most of his regulars along slowly and ease them into action. between February 23 and March 27, the Indians played 35 total games in 33 days, including four split-squad days, two of which were in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend. their only two days off came on March 13 and March 20. the club's final two exhibition games took place at Chase Field in Phoenix against the Arizona Diamondbacks, just like a year ago.
in 2018, the Cleveland Indians finished spring with a record of 19-13-3. while that's all very nice and good, wins and losses don't amount to much when you're playing Cactus League games. the circumstances of each contest are far from what you're going to see in a regular season game. nobody plays all nine innings. pitchers are typically working on things, which can lead to erratic results. sometimes you've got players trying out new positions to become more versatile. and there's always a bunch of lower level/minor league kids getting their first looks at tough high level pitching. besides all that, with so many substitutions made in the latter innings of games, you can't get too uptight about wins or standings in spring. all you should really care about are healthy bodies, pitchers who've practiced enough to command their best pitches and be effective, and hitters who've gotten a sufficient number of reps at the plate to feel comfortable with their swings in the batter's box.
okay, now it's time to make my annual prediction for the Tribe's 2018 season. if we can maintain a relatively healthy roster for the majority of the year, where we don't lose too many players to serious or long-term injuries, and if everyone plays to their maximum capabilities, then i think this team as currently constructed will have a win-loss record of...94-68!
the days of hoping for nabbing one of the two Wild Card spots are over. this ballclub is built to win the AL Central Division for the third straight year. let's face it, right now this is the best division to be in because it's weak. really the only competition i can see at the moment is the Minnesota Twins.
how far do i think our Indians will be going in the playoffs this year? i've saved that for later in this post, so be sure you scroll down to the ALCS, NLCS, & World Series Picks section of this blog.
some of the Tribe Scribes i frequently read have also made predictions on how the Indians' 2018 campaign will go that i want to document here as well:
Paul Hoynes stated in his cleveland.com article that the Indians will win another 90 games and a third straight AL Central title. however, he feels that the Indians will lose once again to the New York Yankees in the ALDS.
Joe Noga surmised in his cleveland.com article that the Indians will go 93-69 and win the AL Central by 8.5 games over the Twins. alas, he does not believe they will be able to get past either the Houston Astros or Yankees in the ALDS and, therefore, won't reach the ALCS.
Zack Meisel predicted in his article for theathletic.com that the Indians will win under 94.5 games and win the AL Central. (that's all i could see for free, as The Athletic is a subscription-only site.)
Terry Pluto documented in his cleveland.com Scribbles and Predictions article that the Indians will go 94-68, win the AL Central, but won't reach the World Series.
Jordan Bastian wrote in his blog on bastian.mlblogs.com that the Indians will win the AL Central, beat the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, beat the Yankees in the ALCS, and then lose to the Washington Nationals in the World Series.
what do you think the Tribe's record will be this year? are they a shoo-in to win the AL Central? and which series will they advance to in the postseason? let me know in a comment below!
Offseason Free Agent Signings
the Indians, never one to make a big splash in the free agency pool, signed many players over the offseason, most to minor league contracts. but, in an unusual twist, they did get a fairly heavy hitter on a Major League deal, too. so let's go over who i believe will be our most impactful FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS.
on December 20, 2017, the Tribe and Yonder Alonso agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with an $8 million third year vesting club option/$1 million buyout. it became official on December 23. the option will vest if Alonso totals 1,110 PA in the next two years or 550 PA in 2019. after the Indians failed to bring back Carlos Santana, they had to find a replacement 1st baseman and they got Alonso for a pretty good price. he was on my list in my Tribe Needs: Looking Ahead to 2018 blog, though i really preferred a right-handed hitter. he experienced a power surge last year, hitting 28 home runs--the most in his career--but he is generally a better hitter against right-handed pitchers than left-handed. because of that, it's likely he won't be in the lineup as much as Santana was. he'll turn 31 years old shortly after Opening Day. if he can hit around 25 homers for us this season, then this will end up being a great signing.
is back! i had him on my wish list for the past two offseasons and i
honestly could not believe it when the Indians got him to sign a minor league deal on February 17 with a non-roster invite. blame it on what happened with the free agent market this year, in that a ridiculous amount of good players remain unsigned... anyway, the Tribe gave him the good news that he would be making the Opening Day roster on March 22 and the reunion became official. Davis is getting up there in age at 37, but the
man has kept himself in shape, still has speed, and could literally be a "steal." lol he says he
feels 25 and he sure runs like it. there's no guarantee we'll strike lightning in a bottle twice here, but at such a low cost, this homecoming was too good to pass up. he could certainly be a great backup or platoon
outfielder for us.
in order to try and fortify their bullpen, the Indians signed right-handed reliever Matt Belisle to a minor league deal with a non-roster spring invite on February 25. the club told the 37-year old that he'd made the team on March 24, earning him a $1.5 million base salary with $1.75 million in incentives. last year, he pitched in the American League for the first time in his career with the Minnesota Twins. i did have him on my offseason shopping list and this definitely wasn't an expensive deal, so if he ends up not working out due to age or whatnot, it won't be a huge tragedy.
what do you think about these acquisitions and what grade do you give the front office for these additions? should they have signed more free agents or different players? sound off in the comment section!
Opening the Season on the DL
before i get to the player evals, i need to talk about our walking wounded.
on February 15, it was brought to light that Salazar had experienced an onset
of right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation in mid-January. so when
the pitchers reported to camp, he had just resumed throwing and was a
couple weeks behind the rest of the starters. at that point, the writing
was on the wall that he wouldn't be able to open the season on time/in the rotation. he also had strep throat for a bit during camp, but
that was the least of his worries. he threw off a mound for the first
time all spring just last week on March 22. Salazar claims his shoulder doesn't hurt anymore and he's in a better place now. as of today, March 28, he's had three bullpen sessions. they noted he'll need seven or eight sessions before he can even pitch a simulated game and start his "spring training." he's gonna be doing all this back in Goodyear while the Indians get their season underway. he'll eventually go on a minor league rehab assignment and have to build up some innings prior to his activation. once that happens, it's unclear as to whether he'll be
inserted into the starting rotation or placed in the bullpen. this was a
disappointing spring for a guy who desperately needed a good showing to
convince everybody that he can be reliable and stay healthy.😟
--Giovanny Urshela. this might be a rare case where an injury kept a player on a team. one of the big debates in spring was who would be the Tribe's utility man: Urshela or Erik Gonzalez? it was a decision not to be taken lightly because neither guy had any more club options left, so the one who didn't make the team would have to be exposed to waivers and another ballclub would likely scoop him up. the battle between the two was neck-and-neck, as both performed admirably. Urshela, specifically, bat .500 (21-for-42) in 18 games with six doubles, three home runs, seven RBI, and six strikeouts. his 21 hits were also tied for the most on the team with Yonder Alonso. Urshela saw time all over the infield as well, playing 1st base, 2nd base, shortstop, and 3rd base during camp. unfortunately, on March 19, he left the game with a tight right hamstring and two days later it was announced he'd have to be sidelined for 10-14 days with the strain. that automatically awarded the job to Gonzalez and Ursh was set to open up the year on the DL. lucky for him, that will allow him to remain in the organization--for now, anyway. according to yesterday's news, Urshela will be resuming game activity before the end of the week. what's going to happen once he's healthy and ready to be activated is anyone's guess.😕
--Ryan Merritt. basically, the only way the Indians were going to keep Merritt in the organization was to designate a spot for him in the
bullpen because the left-hander was out of options and couldn't be sent to Columbus without being put on waivers first. or so that's what fans thought. on March 23, the team finally made it public that Merritt had actually been battling a right knee issue that stemmed from the winter. it persisted during spring and he now will be starting the year on the DL with a "tired arm." in what does seems like an injury of "convenience" to avoid a tough decision, Merritt clearly did not look right in his fifth and final outing of spring, when he gave up eight runs on 11 hits and allowed three home runs in 3 innings. his velocity was down and then Merritt admitted he was behind and had cut some of his long toss program. altogether, he pitched 9.2 innings in five games, three of which he started, struck out 10 batters, walked only one, and compiled a 9.31 ERA. he also allowed 17 hits, four home runs, and 13 runs total in spring.
--Michael Brantley. there was talk that Brantley could open the year on time and the team would utilize the early off days in April to work in some extra rest for him, but that's no longer the case. on March 25, it was decided that Brantley hadn't played enough to build up his endurance to take on the workload of a starting position player, and so he would begin the 2018 season on the DL. it's unfortunate that spring training ended so soon this year; otherwise, he might have been able to make the active roster. he's going to play in minor league games until the minor leaguers break camp on Saturday, March 31. i anticipate Dr. Smooth will be back with the Tribe by mid-April at the latest. in his final camp with the Indians, Brant totaled four hits in 10 at bats with one home run, two RBI, two runs, and two strikeouts (looking). he had at least one hit in all three Cactus League games he played in. Brantley could be facing some adversity this year because he's not going to be batting 3rd in the lineup anymore, which was his best career BOP. hopefully he can handle the different pitches he'll now be seeing in the cleanup spot/5th spot without too much difficulty. (if you want to read all the details of Brantley's spring rehab and/or peruse the breakdowns of his spring numbers, click here and here.)
--Cody Anderson. if it seems like he's been hurt forever, well, he has been down a long time. shortly after pitchers arrived at camp, on February 17, Anderson threw his first bullpen off a mound since his Tommy John surgery on March 27, 2017. he will need a lot more throwing sessions before he's declared Major League ready again. he was placed on the 60-Day DL on February 25. i would not expect him to even be an option for us until August at the earliest.
now's the time for player evaluations. i went through every player on the 25-man roster as well as some of the guys who might get call ups later in the season and gave short recaps of their spring performances. granted, Cactus League numbers, whether good or bad, can be skewed. it's common for batters to sometimes hit better in the warm Arizona climate, while pitchers can sometimes struggle with their control and can't get their balls to "break" due to the heat and humidity. that's not always the case, but it's important to consider when trying to analyze a guy's spring. so there's no immediate need for panic if someone didn't acquire the best numbers, especially if a player has a proven track record of doing well when the games really count.
this year, the Indians will begin the campaign with a starting five of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Josh Tomlin.
--Corey Kluber. Klubes was told in his one-on-one meeting with Terry Francona at the beginning of camp that he was going to be the Opening Day starter, marking his fourth consecutive year as the Tribe's OD pitcher. that was never in question. the only doubt about him was if he was healthy now (after a mysterious injury that was kept close to the vest prevented him from pitching like an ace in the American League Division Series last October). and it appears that he is. he got five total starts in spring, increasing his innings in each. after his final start on March 24, Kluber said he felt right where he needs to be, and that his mechanics and delivery are where he wants. overall, he pitched 19.2 innings and amassed a 4-0 record with a 2.29 ERA--lowest of all the starters. he gave up 11 hits, one home run, and five runs, while walking five and striking out 25 batters. Klubot activated.
--Carlos Carrasco. Cookie first appeared in a game on March 2, coming in for an inning of relief. then he started in all the rest of his next five outings. overall, he accumulated 18.2 innings, the least of the starting five. he went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in six games. his other numbers include 22 hits allowed, five home runs, 16 runs, six walks, and 23 strikeouts. i can't lie, his last two performances of spring were not good. that's why the totals look bad; he got rocked both times. in the game on March 21, he got struck on the left foot, which turned out to be just a contusion. before that though, he gave up six runs on nine hits and two homers in 4.2 innings. then, in his final start on March 26 in a big league ballpark (Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks), he was removed after pitching 4 innings, when normally a starter's last tune-up exceeds his previous mound time. Carrasco again gave up six runs and two home runs, but only five hits. he walked two and struck out seven as well, but i have to wonder, is his foot really okay? guess we'll find out when he pitches in the real games.
--Trevor Bauer. this guy barely took any time off before rejoining the crew in Arizona. he spent his offseason working on a slider, which he believes will give him another offspeed pitch to go with his curveball and another strikeout pitch. on February 15, it was uncovered that Bauer won his arbitration case against the Indians and would be receiving $6.525 million for the 2018 season and not the $5.3 million that the Tribe offered. if Cactus League games are any indication, he'll be worth every penny of that. in spring, Bauer led not only all Tribe pitchers, but all MLB pitchers with 29.1 innings and 39 strikeouts. after seven starts, Bauer compiled a 2-1 record and 3.99 ERA while allowing 28 hits, five home runs, and 14 runs. he did give up at least one home run in four of his seven starts, however, and also walked eight total. nevertheless, i don't think he could be any more ready for the season than he is right now.
--Mike Clevinger. before camp, it looked like his only shot at making the team would be if
he pitched out of the bullpen. but the Danny Salazar injury all but
solidified a spot for Clevinger in the rotation. Clev opened up Indians Cactus League play by starting the first game on February 23. his roughest spring outing occurred on March 10 when gave up three home runs. aside from that blunder, he also dealt with the flu for a bit. he was scratched from his start on March 15 and ended up losing seven pounds, but he came back and pitched on March 18, striking out nine batters. his innings increased each time he pitched. he finished spring with a 2-0 record, 3.79 ERA, and 19.0 innings in six starts, giving up 12 hits, four homers, and eight runs. he walked four batters and punched out 25 as well. he spoke highly about mental prep and belly breathing as being a way to help him when his adrenaline is rushing. personally, i like him better as a starter than a reliever and i hope he's not relegated to the pen once Salazar returns.
--Josh Tomlin. in case you missed it, the Indians picked up Tomlin's $3 million club option back on November 3, 2017. while many weren't sure if Tomlin would be pitching for us in the rotation or out of the bullpen, i've always had him slotted as a starter, so i'm happy that that's where he's gonna be. knock on wood, cause Francona could still put him in the pen at some point... this spring, Tomlin was
working on adding a changeup to his arsenal in order to make him perform
better against left-handed batters. the Indians also tried something different with Tomlin on the mound, in that 1st basemen were playing behind the runner at 1st to take the hole away, making it even more difficult than it already is to run on Tomlin. in five Cactus League starts, he pitched 19.2 innings and finished with a 5.03 ERA and 2-1 record. he allowed 11 runs on 21 hits, including three home runs, walked three and struck out 18. the good thing about when Tomlin gives up homers is that they're almost always solo shots. so, just as long as the Tribe's offense is doing its job, the team can still win games he starts despite him surrendering a home run here and there.
DEPTH IN COLUMBUS:
an old baseball adage goes "you can never have too much pitching." that's true for the Indians now more than ever because three of their past starters are currently on the disabled list and even some of the Triple A starters are injured or just getting over an injury at the moment. so let's see who else we've got in Columbus that could be called upon in a pinch if needed.
--Shawn Morimando. he pitched in four games with
the Tribe, starting one, and compiling a 5.40 ERA in 8.1 innings. during
his last outing on March 11, before being optioned to Triple A on March
12, he pitched 3.0 innings. overall, he allowed nine hits, five runs,
and one walk and struck out seven. fun fact: this was also his second
spring in a row where he didn't give up any home runs. is he finally
ready to start in the big leagues and be reliable?
--Adam Plutko. on October 9, 2017, Plutko had
surgery to repair a tear in the labrum of his right hip and had a
recovery timetable of 4-6 months. on February 15, the Indians noted he
was doing well and throwing bullpens. he was able to pitch in two Cactus
League games for the Tribe, totaling 1.2 innings, three hits, one home
run, four runs, one walk, one strikeout, and a 21.60 ERA. he was
optioned to Triple A on March 12 and likely won't be taking on a Major
League starting role for a while.
--Steven Fife. the Indians signed him to a minor league deal with spring invite on February 8. the right-handed pitcher appeared in
four games with the Indians and got two starts, including one during
Big League Weekend in Las Vegas. overall, he had a 1-0 record and 2.70
ERA in 10 total innings of work. he allowed eight hits, one home run,
and three runs. he also had three walks compared to seven strikeouts. he
was sent to minors camp on March 19. while it wasn't officially publicized yet, i'm
assuming (based on his previous teams) that Fife will be used as a starter
--Alexi Ogando. he was signed to a minor league deal with a non-roster spring invite back on December 12, 2017 (official on December 21). he pitched in Cactus League games as a reliever, but he'd prefer to start. so when the Indians informed him he was reassigned to Triple A on March 22, they also told him they want to stretch him out as a starter. Ogando has an out clause in his contract in June, so he may not last with us the whole season. i didn't know much about this guy, but he did quite well in spring, pitching 10 innings and striking out 13. actually, he struck out at least one batter in eight of his nine total appearances. he also walked five and gave up eight hits, but only allowed two runs to give him a 1.80 ERA. he could have been the favorite to fill out the bullpen if not for his penchant to start.
--Julian Merryweather. sadly, Merryweather is not going to be available to us this season. he didn't get to experience much in his very first big league camp, as his February 16th bullpen session was the last time he threw. he was diagnosed with a sprained UCL and after getting a second opinion, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on March 9. Dr. Keith Meister, one of Michael Brantley's biceps tenodesis surgeons, performed the procedure in Dallas. the Indians optioned Merryweather to Triple A on March 12. TJ surgery ordinarily requires 12-18 months to fully recover from. tough break.
once again, most of the bullpen was set prior to coming into camp. Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, Zach McAllister, Dan Otero, Nick Goody, and Tyler Olson had their spots locked. the only real question was if Terry Francona wanted to start the year with seven or eight relievers. we got our answer during the final days of spring when it was revealed that Matt Belisle would be rounding out the relief core.
--Cody Allen. for the most part, Allen will be the Indians' usual closer yet again this year. he's going to earn $10.575 million in what is likely his final season with the club, and if he can pitch like he has in his past couple years, then his raise was warranted. Allen boasted the lowest ERA of all the relievers in spring, at 1.13. he made eight total appearances and struck out 12 batters in 8 innings. he only allowed one run/one home run on two hits and walked three. he's ready. look for him to become the franchise leader in saves sometime in July, i'd guess.
--Andrew Miller. while Allen's the main closer, don't be surprised if you see Miller getting some save opportunities, too. then again, he could also be the stopper who comes into a game in the 6th or 7th inning if the team's in a tight spot. Miller battled the flu early on in camp and missed a couple workouts, but he was better by February 21. towards the end of Cactus League play, he told reporters that he felt good physically. he had one bad outing on March 22, when he gave up four runs and one home run in 0.2 innings, though he was supposedly merely working on his fastball and his velocity looked good. overall, he pitched 7 innings in seven games and concluded spring with a 7.71 ERA and 0-1 record. he gave up six runs on six hits, including two home runs. he also struck out 11 and walked just two; that's how i know he's okay.
--Zach McAllister. McAllister got to make several multi-inning appearances this spring, including one 3-inning outing. it's pretty obvious he was being stretched out to possibly fill the Bryan Shaw vacancy after he was lost to free agency. with a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched, his spring really only rivaled that of his bullpen companion, Allen. McAllister, who is routinely tough on righties, did well overall, allowing 13 hits in 10 games, but just three runs and zero homers. he also totaled 14 strikeouts and six walks. if his workload does pick up this season and he stays healthy all year, his $2.45 million deal will be a real bargain.
--Dan Otero. he won't be designated to any particular inning, per se, but could be used to bridge the gap to the likes of Miller and Allen. Otero, who received $1.3 million in arbitration this year, is one of the best ground ball out pitchers in the league and i don't foresee that changing any time soon. he had one particularly poor outing very early in spring, but Francona remarked the ball was coming out of his hand fine. in 10 games, Otero went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in 9.1 innings of work. he walked three, struck out four, and allowed 14 hits, one home run, and eight runs. as unpleasant as they are, i'm not bothered by his final Cactus League results.
--Nick Goody. Goody will be coming out of the pen to mostly face right-handed hitters, which is what keeps him so effective. he had one really bad game on March 15, allowing five runs in 0.1 innings, which completely wrecked his total spring stats. he made 10 appearances altogether, pitching 11 innings and allowing 10 runs on 14 hits. while compiling a horrid 8.18 ERA, he only gave up one long ball, and he struck out nine while walking three. i think once he gets back into more normal ballpark environments, we'll see the Goody we knew from a year ago.
--Tyler Olson. Olson, who's by and large a lefty specialist, will now apparently be used against both lefties and righties, especially early in the season, according to Tito. while we saw absolute perfection from him in 2017, you can't count on a repeat of that this year. he gave up a run in his first spring outing on February 24, but i specifically remember that Tyler Naquin made a bad play on the ball in left field, and had there been a different official scorer for the game, that might have ended up as an unearned run... Olson's camp consisted of 11 innings pitched in 13 games--the most of any reliever--and he finished with a 3.27 ERA. he allowed four runs on nine hits and didn't give up any home runs. he also walked two while striking out 14 and earned one save. i trust he'll be fine.
--Matt Belisle. congrats to the newest member of the Indians' bullpen. the right-hander was told he made the team on March 24. his worst Cactus League appearance materialized on March 21 when he pitched a measly 0.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. for his whole spring, he pitched 11.1 innings--second most for all relievers behind McAllister--in 11 total games, going 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA. he did give up 22 hits and eight runs, but he didn't allow any home runs and he only walked one batter versus striking out eight. there's potential here, but right now, he seems to be the weakest link by default.
RELIEVERS IN COLUMBUS:
the biggest revolving door in baseball has got to be the call ups and optionings of relief pitchers. we are likely going to see 20 guys pitch out of the pen for Cleveland this season, not necessarily because the team is struggling, but that's just always how it goes. what's different about this year though, is that none of the relievers currently on the Triple A team have ever pitched in relief for the Indians before. so it will definitely be interesting to see how the club goes about calling up fresh arms in 2018.
--Preston Claiborne. after eight outings in big league camp before being assigned to the minor league camp on March 19, Claiborne went 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA. the righty pitched 9 innings and gave up nine hits, one home run, and five runs. he also struck out eight batters and walked four.
--Cameron Hill. Terry Francona is a really high on this right-handed reliever, so much so that he could be on the fast track to Cleveland sooner than we expect. before he went to minors camp on March 19, Hill totaled 8.2 innings and a 3.12 earned run average in seven games this spring. he allowed three runs on six hits, gave up two homers, struck out six, and walked just one.
--Neil Ramirez. i didn't pay too much attention to his spring performances with the Indians, but after checking the stats, the right-hander had some real positives and some real negatives. he got into nine Cactus League games prior to being sent to minor league camp on March 19 and tallied two saves in two opportunities. he gave up nine hits, including five home runs, and six runs total in 8 innings to finish spring with a 6.75 ERA. on the bright side, he struck out nine and only walked two.
--Ben Taylor. the Indians claimed this right-hander off waivers from the Boston Red Sox on February 25. he appeared in five
Cactus League games with the Tribe, pitched 4 innings, gave up four
hits and one run, and struck out three. he was optioned to Columbus on
March 22 and will be pitching multi-innings in order for him to work on
his development. i'm not sure if/when we'll see him in Cleveland.
**March 29 edit: Taylor was designated for assignment. if he doesn't clear waivers, then he'll no longer be part of our organization.
--Jeff Beliveau. this lefty reliever was signed as a minor league free agent with a big league camp invite on November 22, 2017. he was made aware that he was going to the minors on March 22, but stayed with the Indians until their spring was over. he pitched in 10 total games with the Tribe and ended camp with a 4.15 ERA. he allowed eight hits and eight runs, but only gave up one homer in 8.2 innings. he walked 10 and struck out 11, too. i'm not convinced that this guy would be better than the two southpaws we already have in our pen, so he can stay in Columbus for a while.
--Evan Marshall. he was signed to a minor league deal with spring invite on November 30, 2017. the righty, like Beliveau, was notified he'd be going to the minors on March 22, but also finished his spring in big league camp. he compiled a 1-2 record overall with a 4.35 ERA in 10 games. he pitched 10.1 innings, allowed 14 hits, four home runs, and nine runs, walked two, and struck out six. he also got one save in two opportunities. he's another reliever who could end up doing more harm than good if he gets called up...
--Jake Leathersich. on March 27, the final day of camp, the Indians claimed this left-handed reliever off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and optioned him to Columbus. he pitched in five games and 4.2 innings with the Pirates this spring to the tune of an 11.57 ERA. he allowed five hits and six runs, but no homers, while walking six and striking out four. maybe he'll do better in the American League?
when left-handed Zarate was reassigned to minor league camp on March 9,
he had a barking elbow and was going to need to sit out for at least
five days. during his time with the Tribe, he appeared in three
games and earned one save in two opportunities. as for the rest of his
numbers, he totaled 3 innings, four hits, one home run, three runs, one
walk, and five strikeouts.
--Cole Sulser. this righty reliever got a bad break,
literally. on February 22, it was reported that Sulser came to his first
big league camp with a broken rib. he fell while carrying a box when he
was helping his parents move, was unable to pitch at all during spring,
and sent to minors camp on March 9.
he pitched in six Indians games before being reassigned to minors camp
on March 12. his 9.95 ERA in 6.1 innings isn't great. his time with
the Tribe ended after he gave up 11 hits, three homers, and seven runs.
he also struck out three and didn't walk anyone. the right-hander
earned one successful save in one opportunity as well.
prior to his minor league camp reassignment on March 12, Martin played
in four Cactus League games and pitched 3.1 innings. the righty allowed
two runs on four hits and garnered a 5.40 ERA. his walk and strikeout
totals were both two.
--Adam Wilk. the southpaw
didn't get much game action with the Indians before they sent him to
minors camp on March 12. in 2 innings and two games, he compiled a 13.50
ERA after giving up two hits, one home run, and three runs. he also
walked three batters and struck out one.
--Yonder Alonso. our new 1st baseman made quite the impression in his first camp with the Indians. in his debut Cactus League game on February 23, he hit a home run. he had four straight games with at least one home run actually, during which time he hit two separate go-ahead homers in one contest. that's why he led all Indians in home runs in spring. he finished batting .375 (21-for-56) and his 21 hits were tied for most on the team. Alonso had five doubles, seven homers, 14 RBI, nine runs, six walks, and eight strikeouts in 21 games as well. he also had a team-high 12 extra base hits and 47 total bases. he looks good to me, but my one concern is gonna be his ability to hit left-handed pitching. he might not start every game when a southpaw is on the mound against the Tribe in an effort to keep him productive at the plate all season.
--Edwin Encarnacion. never one to heat up in spring, Encarnacion had a rough camp. in 18 games, he went 9-for-50 with only two extra base hits (home runs), seven RBI, three walks, and a team-high 21 strikeouts. he played a little bit of 1st base throughout his Cactus League games, but mostly DH'd. he sat out the final two contests because he felt some "general soreness" after he slept wrong, but will be good to go for Opening Day. it's clear what EE can do during a season so i'm not worried about him or upset over his spring stats.
--Jason Kipnis. Kipnis came in hot this spring, but then fizzled out by camp's end. shortly after he arrived in Arizona, on February 22, the Indians said he would be held out of early games with a sore lower back. that's when i thought, 'and so it begins.' but he played in his first game on February 25 and hit a home run. then he hit two home runs on February 27, one being a go-ahead, prior to hitting another go-ahead home run on March 2. after that, he missed one day on March 3 with the flu. he returned to play on March 4 and 6, hitting a two-run home run in each contest. Kipnis hit six home runs in five of his first six games through March 6 before his power dwindled. in fact, he went hitless in his last six spring games, though he did draw six walks during that time--four coming over his final three contests. in 19 total games, Kip still hit .346 (18-for-52) and collected two doubles, one triple, six home runs, and 12 RBI. he had a team-high 12 runs scored, walked seven times, and struck out nine times. i did find it odd, however, that Kip did not attempt to steal any bases this spring. it's not like him to not want to run. defensively, he committed two throwing errors. he was also on the backend of a triple play with Jose Ramirez. at least we know he'll be playing 2nd base this year and not monkeying around out in center again or trying to learn left field on the fly.
--Francisco Lindor. our resident Mr. Smile first got everybody in camp talking about his bright new hairdo; then it was back to business as usual. the leadoff man acquired a team-high 71 plate appearances and 65 at bats in 22 Cactus League games played, making him one of just two qualifying players on the ballclub. in total, he bat .231 (15-65) with three doubles, one triple, five home runs, 12 RBI, 11 runs, four walks, and 10 strikeouts. he went a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases, which was tied for the best ratio on the team. he did end his spring with three straight 0-fer games, but that's not really a big deal. in the field, he committed one throwing error in 108 innings and 48 total chances. Lindor's constantly talking about continuing to improve defensively and cleaning things up, so i'm excited to see how he can better his already skilled defense at short this year.
--Jose Ramirez. our new 3 hole hitter had some rough spring games, not gonna lie. Ramirez experienced a frightening moment in the game on March 17 when he was hit in the right ankle while stealing 3rd base. he left the game after that incident, but it turned out to be nothing more than a contusion and he was fine. another scare transpired in the Tribe's last game on March 27 when Ramirez cut his left middle finger in the dugout in the 1st inning while reaching for his bat in the bat rack. he played one inning of defense before they pulled him for the day. Terry Francona assured everyone he will be starting at 3rd base come Opening Night. in 22 spring games, Ramirez led all qualifying Indians with his .273 batting average after going 15-for-55 at the plate. that seems low for him. but he did put together a little 4-game hitting streak, including two three-hit affairs. he totaled three doubles, one triple, one home run, seven RBI, eight runs, a team-high nine walks, two stolen bases, and 15 strikeouts as well. on the defensive side, he committed a co-team high three errors (and team high at his position), one throwing and two fielding, in 109 innings and 26 total chances. on the contrary, on March 11, with the bases loaded, he recorded the first two outs of an impressive triple play before Kipnis finished it off.
--Erik Gonzalez. opening up the season with the Indians for the first time in his career, he's the Tribe's utility man. Gonzalez received the good news on March 22 once it was evident that Giovanny Urshela, his competition for a bench spot, would probably be starting the year on the DL with a hamstring injury. Gonzo jammed his right leg on a slide very early in camp, but otherwise remained healthy. in 23 games, he bat .320 (16-for-50), hit two doubles, collected two RBI, drew four walks, struck out 10 times, stole one base, and was caught stealing twice. defensively, he saw time at every position around the infield. he committed three errors on defense, tying Ramirez for most on the team, in 46 total chances. two were throwing errors, including one in the final game of spring. Gonzalez does not have any options left to be sent down to Columbus, so he's either going to be with the team for the entire season, or end up designated for assignment at some point. stay tuned.
--Lonnie Chisenhall. now that the Indians have Rajai Davis back, i
don't think we'll see Chisenhall play anywhere other than right field in
the outfield this season. he'll be part of a platoon with
Brandon Guyer and won't face too many left-handed starters. as for
Chiz's camp, it wasn't his most memorable. the club announced that he
had some right calf tightness on March 17, which wasn't the best news
considering that is the same calf that caused him to miss a lot of time after the
All Star Break last season. but he played in several games in spring following that development, so i think the issue is now a non-factor. in total, he played 19 games, going 11-for-56 with only one extra base hit--a double--and three RBI. he also drew three walks while striking out 12 times (an awful ratio). in the outfield, he acquired two assists, including throwing a runner out at home. Chiz, who's making $5,587,500 this year, will be a free agent at the end of the campaign.
--Bradley Zimmer. this is his first time on the Opening Day roster. he's completely recovered from the left hand surgery he underwent in September of last year. in other health news, he had a quick bout of the flu on February 20 and then experienced some mild left groin tightness on March 19, but that's all behind him now. he had some struggles offensively this spring, unlike last spring, and went hitless in more than half the games he played in. that's a little disconcerting because in late 2017, Zimmer had trouble making adjustments at the plate when being pitched to inside and really slumped in August. hopefully he can figure it out with his bat because his defense is so imperative to our outfield. overall, he played in 19 Cactus League games, bat .220 (11-for-50) and had one double, three home runs, and four RBI. besides that, he totaled five walks and 12 strikeouts. on the basepaths, he was a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen bases, just like Lindor. he also scored all the way from 2nd base on Lindor's sac fly in the game on March 23. he tallied three assists in center field as well, to lead all the outfielders.
--Rajai Davis. age ain't nothin' but a number and when it comes to this guy, he can run better than some players in their 20s. he was brought back into the fold for outfield depth (he can play all three spots as needed) and to generate more speed on the bases, like he helped set the tone for in 2016. but Davis is not going to be a juggernaut with his bat. truthfully, the chief uncertainty with him is can he get on base regularly in order to cause chaos on the basepaths? that will be his challenge to conquer. Davis played in 16 spring games with the Tribe, going 9-for-40. his lone double was his only extra base hit. besides that, he drew one walk compared to striking out 10 times. he led the team with four stolen bases, but he was also caught stealing once.
--Tyler Naquin. after a down and injury-riddled year in 2017, Nake was out to prove himself as a great player once again. this spring, he played in 24 games, the most out of all the players who made the 25-man roster, and bat .286 (16-for-56) with a team-high seven doubles. he also totaled two homers, 10 RBI, nine runs, five walks, and 12 strikeouts. last season in Triple A, the club was trying to groom him as mostly a right fielder because that's where they felt he would be strongest defensively. but Naquin can play all
three OF positions and until Michael Brantley returns, he should see his time in left. he made one questionable decision there in his first game on February 24, playing a ball off the bounce and allowing a run to score. conversely, his most memorable play on defense came in the game
on March 1, which he ended with an outfield assist.
--Brandon Guyer. Guyer had left wrist surgery to
extensor tendon back on October 11, 2017, which was technically before
the Indians were even eliminated from the 2017 ALDS versus the New York
Yankees. originally, it was thought that he'd have plenty of time to
recover and return for the 2018 season. alas, Guyer had a setback in
spring. when he initially reported to camp, he was cleared for throwing.
not even a week later, on February 20, his wrist flared up and he was shut down for a few days after an
MRI showed inflammation. Guyer
eventually got some at bats in simulated and minor league games, but didn't appear in his first Cactus League game until March 24. he conceded he could still feel pain when he swung and missed, but that it wasn't an issue. the team decided he was close enough to 100%, and since he's only going to be used against left-handed pitching anyway, they inferred he could start the year on time without a rehab assignment. so on March 26, Guyer was named the final member of the 25-man roster. he played in just two big league spring games on March 24 and 26, going 1-for-6 with two strikeouts. oh, and, like
clockwork, he was hit by a pitch (in the left hand!) in his debut game. if he's really healthy, finally, then we should have another good weapon to mash left-handed pitching.
--Yan Gomes. it seems the Tribe's two catchers both want to be the #1 guy and their spring numbers reflected that desire. in fact, their overall stats are remarkably similar. let's start with Gomes. he got the first Indians hit of Cactus League play on February 23. in what turned out to be no big deal, Gomes was stricken with a little arm soreness in the middle of March, holding him back from going on the Vegas trip. other than that, he looked superb. Gomes played 18 spring games, bat .348 (16-for-46) and hit three home runs, two of which were grand slams. he also had five doubles, a team-high 15 RBI, and eight runs scored, while drawing five walks and striking out 10 times. behind the plate, he caught 85 innings and threw out three baserunners, but did commit two throwing errors. at the end of spring, Francona proclaimed Gomes would be the Tribe's Opening Day catcher, but he views both guys as starters, labeling them 1A and 1B.
--Roberto Perez. not to be outdone, Perez had himself an
excellent camp. he began changing his batting stance towards the end of
last year by standing taller in the box. he remained in Cleveland all
offseason to work with Nelson Perez, the Indians' assistant strength and
conditioning coach. seems to me, his efforts were rewarded. in 18 games, he went 14-for-43 at the plate (.326 batting average) and hit five home runs, including a grand slam. he also had four doubles, 13 RBI, and six runs scored, while drawing four walks and striking out eight times. Perez caught 88 innings, threw out one baserunner, and didn't have any errors. defense
and working well with the pitching staff are the main priorities for
our catchers, but, for the Tribe's sake, it would be phenomenal if both
guys could also provide value with their bats this season.
right now, here is the tentative starting lineup (which may change when facing lefties):
when Brantley returns to the team, he's either going to bat 4th or 5th. looking at the lineup then with Brant, i will say i'm not a fan of this. yes, i am biased and wish Dr. Smooth was still gonna be hitting 3rd because he's become so great at it and he did nothing wrong to be demoted. now that we only have two switch-hitters on the team, i don't like that Francona has them both in the first three spots. i think one would be better utilized a little lower in the lineup, and if Lindor's going to lead off, which is fine, then you've gotta move Ramirez down. that's why i believe Brant should go back to batting 3rd and Ramirez should go back to batting 5th. see, when you take out my favoritism, my reasoning makes perfect and logical sense.🙆
as for opposing southpaw starters, Tito could potentially replace Alonso's bat in the lineup and possibly Zimmer's as well. so that opens up one or two spots for the likes of Davis or Guyer. and then that bottom portion of the order is going to look different.
it's probable that the lineup will change quite a bit over the course of the season regardless because you never see the same one every time out. but no matter who bats where, you have to admit, there are some really solid hitters in practically every spot. this club has a lot of guys who are capable of hitting at least 20 home runs and know how to keep the line moving offensively. so it's going to be a very fun year to watch them take on their competitors.
what do you think about the lineup? list out your ideal one through nine in the comment section!
BATS IN COLUMBUS:
several guys who saw time in Cleveland last year did not make the Opening Day roster and will instead begin their seasons in Triple A Columbus. but a lot of them won't be staying there for all of 2018. so now let me run through some of those players who i think are either guaranteed to get a call up to the Tribe this year or could at least be in the running.
--Francisco Mejia. this 21-year old switch-hitter remains a highly touted player, but he might not be the Indians' catcher in the immediate future. Mejia was willing to do whatever the team wanted, including play some 3rd base in winter ball--an experiment that didn't pan out. now, he's going to start learning outfield positions to make him more versatile. that way, if Yan Gomes and Roberto Perez are still healthy but the Indians have another spot open, they can call him up and get his bat, which they feel is just about Major League ready, in the lineup. before being optioned to Columbus on March 12, he appeared in 11 spring games with the Tribe and went 8-for-19 (.421) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI, two strikeouts, and no walks.
--Abraham Almonte. this wasn't simply a case of the Indians had too many outfielders and Almonte got squeezed out. no, it was a demotion to be taken seriously. Almonte was signed to a one-year deal for $825K on December 1, 2017, to avoid arbitration. that's not too much above the league minimum, so it was a good contract for both parties. but Almonte disappointed in spring. when he was among some of the first players to be optioned to Triple A on March 12, he was reprimanded for coming to camp heavy, not being ready to compete for a job, and being a defensive liability. as a result, he'll be seeing time in all three OF spots in Columbus, and he could be down there for a while. in 14 games, he went 4-for-23 with one home run, three RBI, two walks, one caught stealing, four strikeouts, and one fielding error. it was a far cry from his previous spring with the Tribe.
**March 29 edit: Almonte was designated for assignment. if he doesn't clear waivers, then he'll no longer be part of our organization.
--Yandy Diaz. with no opening at 3rd base this time around, there
wasn't any room for Diaz on the OD roster. he was optioned to Triple
A on March 19 and given strict orders to work on his defense. in 18 games,
he bat .412 (14-for-34) with two doubles, one grand slam, 10 RBI, four
walks, and 10 strikeouts. he also had two errors on the infield. i'm
sure he'll be coming up to Cleveland in 2018, it's just a matter of
--Eric Haase. there really was no battle for which two catchers were going to open with the Indians, but if there had been, Haase would have had his horse in the race. he played in 13 games ahead of his optioning to Triple A on March 19 and went 5-for-20 with one double, three home runs, 10 RBI, and seven runs. one of his homers was a grand slam, by the way, and the other was an inside the park job. he also drew three walks, struck out eight times, and committed one throwing error. i have to wonder, if something happens where either Gomes or Perez is going to miss some time, would Haase get the promotion over Mejia?
--Eric Stamets. he was also optioned on March 19. primarily a shortstop, i had Stamets pegged as being stuck down in Columbus until he was used in a trade. but he's trying to learn more positions around the infield. he went 2-for-2 with a home run in the first Cactus League game on February 23. at the end of his ML camp, he'd played in 18 games and bat .286 (8-for-28) with one double, two home runs, two RBI, two walks, and eight strikeouts. he had one throwing error as well. will 2018 be the year he finally gets called up to Cleveland?
--Brandon Barnes. the outfielder had an odd spring
offensively with only five hits in 35 at bats, but they were all extra
base knocks. he totaled one double, one triple, three home runs, eight
RBI, two walks, and 20 strikeouts in 18 games. Barnes was reassigned on
March 19 to minor league camp. it would seem as though he's pretty far
down on the Indians' call up list, if i'm being honest.
--Richie Shaffer. the 1st baseman/infielder was
supposed to go to Big League Weekend in Las Vegas until he came down
with the flu on March 16. he returned to camp the next day and played in
his final game with the Tribe on March 18. he appeared in 16 games
total before his reassignment to minor league camp on March 19. Shaffer
went 6-for-25 at the plate, hitting one triple and two home runs. the
bulk of his nine RBI came from his homers, one of which was a (go-ahead)
grand slam. he also drew nine walks (tied with Ramirez for the team
high), struck out 13 times, and committed two errors. a lot would have to go wrong for the Indians in order for Shaffer to make an appearance in Cleveland.
--Greg Allen. Allen saw plenty of game action with the Indians prior to being optioned to Columbus on March 22. his spring stats read as: 23 games, .250 average (9-for-36), two doubles, one triple, six RBI, eight runs, two walks, two stolen bases vs. one caught stealing, and 12 strikeouts. he continues to impress with his speed, but there was no reason to rush him and name him to the OD roster. he will absolutely benefit from spending some time in Triple A, a level he completely skipped last year after being promoted from Double A Akron. he'll see Cleveland again, no doubt.
--Mike Napoli. party at Napoli's in Columbus! i'm not kidding. the Indians did Nap a favor by extending him a minor league deal with spring invite on February 27, made official on February 28, because he was still a free agent at that time. they gave the 1st baseman a chance to work out and showcase himself for other clubs while playing with a Major League team. he was never going to get a spot on the 25-man roster because the Tribe had already signed Yonder Alonso to replace Carlos Santana at 1st base, and also because they presently have an expensive DH in Edwin Encarnacion. Napoli knew this and was fine with it. on March 22, he was technically released, then re-signed to a minor league deal with the Tribe. on March 25, he agreed to begin his year in Triple A. he initially had some reservations about taking playing time away from the kids in Columbus, but ultimately decided to go there and i know Terry Francona is thrilled that Nap is once again back in our organization. at least for now. the only way he gets called up is if Alonso or EE get injured. in 13 games, the 36-year old went 8-for-32 with one double, two home runs, three RBI, three walks, one stolen base, and eight strikeouts. his second spring home run came in his final big league game with the Indians on March 27 and it put the club on top--a sight we grew used to seeing many times back in 2016.
--Nellie Rodriguez. he was reassigned to minor league camp on March 9, but before that he played 14 games with the Tribe. the infielder bat .368 (7-for-19) with one double, one home run, eight RBI, six walks, and six strikeouts. he committed one fielding error as well. he's yet to be called up to the big leagues and i don't know if he ever will be, at least not with us.
--Michael Martinez. can't leave everyone's favorite utility man out of this. it shouldn't have shocked anybody who follows the Indians that the two parties agreed to a minor league deal with spring invite on December 2, 2017 (though it wasn't made official until December 11). Martinez is like a boomerang--he always finds his way back to the Tribe. be that as it may, while doing agility drills to prepare for spring training in the Dominican Republic, Martinez ruptured his left Achilles tendon. he underwent surgery for it on January 31 and was given a six-month recovery timetable. he popped up in the Indians' clubhouse on the last day of spring before their final game, sporting a walking boot and crutches. we'll see him on the field again sometime during the September call ups lol
--1st baseman Bobby Bradley. he's now probably the prospect that Indians' fans are most excited to see make his debut in Cleveland. the 21-year old came to spring training 30 pounds lighter after changing his diet and going to interval training with his wife in the offseason. he also went to both of the Tribe's strength camps. Terry Francona was very excited about his transformation. Bradley played in 13 big league spring games, totaling nine hits in 23 at bats, two doubles, one triple, and four RBI. he had three multi-hit games as well and a .391 batting average before being reassigned to minor league camp on March 12. it's not yet known if he'll start the season at Double A Akron, where he played last year, or graduate up to Triple A Columbus, but he's definitely going to be someone to keep an eye on because he is our 1st baseman of the future. and i think he'll be a great one!
that should about cover it! if i left someone out or neglected to mention something awesome that happened in spring that you feel should have been included here, please leave a comment below! share a few of your own player evaluations if you like, too!💭💻
Final Thoughts on the Season
the 2018 Cleveland Indians team is going to be good, no doubt. will they win 100+ games again? maybe. will they go on another 22-game win streak? not likely (though i wouldn't rule it out). but barring some major catastrophe, they're going to be in playoff contention all year and will be fun to watch. we have one of the best starting rotations in baseball, along with one of the best bullpens. they are going to strike people out and sit batters down on the regular. and our lineup is stacked with players who can hit doubles and home runs and feed off each other's offense so there's no let-up for the opposition. and don't forget, we've still got Mr. Terry Francona. with him once again managing the squad, we're in for a memorable season.
i anticipate the usual highlights--some walk-off wins, clutch hits, web gem defense, individual hitting streaks, team winning streaks, and maybe even a complete game shutout or two. on the flip side of that, there will be some stinkers as well, including games where a pitcher just doesn't have his best stuff, defensive blunders, baserunning mistakes, and of course unexpected injuries. but the Indians have shown their ability to overcome whatever obstacles they face because there is always someone there to step up when needed. and that's the true definition of a team. #RallyTogether
Win the World Series NOW
before i finish this, i do want to take a second to get serious. i want this to be the year the Indians win it all. this needs to be the year the Indians win it all. the bulk of this particular group has been together for quite a while, building chemistry and constructing a foundation for a positive, winning atmosphere. this 2018 team should win it together and have that memory of the hard road they traveled with each other to make it possible. they have the experience of reaching Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 and they remember the heartache of losing it. and, as if that wasn't upsetting enough, the way the previous postseason came to an abrupt end left even more of a bad taste in everyone's mouths. so this would be a great time for this specific roster to atone for that now and win it all before it's too late.
because at the end of 2018, the Tribe is going to have a lot of free agents. yes, there is still going to be a solid core intact, but you can't argue that the roster is going to look quite different in 2019. let's win it while we've got the killer combo of Miller and Allen coming at opposing hitters out of the bullpen. let's win it with Brantley in his 10th and final year with the club. let's win it while the Chief Wahoo is still on the Indians' hats and jersey sleeves! let's win the World Series now. no pressure.
what are you looking forward to this season? leave your expectations in the comments!
My Streak & Misc. 2018 Game Talk
it wasn't easy, but i didn't miss any Indians games last season. that extended my consecutive games streak to seven straight years! the amount of rearranging i had to do to make that happen was more than ever before, but i did it and i have no regrets. and i'll try my damnedest to do it once again this season. if you know me, my lack of health always attempts to throw a wrench in things, but somehow, even when i feel like crap, i make sure the Indians game is on when it's time for it. so, here's hoping i can push for an eighth straight year. i'm definitely not interested in missing any of Brantley's final games with the Tribe this season, so you better believe i will fight like hell to keep my record alive!🥇 (the one thing that could possibly mess this up is my ridiculously unreliable internet connection. can't tell you how many times my audio dropped in spring and if this happens during the regular season, a certain place of business is gonna have one pissed off BITCH in their building!😠)
let me also put out there that i was not pleased with the Indians' promotional schedule this year because one too many cool giveaways are taking place on weekdays when i'm unavailable to travel to Cleveland. even worse, there are a few Saturday summer games that don't feature any type of giveaway, which happens to be my best time to go. maybe they did that purposely to try and bring in bigger crowds on weekdays, but if i'm spending good money on a select few number of games, i prefer to get a replica jersey or bobblehead when i go. so this year, i scaled back on the number of games i plan to attend and right now i've picked out and purchased tickets to 8 games. we'll see how many of those my health actually allows me to go to...😷😰
whether i see the games in person or simply listen to them through my Gameday audio, i will be rooting for the boys during every pitch of every inning for all 162 games and however many they play in the postseason, cause i am still and will always be a RIDE OR DIE fan! win, lose, or extra innings til 3 am, let's go Tribe!👊
how many games are you going to? which giveaways are your absolute must-haves? let me know in the comment section!
ALCS, NLCS, & World Series Picks
i am so bad at predicting these. i rarely ever get the postseason teams correct, let alone the matchups or World Series winner! but that doesn't stop me from making my picks anyway!🔮
ALCS matchup: Cleveland Indians vs. Houston Astros. this is the series most people envisioned a year ago and i'm seeing it for October 2018. who's going to win? sorry, Tribe fans, but i think the Houston Astros will again advance to the World Series in 6 games.
NLCS matchup: Washington Nationals vs. St. Louis Cardinals. i confess, i am the least educated when it comes to all things National League. i don't really pay attention to the NL teams. so this could be the worst guess in the history of predictions, but i pick these two squads, with the Washington Nationals winning the series in 7 games!
World Series matchup: Houston Astros vs. Washington Nationals. it could happen, though i'm well aware that the best teams on paper don't always end up in the World Series or win it. so my 2018 World Series winner is going to be the Washington Nationals in 6 games. can't wait to see how wrong i am at the end of October lol
for the record, i saw that this year, the illustrious Sports Illustrated has predicted a Washington Nationals-New York Yankees World Series, with the Nats being victorious. well, when it comes to the Yankees losing, i'm all for it so 👍.
who do you agree with: me, SI, or neither? leave all your playoff predictions below in a comment. and add in your Wild Card team picks and Division Series matchups, too, if you want!
now let me end this with my usual reminders. you can follow me on twitter, @clevelandgirl23, for all the latest news and updates on Michael Brantley during his DL stint and then after in his final campaign with the Cleveland Indians. speaking of his last year here, in honor of that, i am also #CelebratingMichaelBrantley by highlighting some of his best moments with the Tribe during his career. beginning April 2 and continuing every Monday, a new tweet will go up. keep tracking the hashtag on the regular because there's a solid chance i'll be posting some extra fun facts and tidbits on days that aren't Mondays as well. i've already tweeted a few interesting things during spring training, and i've got plenty more. it's sure to be a fun trip down memory lane! and feel free to tweet your own personal memories and stories about Dr. Smooth also!🎉
if you're not currently on my subscription list, what are you waiting for? just scroll up to the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of this page and enter your email address. then you'll always receive notifications whenever i post something new on this site!📧
and finally, you can get your vote on in my first polls of the 2018 season! under the About Me sidebar on the upper right side of the page, let me know how many games you think the Indians will win this year, how many games they'll win in March/April, and if they'll win the AL Central Division. you can also vote about Brantley! what will his BA be for March/April, how many HR will he hit, and how many RBI will he have? submit your picks now!✅
thank you all for reading! Go Tribe!😀