2013 Spring Training Game #15: Indians 6, Giants 4
Tribe backs Jimenez in winning fourth in a row
The Cleveland Indians scored six runs in two innings on Thursday afternoon to give them a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants in support of starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez on Thursday afternoon.
Jimenez, the enigmatic starter that the Indians acquired at the trade deadline in 2011, easily had his best start of the spring. The Indians right-hander went four innings when it was all said and done, giving up only three hits and a run, while striking out two batters.
The offense was once again sparked by outfielder Ryan Raburn. The Tribe was down 1-0 in the fourth when Rayburn drilled a two-run double, scoring first baseman Nick Swisher and DH Jason Giambi, into left field.
In the fifth, Swisher and Giambi would continue the Indians’ offensive onslaught.
Swisher blasted a three-run homer, scoring Michael Bourn and Lonnie Chisenhall, and Giambi followed with a solo shot of his own. Swisher’s homer was his third of spring training, while Giambi connected on his first long ball. Bourn led things off that inning with a triple, his first of the spring.
Cody Allen got roughed up, giving up three runs in 2/3 of an inning, but Matt Capps, Fernando Nieve, T.J. House and Jerry Gil would pitch 4 1/3 innings of shutout baseball, to give the Indians their fourth straight win of the spring.
- Terry Francona was clearly pleased with his starter’s performance after the game. “He attacked the strike zone,” Francona said in the post-game press conference. “He kind of settled in and starting working down in the zone. He got some ground balls, played through the one that got in the sun, limited the damage to a one run. He’s building on each start and getting stronger. He kind of found it, got aggressive in the zone, and the results showed it.” It’s only spring training, but it’s clear that Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway may be on to something with Jimenez. I’m not even close to ready to proclaim Jimenez ready to return to 2010 form, but it appears as though the Indians’ coaching staff may finally have him down the right path. It’s along path though…
- Ryan Raburn is one of those spring training guys that is just having a month to remember. He crushed two doubles on Thursday, driving in his team leading tenth and eleventh runs and raising his average to a tall-tale-like .550. I don’t know what Raburn has to do to make this ball club, but you have to figure that he’s already done it. Spring is a fickle thing though, and there is a lot of time for others to make a push, and plenty of time for Raburn to falter. While it’s clear that Francona likes the versatility of having a guy that can play any outfield position, as well as first and third, he’s still not a lock. He’s getting pretty close though.
- Nick Swisher is every bit as hot as Raburn. Swisher started the first rally that led to Raburn’s double, then put the game out of reach by hitting the game-winning three-run homer the following inning. During the post-game, Francona laughed when a reported “asked” him about Swisher’s hot streak. “He better (keep hitting), that’s what we got him for. Don’t act surprised.”
- Francona is also clearly enamored with Jason Giambi. While I don’t have the vitriol that some do with regards to the veteran, I’m not sure I see him in the same light as Francona. Still, I have to believe that the Tribe skipper is planning on putting the best 25 guys on the roster at the end of spring. If he thinks it’s Giambi, so be it. It’s clear that Francona sees more than a player in Giambi, and values his ability to mentor players, as much as he values his ability to hit the baseball.
- Michael Brantley is getting ready to return, likely on Sunday, according to Francona. He’s going to be getting back into things over the next two days, before playing three or four innings on Sunday.
- Keep it simple stupid. When you listen to Francona talk, it’s hard not to hear this phrase ringing in your head. It may be the new team philosophy. Francona aligned the “four” things you have to do to pitch meaningful innings in Cleveland this year:
- Attack the strike zone
- Hold runners
- Throw strikes
- Field the position
Jimenez had issues doing all “four,” but is improving in all areas as the spring training days have gone by. Hopefully, this simple strategy can pay off for the Indians starter.
What’s to come…
Jim is currently the senior editor and Columnist, as well as the host of IBI's weekly online radio shows, Smoke Signals and Cleveland Sports Insiders. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IBI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don't have hate on Giambi.....I just think he's done.