Bases-loaded walk all Tribe pitchers need in 1-0 shutout
Indians win seventh straight as pitching keeps Cubs at bay
The only scoring in this game came courtesy of Asdrubal Cabrera, who drew a bases-loaded walk off Cubs right-hander Justin Grimm in the bottom of the fourth inning at Goodyear Ballpark. That would prove to be all the Indians hurlers would need on Thursday as the five of them would combine for a 1-0 shutout effort with veteran right-hander Aaron Harang earning the win and lefty Scott Barnes locking down the save.
Player of the Game: Justin Masterson (3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K)
Things could've gotten out of hand quickly for the Tribe ace as he loaded the bases with only one out in the top of the first, but a strikeout and fly-out extinguished the threat as Masterson went on to have a quality outing with three strikeouts in three innings of work.
Earlier this week, news broke that the sinkerballer would be willing to accept a shorter-term deal to stay with the Tribe, saying that the Indians bringing in Terry Francona has made Cleveland feel more like home. On Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Masterson may be seeking a 3-4 year deal worth around $17-$18 million per year, which would make his entire contract worth between $51 million and $72 million.
The Indians avoided arbitration with Masterson late last month by agreeing to a one-year, $9.7625 million deal, but both remain open to exploring multi-year alternatives.
Bauer Bringing Heat
Following each of Trevor Bauer's last two outings, including his appearance against the Cubs on Thursday, he has been reported to have topped out at 98 mph. First following his outing against Seattle on Sunday, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported via Twitter that the right-hander was hitting 96-98 mph on the gun. On Thursday, Peter Gammons tweeted similar observations saying that Bauer's velocity ranged from 92-98 mph.
Bauer tossed a pair of scoreless frames against the Cubs allowing three hits and a walk, but also striking out four batters. Command has been a nagging issue for the young right-hander out of UCLA, but he has thrown over 78% strikes in his last two appearances combined compared to the meager 33% he had in his first Cactus League outing this spring.
As for his spike in velocity, it's interesting since he has only topped out at 95-96 mph in his big league career thus far. Perhaps it's his change in delivery. Perhaps he's pitching more aggressively. Or perhaps it's just a couple faulty radar guns. Regardless, throwing strikes consistently should be his primary concern with a little extra zip on his fastball being an added bonus.
The fifth starter race remains a heated one in the early goings of spring training with newcomer Aaron Harang tossing a pair of scoreless innings and working his way around a fifth inning jam with runners at second and third and only one out by striking out Donnie Murphy and getting Nate Schierholtz to fly out to end the inning and preserve the shutout.
Harang, who has only allowed one run in three outings thus far (5.0 IP) came in as a late-offseason pickup by the Tribe and is currently competing for a spot in the rotation alongside Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. The 35-year-old right-hander would probably only be a temporary fixture in the rotation if he made the team, though, considering that he has only made 30 or more starts once in the last five years and has not pitched 200 or more innings in seven years.
While it's still early, his performance so far this spring in his first three outings has kept him right in the of the conversation for the final rotation spot.
Facts and Tidbits
- Indians pitchers have not yielded an earned run in 17.1 innings of work.
- Jose Ramirez made his Cactus League debut on Thursday coming in as a defensive substitution for Jason Kipnis in the sixth inning.
- Thursday marked the first time in this year's Cactus League campaign that the Indians' lineup has been held to only one run. Up until then, they were averaging 6.3 runs per game.
Up Next: Indians (7-1) vs. Cubs (2-5) @ Cubs Park. First pitch at 3:05 pm ET.
The Indians and Cubs will meet again at Chicago's new spring training ballpark in Mesa on Friday. Carlos Carrasco will continue his campaign to become the Tribe's fifth starter when camp breaks. The right-hander is coming off a little bit of a rough outing where he earned the win, but gave up a run on three hits late in his appearance against the Rangers on Monday. The Cubs will counter with veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson, who will be making just his second appearance of exhibition play this spring.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
No defense for having rudimentary, simplistic thoughts. This is fodder for 15 year olds. Standards clearly have dropped.
Barring injuries ,as of now I think 22 spots are almost a lock to be on the opening day roster. Everyday players of Gomes, Santana, Swisher, Kipnis, Cabrera, Chisenhall, Bourn, Brantley, Raburn,Murphy Aviles
Pitchers being Masterson, Kubler, McCallister Salazar, Carrasco, Shaw,Allen Outman, Axford,Pastano,Rzepczynski.
I have these 6 players playing to fill remaining 3 spots Francouer, Giambi, Morgan, Aardsma,Lee, Wood
I think Tomlin and Bauer along with House ,Anderson and maybe Marcum starting in Columbus
Should be noted that while he really struggled in the walk department last year, walk rate was a decent 7.6% from July on. Considering he's a career 4.7% guy and been at 5.3 the last two years I'd take that in a heartbeat. Maybe something clicked his last trip to AAA?
I didn't think I'd ever see Asdrubal draw a bases loaded walk. He must have seen four straight pitches at least two feet off the plate.
Or is it possible he's finally decided to be a little more selective because he's figured out that hacking at anything close wasn't working?
Speaking of which, Chisenhall has already drawn almost as many walks this spring as he had all of last season. Another good sign.
The Tribe is 7-1, Asdrubal and Lonnie are showing some plate discipline, and Bauer is hitting 98 mph. I'm really starting to get jacked.
Battle for the last bullpen spot just as competitive and same goes for the last spot for the bench / goon squad.