Lindor powers Tribe to 6-3 victory over Mariners
Indians comes from behind to win third straight game
Top Indians prospect Francisco Lindor made his presence known to the big league club and its fans by on Sunday by driving in the go-ahead runs with a three-run blast in the seventh inning in a 6-3 win against the Mariners. Meanwhile, Nick Swisher made his 2014 Cactus League debut for the Tribe and Carlos Santana's first official play at third base wasn't all that spectacular.
Player of the Game: Francisco Lindor, SS (1-1, HR, 3 RBI)
2014 marks just the second time in his young career that Francisco Lindor has attended big league camp and participated in exhibition play. Last year, Lindor appeared in 10 Cactus League games and batted .292 with a double, a triple and an RBI as well as a stolen base.
Lindor tripled his 2013 spring RBI total on Sunday with a three-run home run off Mariners right-handed relief pitching prospect Logan Bawcom. That blast also marked the 20-year-old shortstop prospect's first with the big league squad, albeit in exhibition play, but still memorable nevertheless for him and the fans who are hoping they got a brief glimpse of the future for the Tribe.
Despite the homer, Lindor is still expected to start the year in the minor leagues and continue to be allowed to develop at his own pace since he is pretty much the centerpiece of this team's future. He should make a return trip to AA Akron at least for the beginning portion of the season since his time there late in 2013 was cut short due to a back injury.
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
The first inning that Trevor Bauer pitched on Sunday was quick and painless as he retired the side in order complete with a strikeout, but left a couple pitches up and over the plate that Corey Hart and Dustin Ackley were able to connect with for a double and home run, respectively.
Still, his skipper was impressed with how the right-hander was able to throw strikes more consistently this time out on the mound.
"That's by far the best he's thrown. He looked like he had conviction with his fastball and worked ahead," Terry Francona said about Bauer.
For anyone who has watched Trevor Bauer in his starts since his arrival in Cleveland, seeing him throw strikes on a regular basis is certainly something that would be a welcome sight. While he did manage to work out of many of the jams he got himself into, Tito and Mickey Callaway would probably perfer to see him pitch more aggressively within the strike zone and get ahead in the count.
While he did leave a couple meatballs out over the plate on Sunday, he should still find more success throwing strikes to get ahead in the count than trying to get swings and misses on every pitch.
The Pressure's On For Hagadone
Barring injury, there will be at least two left-handed relievers that will make the Opening Day bullpen and for the time being, Nick Hagadone is not one of them. He is fighting for his life, though, as evidenced by his first two Cactus League appearances of 2014, where he has retired all six batters he has faced.
Marc Rzepczynski came to the Tribe in a midseason trade with the Cardinals in exchange for low-level infield prospect Juan Herrera and despite having a rough first half in St. Louis (7.84 ERA), the left-hander was a key component to in the Tribe's second half push with an ERA under one as he finally provided stability in the bullpen from the left side.
Over the offseason, the Indians also acquired southpaw Josh Outman from Colorado for outfielder Drew Stubbs. With the departure of Rich Hill, Outman is likely to take over the role of matchup lefty in the bullpen for the Tribe since he has held left-handed hitters to a mere .189 batting mark over his career.
So where does that leave Hagadone, who has yet to find consistent dominance at the big league level?
It's not impossible that Francona will choose to carry three lefties in his bullpen, but unless the remainder of his spring training outings are similar to his first two, he may start the season down in Columbus since the Indians have regained the option they used on him back in 2012 to put him on the minor league disqualified list.
Facts and Tidbits
- Carlos Santana had his first opportunity to make a play at third base with the Tribe on Sunday on a groundout by Corey Hart, but was charged with an error when his throw to first base pulled Nick Swisher off the bag.
- Nick Hagadone has retired the side in his first two exhibition appearances of 2014, each with five pitches and one strikeout.
- In his 2014 Cactus League debut, Nick Swisher failed to record a hit, but still drove in and scored a run.
- Michael Brantley has reached base in four of his five plate appearances of exhibition play thus far in 2014.
Up Next: Indians (3-1) vs. Rangers (1-2) @ Surprise Stadium. First pitch at 3:05 pm ET.
Corey Kluber will make his second appearance for the Indians this spring after a rough first outing against the Reds on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Rangers will be sending Colby Lewis to the mound for the first time since July 18th of 2012.
It will be a reunion of sorts in Surprise when the Indians will have another chance to check in on former outfielderShin-Soo Choo as he settles in with his second ballclub since leaving Cleveland via trade over a year ago. Meanwhile, the Rangers will get their first look at former teammate David Murphy in a different uniform after he signed with Cleveland this offseason. The Indians will also become reacquainted with new Texas slugger Prince Fielder, formerly of the Tigers, whom I'm sure Tribe pitchers won't be disappointed to see less of in the upcoming season.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
Agree with your take though on the pen. Think Hags ends up in AAA and one of the vets gets a spot (or Carrassco). Definitely think we'll be seeing him at some point though. Also still not as sold on Scrabble as some are. Was so bad in St. Louis last year...did he really figure it out in Cleveland? Or was that a mirage we saw? Obviously hoping it's the former but don't think he's a lock for the pen the whole year. Definitely nice having Hags around as depth at least.
Hagadone looks like he is on the verge of putting it together. Like Hermie, I think he just needs an opportunity to work through it (almost similar to what Embree was doing in 1995, except Hagadone's has been done over the past few seasons). He certainly has the stuff to handle both LHH and RHH, all the more reason he needs to get some extended time in the Majors. Barring a blowup in Spring Training, he probably would have gotten that this year, but being that the last option was restored, I'm not sure he gets extended time unless someone really struggles or is injured, since that option is useful to managing the excess arms we have in the pen, yet keeping a veteran such as Aardsma around if he 's healthy and performs or if Carrasco falters and needs to go into the bullpen.
I'm with Walter...drawing a blank on the last time the Tribe had 3 strong lefties coming out of the pen for any extended period of time during a season.
Just hope that if Hags pitches well he gets a real shot at the bigs. Yeah he had some blowups last year but wish he'd have gotten the opportunities to work thru it. He was no worse than Hill last year (hell, could argue he was better) in the bigs. Scrabble and Outman definitely should be the first two lefties to start but Hags needs a shot IMO (a real shot).
In answer to your 3 left-handlers question: 1995- Paul Assenmacher, Alan Embree, and Jim Poole- that would be my answer.
Hagadone is the Carrasco version in the bullpen. He has the stuff but when he has a bad outing it then turns into multiple bad outings. He loses command of the strike zone. He has had success in AAA, but needs to take that at the league level.
If he does, I can not remember when the Indians have the potential of having 3 strong lefties coming out of the pen.