Spring Training Game #33: White Sox 5, Indians 4
Matsuzaka strong but Indians fall in ninth
Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 5 1/3 strong innings, but the Cleveland Indians fell 5-4 to the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on Wednesday.
This was Matsuzaka’s first appearance since being resigned by the Indians to a minor league deal, and it was arguably his best as the right-hander only allowed five hits and walked none while pitching into the sixth inning.
Unfortunately, there were few consistent offensive performers on Wednesday as Lonnie Chisenhall was the only Indian to record more than one hit and went 2-for-3 in the contest.
However, the biggest Tribe hit of the night belonged to Erik Gonzalez. With one out in the top of the eighth inning, Gonzalez hit a two-RBI single to put the Indians ahead 4-2.
- Michael Bourn — CF (Matt Carson)
- Drew Stubbs — RF (Carlos Moncrief)
- Jason Kipnis — 2B (Tony Wolters)
- Nick Swisher — 1B (Erik Gonzalez)
- Michael Brantley — LF (Tyler Holt)
- Mark Reynolds — DH (Jordan Smith)
- Lonnie Chisenhall — 3B (Joey Wendle)
- Mike Aviles — SS (Luis Hernandez)
- Lou Marson — C (Omir Santos)
- Daisuke Matsuzaka — 5 1/3 IP
- Vinne Pestano — 2/3 IP
- Matt Capps — 1 IP
- Preston Guilmet — 1 IP
- Matt Langwell — 0 IP
— Matsuzaka’s velocity may have left a lot to be desired this spring, but his performance has not. In 13 1/3 innings of work, Matsuzaka now has a 2.70 ERA with just one walk and six strikeouts. It’s refreshing to know that he was willing to accept a minor league assignment, especially since he could be called on to join the Indians this season if one of the current starters struggles. Matsuzaka’s fastball and strikeout totals may be down, but he’s been impressive in other areas, especially in terms of command. As long as he can find his spots, he could still end up being a quality pitcher for the Indians this season. At the very least, it’s nice that the Tribe has him as a future option if things do start to go sour.
— Matt Capps made an appearance for the Indians on Wednesday, and this was also his first appearance since being resigned by the team to a minor league deal. Like Matsuzaka, Capps arguably had his best appearance of the year as the right-hander pitched two shutout innings and struck out two batters along the way. It’s hard to know where Capps fits in the pecking order in regard to relievers, but he must believe that he has a pretty good chance to make this year’s team at some point, or he never would have accepted the minor league deal. There may be some arms in the Tribe’s system that have higher upside than Capps, but none boast a more impressive résumé. Simply put, it’s impressive when a team can look for help from a guy with 138-career Major League saves.
— Think Lonnie Chisenhall is ready for the start of the Major League season? Well, that seems to be a fair assumption especially when you consider he is currently riding a six-game hit streak and has gone 23-for-54 this spring. Many fans are high on Chisenhall this season, and the IBI’s Jim Berdysz kind of touched on why in a very good piece earlier this week that compared the third baseman to a former Tribe great. Spring statistics are often deemed irrelevant, but I think all fans are hoping that there might be a bit more to Chisenhall’s hot start.
— On an unrelated note, first baseman Chris McGuiness was sent back to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday for $25,000. The Rule 5 Draft pick went 8-for-41 (.195) this spring. His performance certainly did not warrant a roster spot, but he did show signs, and it would have been nice if the Indians would have been able to work out a deal to keep him.
Justin Masterson will take the mound for the Indians today in what will be his final spring appearance before Opening Day. The right-hander is scheduled to pitch five innings against the Padres in Peoria, Ariz. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.
Steve can be reached via email at email@example.com.