Wendle walks off Tribe against White Sox in fifth straight win
Late-inning heroics send Indians to 5-4 victory over Chicago
It was an afternoon of firsts in Goodyear on Tuesday. David Murphygot his first hit as an Indian, Josh Tomlin and John Axford gave up their first runs of the spring, Bryan Price made his first appearance in big league exhibition play (and got his first win) and Joe Wendlerecorded his first RBI in big league camp, and a walk-off at that.
The Tribe clinched their fifth straight victory in Cactus League play this spring in dramatic fashion to move to 5-1 on the campaign thus far. Zach McAllister cruised through two shutout innings of work while RBI knocks from David Murphy, Carlos Santana, Mike Aviles, Yan Gomes and, of course, Joe Wendle with the winning hit.
Player of the Game: Joe Wendle, 2B (1-2, RBI)
Remember last spring when a Tribe farmhand by the name of Delvi Cid provided some late-inning heroics in a Cactus League bout with the Giants? Well, Joe Wendle Delvi Cid'ed the White Sox on Tuesday and helped put his name on the map in big league camp. Obviously Wendle has higher upside than Cid, though, so his name wasn't really off the map to begin with. Still, it's a nice experience for any young prospect playing in camp with the big boys.
Right now, there's some debate as to where exactly Wendle fits in as far as the Indians' future is concerned seeing as how All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis likely won't be leaving his post anytime soon. Wendle did play 21 games at third base at low-A Mahoning Valley in 2012, but he's been used primarily as a second baseman since then.
Wendle does offer a lot at the plate considering he can hit for average, crack some homers, drive in runs and even wreak a little havoc on the base paths. He's certainly an interesting prospect and a name to look out for in the future even if his future position on the big league club may have yet to be determined.
The Price is Right
Indians relief pitching prospect Bryan Price made his first exhibition appearance of 2014 and retired the side in order in a 4-4 tie to set up Wendle's heroics in the bottom of the ninth. The right-hander is in major league camp for the second time in his career and is off to a better start than back in 2012, where he gave up five runs (four earned) in just three innings of work.
Price may have a chance of making the club out of spring training this season, but Terry Francona may choose to go with more veteran presence to start the year. Either way, the 27-year-old will still end up being a factor in the big league bullpen at some point in 2014, barring injury or other setbacks.
The Indians originally acquired Price in the Victor Martinez trade along with Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadoneback in 2009. Last season, he had a dominant showing overall between the AA and AAA levels posting a combined 2.04 ERA while striking out an impressive 92 batters in just 75 innings of work (11.44 K/9). Keep an eye on him as spring training rolls on.
The Indians were up to some of their old tricks again in regards to driving in runs with two outs as four of the five runs were recorded with two outs in the inning. David Murphy, Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles and Joe Wendle all managed to come through and keep each given inning going with clutch hits to put a notch on the scoreboard.
In 2013, the Tribe finished in the top five in all of baseball as far as two-out RBI go driving in 281 under such circumstances. Only the Tigers, Red Sox, Rangers and Cardinals had better showings in that department.
While many factors contributed to the Indians' success lasy year, their success at hitting with two outs was one of the more prominent reasons why this team was so much fun to watch and fun to play on. When you become that productive with two outs, there's rarely a feeling of impending doom just because you only have one out left to work with.
As the old saying goes, "It ain't over until it's over."
Facts and Tidbits
- Jesus Aguilar has now played in six games so far this spring and has yet to record a hit, but has an OBP of .417 thanks to five walks.
- Josh Tomlin was the first Indians starter of the spring to pitch three innings, but unfortunately, he gave up a pair of earned runs in the process.
- In addition to allowing the tying run to score in the eighth inning, Scott Barnes was also the only Indians pitcher not to record at least one strikeout on Tuesday.
- After drawing a walk in the ninth inning, Tyler Naquin has now recorded a free pass in four of the six games he's played in so far this spring.
- Indians infield prospect Jose Ramirez (recovering from offseason thumb surgery) made his first appearance of spring training in a "B game" against the Angels on Tuesday and had one hit in three at-bats.
Up Next: Indians (5-1) vs. Mariners (6-1) @ Peoria Sports Complex. First pitch at 3:05 pm ET.
The two heavyweights of the Cactus League will meet once again just three days after the Tribe and Francisco Lindor doubled up Seattle 6-3 in Goodyeear. Right-hander Travis Banwart, who nailed down the save against the Mariners in the first meeting, will get the start for the Tribe while southpaw James Paxton is set to toe the rubber for Seattle.
Jake Dungan is a communications student at Stark State College and an intern with the Akron RubberDucks. Follow him on Twitter @MajorLeagueJake.
Examples such as Adams,Barnes, Hagadone, Guilmet, and Price.