The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

July 14, 2014

Half a loaf

Antonetti says Tribe is in decent spot at the break

CLEVELAND — The All-Star break is upon us. The Indians are 47-47. On this date last year, the Indians were 50-44.

Let’s have a little review on the ups and downs of the Indians’ 2014 season, where they’re at now and what the future holds, accompanied by some insight from Tribe General Manager Chris Antonetti.

First, the trade block. On Saturday, the Indians completed a minor trade with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, sending cash and a player to be named later for left-handed reliever Nick Maronde. Will there be any more changes on the horizon? Two years ago, the Indians received Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles in a trade with Toronto. Last year, they snagged Mark Rzepcynski from St. Louis. If the Indians do make another trade at the deadline this year, don’t expect any David Price-type blockbusters.

“We’re exploring a lot of different things,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of energy on finding fits for acquiring guys who we’d have control over beyond this year, not just guys that would be here for the balance of the year.”

In other words, the Indians are seeking cheaper, controllable types like Gomes and Aviles, not rentals.

It’s been a rollercoaster first half for this Indians club. On one hand, there are breakouts from guys like Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Kluber that have led the team.

Brantley and Chisenhall both find themselves in the top 15 in all of baseball in on-base plus slugging, right ahead of two-time reigning MVP Miguel Cabrera.

“It’s not an accident he’s having the success he’s having,” Antonetti said of Brantley. “The work that he puts in every day to prove himself as a player is evident to all of us who get the chance to watch it.”

Kluber, though snubbed from the American League All-Star roster, has been one of the best pitchers in baseball. The same can’t be said for the rest of the Indians’ rotation.

Indians starters own a 4.55 ERA, fifth-worst in Major League Baseball. But you can’t place the blame entirely on them. The Indians have played the worst defense in the majors, leading to a high number of balls in play going for hits.

This is reflected in some advanced pitching metrics, like FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, which is a metric that determines the quality of a pitcher’s performance by eliminating plate appearance outcomes that involve defensive play), placing Indians starters more toward the middle of the pack.

But until the defense starts to pick up the slack behind the pitchers, the ERA will have a hard time coming down.

“[Defense has been] the one area that’s been the most challenging for us in the first half,” Antonetti said. “I think if you were to ask anyone in the clubhouse, that’s been the area where we feel we have the best opportunity to improve because we feel we’re a much better defensive team than how we’ve played.”

Looking toward the minor-league level, top prospect Francisco Lindor continues to impress in all facets of the game, and it’s not going unnoticed.

“Every step along the way, Francisco continues to get better,” Antonetti said.

“It’s especially impressive when you consider he’s always been and continues to be one of the youngest players at his level.”

Could Lindor be on the move before too long?

“A promotion to Triple-A could be something we consider in the second half,” Antonetti said.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Sam Going strong!

    Back on track... and still alive and kicking, er, hitting!

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 18U Outlaws split first two

    A stirring rally in their last at-bat allowed the Ohio Outlaws 18-and-under squad to prevail in its first game at the Eastern National Tournament on Thursday in Sterling, Va.

    August 1, 2014

  • UMC rolls to church title

    The Andover United Methodist Church co-ed softball team capped a successful season by applying the basics. Timely hitting and solid defense both came into play as they polished off the losers’ bracket winner, New Life Fire of Geneva, 10-4, to claim the Ashtabula Church Co-ed Softball League — Thursday Massucci Division championship.

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians Mariners sink Tribe

    Another difficult day on the trade front ended with a disappointing loss for the Cleveland Indians.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video