Mitchell- We’re Going Streaking!
Frank the Tank and the boys may have bested Dean Pritchett (was that Jack Cassel?), but I don’t think they had a run like the Clippers and Indians are on right now. The Tribe have won 10 consecutive home games, most since 1996 and your hometown heroes have rattled off 8 straight wins in defense of their Governor’s Cup trophy. The streak includes 2 wins against Louisville, 3 vs. Indianapolis and now 3 victories over Gwinnett. The Clippers go for the sweep tonight at Coolray Field with Corey Kluber on the mound. Kluber has struggled in his last two starts, but has a solid track record and the Clippers have confidence in him. The Braves pitching has been excellent in this series, and veteran Rodrigo Lopez goes tonight, bringing the best stats on the roster with him (4-0 1.35).
North Carolina native Lonnie Chisenhall has found southern cooking to his liking, going 7-13 with a HR and 3RBI’s in the series. Imagine what could happen when the trip shifts to Charlotte! Fellow Carolinian Alex White will not get to play in front of the home state fans however, as he will instead make his Major League debut for the Indians on Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.
The Infield situation gets more interesting and crowded for Mike Sarbaugh as the Indians activated and then optioned Jason Donald to Columbus and also received Josh Rodriguez from Pittsburgh and assigned him the Clippers roster as well. Donald had spent the entire season on the 15-day DL with an injured thumb and Rodriguez was chosen by the Pirates in the Rule V draft, but was taken off of the 25-man roster and therefore had to be offered back to Cleveland, something the Tribe had hoped for all along. The problem it creates is this, where do you find time for 6 players to man 3 positions and still get enough work? Lonnie Chisenhall (3B) and Jason Kipnis (2B) are the only “one-position” guys, but they are the top 2 position prospects in the organization. Neither has set the IL on fire to start the season, though both have shown signs of adjusting to the level of play after early struggles. One or both may be forced to Double-A to make room for the incoming players. Cord Phelps has looked better than anticipated at shortstop and Jason Donald has spent his career there, thought the Indians see him as a 2B or 3B at the next level. Throw in Luis Valbuena and…
Josh Rodriguez was a loss to Cleveland because he was the only true upper-minor level SS the Tribe had in the system to provide depth in case of injury heading into the spring. The Clippers have an open roster spot at the moment, but they currently are operating with an 11-man (including White) pitching staff, something they have not done much of as an Indians affiliate. They will likely receive Frank Herrmann back when White is promoted, and they will also have to figure out a way to fill that rotation spot, as White will make at least 2 turns through the rotation with Carlos Carrasco missing a minimum of 2 starts. There are many options for the Indians to make the math come out right for staying within roster limits but one thing is for sure, Ross Adkins is going to earn his paycheck this week!
Finally, I would like to congratulate Joslyn Leo on her birth! Not bad work for someone under 8 pounds and only 19 inches long. Scott and his wife Shannon welcomed the littlest Leo into the world yesterday afternoon and I’m happy to report mother and baby are doing well. I’m sure Joslyn will make her Huntington park debut soon.