Thursday, July 22, 2010

Browns, McCoy close to contract

The Browns are close to a contract with third-round draft pick Colt McCoy, according to league sources.

The former standout Texas quarterback is expected to get a contract for four years, worth about $5 million, more than $1 million more than the 85th overall pick typically signs for.

This shows the Browns are determined he will be what Brady Quinn was not, a long-term answer at quarterback.

McCoy is not expected to play this season, watching as veterans Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace battle for the starting job. Although, I'd guess he would be better off sneaking off to watch Colts, Saints, Packers or Patriot games instead of watching Delhomme throw pick after pick after pick week after week after week.

I have a lot of confidence in McCoy as a player given his clutch performances in college with the Longhorns. Some believe he is too small or can't throw far or accurate enough, but McCoy, as a true competitor, will likely want to prove his detractors wrong.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cabrera returning to Indians

Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will return to the leadoff spot in team's lineup tonight against the Twins.

Out since May 17 with a right forearm fracture, Cabrera returns to Cleveland ahead of schedule after going 7-for-20 in six Minor League rehab games with Class-A Mahoning Valley and Class-AA Akron with three doubles and a home run.

He was expected to be activated on Friday along with Shin-Soo Choo.

Reliever Jensen Lewis, who had a 4.18 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 22 games out of the bullpen, was designated for assignment to make room for Cabrera on the active roster. He is expected to be optioned to Triple-A Columbus tomorrow.

Cabrera's return could cause a small roster controversy for Cleveland. While he was on the DL, rookie Jason Donald admirably filled in for Cabrera at shortstop, and veteran Jayson Nix was claimed off waivers to play second. Nix, however, became a power threat and a key cog in the team's recent resurgence.

Manager Manny Acta had two options: keep both on the roster and use Nix as a utility man so Donald continues getting regular at-bats or demote Donald to Columbus and keep Nix as the everyday second baseman.

With Nix penciled in at left field and Donald at second base for tonight's game, it appears Acta decided with the latter.

Nix is batting .227 but has seven home runs and a .301 on-base percentage. Donald, meanwhile, is hitting .276 with 17 RBI and a .326 on-base percentage.

July 20 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 10, Minnesota 4 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Chicago 6, Seattle 1 | Chicago Tribune
-Texas 8, Detroit 6 (F/14) | Detroit Free-Press
-Kansas City 5, Toronto 4 (F/10) | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Chicago 51 41 --
Detroit 48 43 2.5
Minnesota 49 44 2.5
Kansas City 40 52 11
Cleveland 39 54 12.5

Monday, July 19, 2010

Indians cruise to fifth straight win

The Cleveland Indians pit on a hitting clinic at Target Field, downing the Minnesota Twins 10-4 on the strength of 20 hits.

Led by Trevor Crowe's 4-for-5 performance, the Indians broke the game open in the fifth, scoring five runs and chasing Twins starter Scott Baker from the game.

Crowe has impressed of late, hitting in five of his last six games, three of which were multi-hit performances. He has recorded five RBI during the same span.

Now hitting .263, Crowe has opened the argument for his playing every day. The problem is that there will be a glutton of outfielders next season, including Crowe, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore and Austin Kearns (possibly) as well as youngsters Jordan Brown, Ezequiel Carrera and Nick Weglarz.

Most likely though, Crowe will battle Brantley for the third outfield spot.

One problem could arise because educated fans will want to see Brantley so the C.C. Sabathia trade can finally pay off for the team. But, Crowe has clearly been the better player this season (Crowe's .263 average, 24 RBI and .317 on-base percentage vs. Brantley's .151 average, six RBI and .202 on-base percentage).

But that's a debate for next spring. Let's enjoy tonight's moment while it's here.

Tonight, each Indians starter - with the exception of Kearns, who left the game in the fourth inning with a sore knee - recorded one hit. His replacement Shelly Duncan did record two hits though.

The only player without multiple hits was Jhonny Peralta, who was 1-for-3.

Kearns, Shelly Duncan and Matt LaPorta was the only hitters to not record an RBI.

Still in the AL Central cellar, the Indians are likely too far out of the playoff hunt, but if they can string together a White Soxesque run (they were something like 25-5 lately), there's nothing saying the Tribe can't make a late season run. Games like tonight's give fans a small sliver of hope for a magical run.

It's highly improbable, but if Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera do return to the lineup on Friday, Cleveland's offense should be improved.

Both players had hits at Akron in the first games of their rehab assignments tonight.

The Cleveland offense has scored 31 runs in the five games since the All-Star break.

Even if the team stalls and sluggishly fights to the finish, it will be beneficial in the long run, as so many of the team's prospects will get at-bats at the Major League level.

AP image via

MJ and Barkley diss Miami Heat's new trio

The greatest basketball player of all-time has spoken out against the decision of LeBron James to join forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan said after a golf event in Las Vegas that he would never had tried to be on the same team as rivals Larry Bird or Magic Johnson during his career, but realizes the rules today have signaled a new era for today's players.

"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,'" Jordan said. "But that's ... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."

It took Jordan seven years before he won his first title, but he stuck with the Bulls instead of ring-chasing like James now has.

James has been severely criticized nationwide since announcing on live TV that he was leaving the Cavs to become a member of the Miami Heat because the move showed that instead of trying to beat today's superstars on his own, he would rather join forces with other superstars to win his titles.

Former star and current TV analyst Charles Barkley made it very clear how he thought the move would affect James' legacy.

"He'll never be Jordan," Barkley said to a Miami radio station this week. "This clearly takes him out of the conversation. He can win as much as he wants to.

"There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win it as 'The Man' ... LeBron, if he would've in Cleveland, and if he could've got a championship there, it would have been over the top for his legacy, just one in Cleveland. No matter how many he wins in Miami, it clearly is Dwyane Wade's team."

Gomez another sign toward promising future

Indians prospect Jeanmar Gomez impressed in a spot start yesterday, tossing seven innings during a 7-2 win that completed a four-game sweep of the Tigers.

He allowed two runs in the sixth, but neither were earned after a throwing error by Andy Marte, his seventh of the season.

Gomez allowed five hits and struck out four before surrendered the game to another promising rookie, Hector Ambriz.

I don't expect Gomez to ever become the ace of Cleveland's staff, but he should make a solid No. 2 or No. 3 option for the team someday. Showing excellent pitch placement, Gomez threw 60 of 93 pitches for strikes. For comparison, the last time Fausto Carmona pitched, he threw just 64 of 116 pitches for strikes.

His command is not that of a top-tier starter, but with proper pitch placement, he could be a similar player to Jamie Moyer.

After the game, he was optioned back to Triple-A Columbus in exchange for reliever Jess Todd.

Nonetheless, a strong start does make the Tribe's future look a little bit brighter.

Image via

Friday, July 9, 2010

LeBron did Cleveland a favor by leaving

Cleveland Cavalier fans, myself included, were blinded by the bright light of having the city's first superstar athlete since Jim Brown and ignored signs that said LeBron James' continued talk of loyalty was all smoke and mirrors.

Now that the truth has come out and he's gone off to Miami, Cleveland fans should be grateful and here's two big reasons why.

1. James was clearly not interested in winning an NBA championship as his team's go-to player, so instead of sucking it up and finding a way to handle the pressures with his hometown team, he took the easy way out and joined Dwayne Wade, who has already won an NBA title as his team's go-to player, in Miami

Hey LeBron, have you ever heard the story of a guy named Scottie Pippen? If not, you might want to read up on him because that's the role you're about to play. Chris Bosh will play the role of Dennis Rodman, minus the crazy antics I'm sure.

2. If Dan Gilbert's comments to The Associated Press last night are true and James never returned any phone messages to Gilbert since the season ended, he clearly didn't want to be in Cleveland any longer.

And a Cavs team without a superstar who doesn't want to be in town has a better chance of winning an NBA title than a Cavs team that has that superstar.

"LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship," Gilbert said to the AP. "We will win a championship before [the Heat] do."

3. James' leaving will give the current Cavs roster the best motivation it could possibly ask for.

Former teammate Mo Williams tweeted last night, "I gotta be honest. I'm sick as a dog. I feel like my heart has been pulled out." But he later posted, "We got to step it up now that's all. We will be good next year. And hearing our owner keeps me convinced."

What Williams heard his owner say was this, part of an open letter to fans.

"If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our 'motivation' to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels," Gilbert wrote.

Gilbert also personally guaranteed Cleveland will win an NBA title before Miami will in his letter.

Image via

Cleveland Plain Dealer tells the story...beautifully

The front page of today's edition of The Cleveland Plain Dealer tells the story of LeBron James' decision in simple, yet telling, terms.

The large headline of "Gone." told the news simply and the small print that states "7 years, $62 million, no rings" with a line pointing toward his hand explains exactly why Cleveland fans are bitter he bolted for Miami.

Using a four-page wrap-around, The Plain Dealer showed great determination in reporting the news, writing stories about the fans and a column comparing James to former Browns owner Art Modell, often credited as being the most vilified man in Cleveland since moving the Browns to Baltimore in 1995.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cavs owner rips LeBron in open letter

Below is the text of an open letter Cavs owner Dan Gilbert sent to fans tonight regarding LeBron James' decision.

Dear Cleveland, All Of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight,

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:

"I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ‘KING' WINS ONE"

You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day....

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue....

Dan Gilbert
Majority Owner
Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBummer: LeBron shuns Cleveland

Two-time NBA MVP LeBron James shunned loyalty and his hometown by announcing he would sign with the Miami Heat during a televised special tonight.

Miami likely will offer a 5-year contract worth $99 million. LeBron could have signed for six years and $128 million in Cleveland.

With the Heat, LeBron will join superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who committed to the team earlier this week.

The decision, which was supposed to be announced within the first 10 minutes of the 9 p.m. special, was not made until 9:27. ESPN didn't even go live to a visibly nervous LeBron until a little after 9:20.

LeBron's announcement to dedicate himself to winning instead of being loyal came at The Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn.

Shortly after, Bosh tweeted his pleasure of LeBron's decision. Wade later welcomed LeBron and Bosh to Miami.

The Akron native is the latest Cleveland sports star to leave the city after failing to win a championship. He joins Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and Jim Thome. Other stars, such as Bernie Kosar, C.C. Sabathia, Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, have been released or traded away during rebuilds.

But losing LeBron hurts more than any of the city's other losses, including the loss of the Cleveland Browns franchise in 1995. Some believe LeBron will replace Art Modell as the most hated man in Cleveland.

Just a few weeks ago, LeBron proclaimed that everything he does in his career is for the city Akron, but how does bolting for a team 1,200 miles away benefit Akron?

When asked about Cleveland, LeBron had a vague, emotionless response.

"It's hard to explain," LeBron said, later adding, "I never wanted to leave Cleveland."

No explanation would even cut it for Cavs fans, people who LeBron said he is "not sure" of what their reaction will be. Consider everything he did, and it's not hard to expect what most fans' reactions will be.

He had brought the city hope that it would win its first major sports championship since 1964.

He had brought the city to the NBA Finals in 2007.

He had brought the city an identity.

He had brought the city its first true superstar since Jim Brown in the 1960s.

Now, that is all gone, and the Cavs are left reeling, hoping to scrounge up a trade or sign a significant free agent in hopes of making the playoffs in the 2010-11 season.

All the while, the lasting image of its greatest superstar will be him ripping off his jersey after he virtually gave up on his team against Boston in the 2010 playoffs.

Image via

Jonny Flynn to Cleveland?

Former Syracuse star point guard Jonny Flynn is a target of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I would assume Mo Williams will be central to a trade between the two teams, but Cleveland would have to give up more than an aging veteran to get the rising star from Minnesota.

Flynn, the No. 6 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, started 81 games last season, averaging 13.5 points per game. Some NBA experts believe Flynn could be the league's next star point guard.

The move could be a last-minute attempt by the Cavs to convince LeBron James to return to Cleveland because both players are represented by the same agent.

Ever since Williams had a lackluster appearance during this season's playoffs, the team has been actively seeking a point guard. They tried to lure LeBron's friend and arguably the best point guard in the league Chris Paul to the team recently, but now they are settling for a secondary choice. At this time, however, Flynn is not a direct replacement for Paul, so a completed trade could not even affect LeBron's decision-making.

Cleveland needs a faster point guard to help run the offense. The Cavs have been a defense-first team the past several seasons, and appear to be trying to improve their offense this offseason, with or without LeBron.

While not a fan of Syracuse, I always liked watching Flynn play college ball. I often wondered if he would transition well to the NBA game, but I think he proved he can hang with the big boys his rookie season.

He has plenty of upside and would make a great addition to the Cavs in a partial rebuild if LeBron leaves town.

Flynn's photo on Wikipedia features him in a Yankees hat, so if LeBron stays with Cleveland and this trade happens, the two could at least root for the Yankees together.

Cleveland bracing for biggest sports backstabbing ever


Will one of the Cavs' greatest shots ever become a worse memory for the city?

The city of Cleveland has been shunned by numerous star athletes throughout the years, but the city is bracing itself for the biggest backstabbing in its history tonight, as reports suggest LeBron James is leaning toward creating a megateam with Dwayne Wade in Chris Bosh in Miami.

His decision will become official shortly after 9 p.m. tonight when James will formally announce his destination toward the beginning of an hour-long ESPN special called "The Decision."

Many Clevelanders, myself included, believe if LeBron uses a TV special just to shun the city, it would be the most selfish and hurtful way to leave, putting him miles ahead of recent Cleveland sports heroes gone villains Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and Jim Thome in the classlessness department.

Some speculation says LeBron, Wade and Bosh made up their minds about this situation weeks ago with each of them wooing other teams just to keep it covered up. If true, that would explain Bosh's refusal to accept a sign-and-trade to Cleveland and could end with tampering charges filed against the Heat.

James has expressed loyalty to Akron and Cleveland over and over again, including a tattoo of the word and saying, "Everything I do is for this city. I'm going to continue to do great things. I love every last one of you all. Akron is home," during an appearance as a rally in Akron on June 21.

Well, LeBron, since you are inviting anyone to submit a question to you via Twitter, I will propose the following: How does leaving the Cleveland Cavs (if you do so) fit your quote of "Everything I do is for Akron?"

I'm going to leave this alone until tonight both for my own personal sanity and to let things run their natural course before jumping to major conclusions.

July 8 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Texas 4, Cleveland 3 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Detroit 4, Baltimore 2 | Detroit Free-Press
-Toronto 6, Minnesota 5 | Minneapolis Star-Tribune
-Chicago 5, Los Angeles Angels 2 | Chicago Tribune | Peavy lost for season
-Kansas City 7, Seattle 3 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Detroit 45 37 --
Chicago 45 38 1
Minnesota 45 39 1.5
Kansas City 39 46 8
Cleveland 33 51 13.5

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

LeBron decision imminent

At 9 p.m. on Thursday night, LeBron James will officially announce which team he is signing with during an hour-long ESPN special, but he reportedly has already narrowed his choices to Cleveland or Miami.

In Cleveland, LeBron will remain on his hometown team with an extremely loyal fan base, but in Miami, he can join two of the best players in the league in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, who committed to the Heat early this morning. Adding LeBron would make Miami immediate contenders.

Sadly for Cleveland, all the signs point to LeBron leaving the city.

Formerly a critic of athletes who detail their personal lives via social networks, LeBron started a Twitter feed yesterday, breaking his previous remarks by posting this morning about waking up.

He has also started a new website that is launching soon, presumably Thursday night or Friday night after announcing his decision. Changing teams would be the perfect time for the NBA's biggest star to launch a new site.

The old LeBron would never have done either of these things. Is the new tech savvy LeBron a LeBron who is looking for change or is he just a LeBron catching up to the times? I'll go with the former.

As always, this speculation does not mean the end for Cleveland.

Miami will forever be Dwayne Wade's city, so no matter how well LeBron plays, he will be second fiddle to Wade. In Cleveland, LeBron is already arguably the most popular athlete in the city's history.

LeBron has been called an uncoachable player in the past. It's hard to say that with certainty, but Heat president Pat Riley is unlikely to deal with that type of behavior. Of course, LeBron could change his style to play for a coach who has won multiple championship rings and knows about the winning pedigree.

The most pressing issue, though, may be finding enough shots to satisfy all three superstars in Miami. All three players are used to being the driving force on their team, so what might happen if they team up together is disastrous chemistry.

Come Thursday night, the entire world will know.

July 7 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Texas 12, Cleveland 1 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Detroit 7, Baltimore 5 (F/11) | Detroit Free-Press
-Minnesota 7, Toronto 6 | Minneapolis Star-Tribune
-Chicago 4, Los Angeles Angels 1 | Chicago Tribune
-Kansas City 3, Seattle 2 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Detroit 45 37 --
Minnesota 45 38 0.5
Chicago Sox 44 38 1
Kansas City 38 46 8
Cleveland 33 50 12.5

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back to business...Cleveland sports notes

Sorry I have been away for a few days. Hopefully that will be the last time for awhile that I'll be away for that many days in a row.

Below are my thoughts on some of the recent Cleveland sports headlines.

Fausto Carmona is an All-Star...but should be be?

Cleveland's lone representative in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game is pitcher Fausto Carmona.

In my opinion, he was the third best candidate for that role on the Indians. Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo was my first choice to be the Tribe's All-Star (even after he got hurt) and pitcher Mitch Talbot (8-7, 3.86 ERA, 50 SO) has numbers equally impressive as Carmona (7-7, 3.69 ERA, 57 SO).

Carmona's selection does make for a good story because at this time last season, he was pitching at Triple-A. He made his final start of the season's first half on June 4, an 11-3 loss to Minnesota, leaving him at 2-6 with a 7.42 ERA. He returned to the team at the end of July and has been a different pitcher ever since.

He has never made the All-Star team, and if he loses on Friday against Tampa Bay, he will go to the game with a sub-.500 record, leaving other AL starters Jered Weaver (8-3, 2.82 ERA) and Justin Verlander (10-5, 3.85 ERA) to scratch their heads over the selection process that left them off the roster.

Weaver would have been on the team if there was not a rule in place that says every team must be represented at the game. While I love the Indians, I truly believe the team should not have an All-Star this season.

More injuries

Injuries have been a popular theme for the Indians this season.

Shin-Soo Choo injured his thumb on Friday diving to make a catch against Oakland, but he doesn't likely need surgery and should be back on the field before September as was initially reported.

Losing Choo is a blow to Cleveland's lineup, but it also gives Michael Brantley a chance to earn regular at-bats. Since he is a piece of the Tribe's future, I'm alright with seeing him on the field, even at Choo's expense. This is a lost season for Cleveland, so they might as well give everybody they can at-bats whenever they can get them.

The injury I'm more concerned with is Matt LaPorta's. Although he is not expected to miss significant time after being struck by Elvis Andrus' elbow at first base last night, any setback for the future clean-up hitter is not welcomed.

There was not concussion sustained on the play, which would have been the second of LaPorta's young career, but he is not in tonight's lineup. There is no word on whether he will play tomorrow.

LaPorta has hit in seven of the nine games since he was recalled. In that same time, he has four home runs and nine RBIs.

What would a notes column be without LeBron?

1. LeBron James has still not made a decision about where he will play for the 2010-11 season and beyond, but he may make the announcement via Twitter.

He set up an account this afternoon after being convinced to do so by close friend Chris Paul.

2. It was reported by ESPN that Toronto would be open to a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers regarding free agent Chris Bosh.

Bosh, however, reportedly does not have any interest in playing in Cleveland. Like LeBron, Bosh likely wants to be the premiere player on his team, which would be impossible playing alongside LeBron in Cleveland.

But at this time of year, rumors and erroneous/unconfirmed reports have been rampant in many outlets' NBA coverage, so anything is possible until it becomes official.

3. LeBron has made two appearances at his basketball camp in Akron.

The camp would make a good place for LeBron to announce his intentions to resign with the Cavaliers, but it does not appear that will happen. He has not given any indication of his plans whatsoever.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Cleveland sports notes

It's been a busy couple days in Cleveland sports at the same time it was a busy couple days for yours truly.

Scott hired

The Cleveland Cavaliers officially announced the hire of Byron Scott for its head coaching vacancy early Friday morning.

Scott is a 26-year NBA veteran as both a player and coach and was signed to a four-year contract, with the fourth season a team option year.

As a coach, Scott is 352-355 for his career and has made two appearances in the NBA Finals.

He will be formerly introduced at a 3 p.m. press conference today.

With NBA free agency having started yesterday, Scott will be a strong bargaining chip in the LeBron James sweepstakes.

The Cavs already hold the edge to sign LeBron, but if they did not have a coach in place before their official meeting with him, it still would have been difficult to sell his hometown team.

LeBron meetings

LeBron James had free agency meetings with the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks yesterday in downtown Cleveland.

He was reportedly impressed by New Jersey's presentation, which included his friend and globally successful rapper Jay-Z. The meeting reportedly included talk of taking LeBron's image globally.

The Knicks, according to reports, showed LeBron a study that said he could earn $1.94 billion dollars in salary and endorsements if he left Cleveland for New York. That same study said LeBron would earn just $700 million in career earnings if he stayed in Cleveland.

This morning, LeBron is holding a meeting with representatives from the Miami Heat, and later in the day, the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to be in town.

On Saturday, the Chicago Bulls and Cavaliers will meet with him.

Tribe streaking

The Cleveland Indians completed a sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday afternoon, extending their winning streak to five games.

The Tribe's success has gone largely unnoticed because of the palooza surrounding the Cavs the past week.

Matt LaPorta has been a big part of the recent surge, as the team hasn't lost since he was recalled June 27. He has homered in the past three games.

Finding LaPorta's power stroke is one of the keys to building toward the future for the Indians.

He, combined with several other prominent prospects, including current catcher Carlos Santana, are expected to lead a resurgence of Cleveland baseball in the next 2-3 years.

Cleveland is only 11 1/2 games behind in the AL Central, baseball's weakest division, but it is likely too late for the team to make a serious push for the playoffs this season.

What the team should do instead is give its best prospects Major League at-bats while trading away burdens, such as Jhonny Peralta, Jake Westbrook and Travis Hafner. In addition, the team should try to transition Jason Donald to second base, so he will still have a place to play once Asdrubal Cabrera returns from the disabled list.

July 2 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 6, Toronto 1 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Tampa Bay 5, Minnesota 4 (F/10) | Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 43 36 --
Detroit 41 36 1
Chicago Sox 40 37 2
Kansas City 34 45 9
Cleveland 31 47 11.5

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 3, Toronto 1 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Minnesota 5, Detroit 1 | Minneapolis Star-Tribune
-Kansas City 7, Chicago White Sox 6 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 43 35 --
Detroit 41 36 1.5
Chicago Sox 40 37 2.5
Kansas City 34 45 9.5
Cleveland 30 47 12.5

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My All-Star ballot

Below are the players I have been voting for to make the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star starting rosters. Unlike some people, I do not of vote for my team's players (unless they are deserving).

American League:
*C - Victor Martinez, Boston
*1B - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
*2B - Robinson Cano, New York
*3B - Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
*SS - Elvis Andrus, Texas
*DH - Vladimir Guerrero, Texas
*OF - Josh Hamilton, Texas
*OF - Magglio Ordonez, Detroit
*OF - Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle

National League:
*C - Ivan Rodriguez, Washington
*1B - Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego
*2B - Martin Prado, Atlanta
*3B - Scott Rolen, Cincinnati
*SS - Hanley Ramirez (was voting for Troy Tulowitzki before injury)
*OF - Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
*OF - Jason Heyward, Atlanta (did not change vote after injury)
*OF - Andre Ethier, Los Angeles

My predictions for starting pitchers
*AL: David Price, Tampa Bay
*NL: Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado

This season, there are some close battles. Below is why I selected the players I selected, and my choices for potential backups.

American League:
*C - Victor Martinez, Boston

Martinez is my favorite player, but his numbers (.289, 9 HR, 38 RBI) are better than Joe Mauer's of Minnesota (.302, 3 HR, 34 RBI). Mauer, nonetheless, will earn the start. Kurt Suzuki of Oakland (.267, 10 HR, 35 RBI) would be my other backup selection.

*1B - Miguel Cabrera, Detroit

Cabrera has arguably posted better numbers (.338, 20 HR, 67 RBI) than Justin Morneau of Minnesota (.347, 15 HR, 50 RBI). Because of fan ignorance, Mark Teixeria of New York (.230, 13 HR, 48 RBI) has garnered several votes. Other viable contenders for first base reserve sports are Billy Butler of Kansas City (.319, 7 HR, 40 RBI) and Kevin Youkilis of Boston (.301, 15 HR, 50 RBI)

*2B - Robinson Cano, New York

Cano (.358, 15 HR, 53 RBI) is the runaway choice at second base for the AL. Dustin Pedroia of Boston (.292, 12 HR, 41 RBI) was the best option at backup before he was injured. Now, Ian Kinsler of Texas (.294, 3 HR, 24 RBI) is the favorite.

*3B - Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay

Longoria (.296, 12 HR, 53 RBI) may not have the best numbers of all third basemen, but he is the most important to his team's lineup. Adrian Beltre of Boston (.349, 12 HR, 52 RBI) and Michael Young of Texas (.311, 11 HR, 51 RBI) should be the backups. Again, due to fan ignorance, Alex Rodriguez of New York (.281, 11 HR, 54 RBI) has garnered many votes.

*SS - Elvis Andrus, Texas

Derek Jeter of New York (.286, 8 HR, 39 RBI) will probably start because of the team's large fan base, but I prefer Andrus (.296, 24 RBI, 22 SB) because of his versatility. Asdrubal Cabrera of Cleveland may have earned a spot on the team had he remained healthy.

*DH - Vladimir Guerrero, Texas

There is no argument at DH, as Guerrero (.330, 16 HR, 63 RBI) is the only DH on the ballot hitting above .300. He is second among those same players in home runs and first in RBI.

*OF - Josh Hamilton, Texas
*OF - Magglio Ordonez, Detroit
*OF - Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle

To me, Hamilton (.343, 18 HR, 58 RBI), Suzuki (.335, 3 HR, 24 RBI, 21 SB) and Ordonez (.314, 10 HR, 49 RBI) are the three most deserving outfielders. Nelson Cruz of Texas (.321, 10 HR, 39 RBI), David DeJesus of Kansas City (.331, 5 HR, 35 RBI), Carl Crawford of Tampa Bay (.315, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 27 SB), Brett Gardner of New York (.321, 3 HR, 23 RBI, 24 SB), Alex Rios of Chicago (.307, 13 HR, 40 RBI, 21 SB), Vernon Wells of Toronto (.288, 19 HR, 47 RBI), Shin-Soo Choo of Cleveland (.285, 12 HR, 42 RBI, 12 SB) and Jose Bautista of Toronto (.232, 20 HR, 50 RBI) are viable candidates for the reserve roles.

National League:
*C - Ivan Rodriguez, Washington

Rodriguez (.301, 1 HR, 23 RBI) gets my vote because of his resurgence in Washington. Miguel Olivo of Colorado (.308, 11 HR, 38 RBI) has better numbers and should backup Rodriguez. That, however, would only happen if fan ignorance hadn't put Yadier Molina of St. Louis (.235, 3 HR, 30 RBI) and Brian McCann of Atlanta (.259, 9 HR, 32 RBI) toward the top of the voting list.

*1B - Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego

Albert Pujols of St. Louis (.312, 18 HR, 57 RBI) will clearly be the starter, so I went with Gonzalez (.302, 16 HR, 51 RBI), who is far more important to San Diego's lineup than Pujols is to St. Louis'. Joey Votto of Cincinnati (.313, 18 HR, 55 RBI) and Ryan Howard of Philadelphia (.295, 15 HR, 55 RBI) should also be All-Stars.

*2B - Martin Prado, Atlanta

Chase Utley of Philadelphia (.277, 11 HR, 37 RBI) was ignorantly voted the starter, but because of his injury, Prado (.335, 7 HR, 33 RBI) should get the nod. Brandon Phillips of Cincinnati (.313, 9 HR, 25 RBI, 10 SB) and Dan Uggla of Florida (.262, 15 HR, 55 RBI) both have a good chance of being named All-Stars.

*3B - Scott Rolen, Cincinnati

There's a big debate at the National League third base spot among Rolen (.300, 17 HR, 53 RBI), David Wright of New York (.310, 14 HR, 61 RBI) and Placido Polanco of Philadelphia (.318, 5 HR, 27 RBI). Polanco has been injured, however, which opens the door for Ryan Zimmerman of Washington (.285, 13 HR, 39 RBI) to get a look too. I went with Rolen because of his resurgence and his importance to the Reds' lineup.

*SS - Hanley Ramirez (was voting for Troy Tulowitzki before injury)

Tulowitzki (.306, 9 HR, 34 RBI) was my pick before his injury. Now, I am voting for Ramirez (.293, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 14 SB), who probably would have started anyway. Rafael Furcal of Los Angeles (.321, 2 HR, 23 RBI, 12 SB) would have gotten my vote had he not been injured earlier this season.

*OF - Ryan Braun, Milwaukee
*OF - Jason Heyward, Atlanta (did not change vote after injury)
*OF - Andre Ethier, Los Angeles

Braun (.299, 11 HR, 49 RBI, 11 SB), Heyward (.251, 11 HR, 45 RBI) and Ethier (.312, 12 HR, 47 RBI) are my selections for the National League outfield. I still give Heyward a vote because of the excitement he has brought to the game as a rookie. Manny Ramirez of Los Angeles (.322, 8 HR, 39 RBI) likely will start in place, assuming he is voted in. Carlos Gonzalez of Colorado (.302, 12 HR, 46 RBI), Marlon Byrd of Chicago (.311, 9 HR, 35 RBI), Matt Holliday of St. Louis (.302, 11 HR, 37 RBI), Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh (.298, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 19 SB), Jayson Werth of Philadelphia (.292, 13 HR, 38 RBI), Cody Ross of Florida (.295, 7 HR, 43 RBI) and Justin Upton of Arizona (.268, 14 HR, 39 RBI, 11 SB) are viable candidates for the reserves roles.

My predictions for starting pitchers
*AL: David Price, Tampa Bay

Price leads the American League with 11 wins and a 2.44 ERA. He also has 84 strikeouts. Clay Buchholz of Boston (10-4, 2.45 ERA, 64 SO) may also get the nod though. Hopefully, AL manager Joe Girardi doesn't give Andy Pettitte (9-2, 2.72 ERA, 74 SO).

*NL: Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado

There's no question Jimenez (14-1, 1.83 ERA, 102 SO) will get the start. Josh Johnson of Florida (8-3, 1.83 ERA, 107 SO) provides a compelling case, but Jimenez has been far better this season at the root of it all. St. Louis' Jaime Garcia (7-4, 2.27 ERA, 70 SO) and Adam Wainwright (11-5, 2.34 ERA, 114 SO) are also darkhorse candidates.

June 30 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 5, Toronto 4 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Minnesota 11, Detroit 4 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 4, Kansas City 3 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 42 35 --
Detroit 41 35 0.5
Chicago Sox 40 36 1.5
Kansas City 33 45 9.5
Cleveland 29 47 12.5

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 2, Toronto 1 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Detroit 7, Minnesota 5 | Detroit Free-Press
-Kansas City 3, Chicago White Sox 1 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Detroit 41 34 --
Minnesota 41 35 0.5
Chicago Sox 39 36 2.5
Kansas City 33 44 9.5
Cleveland 28 47 13.5

Monday, June 28, 2010

James to Miami?

Philadelphia and ESPN journalist Stephen A. Smith said on Dan Patrick's Radio Show that multiple league sources have told him LeBron James will sign with the Miami Heat, teaming with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to create a lethal trio.

The Heat, however, are short the money to sign three maximum free agent deals unless they sign and trade one of their players. The only logical choice would be youngster Michael Beasley.

Smith called the scenario "highly likely."

There are a few issues with this scenario though.

First, if Miami signs three max free agent deals, it will be difficult for the team to fill in the rest of the roster with enough talent to still be competitive. The Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s were an exception, but in today's market, I don't see that being a strong possibility. The Celtics' trio of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are nowhere near the caliber of a James/Wade/Bosh trio, which is why Boston has been able to make deep playoff runs.

Second, Miami is Dwayne Wade's city and it always will be as long as he is with the Heat. LeBron is a player who needs to be the No. 1 guy on his team (the exception being Team USA where there clearly isn't only one star), and in Miami, he would play second fiddle to Wade even if he posted better numbers.

Browns sign first draft pick

The Cleveland Browns have signed defensive lineman Clifton Geathers to a multi-year contract, making him the first 2010 draft pick the team has signed.

He was the team's second choice in the sixth round (pick 186).

The 6-foot-7, 300-pound player recorded 72 tackles in 36 games during his career with South Carolina. He also had six sacks for the Gamecocks.

Seven other draft selections, including quarterback Colt McCoy and cornerback Joe Haden, still need to be signed.

His uncle played 13 seasons in the NFL and his father was an NFL draft pick. His brother, Robert, plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Wood still not highly regarded tradebait

Indians closer Kerry Wood likely is still not be a highly regarded player to be traded, despite striking out the side in a save during yesterday's 5-3 win against the Reds.

Wood, who is making $10.5 million this season, is 1-3 with a 7.47 ERA and has converted just six saves out of nine chances. Known as a power pitcher, Wood has struck out just 14 batters in 15 2/3 innings across 18 games.

Yesterday's save was his first since June 18 and only his fourth this month.

Last season, Wood could only muster 20 saves.

Contending teams are always interested in hard-throwing relievers at the trade deadline, which is July 31st, but Wood's inconsistency overshadows his sometimes rocket arm.

Wood also has a history of arm troubles, including an injury that kept off the field this season until May 8.

He does, however, have a month to prove to a contender he can be a viable option late in games.

The Indians will surely still try to trade him regardless, giving Chris Perez a second chance to establish himself as a closer. If he doesn't work out, it's hard to say what will happen to the Indians bullpen in the future.

AP image via mlb.com

June 28 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cleveland 5, Cincinnati 3 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-New York Mets 6, Minnesota 0 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-Detroit 10, Atlanta 4 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago Cubs 8, Chicago White Sox 6 | Chicago Tribune
-Kansas City 10, St. Louis 3 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 41 34 --
Detroit 40 34 0.5
Chicago Sox 39 35 1.5
Kansas City 32 44 9.5
Cleveland 27 47 13.5

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Choo further proves All-Star status

Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo furthered his resume to be named to this season's All-Star team with two home runs in a 5-3 Cleveland win against Cincinnati this afternoon.

Choo hit a solo blast in the first off Bronson Arroyo and torched him for a three-run shot on a very similar pitch in the fifth.

On the season, Choo has been Cleveland's most consistent player, hitting .286 through 73 games with a team-best 81 hits, 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 41 RBIs. He has also stolen 12 bases on 16 attempts and has an on-base percentage of .390, which ranks 16th among eligible players.

While those numbers are far from placing him in the American League's starting nine, they will be good enough to make Choo Cleveland's lone representative at the All-Star Game on July 13 at Angel Stadium in Los Angeles.

Choo has never been an All-Star, but as the team's best hitter and no pitchers on the roster posting stats anywhere near All-Star level, he will certainly get his first chance this season.

Cleveland has not had multiple All-Star selections since 2008 when both Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore were named to the squad. The last Indians All-Star starter was Juan Gonzalez in 2001.

James to Chicago?

For whatever it's worth, The New York Times is reporting that an unnamed NBA executive said he believes the Chicago Bulls are the favorites to sign LeBron James, by teaming him with Chris Bosh, calling it basically a "done deal."

James and Bosh would join a young core led by Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. James spoke highly of the Bulls following a victory in a first-round postseason series between the two teams.

The New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers are expected to join the Bulls in meetings with James during the first few days of free agency, which begins July 1.

In the Times' report, the executive also said the Dallas Mavericks are hoping to be a part of the Ohio meetings. The report also said the meetings might just be a formality.

This report does not mean doom and gloom for Cleveland's chances of signing James, however. The Cavs can offer James the most money, hometown love and an owner willing to spend gobs of money to get whatever players James wants.

I still stand by my opinion that James will stay with the Cavaliers, but I also believe if he does leave, Chicago will be his destination. On paper, the Bulls, with James and Bosh, would instantly become favorites to win the Eastern Conference and one of the favorites to win the NBA title.

James would have to consider if the team could afford to keep both himself and Bosh while also signing Rose and Noah to extensions when the time comes.

'Tis the season of giving

It's summertime so it must mean the Cleveland Indians are about to sell off the veterans on its roster for prospects, who once develop will be traded again.

The first domino of a the 2010 firesale fell last night when the Indians traded first baseman Russell Branyan to the Seattle Mariners for a two prospects.

Ezequiel Carrera is a Class AAA outfielder who is hitting .268 with six doubles, two triples, no home runs and 19 RBIs in 61 games this season. He won last season's Class AA batting title with a .337 average.

While ranked Seattle's No. 15 prospect this season by Baseball America, he is currently on the disabled list with a hip pointer, making this the second season that Cleveland has traded for an injured prospect.

Juan Diaz is a Class A shortstop hitting .295 with eight doubles, three triples, seven home runs and 41 RBI in 70 games this season. He is also 8-for-10 on stolen base attempts.

Seattle will eventually receive a player to be named later or cash to finish the deal.

The Indians will pay a $500,000 buyout to Branyan based on the mutual option in his contract for the 2011 season while the Mariners will cover the rest of this season's salary.

It is unclear why the last-place Mariners are in the buyer's market, but the trade allows Cleveland to recall Matt LaPorta from the minors and play him as the everyday first baseman.

While LaPorta has struggled in limited time at the Major League level, earning regular at-bats with Cleveland will almost certainly help him develop into the power hitter he was labeled as when the Indians acquired him in 2008 after trading C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee.

Branyan disappointed as the team's only significant free agent signing this offseason, starting the season on the disabled list and hitting just .263 with 10 home runs and 24 RBI this season.

He had a resurgence with Seattle last season, hitting 31 home runs, making him an attractive free agent, even at age 34 with a history of back trouble. His fourth stint with Cleveland, however, caused the Indians more trouble than good.

This will more than likely be the first of many trades for the Indians, as free agents to be Kerry Wood, Jhonny Peralta and Austin Kearns are expected to be shopped for prospects.

Many teams have expressed interest in pitcher Fausto Carmona, but with one season and three club options left on his contract, he should stay in Cleveland.

The rebuilding process was brought to Cleveland by former general manager John Hart in the early 1990s, when he traded away veteran talent to create a team of All-Stars by the mid-1990s. His protege, Mark Shapiro, has found limited success during his rebuild (two winning seasons in 2005 and 2007), but he has not gained any fans by trading away several players before their primes instead of spending the money to resign them the past two seasons.

For now, the good ole' days of winning are over. Perhaps the young core of players Cleveland has this time can be signed to five or six-year contracts soon and win sooner (and more consistently) than the 2007 team did.

AP image via

June 27 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cincinnati 6, Cleveland 4 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Minnesota 6, New York Mets 0 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-Atlanta 4, Detroit 3 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 3, Cubs 2 | Chicago Tribune
-St. Louis 5, Kansas City 3 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 41 33 --
Detroit 39 34 1.5
Chicago Sox 39 34 1.5
Kansas City 31 44 10.5
Cleveland 26 47 14.5

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Cincinnati 10, Cleveland 3 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-New York Mets 5, Minnesota 2 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-Atlanta 3, Detroit 1 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 6, Cubs 0 | Chicago Tribune
-Kansas City 4, St. Louis 2 | Kansas City Star

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 33 --
Detroit 39 33 0.5
Chicago Sox 38 34 1.5
Kansas City 31 43 9.5
Cleveland 26 46 13.5

Friday, June 25, 2010

Shaw a coaching candidate

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw has been given permission to interview for the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching vacancy.

The Lakers granted the Cavs permission for an interview a few days, according to an AP report, and reporter Tom Withers reported on Twitter that the Cavs want to set up a meeting next week.

Cleveland has been through a tumultuous coaching search since Mike Brown was fired one month ago on May 25, being turned down by Michigan State's men's basketball coach Tom Izzo and left in limbo by former coach Byron Scott, who is also considering trying to win the Lakers' coaching job if Phil Jackson retires.

Jackson said earlier this week he is leaning toward retirement after winning his 11th NBA title.

Shaw, an assistant with the two-time defending NBA champions for five seasons, is also expected to be a top contender of the Los Angeles job if Jackson retires.

He played professionally from 1988-2003 with seven NBA teams and a professional team in Italy. Shaw has no direct connection to the Cavs other than having been a teammate to Shaquille O'Neal with both Orlando and the Lakers.

June 25 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Philadelphia 12, Cleveland 3 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Milwaukee 5, Minnesota 0 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-Detroit 6, New York Mets 5 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 2, Atlanta 0 | Chicago Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 32 --
Detroit 39 32 0.5
Chicago Sox 37 34 2.5
Kansas City 30 43 10.5
Cleveland 26 45 13.5

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No pick for Cavs in first round

The talk around Cleveland before the NBA Draft was that the Cavs would try to trade into the bottom of the first round of tonight's event.

It is believed Cleveland was trying to work a trade/sale during picks 16-26, with strong interest in acquiring Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was drafted and traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder, however, to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future first-round pick.

The Cavs are interested in finding a young big man to eventually take over at center for the aging Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

Depending on who is available, the Cavs still may make a move into the second round. Three centers were taken with the first three picks of the that round, however.

This day in '48 -- June 24

With the Cleveland Indians struggling, it's nice to take a look back when times were better.

On June 24, 1948, the Indians lost 4-0 to the New York Yankees, even though ace Bob Feller tossed a complete game.

The Indians outhit the Yankees 6 to 5, but three New York home runs doomed the Tribe. New York committed two errors, but Cleveland did not take advantage.

On June 24, 2010, the Indians lost 12-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies in interleague play for their fifth straight loss.

Cleveland got a home run from light-hitting Jason Donald, but 15 hits and two 5-run innings gave Philadelphia an easy win.

June 24 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Philadelphia 7, Cleveland 6 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Milwaukee 5, Minnesota 3 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-New York Mets 5, Detroit 0 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 4, Atlanta 2 | Chicago Tribune
-Kansas City 1, Washington 0 | Kansas City Star-Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 31 --
Detroit 38 32 1.5
Chicago Sox 36 34 3.5
Kansas City 30 43 11
Cleveland 26 44 14.5

This day in '48 -- June 23

I'm bringing a new segment to this blog called This Day in '48. This will be posted several times a week but not every day.

With the Cleveland Indians struggling, it's nice to take a look back when times were better.

On June 23, 1948, the Indians lost 5-1 in 11 innings to the New York Yankees, allowing four runs in the top of the 11th.

It was a tight contest for most of the game, with the Yankees scoring once in the third and Cleveland scoring once in the seventh. Indians starter, Don Black, however lost his command in the top of the 11th, allowing a grand slam to Tommy Henrich.

On June 23, 2010, the Indians lost 7-6 to the Philadelphia Phillies in interleague play for their fourth straight loss.

The teams scored frantically, scoring runs in seven of nine innings. The real excitement, however, came in the ninth when Cleveland broke a 5-5 tie after Trevor Crowe scored on a fielder's choice. But, closer Kerry Wood blew that lead by allowing a two-run home run to Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the ninth.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cavs notes: Williams doesn't want trade

Cavaliers point guard Mo Williams pleaded to the team on Twitter this afternoon not to be traded.

"Pls don't trade me, I'm not ready to go. I'm begging. My work ain't done yet. I'm on both knees....pls. I'm serious," Williams wrote on his Twitter account (mogotti2).

Rumors that Williams would possibly be traded picked up speed this week since the Cavs do not have any selections in Thursday's NBA Draft. By trading Williams as part of a package, the team could earn a draft selection, which would likely be spent on a center.

Williams has been labeled as expendable because of his lackluster play during the playoffs.

Coach speak

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson said today he is leaning toward retirement.

The leading candidate for the Cavs' coaching vacancy is Byron Scott, but it has been speculated that if Jackson retires, Scott would be a leader for the Lakers job.

If Scott accepts the position in Los Angeles, that would put another stall on the Cavs' search, which also included Michigan State's Tom Izzo decision to stay with the Spartans.

Draft rewind

Last season, the Cavaliers drafted Christian Eyenga, a European player not yet ready to move to the NBA. The selection remains controversial, as the team continues rebuilding with veterans as they try to win an NBA title.

Rival report: Royals to face Strasburg

Washington rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg will make his third interleague start against an AL Central team this afternoon. This time, the Kansas City Royals.

The game will start at 4:35 EST.

Strasburg is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three starts, striking out at least eight batters each time out.

As a team, the Royals have lost five games in a row and have the second fewest strikeouts (386). The Chicago White Sox, however, have the fewest strike outs among MLB teams (352), but Strasburg struck out 10 of the team's batters across seven innings in his last start.

He also faced the Cleveland Indians.

"I know he's got great stuff," Royals first baseman Billy Butler said. "Everybody knows that. I've seen him on TV. Actually, we've been watching him quite a bit. It's a good challenge for our offense."

The Royals send Brian Bannister to the hill this afternoon.

June 23 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Philadelphia 2, Cleveland 1 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Milwaukee 7, Minnesota 5 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-New York Mets 14, Detroit 6 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 9, Atlanta 6 | Chicago Tribune
-Washington 4, Kansas City 3 | Kansas City Star-Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 30 --
Detroit 38 31 1.5
Chicago Sox 35 34 4.5
Kansas City 29 43 12
Cleveland 26 43 13.5

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Captains strong in All-Star Game

Lake County Captain players performed well in tonight's Midwest All-Star Game.

Led by left fielder Bo Greenwell's 3-for-4 night, the East beat the West 6-2.

Greenwell, son of former Major League star Mike Greenwell, is second on the Captains in batting average at .310.

Lake County catcher Chun Chen went 1-for-2 in the game. He will play in the MLB Future's Game and leads Lake County in batting with .318.

Pitcher Nick Sarianides struck out the only batter he faced during the game.

June 22 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Washington 2, Kansas City 1 | Kansas City Star-Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 29 --
Detroit 38 30 1.5
Chicago Sox 34 34 5.5
Kansas City 29 42 12
Cleveland 26 42 13.5

Monday, June 21, 2010

Remember this guy?

With the Indian bullpen struggling, one can only speculate about how much Saul Rivera might have helped turn things around.

Rivera was traded by the Indians to Arizona Diamondbacks on May 17 for cash considerations, despite the staggering statistics he had compiled at Triple-A Columbus.

He was 2-0 in 15 appearances out of the Clipper bullpen, striking out 11 while allowing just one earned run in 17 innings pitched.

If a pitcher had numbers similar to that in Columbus now, they would be on the Cleveland roster tonight.

Rivera was traded at a time when the Indian bullpen looked solid. Now, however, the bullpen is in shambles with several players having rotated through since the trade.

But Rivera might not have been the answer either.

In four appearances with Arizona across two weeks days in late May, Rivera compiled 3.2 innings of work, during which he allowed 11 hits and nine earned runs for an ERA of 22.09.

He was returned to the minors on June 8. In three games with the Reno Aces, Rivera is 0-1 with a 12.46 ERA.

Of course, had Rivera stayed with Cleveland everything would have turned out differently, but based on his performance since the trade, it seems the Indians dodged a bullet by trading him.

Cavs announce new logo

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced a new logo (top) today.

The new logo sports more vibrant colors than the old logo (bottom) in order to correspond to colors from the past. Fans have shown an appreciation for retro Cavs uniforms and logos lately.

Laffey deserves shot at rotation

Indians pitcher David Huff was optioned to Triple-A Columbus today, opening the door for one of the Clippers' top starting pitchers to make the jump to the bigs.

Reasonable judgment suggests the top candidates for the promotion are Aaron Laffey (0-1, 3.98 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (5-3, 4.26 ERA).

Yohan Pino (6-3, 4.36 ERA) and Josh Tomlin (6-2, 2.81 ERA) are also pitching well for Columbus but are not on the 40-man roster, which means Cleveland would have to shuffle that roster as well to promote either of them.

Between Laffey and Carrasco, the edge likely goes to Laffey, who opened the season in the Cleveland bullpen, but was sent to the minors on May 30.

He was 0-1 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 relief appearances and was sent to Columbus to become a starter in case Cleveland needed him later in the season.

The club likely didn't expect to need him back on the roster so soon, but Huff (2-9, 6.04 ERA) has struggled mightily this season.

Lack of run support and several errors by the defense have contributed to his win/loss record, but he allowed 88 hits and 47 earned runs in 70 innings across 13 starts.

The sophomore slump didn't effect Huff at the beginning of the season, when he was 1-2 with a complete game and just a 3.00 ERA after three starts. Last season, Huff led the team with 11 wins as a rookie.

Allowing hits has been an unfortunate staple of Huff's game though, as he allowed 159 hits in 128.1 innings across 23 starts last season.

Laffey is 16-19 in four seasons. He has made 44 career starts.

The team owes him an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, much like they did with Huff after spring training. Laffey was a part of that battle for the fifth starting job, and now that Huff has shown he isn't ready, Laffey deserves a chance to prove he belongs.

It has been the season of minor league call-ups and opportunities for youngsters at Progressive Field this year, but in this instance, there should be an exception. Carrasco, part of the Cliff Lee trade, eventually will be a part of Cleveland's rotation, and while promoting him now would correspond with most of the other call-ups (Carlos Santana, Hector Ambriz, Frank Hermann, Jason Donald) Cleveland has made this season, it is not the right thing to do.

AP image via.

June 21 -- AL Central Roundup

Links to results from last night's AL Central games:

-Pittsburgh 5, Cleveland 3 | Lorain Morning-Journal
-Minnesota 4, Philadelphia 1 | Minnesota Star-Tribune
-Detroit 3, Arizona 1 | Detroit Free-Press
-Chicago White Sox 6, Washington 3 | Chicago Tribune
-Atlanta 8, Kansas City 5 | Kansas City Star-Tribune

Standings:

Team W L GB
Minnesota 40 29 --
Detroit 38 30 1.5
Chicago Sox 34 34 5.5
Kansas City 29 41 11.5
Cleveland 26 42 13.5

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Santana leads me to fantasy greatness

Indians catcher Carlos Santana's home run this afternoon in a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh put my fantasy baseball over the top for a 10-0 week, the first of its kind in my league this season.

I picked up Santana on Friday and was rewarded this afternoon, as I was needing a home run to make a clean sweep of the board. My opponent had a home run on his bench today.

Currently, I am six games behind in my division, but I have had a place in the playoffs secured since the first week of the season.

The prize pool for the league is a pool of baseball cards and is played by moderators of several trading card websites. The league has 12 teams, is played on Yahoo! and uses a 10-category head-to-head format.