Indians notes: Tribe start close to perfection

May 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

CLEVELAND — The Indians haven’t won every game this season, but their start has been close to perfect as far as manager Manny Acta is concerned.

Acta couldn’t remember one game this season that his team had played poorly en route to a major league-best 30-15 record through Monday.

“I continue to say it’s early, but I can’t pinpoint one game,” he said. “Even the first game against the White Sox (a 15-10 loss), we were able to score 10 runs. I’m sure we’re going to have a few games down the road when we will have a gripe about something, but so far, the kids have been very consistent and I’m very satisfied with how they’ve gone about their business.”

Quality starting pitching has been at the forefront of Cleveland’s success, but the Indians have also gotten top-shelf efforts from their offense, defense and bullpen.

It is one of the big reasons the Indians have been able to avoid lengthy losing streaks. Their longest skid of the season is three games and it has happened just once.

Cleveland has fared well in one-run games (11-7 through Monday), especially at home (8-0), where they were a big league-best 19-4.

“Coaches usually say, when you win a lot of one-run games, it’s the sign of a good team, and when you lose a lot of one-run games, it’s the sign of a bad team,” Acta said. “When you lose a one-run game, you look back at every game you’ve lost and you see one or two things you did wrong.

“It’s a big contrast, winning a game by one run and losing a game by one run.”

Things have gone well for the Indians to say the least. They owned a seven-game lead in the Central Division standings through Monday, but Acta knows there is plenty of work left for his club to return to the postseason for the first time since 2007.

“You can’t get satisfied,” Acta said. “I think every one of these guys knows that it’s a long season and you can never get satisfied. There’s a long way to go.”

Trouble spot?

Closer Chris Perez has worked some tenuous saves this season, much of his problems centering on locating his pitches to left-handed hitters.

Entering Tuesday, Perez had walked 12 batters, 10 of them lefties. Right-handed hitters were batting just .156 off him, while lefties were hitting .237.

“He has struggled a little bit throwing strikes against lefties,” Acta said. “He went through a little spell last year with that, but he’ll get it back.”

Perez said his fastball tails away from lefties and he needs his catcher to set the target up over the middle of the plate, rather than the outside corner.

Perez (2-1, 2.70 ERA) had converted 13 of his 14 save opportunities through Monday.

Big day

Grady Sizemore (bruised right knee) is scheduled to run the bases today at Progressive Field. If he makes it through that without a setback, Sizemore is expected to be activated for the series opener at Tampa Bay on Friday.

Manny-Manny

Acta claimed he did not hear fans chanting his name Monday after he was ejected from the game for arguing a call at first base.

“I guess I was too upset to notice,” he said. “It could have been Manny Ramirez coming into the stadium.”

Minor details

Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez got the win for Triple-A Columbus in a 3-2 victory over Durham on Monday. Gomez (4-1, 3.16) allowed two runs on seven hits over eight innings. … Double-A Akron’s Tim Fedroff was named Eastern League player of the week (May 16-22). He entered Tuesday batting .377 with two homers and 21 RBIs in 40 games. … First baseman Jeremie Tice went 2-for-3 with his first homer, two runs and three RBIs in High-A Kinston’s 5-3 victory over Potomac on Monday. Tice, a sixth-round draft pick in 2008 who has missed most of the season with an injured wrist, entered Tuesday batting .316 with five RBIs in five games. … Class A Lake County outfielder Anthony Gallas entered Tuesday leading the Midwest League with a .356 batting average. Gallas, a non-drafted free-agent acquisition last year, was born in Cleveland and attended Kent State University.

Roundin’ third

Reliever Justin Germano cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Columbus. Germano opened the season with the Indians, going 0-1 with a 5.68 ERA in nine games (12 2/3 innings). … The trio of Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez and Vinnie Pestano owned a 0.98 ERA (three earned runs in 27 2/3 innings) in the eighth inning through Monday. … Michael Brantley’s 18 RBIs out of the leadoff spot were the second-most in the American League through Monday. … Today, 12:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM/WEOL 930-AM. Talbot (1-0, 1.46) vs. Lester (6-1, 3.68).

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.


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