4/19/11: Indians vs. Royals

This morning I praised Manny Acta for everything he’s done right this season so far.  He’s been absolutely incredible as the main decision maker for the Indians in 2011.  With that said, tonight’s decisions when it comes to the lineup are going to be a complete leap of faith.  It’s been a few days since the regulars have seen any kind of rest and I understand that in order to keep them healthy off days are a necessity.  It’s even more true considering the Indians won’t have the usual thursday off day this week.  Instead of Acta taking a few players out of the lineup each day in order to better have a better balance, he’s going for broke tonight.

So far this season when Acta has rested players it’s been one or two of the regulars and that’s it.  Tonight he’s decided to rest Sizemore (understandable considering he just came back, it’s a scheduled off day for him), LaPorta (who’s finally showing some life at the plate), Hafner (needs a day off to keep the shoulder healthy), and Hannahan (more than likely to give Everett some reps in the field).  That’s half the lineup that’s being replaced.  I know it’s early in the season and games in April don’t carry as much weight as the one’s in August and September, but is sitting this many of your core players at once a good idea against the current second place team?  Then again maybe Acta feels they’re better served sitting everyone at once and taking their lumps one day as opposed to over the course of two or three.  Like I said, this one’s puzzling to me, but hey, why not take another leap?

Another important point of interest in tonight’s game is the starting pitcher for the Tribe.  Mitch Talbot was placed on the DL with elbow soreness and is expected to miss anywhere from 4-6 weeks.  That’s a pretty big blow considering how well Talbot and the pitching staff as a whole have been so far this season.  Making the start in Talbot’s spot of the rotation for his first start of the season will be Jeanmar Gomez.  This should be interesting to say the least.  Gomez’s time with the Tribe last year was like Jekyll and Hyde.  his first four or five starts he looked great, the second four or five… not so much.  Hopefully, he comes out guns blazing and keeps the Tribe’s streak of impressive pitching outings going.  Otherwise, it might be a long night.

To make room for Gomez on the big league roster, the Indians optioned outfielder Travis Buck to the minors.  I’m a little disappointed in that move even though it was the most logical.  We know what Austin Kearns is capable of; he has a track record.  Buck is more of a mystery.  If you’re forced to keep one of them around you’re going to take the devil you know.  It just sucks because Buck had such a terrific spring and had begun to show signs of life at the plate.  He was also a former first round pick, so there’s some potential there.  Who knows, maybe he’ll go to Columbus, get his swagger back and be ready if the Indians need him.  Until then, so long Travis Buck.  We hardly knew thee.

Here are the lineups…

Indians:

  1. Micheal Brantley, CF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B
  5. Shelley Duncan, DH
  6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
  7. Austin Kearns, LF
  8. Lou Marson, 1B
  9. Adam Everett, 3B
  • Jeanmar Gomez, P

Royals:

  1. Chris Getz, 2B
  2. Melky Cabrera, SS
  3. Alex Gordon, LF
  4. Builly Butler, DH
  5. Jeff Francoeur, RF
  6. Wilson Betemit, 3B
  7. Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
  8. Brayan Pena, C
  9. Alcides Escobar, SS
  • Bruce Chen, P
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