Observations From Monday's Cleveland Indians Intersquad Scrimmage at Progressive Field
CLEVELAND – It was a beautiful night for baseball in downtown Cleveland as the Indians played…well the Indians in yet another intersquad scrimmage at Progressive Field.
Game time temp was a perfect 75 degrees, and it didn’t take long for the bats of the “visiting” Indians to get going.
Here’s some observations from Monday’s scrimmage as the Indians continued to prepare for the regular season.
First Inning Woes
Going up against Adam Plutko, Tyler Naquin started the night with a single to right field.
It was a sign of things to come for Plutko, who struggled for just about all four innings he was in the game.
Mike Freeman came up next, and on the first pitch slammed a two-run homer to straight away center field to quickly give the visiting Tribe a 2-0 edge.
Jake Bauers was next up, and he singled to right field, bringing up cleanup hitter Franmil Reyes.
Reyes crushed a ball that hit off the Pepsi sign in left, and trying to stretch a single into a double he was thrown out.
The Indians staff had to hold their breath as Reyes slid awkwardly into the base, and appeared to have hurt his leg.
Reyes walked carefully with a trainer next to him to the Indians dugout. Since he was the DH it was not right away known if he was going to stay in the game.
Thankfully he did, and appears to be just fine as he came up for his next scheduled plate appearance.
Plutko’s tough inning was not over, as Yu Chang hit a sac fly that brought in Bauers to make it a 3-0 game.
“I’ve been struggling in the first last few outings, need to hit the gas a little bit more,” Plutko said.
“I’ve got to be better than that, got to come out of the gates a little hotter.”
In that first inning Plutko allowed three runs on 27 pitches, everything that he threw was hit hard.
“Early in the game Adam was missing arm side, and when he tried to elevate he did it too much, and he kind of paid for it,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
“We got his pitch count for where it was comfortable, he just didn’t locate like he usually does.”
Zach Plesac likely is in line to be the Indians fourth or fifth starter for the Indians, and Monday night at home he was impressive against his teammates.
“I thought Plesac used all his pitches really, really well,” Francona said of his young starter.
Plesac breezed through the first two frames, retiring six batters in quick fashion needing just seven pitches in the first inning and 14 in the second.
On the night he did allow three runs on four hits. He gave up back-to-back homers to Bradley Zimmer and top prospect Nolan Jones.
Other than that, his pitches appeared crisp and he had quite a bit of life on his pitches as well, something that has to be a welcome sight to the Indians coaching staff.
“I thought I commanded the ball well and gave us a chance to win,” Plesac said after the game.
“We’ve gotten into a good groove as a group and we’ve got to stay at the top of our game and be ready to play.”
Freeman Makes an Impact
Mike Freeman hit just four homers all of last season for the Tribe, but the utility infielder had his power stroke going on Monday, hitting a pair of homers off losing pitcher Adam Plutko.
The first homer came on the first pitch of the at-bat to straight away center, quickly giving the visiting team a 2-0 edge.
He then came up in his next at-bat and hit a line drive homer over the wall in right field to extend the lead of the visiting Indians.
“I was just looking for a pitch middle of the plate, and it was in the middle and I was just looking to be short and put a good swing on it, and I did,” Freeman said.
Freeman is one of three Indians looking to get playing time as a reserve in the infield, as he’s battling it out with both Christian Arroyo and Yu Chang.
“I definitely think you can always improve yourself, it’s been nice in summer camp as we’ve been split up in groups, I’ve been able to bounce around a little bit more, play first base which I was scheduled to do late in spring training,” Freeman said.
“It’s like being an everyday player with so many games and being able to play every day moving around.”
Doing a Double Take
It was Leone vs Leon for the Indians in the bottom of the 6 inning with the visiting Indians leading it 8-3.
Dom Leone, who came to the Indians this past offseason, took on offseason trade pickup Sandy Leon.
While the spellings of the name are different, it’s pronounced the same. The catcher and reliever had a spirted plate appearance, as Leon got the count to 3-2.
Finally on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, reliever Dom Leone got the job done, striking out Sandy Leon with a fastball for the first out in the frame.
Youngsters Get a Look
Prior to the game Monday it was brought up that this was a night where most of the young players would get a chance to get some at-bats.
Most of the regulars were given the night off just to get a break, and the likes of prospects like Jones, Bobby Bradley, George Valera, Yu Chang, Beau Taylor and others.
It was a welcome sight to see both Zimmer and Jones homer in back-to-back fashion in the third inning.
It can only give the young guys confidence as they continue to try and fight for a spot on the team’s roster, which could come down to the wire of being decided just a day or two before the opener.
“That was fun, seeing all the young guys was fun,” Francona said.
The regulars will likely be back in the lineup for Tuesday evenings scheduled 7pm scrimmage at Progressive Field.