Inside the Wigwam

By: T.J. Zuppe

Seattle Mariners (44-71) at Cleveland Indians (48-67)

  • Michael Brantley is hitting .375 since August 6th

    Pitching Probables

Friday: RHP David Pauley (0-4 – 3.38) vs. RHP Fausto Carmona (12-9 – 3.90)

Saturday: LHP Jason Vargas (8-5 – 3.12) vs. RHP Mitch Talbot (8-9 – 4.09)

Sunday: RHP Felix Hernandez (8-9 – 2.71) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (4-11 – 5.47)

  • Inside the Wigwam News

Better Brantley: It is still to be determined if outfielder Michael Brantley will become the player the Indians envisioned, when they acquired him from the Milwaukee Brewers, but the team has to feel better during his latest stint in Cleveland. Brantley struggled in his first two stays with the Tribe in 2010, and looked over-matched at times in the bigs. However, since returning from Class-AAA Columbus on August 6th, he has done nothing but look as if he belongs. He collected a career-high four hits against the Orioles on Thursday, and in six games, the young outfielder is hitting .375, collecting nine hits in 24 at bats. He has scored seven runs, and added a triple and home run to his totals since returning. He has shown plate discipline and patience, getting on base at a .444 clip. Indians manager Manny Acta has made it clear, that Brantley will get the bulk of the playing time in center field for the rest of the season. As his confidence grows, expect his performance to blossom at a higher level, something Indians fans can truly get excited about.

No Growing Pains for Jeanmar: All young pitchers experience growing pains at the big-league level, at some point or another. As the league sees more of a young arm, the book grows, and the holes are exposed. This has not been the case for 22-year old right-hander Jeanmar Gomez thus far. Gomez picked up his third win in four tries for the Indians on Thursday night, and improved the team to 4-0, on days that the youngster pitches. He also became the fourth Indians hurler to win three of his first four starts for the team, since 1920. He joins the likes of Scott Lewis, Wynn Hawkins and Mudcat Grant in accomplishing that feat. His ERA is at a sparkling 1.54, the lowest the team has seen a starting pitcher possess in his first four starts, since 1920. Acta has stated, that in a perfect world, Gomez would still be at Triple-A Columbus, but with the injuries, trades and ineffectiveness at times in the rotation, he will continue to get looks. Why not, he has earned them, and the Indians will learn a lot about the young right-hander when the league begins to adjust to him.

Indians Closer Chris Perez

Back-end Breakdown: Indians closer Chris Perez picked up his  14th save on the season for the Indians, on Thursday. He is now 14th in the American League in saves, and has converted nine of his last 10 chances. He has also been brilliant in the surrendering runs department, or lack there of, as well. He has only given up two earned runs in his last 17.1 innings of work. On the season, the opposition is only hitting .208 against him. He continues to impress in the role, and has taken a great mindset towards being the last line of defense. That could be because he has been a closer his entire life, and knows following a win, or loss, he must take the same approach, night-in and night-out. Amongst all of the question marks heading into next season, the Indians can take pride in knowing the closer role is not one of them.

Where have you been all year? Friday night marks the first meeting between the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians on the 2010 campaign. It is the first of seven meetings between the two clubs. Last season, the Tribe managed to win six of 10 against Seattle. For the most part, the Mariners have held their own at Progressive Field, and over the lifetime of the park, have gone 36-37 since it opened in 1994. Seattle has won 13 of the last 22 played in Cleveland.

Hafner on the Mend: Before Friday night’s game against the Mariners, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner took batting practice with the team and reported no problems. This was the first time Hafner has been swinging a bat since being put on the disabled list on August 3rd. He will take batting practice again on Saturday, and at that point the team will decide when, or if Pronk needs to go on assignment for rehab.

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe

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