© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
CLEVELAND -- Victories bring vultures.
It's all part of the process for a winning club to get attention from other clubs looking for front-office, managerial or coaching talent.
The Indians are no strangers to this concept, which is why they're bracing themselves for the possibility of losing some of their higher-ups in the wake of their postseason run.
"It's happened to us, organizationally, for a little while," manager Eric Wedge said. "I hope it does happen for us, in regard to staff. It's a good thing. You want what's best for the people you care about. You want what's best for them and their families. And I most certainly do."
In 2006, the Indians lost front-office staffer Mike Hazen when the Red Sox made him their farm director, and they lost farm director John Farrell when Boston made him its pitching coach.
This season, the pecking from an American League Central champion Tribe club began last month, when Neal Huntington, formerly a special assistant to Indians general manager Mark Shapiro, was named the GM of the Pirates. Another assistant, Steve Lubratich, was a finalist for the Astros' GM job.
Now, Huntington is rumored to be considering Tribe third-base coach Joel Skinner and Triple-A Buffalo manager Torey Lovullo for the Pirates' vacant managerial position. Farrell is also a rumored candidate for that job.
Shapiro's assistant, Chris Antonetti, pulled himself out of the running for the GM jobs in Houston and Pittsburgh but is now rumored to be a target in the Cardinals' GM search.
"We have a guy in Chris that, whenever he makes the call, he's ready to do it," Shapiro said.
And, obviously, Antonetti, who received a four-year contract extension through 2011 this summer, isn't the only member of the organization who might have a chance to move elsewhere this fall.
"It's never a bad thing when they have opportunities to improve and better themselves," Shapiro said of his staff. "I welcome that chance for them."
Shapiro also believes he has a staff deep enough to soften the blow of these potential losses.
"Just like with a team," he said, "you've got to have bench strength in a front office as well."
He's given them heartburn all year, racking up 45 saves with a 5.07 ERA during the regular season. But that doesn't mean that closer Joe Borowski doesn't have the support of the Cleveland fans.
While Borowski was on the mound Monday night, putting the finishing touches on a rare 1-2-3 outing that earned him his second save of the postseason, the crowd began a particularly powerful "Let's go Joe!" chant.
"That was a first," Borowski said. "Hopefully, it will continue a few more times."
Borowski and his teammates have all been taken aback by the dutiful show of support from the home crowds this month.
"It's electric," Borowski said of the atmosphere at Jacobs Field. "It's outstanding. You hear it and it pumps you up. They're into it, and they've been into it the past month and a half. It's fantastic."
Break it up:
The scouting reports caught up to Franklin Gutierrez.
He hit solo home runs on fastballs on back-to-back days against the Red Sox in July, and Boston remembered. Gutierrez had been pitched virtually nothing but breaking balls by the Red Sox in this series and was flailing away at them -- until Jon Lester made the mistake of tossing him a fastball in the 11th inning of the Tribe's 13-6 win in Game 2 at Fenway Park. Gutierrez smacked that fastball over the Green Monster in left field.
As for the breaking balls, well, that's a work in progress for the young right fielder.
"I have to make adjustments," Gutierrez said. "It doesn't frustrate me at all. I have to prepare for that."
Wedge made the decision to sit the struggling Gutierrez, who was 3-for-20 with nine strikeouts in the postseason, on Monday. But Gutierrez was back in the lineup, supplanting Trot Nixon, in Game 4.
Switch-hitter Victor Martinez will bat right-handed against only one right-handed pitcher in the league, and that's Boston's Game 4 starter, knuckleballer Tim Wakefield.
"Somebody told me every switch-hitter bats right-handed against him, so that's what I do," Martinez said. "The first time I did it, I felt weird, but I did good."
Martinez hit .289 with seven homers and 34 RBIs in 197 at-bats as a right-hander this season, versus a .307 average with 18 homers and 80 RBIs in 365 at-bats as a left-hander. In his career against Wakefield, he is 3-for-5 with a double and a home run.
Swiping a record:
When Kenny Lofton stole second base in the fifth inning of Tuesday's game, he didn't just put himself in scoring position. He put himself at the top position of the all-time postseason steals list.
Lofton slid his way past Rickey Henderson for sole possession of first place on that list. He now has 34 postseason steals.
This isn't the only mark in which Lofton and Henderson intersect. Lofton is tied with Henderson with seven errors, the most by an outfielder in postseason history. He and his good buddy Manny Ramirez are also tied with 88 games as an outfielder in the playoffs, second behind Bernie Williams.
Through their charitable arm, Cleveland Indians Charities, the Indians attempt to impact the city of Cleveland in positive ways that go well beyond the feel-good factor of fielding a winning club.
Mindful of those efforts, Our Lady of the Wayside, a non-profit agency that serves the needs of children and adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities, recognized Tribe owner Larry Dolan with its Starlight Guardian Humanitarian Award on Wednesday.
"[Dolan] has used his stature in our community for the good of the entire city, especially its youth," said Sam Miller, the chairman of the event at which Dolan was honored. "The selection criteria recognizing selfless acts through devotion to creating opportunities for enhanced quality of life for many is an exact fit with our honoree."
Rain showers prevented both teams from hitting on the field before Tuesday's game. ... With Paul Byrd on the mound and his personal catcher, Kelly Shoppach, behind the plate, the Indians' lineup for Game 4, as expected, had a different look. Shoppach batted in his usual No. 9 spot, Ryan Garko was on the bench, and Jhonny Peralta and Lofton each moved up a notch in the order. Casey Blake moved up from ninth to seventh, and Gutierrez batted in his usual No. 8 spot. ... The Indians announced another lineup change Tuesday that had nothing to do with the team on the field. Country music singer Danielle Peck has been announced as a replacement for Taylor Swift in the singing of the national anthem before Thursday's Game 5. ... With his two-run shot on Monday night, Lofton became the seventh-oldest player to hit a homer in postseason history. ... Game 3 winners in an ALCS tied at 1-1 have gone on to the World Series eight of 10 times since 1985, the year the best-of-seven format was introduced.
The Indians and Red Sox will work out at Jacobs Field on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Thursday's Game 5, which has a start time of 8:21 p.m. ET. Left-hander C.C. Sabathia (1-1, 10.61 ERA in 2007 postseason) will start that game opposite right-hander Josh Beckett (2-0, 1.20 ERA) in a rematch of Game 1.