Asdrubal Cabrera leads way as Indians complete sweep of Reds

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Asdrubal Cabrera, the American League’s best shortstop since day one this season, delivered two homers as part of a 5-for-5, five-RBI game as the Indians routed the Reds 12-4 and completed a three-game sweep Sunday.

Cabrera has nine homers, ranking him second only to Troy Tulowitzki among major league shortstops.  Jhonny Peralta is third with seven.  Cabrera leads all shortstops with 32 RBI and 32 runs scored.

Of course, it’s not likely to get him a start over Derek Jeter in the All-Star Game, but barring a big slump, he will make the team for the first time.

The Indians also got a nice game from Michael Brantley, who went 3-for-5 with a double, a steal and three runs scored as Grady Sizemore’s replacement in the leadoff spot.  Primarily valued for his speed, on-base skills and defense, he’s been a very pleasant surprise in contributing three homers and 13 RBI in 18 games this month.

The Reds received homers from Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the contest, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome an ugly outing from Edinson Volquez, who should have been pulled from the rotation earlier this month.  Volquez, the team’s Opening Day starter, gave up seven runs — six earned — in 2 2/3 innings to raise his ERA to 6.35.  He walked four today, giving him 38 walks in 51 innings for the season.

With the victory, the Indians moved to 29-15.  They’re not only leading the AL Central by 7 1/2 games, but they’re 4 1/2 games up on the Yankees and Rays for the American League’s best record.

The Reds have lost five in a row to fall to 25-22.  It’s their longest losing streak of this season, and it matches their longest from 2010.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.