Sticking to approach helps Shoppach

Sticking to approach helps Shoppach

ST. PETERSBURG -- Leaning back in his chair in the visitors' clubhouse at Tropicana Field, Indians catcher Kelly Shoppach was beaming.

"Hey Datzy," he said to bench coach Jeff Datz, walking nearby. "Did you hear? I'm in the Hall of Fame!"

Don't get too excited. As well as Shoppach has played of late, he hasn't played that well.

But Cooperstown did come calling for Shoppach after his historic performance last Wednesday, when he doubled three times and homered twice against the Tigers to become just the sixth player in the modern era to notch five extra-base hits in a ballgame.

The Hall of Fame asked for Shoppach's bat from that game, and he was more than happy to send it along.

"That's one of many ways to get in," Shoppach joked.

Another way, of course, is to perform. And while Shoppach might not be a future Hall of Famer, he's definitely been performing well since Victor Martinez went on the disabled list in June.

Getting his first legitimate shot at the everyday catching duties, Shoppach has not disappointed. Since June 20, he is batting .333 (37-for-111) with eight homers and 24 RBIs. And in his last 12 games, he's batting .432 (19-for-44) with seven doubles, five homers and 15 RBIs -- including a pair of RBIs in Monday's opener of a three-game series with the first-place Rays that resumes Tuesday night at The Trop.

"We talk about Jhonny [Peralta] sticking with his approach, regardless of the situation, and that's what Shoppach's been doing," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's stuck to his approach, and that's really helped him."

It might not help him join his own bat in Cooperstown, but it's certainly helping an Indians team that needed some thump in the middle of the order.

Pitching matchup
CLE: RHP Fausto Carmona (5-3, 4.19 ERA)
Carmona rebounded from a woeful return from the disabled list with a more typical performance Thursday against the Tigers. Going 6 1/3 innings, the right-handed sinkerballer induced a number of groundouts, struck out three and found his way out of a number of jams, which were mostly the result of poor fielding and a glaring sun that played havoc on Tribe fielders. He allowed four runs, two earned, to pick up his fifth win of the season. He has yet to face the Rays this season, but in his one previous start against Tampa Bay, he went seven innings and allowed two runs to pick up the victory.

TB: RHP Edwin Jackson (7-7, 4.20 ERA)
Jackson picked up his seventh win of the season Wednesday in Toronto when he battled through five innings, holding the Blue Jays to two runs despite giving up seven hits and walking two. Twice the 24-year-old right-hander faced jams in which the Jays had a man on third with no outs, and he did not allow the run to score. If Jackson is locating his 97-mph fastball, his other pitches can work well, particularly his slider. Jackson is 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA in four career appearances against the Indians.

The Indians are 5-0 against the Rays this season. ... The Tribe is 11-6 against the AL East. ... David Dellucci hit his 100th career homer Monday night. Seven of his 10 homers this year have come on the road.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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On radio
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Up next
• Wednesday: Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 1-6, 5.82) at Rays (Scott Kazmir, 8-5, 2.89), 12:40 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Indians (Paul Byrd, 6-10, 4.72) at Blue Jays (David Purcey, 1-2, 8.35), 7:07 p.m. ET

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.