Notes: Tribe finds home cooking tasty
Byrd targets Mariners; Hafner expected to start all weekend
CLEVELAND -- For Josh Barfield, home-field advantage in baseball is an oxymoron.
"I think it has absolutely no impact," Barfield said. "It just doesn't matter. You're not going to swing through a pitch because the crowd's yelling. It's not like we're not calling plays out there."
But the numbers, of course, tell a different story for the Tribe this year. Cleveland's 20-7 home record is best in baseball, and while its .500 record away from The Jake is impressive, the split is staggering.
So, as the Indians head off to Cincinnati this weekend, there must be some explanation.
Outfielder David Dellucci came up with a few answers. One, flights often arrive in road cities at wacky early-morning hours and can throw a player off for a few days.
"And second, when you're a team with passionate fans like us, that's a big advantage," Dellucci said. "Because you'd much rather hear cheers as opposed to the road when you don't hear anything."
Really, the crowd has that much of an impact?
"Oh, definitely," Dellucci said. "They may not be yelling the whole game like they would in football or basketball, but you still get that eruption for the big hits and strikeouts that drives you."
Revenge play: Remember the home opener snowout, and more specifically, Paul Byrd's heated reaction to what he considered gamesmanship on the part of Seattle manager Mike Hargrove?
"I looked outside and I see their dugout laughing and high-fiving like they got away with something," Byrd said afterward. "And they did. That's pretty hard to take."
And then, remember how Byrd maintained he couldn't wait for his next shot at the Mariners?
Well, he'll get that chance on Monday in the second of four rescheduled games with Seattle.
"Yeah, I'm excited about facing them," Byrd said Wednesday, though he does admit time has cooled him off a bit.
"I need to put those personal vendettas behind me," Byrd said, laughing. "You don't need to go out there and try and throw harder and knock guys down to prove a point."
Byrd walk: Byrd might have had a better reason to be upset Wednesday when manager Eric Wedge called for him to intentionally walk Kansas City's David DeJesus in the sixth.
Why? The walk, which came with one out and a runner on second, ended a pretty impressive streak Byrd had going. It was his first free pass since April 26, ending his walkless streak at 48 1/3 innings, the longest by a Tribe pitcher since Dick Donovan went 45 1/3 innings in 1963.
"It doesn't bother me. Eric made the right decision," Byrd said. "The team comes first. That was absolutely the right move. We got a double play out of it. That's easy to take. That's the way [the streak] should have ended."
Hafner busy: Travis Hafner will start at first base Friday in Cincinnati and could stay there for the entire weekend, Wedge said.
Whereas Wedge always gave his designated hitter a day off in National League cities this year, the club is confident Hafner and his elbow can now hold up for an entire weekend.
"We'll take it day by day," Wedge said. "But we definitely want him in the lineup as much as possible."
On this date: In 1998, Dave Burba became the first Tribe pitcher to homer in 26 years when he drove one over the center-field wall in a 6-1 Cleveland victory at Cincinnati. The 31-year-old Burba was slated to be the Reds' Opening Day pitcher that season but was traded to the Tribe for Sean Casey just hours before the start.
Down on the farm: Triple-A Buffalo's Ben Francisco went 3-for-5 in extending his hitting streak to 18 games, and starter Bubbie Guacharo (2-1) gave up just two runs over five innings in the Bisons' 7-2 win over Scranton on Wednesday. ... Jordan Brown went 4-for-5 with a double and four RBIs, and Scott Lewis tossed six innings of two-run ball as Double-A Akron dusted New Hampshire, 10-4, to win its fourth straight. ... Class A Kinston's Ryan Edell (6-2) allowed no earned runs on five hits over seven innings and Jared Goedert went 3-for-5 with an RBI in the Indians' 6-4 win over Wilmington. ... Carlton Smith (3-4) was knocked around for seven runs over five innings in Class A Lake County's 9-3 loss to Del Marva.
On deck: The Tribe heads to the Queen City on Friday night at 7:10 ET as it opens up a three-game set with the Reds. Cliff Lee (2-3, 6.35 ERA) will be opposed by the Reds' top prospect, Homer Bailey, who will be making his much-hyped big-league debut.
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.