Despite the win-loss struggles of this past road trip, the Cleveland Indians pitching staff has been on an impressive roll over the past few weeks. In the last 14 games since Carlos Carrasco’s last start on July 6th, they’ve been as good as they’ve ever been in two seasons.
Over those contests, the Indians have held opponents to just 38 runs total (2.7 per game). That’s a new season-best for any 14-game stretch in 2013. Here are the best 14-game pitching stretches of the year:
1st place: 7/7-7/24 — 38 runs (8-6 record)
T-2nd place: 4/24-5/9 — 41 runs (10-4 record)
T-2nd place: 4/22-5/8 — 41 runs (10-4 record)
T-4th place: 4/29-5/13 — 42 runs (12-2 record)
T-4th place: 4/21-5/7 — 42 runs (10-4 record)
6th place: 6/11-6/26 — 44 runs (10-4 record)
Obviously, many other teams have had far better 14-game stretches this season. The Atlanta Braves have the best mark in 2013, per Baseball-Reference.com, in allowing just 26 runs in a streak starting with their second game of the year.
But as a testament to the vast improvement of the 2013 Indians pitching staff, the best 14-game stretch in 2012 allowed 47 runs (3.4 per game).
Now, let’s take a look at the main reasons behind this improvement. Scott Kazmir delivered another outstanding performance on Wednesday. But how about the rest of the starters?
Last 14 games: 2.00 ERA, 6.0 IP/start, 8.9 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, .182/.270/.281 line
First 87 games: 4.62 ERA, 5.2 IP/start, 8.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, .262/.335/.427 line
The starters have clearly been much better all around, going longer into games and being more efficient. They might be walking a tad bit more batters, but they’re limiting anything offensively. So how about the much-maligned bullpen? Is there a difference in their recent performance?
Last 14 games: 3.11 ERA, 2.2 IP/game, 8.4 K/9, 4.3 BB/9, .260/.349/.329 line
First 87 games: 4.13 ERA, 3.0 IP/game, 8.9 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, .235/.321/.399 line
In the ERA column, the bullpen has been better, but they’ve been noticeably worse in terms of average and on-base percentage allowed. The huge decrease in slugging also is interesting. Chris Perez (0.82 ERA since return from DL) has been on fire of late, leading this charge.
The opponents over this 14-game stretch haven’t featured that excellent of offenses: Detroit, Toronto, Kansas City, Minnesota and Seattle. The Indians will have a tough task ahead this weekend against the Texas Rangers. We’ll see if this continues, but logically, the Cleveland pitchers aren’t quite as bad as they once were, or as great as they’ve been recently.