April 25, 2014

Indians 4, Royals 3: Deep blasts, solid pitching and a squirrel help Tribe win

Nick Swisher

Last year it was the Rally Chicken. Is 2014 the year of the Squirrel? Twice during last night’s series opener with the Kansas City Royals, a squirrel interrupted play. Players and members of the Indians ground crew tried to corral the little guy who was eventually ushered off the field. “I was like, `C’mon over here and sit in my glove,” Nick Swisher said. “I thought maybe he’d sit on my shoulder like a parrot. I tell you what, that squirrel is eating, bro. That was a big squirrel.”

The squirrel gave some comic relief to a tense, close game that went back and forth, but was eventually won by the Tribe 4-3. It shouldn’t have been that close.

Let’s start with the positives. The offense, which sputtered most of the weekend, clubbed out 11 hits, but needed two long balls to do the damage. Facing ex-Indian first round pick Jeremy Guthrie, Michael Brantley once again provided the dramatics. He broke a scoreless fourth inning tie with a two-run homer to right. It was his second blast in as many days and his fourth on the year. Dr. Smooth has never been a guy known for his power, but he currently sits tied for third in the AL in homers (4) and is second in RBIs (18). [Read more...]

Indians 3, Tigers 2: The Zach Attack delivers again

Zach McAllisterWhen looking at the Detroit Tigers compared to our Cleveland Indians, one distinct advantage sticks out for the Kitties – starting pitching.  The Detroit top three — Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez — would all be the Indians number one if they toiled in Cleveland. Rick Porcello and Drew Smily also dwarf Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco as a tandem. Thanks to Tuesday’s postponement due to freezing temperatures, the Tigers were able to skip Smily over the shortened two game set. Sanchez got the first crack at the Tribe last night with Verlander going Thursday afternoon.

Manager Terry Francona stayed with his normal turns, sending out Zach McAllister on a cold night at Comerica Park. The last time we saw Zach, he was dominant in a win against the San Diego Padres and if the Indians were going to win this one, a similar performance would be helpful.

The first inning had the look of a game that could be high scoring. Sanchez, who normally has impeccable command, walked the newly activated Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, and Jason Kipnis to start the game. A potential big inning was thwarted by Carlos Santana’s sixth double play ground out of the year. A run did score, but Sanchez got himself right off the hook. Carlos is locked in a 2-24 slump.

[Read more...]

Starting pitching excels in double dip split with Padres

Trevor BauerWhomever in the MLB scheduling department that decided having the San Diego Padres come to Cleveland for their one appearance in early April is a genius. Now seriously, who thought this was a good idea? Naturally bad weather postponed Monday night’s game, causing a traditional doubleheader to be played on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the Padres getaway day. It is the second time the Tribe has played a doubleheader this season, which is just a week and a half old.

The Indians sent Zach McAllister to the hill for game one. The last time we saw Zach, his command was a mess. He only could muster four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and four walks. After the first time through the rotation, I will admit McAllister was the guy I worried about the most. For the Indians to reach their goal of returning to the postseason, McAllister has to be very good.

Yesterday afternoon, he wasn’t just good….he was GREAT. [Read more...]

Rocky start, “Smooth” ending: Tribe splits doubleheader in Oakland

Mike AvilesThere is nothing worse than fans freaking out over one game. But the first of the two in Oakland yesterday was one of those of those examples. I’m going to say this once – it’s ONE GAME.

Scott Kazmir, whom the Indians let walk after resurrecting his career in Cleveland last season, spent his afternoon completely dominating his old club. It was similar to some of the performances we saw from the 30-year old in 2013. He was in complete control, pounding the strike zone all game long. Only twice did Kazmir even get to a three-ball count. Scott worked fast and the Wahoo offense never touched him.

Kazmir, who signed a two-year, $22 million deal with Oakland, departed with one out in the eighth, allowing just three hits without walking a single batter. He struck out five and looked to be worth every penny. [Read more...]

Zach McAllister adds a slide piece to his repertoire

Zack McAllister

While Spring Training just kicked off a few days ago, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that many of the Cleveland Indians players took very little (if any) time off since being bounced out of the 2013 Postseason last October. The latest story comes in the way of Mickey Callaway, the team’s miracle-working pitching coach, and Zach McAllister, who has apperently added a few new arrows to his quiver.

From Indians.com’s Jordan Bastian:

Zach McAllister went home over the winter in search of a strikeout pitch. When the Indians right-hander arrived to Spring Training, he brought a new slider with him.

At the suggestion of Cleveland’s coaching staff, McAllister went to work over the offseason on adding a slider to his repertoire. The goal of the pitch, which essentially replaces the inconsistent cutter he featured last season, is to give the Tribe starter a more reliable weapon for hitters to chase.

McAllister is a lock for the Indians’ starting rotation. Along with Corey Kluber and Ubaldo Jiménez, the 26-year-old was one of the feel-good stories of 2013, providing a  3.75 ERA in 134 1/3 innings. Though hampered by a mid-summer finger injury, his first and second halves were almost identical, allowing opposing batters to produce a .325 wOBA.

If there is much in the way of down side to the towering righty is his penchant for fly balls (41.4 percent, with an incredibly lucky HR/FB ratio of 7.5) coupled with a low swinging strike rate (7.1 percent). If the slider is as good as Callway says it is—”It looks really good.”—then there’s a possibility that these two red flags could be lowered. If these two red flags are indeed lowered, the Indians may have themselves one solid middle-of-the-rotation arm for the upcoming season.

Just another one of the many storylines to watch as the Countdown to Opening Day ticks on.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

While We’re Waiting… College Football Trophies, Recruiting, and Tito’s The Man

Cleveland sports fans are waiting. Thus, while we’re all waiting, the WFNY editors thought you might enjoy reading. Because you never know how long we might be waiting. So here are assorted reading goodies for you to enjoy. Send more good links for tomorrow’s edition to tips@waitingfornextyear.com.

WWW_Refrigerator_Indians1

Leading off, college football trophies are one of the more consistent traditions around the nation. Many of the trophies have strange origins, and nearly all of them have an interesting story behind them. Johnny Ginter at Eleven Warriors takes a look at some of them, “My favorite thing about Illibuck is that at one point it was a live turtle. Two years later, it was dead. All of the technological prowess of two of the better public university institutions couldn’t keep a turtle alive for two years. There have been ten wooden Illibucks since then, and the sad thing is that with the rearranging of the Big Ten, Ohio State and Illinois will now only play each other once every four years or so. On the plus side, given the state of the Illinois football program, we’ll get to keep the thing for a loooonnggg while.” [Eleven Warriors]

Will Leitch at Sports on Earth talks about recruiting in the Twitter age, which certainly has its drawbacks and ugly moments, “This is all ridiculous, this sad, lonely courting of teenagers over Twitter for a one-year sleepover at a college campus, but this isn’t just the new reality, it’s just the start. Alexander, Okafor and Jones, have enjoyed every aspect of this whole process, and why wouldn’t they? Forget booster alumni and back-room deals: If Cliff Alexander or any future recruit wants any special treatment, it’s just a direct message away.” [Leitch/Sports on Earth] [Read more...]

2013 Indians In Review: The Starting Rotation

Corey Kluber

The Indians wild ride has come to an end. The 2013 season was one that nobody expected. A 96 loss team turned into a 92 win club that advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. GM Chris Antonetti and Manager Terry Francona helped changed the culture of the organization and has our baseball team on the rise. There is a buzz in the city about the Indians again. It was a season to remember with so many great moments and the arrival of some new fan favorites.  

Each day this week, we will look back at a different portion of the club and see where we are today, a plan for 2014, and so on. We will begin with the starting rotation, a group that was a huge surprise in 2013.  [Read more...]

Starting rotation an unsolved long-term mystery for Indians

ubaldo twinsWhat a season for Cleveland Indians starters. After posting the American League’s 13th best staff ERA back in 2012, the Tribe turned it around magically this year en route to the playoffs, jumping all the way to the AL’s sixth best ERA.

Not many could have predicted that success, probably not even much-applauded pitching coach Mickey Callaway. Yet, after the team’s season ended abruptly last week, it’s worth noting that the composition of the 2014 rotation is now up in the air.

There are two likely-to-be high-priced free agents, one impending free agent after next year and a collection of still-yet-unproven youngsters and inexperienced veterans. Who will step up? What will the rotation look like? What moves are necessary?

Heading into 2013, it was assumed that the Indians would pick up a starter on the free agent market. They did so in the form of $7 million for Brett Myers, but that proved to be a disaster: Myers actually managed to have a -0.6 WAR in just 21.1 innings pitched.

With the below list, I count five likely starters for the Tribe as they begin the season: Masterson, Jimenez/Kazmir, Salazar, Kluber and McAllister. That would be maintaining the same list as this season, provided they can re-sign one of the two free agents.

But Trevor Bauer has to get consistent MLB duty at some point. What will the long-term status be of Carlos Carrasco or Josh Tomlin? Is there anyone else in the minors? And is it actually plausible for the team to re-sign just one of the two free agents? Let’s go name by name.

 

Justin Masterson
Turns 29 in March
Made $5.69 mil in 2013; likely to be $8-10 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2014 season

The de facto team ace is likely to return to starting duties for 2014. He had success out of the bullpen down the stretch, but that was due to his return from injury. The biggest long-term question mark is whether the Indians will be able to afford him past next year. He’s set to make a nice raise through arbitration.

Ubaldo Jimenez
Turns 30 in January
Made $5.75 mil in 2013; likely to receive $10+ mil offer
Free agent eligibility after 2013 season

Jimenez (finally) pitched like an ace over the last few months of the season. That will only make him more difficult to keep in a Tribe uniform. Some will say Jimenez owes the Indians front office for turning his career around, but unfortunately, that’s not how the open markets operate. Assuming he wants it, he’ll get at least four years and $50 million elsewhere.

Scott Kazmir
Turns 30 in January
Made league min. in 2013; likely to receive $6-8 mil offer
Free agent eligibility after 2013 season

The more affordable free agent option for the Indians would be Kazmir. He was a reclamation project this season, signing a deal just to join for spring training before making 29 starts and striking out 162. He’s not an ace, but a guy most organizations would love to have as a strikeout-prone lefty. My guess: $15 million over two years to stay in Cleveland.

Corey Kluber
Turns 28 in April
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

As we discussed in Friday’s roundtable, the development of these next two starters are key for 2014. Kluber was a big surprise this season, jumping into the rotation and dominating for three months. But an August injury set him back to end the year. Indians have to hope he can recover that success and stay in the rotation.

Zach McAllister
Turns 26 in December
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

Two full seasons, 46 starts, ERA of 3.99. Another impressive yet relatively inexperienced starter, McAllister also wasn’t great down the stretch. He wasn’t the same pitcher after a six-week injury absence in June and July. He seems to be a fairly reliable No. 4 or No. 5 starter, but won’t be a huge difference marker.

Danny Salazar
Turns 24 in January
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

The up-and-coming Salazar supplanted the guy below as the team’s best pitching prospect. He went from Double-A prospect to playoff game starter in one season, just like 1997’s Jaret Wright. Hopefully Salazar’s next few years are brighter however, thanks to the Indians’ watchful eye throughout the season. No questions asked, just let him go full throttle now.

Trevor Bauer
Turns 23 in January
Continues to make min. salary
Arbitration eligibility after 2015 season; free agent after 2018

Remember this guy? The perhaps too-eccentric-or-maybe-ground-breaking prospect? He had a 5.29 ERA in four Cleveland starts and a disappointing 4.15 ERA in 22 starts for Columbus. The statistics are brutal: 73 walks, 106 strikeouts and 119 hits in 121.1 innings pitched. Those are Triple-A No. 5 starter stats. I’d assume he stays in Columbus to start 2014. He’s not ready yet.

Carlos Carrasco
Turns 27 in March
Made $0.5 mil in 2013; likely to be $1 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2016 season

All the evidence you need: 9.00 ERA in seven starts, 1.32 ERA in eight relief appearances. With the likely departure of Joe Smith out of the pen, Carrasco can slip into a long-term long-relief role and perhaps some sixth-inning duties. That will keep his cost low and perhaps harness his innate strikeout ability.

Josh Tomlin
Turns 29 in October
Made $0.5 mil in 2013; likely to be $1 mil for 2014
Free agent eligibility after 2016 season

The Little Cowboy appeared in only one Cleveland game this season as he recovered from August 2012 Tommy John surgery. He’ll have the offseason to fully recover, potentially returning into a bullpen role as well. It’s also possible that he doesn’t return to Cleveland, considering the lack of available innings.

 

Conclusion: So there you go, nine possible starters and a whole lot of questions still yet unanswered. I’m sure there will be more discussions on available free agent starters over the coming months, just like we had last season. Almost all of these players have had long-ish periods of major league success. Now it’s just a matter of money and composition as 2014 preparation begins soon.

As I shared earlier in the week, my optimism isn’t high. Jimenez’s emergence was a key reason for Cleveland clinching a playoff spot; my odds are probably 75-80% that he’s elsewhere next season. Kazmir would be a nice returning candidate, but who knows how much his value is right now. Then, Masterson’s upcoming availability also casts into doubt how much the Indians are willing to break the bank.

In the end, Bauer and Salazar have to develop as future leaders of a rotation. If that can happen, which certainly is a possibility, then the Indians are in much better shape with a back-end led by Kluber and McAllister. But the young guys could need to step up soon.

AP Photo/Ann Heisenfel

Early thoughts on the 2014 Indians: WFNY Roundtable

Following Wednesday’s AL Wild Card loss to Tampa Bay, the WFNY staff was still giddy about the Cleveland Indians’ 2013 season. But, some were already not as optimistic about the picture for 2014. Here’s another look inside the WFNY email thread to see what we were talking about yesterday with regards to the Tribe’s future.

WFNY_roundtable

Jacob: From 1995-2012, 58 MLB teams had .600+ records in 1-run games. Of those 58 teams, 44 regressed the following season: 75.9% of teams. In total, those 58 teams regressed by an average of 5.8 wins/162 games the following season.

Sure, that’s probably just regular regression to the mean for good teams anyway, but still notable. I don’t think winning 1-run games is a skill however, unless you have Mariano Rivera. The Indians went 30-17 (.638) in one-run games this season, second in baseball to the Yankees: 30-16 (.652). Both could be prime candidates for 2014 regression. [Read more...]

The Diff: Reviewing stats on the surprising 2013 Indians

The Diff is your weekly WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote on the varying playoff odds formulations. This week, I’m revisiting many of my stats comments about the Tribe in 2013.

The Diff

Today is Sept. 25 and the Cleveland Indians have over 80 percent odds of making the American League playoffs. Yes, that’s likely as one of two Wild Card teams, but all that matters is just making it into the postseason. Dating back to the advent of the Wild Card system in 1994, home teams are only 316-271 (.538) in the playoffs. That means it’s still very much an incredible toss-up in the probable one-game playoff that would take place one week from today, regardless of location. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: “Its All Happening!”

Almost FamousWhile a way too large percentage of Cleveland sports fans were up in arms over another pathetic, same old, same old performance from the Browns, the team with a real chance to play in the postseason was taking care of business on the South Side of Chicago. I am going to lay it down for you folks. If you haven’t gotten behind this team, I have no idea what you are waiting for. This group is different. The direction of the organization is different. The manager inspires confidence. You have yourselves a team that almost completely turned itself around from a league also-ran to a club with a real chance to play October baseball in Cleveland for the first time since 2007.

The Indians knew what was at stake and they headed to Chicago on a two-game losing streak to meet up with the last place White Sox. The Wahoos are clearly the superior team. Robin Ventura’s Pale Hose are playing out the string. They are a shell of what they were supposed to be. The pitching staff is in shambles. Their everyday lineup at this point is a veritable plethora of prospects and 4A players surrounding the faded Indian killer Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Alexei Ramirez, and Dayan Viciedo. All of this is welcomed by Terry Francona and his team, but there are still games to be played. [Read more...]

Royals 6 Indians 3: Tribe loses, but not any ground

Zach McAllisterYou can’t win them all, but it would sure be nice to. As we said before the Tribe entered the final month of the season, littered with teams they should be able to handle, if they just take two out of every three the rest of the way, they should be playing October baseball. Well that theory will surely be tested as the Indians dropped one to the Kansas City Royals last night 6-3.

Make no mistake about it, the Royals are a good team. Look up and down that lineup and it is more impressive than the Tribe’s. Their bullpen by the numbers is the best in the American League and their rotation is solid. However, they still have that “Kansas City Royals” factor attached to them. This has been their best season in a decade. The last time they finished over .500 was 2003 when they went 83-79. After last night’s win in Cleveland, the Royals have made it a four team race for the last Wild Card Spot.

This one started off looking like things would go the Tribe’s way. With two outs in the bottom of the first, three straight singles by Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Michael Brantley off of Jeremy Guthrie to put them on top 1-0. Dr. Smooth came through with yet another clutch, two-out RBI. He is now hitting .328 in those spots (19-58) with 23 runs batted in.  But then, they started to strand and erase runners as if it were the month of August. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Sloppy play somehow produces a key series win

Nick SwisherSloppy baseball doesn’t usually produce a winning weekend. Then again, you also don’t always have the luxury of playing a team devoid of offense who was already without its best player. They say it is better to be lucky than good and your Cleveland Indians most certainly would agree with that statement. They didn’t hit well most of the weekend and played some of the worst defense you will ever want to see at times, yet somehow they scratched and clawed their way to a series win over the Minnesota Twins.

The ragged weekend performance looked like it would come to a head Sunday, when four Tribe errors and a big mental mistake should have cost them the game. However thanks to some stellar pitching and a late inning blast, the Indians pulled out a game they had no business winning. “We know we’ve got to do better,” Terry Francona said. “But I’d rather talk about it after a win.”

Its been said many times late last week, but taking this series was of the utmost importance to the Tribe with what is coming up after Monday’s day off. While the A’s and Orioles were beating each other, the Rays were beating down the Yankees. All the Indians needed to do was take care of their own business against an inferior team. [Read more...]

MLB News: Indians trade rotation spots with Scott Kazmir and Zach McAllister

The Indians today announced that SP Zach McAllister will start Saturday’s game with the Twins instead of Scott Kazmir. Kazmir will be bumped until Sunday in order to get an extra day of rest.

McAllister’s last start was Monday night against the Angels. He pitched six and a third innings giving up just one run and striking out five. He earned the win in Cleveland’s 5-2 victory.

Scott Kazmir’s pitched last Sunday against the Oakland A’s. He had a rough outing going five innings while allowing five earned runs and ten hits. Manager Terry Francona has been trying to give Kazmir more rest as he fights through fatigue issues. Kazmir has pitched 119 innings already this season, the most by far of his recent seasons. In 2010 he threw 150 innings for the Angels.

Last season, Kazmir made 14 starts for the Independent League Sugar Land Skeeters.

The Indians host the Minnesota Twins Friday through Sunday. Ubaldo Jimenez pitches for the Indians on Friday.

[Related: TD's Five for Friday]

Indians 5 Angels 2: McAllister, four-run fourth get Tribe back on winning track

Lonnie ChisenhallWhile you were sleeping last night, your Cleveland Indians were getting back to work. The deflating series in Oakland was now behind them and the Tribe had three more games to go on this 10-game road trip. We are in the stretch drive and time is no longer on the Indians side. As Jason Kipnis said Sunday: “”It’s go time. You gotta win. There’s no time to sit around and feel sorry about losing two out of three. We’ve got three against the Angels and those are big games.”

The offense is going to have to start carrying a bigger load if Terry Francona’s crew is going to stay in the chase for the two Wild Card spots. There is no time like the present but facing Jered Weaver, a guy who has had the Tribe’s number during his career, was not going to be an easy task. After just one hit in the first three innings, the bats finally put together a big inning, producing a crooked number. Kipnis was of course right in the middle of it.

The team’s clear offensive MVP walked and stole second to start the frame. He would score on Carlos Santana’s shot single to right field, giving the Tribe a 1-0 lead. After a Michael Brantley pop up, Asdrubal Cabrera continued his string of improved at-bats with a double to right. Jason Giambi’s sacrifice fly brought home Santana, setting the stage for Lonnie Chisenhall. [Read more...]

Indians 5 Twins 2: Bats back the Zach attack

Zach McAllisterIt was a big and much needed uplifting night for your Cleveland Indians. They woke up in third place in the AL Central, chasing three teams for the second AL Wild Card spot, including the red hot Kansas City Royals who jumped them in the standings the night before. Losers of seven of eight, the Wahoos desperately needed a win and some sort of big inning the offense could build on.

Getting the ball from Manager Terry Francona was Zach McAllister, who still hasn’t been nearly as crisp as he was earlier in the year before the finger injury sidelined him for six weeks. The big right-hander hadn’t won a game in nearly three months and the Tribe badly needed a quality start from him. The bullpen pitched five innings in Monday night’s loss and with a day coming Wednesday, the deeper McAllister could go, the better. [Read more...]

The Diff: Statistical thoughts on the Tribe’s outlook

The Diff is your weekly Wednesday WFNY look into the amazing world of sports statistics. For a complete log of articles, click this link. Last week, I wrote about NBA conference imbalance and the East playoffs. Now, it’s time to get serious about the Tribe.

The Diff

I’m giddy about … Danny Salazar’s second MLB start tonight.

Starting at Progressive Field tonight will be the most prolific strikeout artist in minor league baseball this year. That would be 23-year-old Danny Salazar, back for his second gig in Cleveland. [Read more...]

Tribe Weekend Recap: Two of Three in Miami, bring on Detroit!

Terry FranconaThe weekend series in Miami was kind of glossed over coming in. The Indians arrived in Little Havana with an eight-game winning streak and all kinds of momentum. They knew they had the first place Detroit Tigers coming to Cleveland on Monday, and a let down against the Marlins, one of baseball’s worst teams, could have easily occurred. With the DH not in play this weekend (more on that in a little), the Tribe’s depth would be tested.

So how would they respond? Friday night’s domination by Miami’s Jose Fernandez not withstanding, the Indians took the series and showed some real grit in doing so. The bullpen stepped up big time, backing two solid starts Saturday and Sunday. Wins and losses are all that matters right now, and the Wahoos won two of three. If your team can take two out of every three, that is a .667 clip which you would LOVE and sign up for all day.

More things are becoming clear with this club and manager Terry Francona has figured out the right mix with the position players. Now if they could get that bullpen back to its old form….So before we head into this huge series with the Tigers, let us look back at the weekend that was in Wahooland. [Read more...]

WFNY Stats & Info: Rare accomplishments for Indians starters

With the completion of this week’s four-game sweep over the Chicago White Sox, the Tribe starters have continued their incredibly impressive hot streak. Ever since Carlos Carrasco’s last meltdown on July 6, they’ve been consistently dominant. That’s not news, as I wrote about this previously already.

But here are a few more notable facts about what the Indians starters have accomplished of late:

Here are the starting pitcher statistics in 21 games since July 7:
9-2 record, 2.21 ERA, 134.3 IP (6.1/start), 8.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, .198/.268/.291 line.

For the striking contrast, here are the starting pitcher statistics in the season’s first 87 games:
30-34 record, 4.62 ERA, 494.2 IP (5.2/start), 8.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, .262/.335/.427 line.

And again, the starting pitching line that derailed the entire 162-game set in 2012:
48-76 record, 5.25 ERA, 913.2 IP (5.2/start), 6.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, .284/.351/.451 line.

The pitching was slightly improved in the first half of this season across the board, while especially picking up the pace with the strikeouts. But still, their 4.62 ERA ranked in the bottom segment of the AL. Now, the Indians have had as impressive of a pitching streak as has taken place ever in franchise history. The .560 OPS allowed is in stark contrast to the .802 OPS from last season.

Currently, all five long-term Indians starters (Masterson, Kluber, Kazmir, Jimenez and McAllister) have at least 12 starts with ERAs less than 4.20. The last time that happened in franchise history was 1969. Every single other American League team has turned this feat since at least 1976.

The Indians now have four starters (all but McAllister) with at least 100 innings pitched that average at least 8.0 K/9. No other team in American League history has ever had this feat. Both Boston and Detroit have three such pitchers in 2013, but only three times has an AL team finished with exactly three, including the 1964 Indians as led by Sam McDowell.

– Specifically, Justin Masterson had his 11th start of at least 5 innings with one run or less last night. He became just the sixth Indians pitcher to pull off that feat since 1975. The last five: Cliff Lee, 2008; CC Sabathia, 2006; CC Sabathia, 2005; Charles Nagy, 1992; Greg Swindell, 1989.

– Tonight’s starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, had his best start of the season in his last outing, as measured by Game Score (81). He worked eight shutout innings for the second time this year. It was officially his best start as a Cleveland Indian, surpassing his outing on June 1 (80). His last better outing per Game Score (84) was Oct. 2, 2010, with Colorado.

Overall, the Indians have allowed just 58 runs (seven unearned runs) in their last 21 games since July 7. Only eight other MLB teams have had better 21-game pitching stretches thus far in 2013.

[Related: Indians 6, White Sox 1: You can bring your green hat!!]

Mariners 4 Indians 3: Poor fundamentals do Tribe in….again

Zack McAllisterI stayed up for that? Stop me if you have heard this one before.

The Indians handed a game away they should of won because of poor defense and a lack of clutch hitting. You can throw in bad base running to this 4-3 loss to Seattle as the Tribe can’t seem to get out of their own way since the All-Star break.

Lets change course and start in the ninth inning, with the Indians down one. Much maligned Mark Reynolds broke a 3-42 slump with a leadoff single against closer Tom Wilhelmsen. He was immediately replaced by pinch runner Drew Stubbs. Lonnie Chisenhall, another one the Tribe’s current question marks, did not bunt, but instead came through with a single right up the middle. The speedy Stubbs advanced to third and the Indians looked like at a minimum, they would tie things up. Mike Aviles came on to run for Chisenhall. Yan Gomes, already with two hits, hit a ground ball to Kyle Seager at third. He looked Stubbs back to third and threw across to second to get Aviles. The problem was for some odd reason, Stubbs took off for home and then completely stopped halfway down the line. He was eventually tagged out, killing the Indians comeback attempt right there. [Read more...]