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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/28
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
The B-List is here to recap the Indians victory over the Twins Tuesday.  The Tribe's fourth consecutive victory opened up a three and a half game lead over second place Detroit, which is nice.  It was also the Indian's sixth win in seven games, and ninth win in twelve games.  Now go out and take care of Johan tonight!
Twins (67-65)0000300025132
Indians (74-57)20101002X670

W: Westbrook (5-7) L: Bonser (6-11)  "S": Borowski (38) 

Short column due to prior commitment.  Also, happy 11th birthday to my son Chris. 

1) The bane of the groundball pitcher 

I have already admitted my irrational attraction for groundball starters, and although I like more strikeouts, too, it's generally hard to complain about Jake Westbrook not inducing enough ground balls for my taste.  Still, the thing about ground balls is that although you tend to limit the damage of balls being struck, you also can't do a lot to control where the ground ball ends up going, and to date, the seven-man infield hasn't caught on to plug all available holes in the infield to stop every ground ball. 

After cruising through four innings (allowing a handful of hits, but no runs nor runners advancing to third), the Twins began timing Westbrook's sinker and drilling it through open spots in the infield.  Jason Bartlett, Torii Hunter, and Justin Morneau had consecutive run-scoring singles, and only a heads-up play by Trot Nixon combined with head-in-ass baserunning by Hunter limited the damage to three runs.  The lesson here is not so much that giving up singles is bad, but that giving up singles to sluggers like Brian Buscher and Jason Tyner is a poor strategic maneuver. 

Westbrook ended up giving up 10 hits in 6 2/3, giving way to Raffy Perez with two on.  He walked 2 and struck out 4, both mundane numbers, but the fact that 9 of the 10 hits were singles helped him produce enough shutout innings to win the game. 

Oddly enough, Westbrook's GO:FO ratio was 8:7, fairly atypical: given all the singles through holes, you have to think his sinker was working, though. 

2) What'd you need the other pitch for? 

With two outs when he entered the game, Rafael Perez was not afforded the same opportunity to induce a triple, or even double play.  However, as the Designated Guy To Enter The Game With Multiple Runners On Base, Perez got Justin Morneau to pop out to end the quasi-threat in the 7th and preserve the 4-3 lead. 

The discouraging thing is that Morneau fouled off the first pitch, meaning that Perez had to throw TWO pitches.  Combined with the three from last night, Perez is on a dangerous pace to throw one pitch tonight before being given Thursday off. 

3) Pronk smash! 

The Indians took an immediate 2-0 lead when Travis Hafner connected for a two-run blast off Boof Bonser.  To the lay fan (i.e., me), this appeared to clear the fence by a fair distance: I don't know if you can draw any global conclusion from the local event, other than that Boof Bonser throws a nice Meatball Pitch. 

It's interesting to look at the micro-level batting order management that decides whether to put Hafner 3 and Martinez 4, vice versa, or drop one to 5th (to accommodate a Lofton-Cabrera-Sizemore top three).  The tradeoff is that the 3 hitter is guaranteed a plate appearance in the first inning, but if he gets on base, the 4 or 5 is supposed to drive him in.  When you have Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, it's hard to get this answer wrong: when Hafner is hitting, you could say the same thing about the Tribe.  However, Hafner HASN'T hit, so you have to give the issue more thought.  The thing is, Hafner is still drawing his fair share of walks, so it makes sense to take advantage of his OBP skills to get Martinez RBI opportunities. 

I suppose it's ironic to talk about RBI opportunities for Martinez when Hafner guaranteed he wouldn't have one, but hey. 

4) Of course we won, we were only outhit 13 to 7 

It feels good to be on the positive side of the LOB equation, getting more runs from fewer baserunners than our opponent for a change. 

(Two errors did not help Minnesota's cause.) 

5) Department of Corrections Dept. 

Yesterday I claimed that the theoretical lower limit of pitch-to-out ratio was 0.33.  As readers Matt Glassman and John Hnat pointed out, a pitcher who picks off a baserunner without throwing a pitch obviously has a lower ratio (of zero point zero). 

6) Ho Hum Dept. 

Raffy Betancourt threw a perfect 8th.  His 10 strikes in 16 pitches was an awful ratio for Betancourt, which is like complaining that Mozart used "too many notes." 

7) Sword?  What sword?

-- Damocles in denial 

Can we just say that the idea of Joe Borowski saving a playoff game terrifies me beyond the powers of speech and leave it at that? 

And you know what?  Somehow, I "knew" he'd get out of it, the same way I "knew" Wickman would save games.  It's weird. 

But still terrifying.

You know what else?  The only person seemingly not terrified by Joe Borowski as closer is Joe Borowski.  Which, ironically, is why Joe Borowski IS the closer.

8) Completely False Statement for the Google Search Engine 

Mark Shapiro, a devoted "Peanuts" fan, gives out rocks to children on Halloween.  Actually, I have no idea if Mark Shapiro was a "Peanuts" fan, so this statement is untrue.  Fire Eric Wedge.

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