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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 7/18
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum
The Indians lost last night. In other shocking news, water is wet, the sun is hot, and grass is green. In today's B-List, Buff examines Cliff Lee once again hitting the 4th inning wall. He also conjures up ghosts of Bob Wolcott, hails the beginning of The Brian Sikorski Era, and tries to figure out how the Indians grounded into five double plays last night. How long till Browns season?
We have run into a buzzsaw of mediocrity in the Angels.  Since the Indians must aspire to mediocrity, this is enough to lose both games thus far.

1) That there banana feels right soft

Cliff Lee's customary first three innings featured two strikeouts, six flyouts, one hit, and two walks.  That's almost boring in its predictability.  This is what frustrates me greatly about Lee: for the first few innings, he looks as in control as any non-elite pitcher in baseball.  (If you're counting outs, the other out was a pickoff.)

It furstrates me, because the fourth inning was also typical Lee, although it came a lot earlier than usual.  Typically, Lee waits until the sixth or seventh to shed his wheels, but five hits, a walk, and some bad defense later, the Indians found themselves down 5-1 in a game they wouldn't acknowledge was going on until 26 outs had sailed by.  I'd like to say that there was some underlying cause, like not throwing strikes (Lee wasn't particularly accurate last night at 57% strikes but only three walks), but of the five hits, two were on the first pitch, and two were on 0-1 counts.  Granted, it is hard to throw a pitch to Vladimir Guerrero that he considers unhittable, but there's something about pitch selection or pattern or simple fatness that's going on here, 'cause I refuse to believe the Angels are that stacked.  (Walking down the lineup, they hit pretty well, though.)

2) The Bob Wolcott Effect

Remember years ago when it seemed the most successful strategy to use against the Indians was to bring up some guy who'd never pitched to anyone ever and give him the ball?  That's two nights in a row we've lost to a guy to give him his first win and a trip back to the farm.  Joe Saunders is a pretty good pitcher (a lot more interesting than Dustin Moseley) with some pedigree (first-round pick, 10-3 with a 2.50 ERA in the bandbox-ridden PCL), but it sure is annoying to lose to guys with career 0% winning percentages.

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