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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 4/23-4/25
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

The Indians won each of the games in which they scored a run, running their record to a remarkable 8-1 when scoring at least 3 runs.  Unfortunately, they have played 18 games, which tells you how many times they have not scored at least 3 runs.  The B-List is on the short side because of other time commitments and the limited number of ways there are to say, “Fausto good, offense baaaaaad”.  Note: the offense was not the only bad element. 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Indians (7-9) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3
Athletics (11-7) 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 6 X 10 12 0

W: Duchscherer (2-0) L: Westbrook (0-2) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Indians (8-9) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 3 6 9 0
Athletics (11-8) 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 0

W: Carmona (3-0) L: Gaudin (0-2) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Indians (8-10) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
Athletics (12-8) 2 0 1 1 4 0 3 0 X 11 15 0

W: G. Gonzalez (2-1) L: Masterson (0-3) 

mastershelledShocking statistic: the Indians were 0-2 in games in which they did not score!  Next, we look at the correlation between "living" and "breathing." 

1) ¡Fausto! 


Yes, yes, yes, yes, yessity yes, yes, yes! 

First start: 6 BB 
Second start: 4 BB 
Third start: 2 BB 
Fourth start: 0 BB 

Putting aside the fact that this suggests that Fausto will walk negative-two batters in his fifth start, can we at least agree that this is trending in the right direction?  Yes, he has given up (nearly) a hit an inning in he last two starts, but that sure beats so many free passes, especially since opponents have two extra-base hits out of 19.  Batters have hit into as many double plays as have gotten an extra-base hit.  Is 4 K impressive?  It is not.  Is 4 K against 0 BB and 1 R in 7 1/3 IP while throwing more than 2/3rds of his pitches for strikes (70 of 103) impressive?  Yes.  Yes, it is. 

I guess here’s the thing: while it’s possible that some of Carmona’s excellent numbers are good fortune, and that there will be games in which some of the ground balls will morph into singles and doubles, he hasn’t really gotten exceptionally lucky.  With none on, he holds hitters to a .182/.308/.218 line.  With runners on, it’s a little higher: .214/.261/.310.  In scoring position, .190/.280/.238.  Basically, it’s not like he “knuckles down” and gets out of jams: he simply pitches really well. 

Surprising stat for me: lefties hit .170/.200/.189 off Carmona thus far.  In the previous three years combined, lefties hit .299/.375/.442 of him.  Is this because of a fundamental shift in the way he approaches lefties?  Has he developed a new pitch?  Who the heck cares?! 

Okay, well, we ALL care, because it will go some way toward figuring out how sustainable his success is.  But there’s no disputing that Carmona LOOKS better, including more confident, and if you were looking at addressing anything from his first couple of starts, it would have been the walks.  Well, it’s been addressed.  Let’s see where it goes from here. 

2) Credit Where Credit Is Due Dept. 

So what changed from 2009 to 2010?  Carmona’s having more success against lefties, maybe that’s it.  Some scouts are reporting that he’s not throwing as hard, but his ball has good movement at the lower velocities. 

You know what changed?  Mike Redmond. 

I understand that it would be awfully simplistic to claim that Mike Redmond is the only factor in Fausto’s success thus far.  The man threw winter ball.  He’s matured as a pitcher and as a guy.  He has probably made countless adjustments of his own with grip and arm slot and Tim Belcher might have a role as well. 

But I’ll say this: when Carmona got behind hitters, especially 3-0, I saw Redmond stand up and do something (whether a gesture or words, I couldn’t tell), and immediately thereafter, Carmona threw strikes and got guys out. 

It is possible that Redmond is setting up left-handed hitters in a more effective way.  It’s possible he calls a different game.  But I think it’s not that far-fetched to say that Redmond has made some sort of fundamental connection with Fausto that gives him better focus and concentration than he’s had since 2007, when I think he simply didn’t engage his brain, being the young kid with uber-stuff.  (That’s not calling Fausto dumb, that’s saying he did what was automatic and it worked: some of his struggles over the last couple of seasons seems to be at least partially due to forcing, aiming, or overthrowing, symptoms of being UNfocused or rattled.) 

Anyway, Redmond had an excellent night at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a double, getting an RBI and 2 runs scored as well as a sacrifice.  Redmond isn’t ever going to be an offensive force: he’s 38.  I’ll say this: I would strongly look into making him a pitching or bullpen coach when his knees (chest, elbow, face: the man seems to get hit with a lot of pitches and fouls) decide they’ve had enough of wearing the tools. 

3) You know what didn’t change? 

Justin Masterson’s descent. 

I don’t want to go into a lot of detail.  Frankly, it depresses me.  Let’s just say this: 

Start 1: 6 baserunners in 5 innings, 1 R 
Start 2: 9 baserunners in 6 IP, 4 R 
Start 3: 10 baserunners in 4 IP, 5 R 
Start 4: 12 baserunners in 4 IP, 7 R 

Join me in August, when Masterson will give up 43 baserunners in -2 innings, giving up all the runs in the world. 

Look: 5 walks in his last start was bad, and 4 walks in this start still sucks.  But to me, the microcosm is thus: with the bases loaded and Kevin Kouzmanoff, a right-handed hitter, a right-handed hitter hitting .232/.276/.319 coming into the game, a right-handed hitter with an enormous platoon split (hitting .204/.279/.278 against righties), against Masterson, whose two huge skills are supposed to be being tough on righties and striking guys out, against Kouzmanoff who has struck out 12 times in 73 AB … Kevin Kouzmanoff blasted a three-run double to end Masterson’s night.  It is one thing to be weak at something and the fail at it: if you also fail at the things you are supposed to be good at in the first place, well … that is Significant Fail.  Like, Starting Role Fail. 

4) Along these lines 

Jake Westbrook: Effectiveness Fail. 

5) The Reliability of ERA for Relievers 

I don’t care if the defense is bad behind you, if you walk two guys and give up four hits in one inning, including a three-run double to a guy hitting .213/.244/.280 (out of the LEADOFF SPOT!), you pitched like a clod.  (Wright gave up 6 runs but only 1 was “earned.”) 

Jamey Wright, I liked three ground ball outs (and it should have been more, of course).  The rest of your pitching: I did not care for it.  No, sir. 

6) Around the bullpen 

Before Wright, Aaron Laffey was excellent, tossing 2 hitless, walkless (but sadly not errorless) innings.  However, in relief of Masterson, Laffey gave up a run on three hits in 2 innings of work.  Still, Laffey threw strikes and was generally effective. 

Unlike Joe Smiff, who was a fungus. 

Tony Sipp recorded two outs with 1 pitch.  Exhausted from this effort, Sipp was able to get some much-needed rest as Chris Perez recorded a Not Save with a hitless inning.  C-Pez still walked a guy and threw 9 strikes in 18 pitches.  With a 5-run lead.  Against Oakland. 

Jensen Lewis pitched a scoreless inning and has a 1.17 ERA. 

7) How Not To Productions Presents: Sustaining a Rally 

In the first inning Friday, the Indians got two baserunners, but Shin-Soo Choo grounded into a double play.  (They then got ANOTHER baserunner, but sadly, you can’t ground into two double plays in the same inning.) 

In the second inning, the Indians got a baserunner, but Matt LaPorta grounded into a double play. 

In the third inning, the Indians got a baserunner, but Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into a double play. 

In the fourth inning, the Indians loaded the bases with one out, and Matt LaPorta grounded into an inning-ending double play. 

In the fifth inning, the Indians did not ground into a double play.  Because they went down in order 1-2-3. 

In all, the Tribe grounded into 5 double plays.  Oddly enough, they did not score any runs. 

8) One man show 

Austin Kearns was not my favorite off-season signing, because his last two seasons have been simply dreadful.  However, I have to give the man credit: he’s hitting .324/.361/.441 and drove in 3 runs in Cleveland’s lone win with 3 hits.  All three of the RBI came with two outs.  He becomes a credible bat to slide into the cleanup slot, at least while everyone else besides Shin-Soo Choo is hitting like a sock filled with lard

9) Nice weekend 

Grady Sizemore only started two of the games, but went 3-for-8 in those games.  Sure, he was caught stealing third, but … hey, the man was hitting under .200 coming into the series. 

But my favorite box score line comes from Saturday’s game in which Sizemore put up this line: 

0 2 0 0 

He pinch-ran for LaPorta and scored, then went to center field, got a plate appearance, walked, and scored again.  He is now hitting .220/.303/.356 on the season, well on his way toward “inadequate.”  Next stop: “paltry!” 

10) You did not know this! 

The Indians rank second in the major leagues in “Defensive Efficiency,” which is a dirt-simple measure of how often a team turns a ball in play into an out.  With 72.9% rate, they are second to only well-known defensive wizards Tampa Bay. 

I have to say, that’s pretty damn neat.  Of all the things to complain about in the early season, this is one I expected to be able to rail about.  I cannot.

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