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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 5/13
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

The Royals were inspired by the firing of manager Super Trey Hillman and “earned” Zack Greinke’s first victory of the season by virtue of simply showing up against David Huff.  In today’s B-List, Buff talks about reasonable expectations for Huff, using reasonable reason and objective objectivity to be reasonable and objective about his reasonable objectivity, and then can stand it no longer and yells instead.  Buff also addresses the difference between “clutch hitting” and “klutz hitting,” then shaves and sticks his head in a bucket of lemon juice.















Indians (13-19)













Royals (12-23)













W: Greinke (1-4) L: Huff (1-5)      S: Soria (8)

greinkeHow bad was David Huff?  The KC bullpen got to pitch three innings, and we still lost.


1) Self-loathing


In the BBTN Live chat in which I participate, someone off-handedly asked, “How many runs will the Royals score for Zack Grienke on Thursday?”  Chuckling ensued, as guesses of 0, 1, or 2 were the most common.  This has been a point of sympathy for Greinke fans, as he receives about 2 runs per game of support and came into the game winless despite having very fine numbers.  His bullpen has gacked up a couple of losses, and his offense has let him down as well.


I said, “Six.”


The ESPN wonk said, “How many people do you think would take the under?”


I said, “Anyone who hasn’t seen David Huff’s last four starts.”


It was off the top of my head: it’s actually only his previous THREE starts that were awful and bad, but … well, NOW it’s four.  In related news, if you bet the under, you lost your bet.  (To be fair, if you bet the over, you lost that bet, too.  C’est le schmuck.)


Consider this:


4/21 @MIN: 6 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 6 (!) BB, 1 K, 6:12 GB:FB
4/26 @LAA: 5 1/3 IP, 12 (!) H, 5 ER< 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 K, 10:14 GB:FB
5/2 MIN: 5 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 (!) HR, 2 BB, 2 K, 7:15 GB:FB
5/13 @KC: 5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 10:15 GB:FB


The pitcher from the first two starts is pretty darned good: a 1.80 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00.  That pitcher is also a complete fluke.  THIS pitcher … well … THIS pitcher is TERRIBLE:


THIS: 22 IP, 34 H, 19 ER, 7 HR, 10 BB, 8 K
1.55 H/IP (just hits!)
2.00 WHIP
7.77 ERA
3.27 K/9

2.86 HR/9


But even these horrific numbers don’t tell the whole story:


4/21: 1 of 4 hits for extra bases
4/26: 4 of 12 hits for extra bases
5/2: 5 of 10 hits for extra bases
5/13: 5 of 9 hits for extra bases


Left-handers slug .525 off Huff.  Right-handers slug .514 off Huff.  For reference, Austin Kearns slugs .518 and Shin-Soo Choo slugs .459.  Leadoff hitters have a 1.138 OPS against Huff.  #2 hitters have a 1.050 OPS against Huff.


This is kind of why I was listing the GB:FB ratios above: Huff allows hitters to put the ball in the air, and far too often, he lets them put it FAR into the air (not in terms of “height” but in terms of “distance”).


Here, consider this: in the first three innings, Huff uncharacteristically recorded 7 ground ball outs, 1 K, and 1 fly out.  He allowed zero runs.on two hits.


In the next three innings, Huff recorded 1 ground ball out, 7 fly outs, and 1 K.  He allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, 4 of which were for extra bases.


Look, was Alberto Collapse-O’s homer kinda cheap?  Yeah, it was kinda cheap.  It hugged the line and barely cleared the fence.  On the other hand, let’s say it didn’t clear the fence: it would have been a double and still driven in a run.  In terms of actual run-prevention, it wasn’t a cheap hit.  It went to the bloody wall on a fly, after all.


The recipe for success is there.  Look at the first three innings.  Don’t look at the last three innings.  I did, and my retina exploded.  It seems trite and unhelpful to bring it up, but really, my advice to David Huff is: stop sucking!


2) Welcome back!


Raffy Perez threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings, walking a batter but allowing no hits.  Not only this, but he was summoned into the game with a runner in scoring position and got an out without allowing him to score.


I will be up-front about this: I would have DFW’d Perez when Kerry Wood was available to be called up onto the big league roster and kept Jensen Lewis in Cleveland.  I would DFW him again if we wanted to call up Saul Rivera.  I would not worry one iota about another team claiming Perez, which I don’t think would happen, and if it did, so what?  You lose a guy you can’t possibly use in a real game?  So what?  Do you worry about someone taking the dishwasher with a broken water pump you put out at the curb on Large Trash Pickup Day?  So someone took it instead of the city: if they get mileage out of it, bully for them.  The point was to make it leave your house, not to donate it to a specific junk heap.


So it would appear that simply jettisoning a left-hander who can throw 90+ isn’t the greatest idea I’ve had this month.  Maybe Perez isn’t completely “broken” after all.  I sure wouldn’t trust him in a tight spot yet, but credit where credit is due: he pitched pretty well yesterday.


3) Dept. of Not Surprise


Rob Neyer took a couple days off and solicited some of the SweetSpot bloggers to write a piece along the theme of, “What should [your team] do about [poorly-performing player X]?”  Since ESPN rejected my nine-part series, I chose to write about one facet of the team’s Offense Fail: that is, it’s ineptitude against left-handed pitching.


So it was with no particular joy that I watched Dusty Hughes stride to the mound with two on, two out, and Grady Sizemore at the dish.  Mr. Hughes, you may remember, throws with his left hand.  Mr. Sizemore, you may remember, hits .109/.196/.109 against left-handed pitching.


Well, now it’s .106/.192/.106.


As I said on Twitter, had testicles been involved in the decision-making process, a pinch-hitter would have been used in a 6-4 game with the tying run on base.


(Disclaimer: no testicles were harmed, or, in fact, consulted in the decision-making process.)


4) Ducks on the Pond!


One way to look at the game is to note that the Indians hit 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position, each of the hits drove in a run, and each of the hits came with two outs.  All four of the Indians’ runs scored with two outs, suggesting a non-zero level of clutchness.  And, truth be told, the rally against Zack Greinke in the third was an unusual burst of offensive goodness against the defending Cy Young winner.


However …


In the first inning, Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a triple to left.  A triple!  (To left!)  So with no outs, surely he will score!


Unless Grady whiffs on 4 pitches (all three strikes swinging) and Choo hits a grounder to third on a “contact play” that involves Cabrera being thrown out at home.


With two outs in the second, a wild pitch put TWO men in scoring position for Tofu Lou, who is fast being consider for a new moniker, “Wazoo Lou.”  Granted, Marson worked an 0-2 count into 3-2, fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches, but I hate … hate, hate, HATE …for the last out of an inning to be a K looking unless it is an Ortiz-level screw job.  (This wasn’t.  It was strike three.)


But to properly address the late-inning botching, I need a new heading.


5) Robinson Tejeda, the Hispanic Ryne Duren


There are two Robinson Tejedas, and I got to see one pitch frequently for the Rangers.  On version is a strikeout pitcher extraordinaire, a Joel Zumaya type pitcher without such a high velocity.  When Tejeda is on, he can’t be touched.  You wonder why he isn’t the closer or something.


The other Robinson Tejeda can’t find the strike zone with a St. Bernard and a sherpa.  He can’t hit his spots, begins to either walk everyone or throw flat, Farnsworthian fastballs through the heart of the zone, and you wonder why he’s in the majors.


Guess which version we got?


After a double from Choo, Tejeda walked Travis Hafner.  He then faced Austin Kearns, who swung through the first pitch, then grounded the second into an inning-ending double play that caused small children to complain of stomach cramps.


In the next inning, Tofu Lou drew a two-out walk (it’s okay to take the 3-1 pitch looking for a walk, just not the third 3-2 pitch) to put runners on first and second.  Asdrubal Cabrera continued his resurgence with a single to center, setting the stage for Sizemore’s Epic Fail.


In all, Tejeda gave up 3 hits and two walks, allowing as many baserunners as outs recorded.


He gave up one run.


6) Postscript


The Indians left 11 men on base.


7) Cautious optimism


Kerry Wood threw a hitless, scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.  13 strikes in 22 pitches is not very good, and needing 22 pitches to get through an inning isn’t very good either, but … did I mention the hitless scorelessness?


Matt LaPorta went 2-for-4 in his return from Nunnalian purgatory, stroking a single and a double.  He also scored a run and had a two-out RBI.  Adequacy from LaPorta would go a LOOOOOONG way toward helping the team field a competent offense, especially against left-handed pitching, where he actually hits worse than Sizemore to this point.


In his last 10 games, Jhonny Peralta has gone 12-for-42 (.286) with 3 doubles, a triple, and a homer.  He collected two singles and a two-out RBI yesterday.


Luis Valbuena drew a walk, did not make an error, and did not ingest bleach before the game.


8) Looking ahead


The Indians face ex-mate Jeremy Guthrie tonight: Guthrie is a hard-luck 1-4 despite a 1.20 WHIP and a 25:9 K:BB ratio.  His team is terrible.


Saturday, they face wunderkind Brian Matusz, who will win because he is left-handed.  This is impressive for a 13-year-old, even one who is 6’2”.


Sunday, they fqace David Hernandez, who looks to be the right-handed David Huff.  I think we should win that one.

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