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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/6 - 8/8
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

The Indians won the opener in dramatic fashion, combining Super Fail with a walkoff shot.  Their wad having been shot, so to speak, the rest of the weekend was filled with Jim Thome, bullpen flop, late-inning impotence, and David Huff, which is to say, 2010 Indians baseball.  Do you ever wonder why I write this column?  I sometimes wonder why I write this column.  The players change, and the date changes, and everything else stays the same.  Especially David Huff.  Narf! 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Twins (61-49) 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 2 6 10 0
Indians (47-63) 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 7 12 2

W: C. Perez (1-2) L: Guerrier (2-7) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Twins (62-49) 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 3 1 7 14 2
Indians (47-64) 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 9 0

W: Pavano (14-7) L: Carmona (11-9) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Twins (63-49) 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 5 6 1
Indians (47-65) 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 0

laporta1W: Duensing (5-1) L: Huff (2-11) S: Capps (2) 

In each game, the team that made the most errors won.  You would think that would have worked to the Tribe’s advantage. 

1) No Decision 

The heading refers to the fact that because of Chris Perez’ botching, Jeanmar Gomez did not get his third win in three big-league starts Friday night, although the team did win the game, so huzzah. 

But it also refers to the fact that I haven’t decided if Gomez is actually GOOD. 

Don’t get me wrong: Gomez’ results have been terrific.  He’s never given up more hits than innings pitched, and in two of the three starts (including Friday’s) the number of hits is strictly less than the number of innings.  Giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings made his ERA go UP (to 1.56).  His WHIP of 1.10 is tremendous, and he is holding hitters to a .222 AVG.  In a ridiculously-small sample of 30 AB, Gomez is holding left-handed hitters to a .167/.235/.233 line that looks more in line with a left-handed closer like Billy Wagner or Brian Fuentes. 

On the other hand, fully half (7) of Gomez’ 14 hits allowed have been for extra bases, and right-handers hit a robust .273/.342/.485 off him, which is a higher slugging percentage than players like Shin-Soo Choo and Joe Mauer.  He has only finished the sixth inning once in three starts (although his second start was by design because he was starting on three days rest).  And after watching fast-forward replays of his starts on, I can’t actually tell you what Jeanmar Gomez DOES.


There are a couple of red flags thus far: right now, Gomez is stranding runners at an 89% clip, which is far above the major-league average and tends to be unsustainable at that level.  Hitters are also hitting .236 off Gomez on batted balls in play (BABIP), which is pretty low. 

Interestingly, thus far, Gomez is a guy you have to get early: the first time through the lineup, hitters post a .892 OPS off him.  The second time, this plummets to .472, and even the third time is a meager .590.  In fact, by pitch clumps: 

Pitches 1-25: .267/.353/.667 (17 PA) 
Pitches 26-50: .133/.278/.200 (18) 
Pitches 51-75: .273/.261/.318 (23) 
Pitches 76-100: .182/.286/.273 (14) 

Now, again, this is three starts.  Seventeen (+1/3) innings.  Fifty-two outs.  Seventy-two batters.  These numbers are posted because they’re INTERESTING, not because they’re MEANINGFUL.  But at the end of the day, while I applaud Gomez’ performances thus far and would like to believe they will translate into future success, I’m a long way away from writing Gomez’ name into the 2011 rotation in anything but light chalk. 

2) Did you actually make a point there? 


Which IS kind of the point: I can’t tell you ANYTHING about Gomez.  NOTHING.  And I’ve watched him THREE TIMES.  I have no idea whether his performance is sustainable, or fluky, or due to late movement, or obsequious, or purple.  Nothing.  I have no idea. 

I will say this: I sure would rather watch Jeanmar Gomez pitch some more than either Justin Masterson or David Huff. 

3) The ugly Faustling 

It was an odd game for Fausto Carmona Saturday: on the one hand, it was encouraging that he didn’t walk anyone and needed only 96 pitches to get through 7 complete innings.  On the other hand, it was quite out of character to see Carmona post a 5:13 GO:FO ratio, and the high number of fly balls translated into five of Minnesota’s ten hits being for extra bases, including a pair of home runs, one to a guy hitting .138/.133/.276.  Giving up 3 runs on 8 hits (3 for extra bases) in 7 complete innings is pretty good stuff: in fact, it was only 2 runs on 6 hits (2 XBH) through 6 complete innings in only 74 (!) pitches.  2 runs on 6 hits in 6 IP is a very good start.  3 runs on 8 hits in 7 IP is still a Quality Start.  5 runs on 10 hits in 7 1/3 IP isn’t actually very good at all. 

So, was Fausto left out there too long?  Mind you, sending him out for the 7th inning was about as obvious a move as there is: he was sailing through, hadn’t given up a run since the 3rd, had only allowed two baserunners in his past three innings (HBP, single), and the single was erased on a double play to end a 7-pitch 6th.  Carmona looked to be cruising, so a 7th inning was clearly warranted, especially given his pitch count (74). 

The 7th was kind of a stressful inning for Carmona, though: Mike Cuddyer doubled on the 9th pitch he saw (fouling off four consecutive 1-2 pitches), and Denard Span ended the inning with a swinging K on the 9th pitch as well (fouling off three consecutive 2-2 pitches before ball three).  Despite a pair of first-pitch outs, Carmona still threw 22 pitches that inning, and the Twins put four into play and fouled off another 8 of them. 

It’s probably severe second-guessing to say that Carmona shouldn’t have been sent out for the 8th.  Trevor Plouffe is a rookie and was hitless coming into the AB.  The lineup was set as R-L-R-L-R (Plouffe, Mauer, Young, Kubel, Cuddyer), so no obvious platoon advantage seems to be hiding in there.  Still, that stretch needs to be planned based on Mauer and Kubel: subsequent homer notwithstanding, Trevor Plouffe should play no role in setting up your matchups.  Given this, you could reasonably argue BEFORE the fact that Tony Sipp should probably have been brought in to start the inning to match up with Mauer (who doubled off Carmona) and Kubel (who walked off Sipp anyway).  I mean, it turned out Sipp pitched pretty poorly (two hits, two walks, two outs, only 9 strikes in 21 pitches, or 9 in 17 if the IBB is filtered out, which is still pretty bad).  Most of this discussion is probably moot.  I’m more concerned about the fly balls than any matchups in the 8th inning of a five-run loss. 

One encouraging thing about Fausto this season is that his platoon split is negligible: righties hit .238/.326/.365 off him, and lefties hit .279/.332/.375.  That’s a far cry from last year’s .696 to .964 right vs. left OPS, or even his 2007-9 three-year average of .646 to .819.  He appears to have found a way to be more effective against left-handers than he has ever been, which bodes well for the future. 

4) A modest proposal 

“I don’t know what the deal was.” 
-- David Huff

“David had no command at all of his fastball.” 
-- Manny Acta

So, should I be troubled that David Huff doesn’t know what went wrong in the 5th inning?  After four shutout frames, Huff coughed up a walk, homer, K, single, double, double, wild pitch, walk hairball that resulted in five runs.  Granted, this could have been four had the Indians been able to turn a 5-4-3 double play: instead, Delmon Young was safe and the fifth (and ultimately game-winning) run scored.  But it’s pretty hard to spin “walk, homer, K, single, double, double, wild pitch, walk” into anything but abject failure. 

Huff is kind of the anti-Gomez: although his pitch clump rankings are uniformly bad this season (his BEST clump is the .286/.358/.476 line he allows in pitches 26-50, and that is plainly terribibble; every other clump of 25 pitches except the small-size 101+ has higher AVG *and* OBP *and* SLG), he does have this going for him: 

1st PA: .258/.321/.400 
2nd PA: .372/.438/.655 
3rd PA: .299/.378/.563 

So, what is it about these lines that screams “starting pitcher” besides the fact that he can throw the ball 100 times without hurting his arm? 

This is a relief pitcher.  Not a very good one, but one who would be more likely to have some degree of success than the starting version we have now.  THAT guy is AWFUL. 

5) A less modest proposal 

Let Chris Perez devour David Huff. 

6) Diamond in the rough? 

Let us not mince words: Justin Germano has not been a very good pitcher in his career.  In 2007-8 (he pitched in Japan in 2009) leading up to this season, pitching exclusively in San Diego with the twin benefits of Gigantic Petco Park and the Atrocious San Francisco Offense, his ERA was 4.83 and he allowed 22 homers in 177 innings.  His WHIP of 1.36 was nothing special, and his his K/9 rate of 4.83 was kinda poor.  We were able to sign Justin Germano to a minor-league deal because Justin Germano has, to this point, not been a good major-league pitcher. 

And it bears mentioning that I fell for another ex-San Diego guy after a stint in Japan, Brian Sikorski, who looked to have supreme K stuff and pitched well at first in Cleveland.  As Sikorski subsequently rode off into the mookset, so may Germano.  The man has thrown 7 1/3 innings as a Cleveland Indian. 

Still, this is a guy who has allowed 3 hits in 7 1/3 innings, no runs, and has 7 Ks, leading to absurd low-sample numbers like 0.00 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and .125 AVG against.  He is currently holding right-handers to a ridiculous .059/.158/.059 line. 

While Germano was not much of a starter, and may not have the repertoire to do so for the Tribe, I would certainly rather see him enter the game than, say, Hector Ambriz. 

7) Back on the horse 

After botching the save Friday, it was good to see Chris Perez get in a perfect inning on Sunday. 

Note that in 31 total pitches between the two games, Perez threw 5 pitches that were taken for a ball.  FIVE. 

If he were much much much much much much much much slower, he could be 2007 Raffy Betancourt. 

8) Port smash! 

Matt LaPorta’s game-winning home run Friday was one of two he hit in the series.  In each game, LaPorta drove in a run with a hit, as he went 5-for-11 with 2 BB over the set.  He has raised his season numbers to .259/.330/.401, but a scorching .333/.412/.600 in August after a much-improved .282/.344/.435 in July. 

So, basically, I’m saying, “Don’t sign Russ Branyan again.” 

9) Three-hit wonders 

LaPorta was one of four Indians to post a three-hit game: Asdrubal Cabrera and Jayson Nix also had three hits apiece on Friday, while Jordan Brown chipped in three hits on Saturday and Trevor Crowe joined LaPorta on Sunday. 

10) A much better start 

After being much maligned for being … well, malignant … Mike Brantley scored two runs on two singles and a walk in his first game back from AAA on Friday and was instrumental to the team winning the one-run game in dramatic fashion.  He also led off Sunday’s game with a triple off Brian Duensing and eventually scored the game’s first run.  The leadoff man is supposed to get on base, but that’s really just because it’s the necessary precursor to scoring runs: with three runs scored this weekend (reaching base 4 times in 13 PA), this is a much more effective brand of leading off than Brantley was doing earlier.  It would be tremendous if Brantley’s jitters are all gone now and he could morph into a valuable leadoff guy: this weekend was a nice start, so kudos. 

11) Ho Hum Dept. 

Shin-Soo Choo had a hit and a run scored in each game, including a pair of doubles off lefty Brian Duensing to bring his total to 22 on the season.  (He was also picked off second, which is universally a terrible play.) 

Andy Marte did not reach base in 3 trips to the plate. 

Jayson Nix made his 8th error of the season.

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