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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/11
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

So, it was my birthday yesterday, and we went to one of those Brazilian places where you sit at a table and they bring you meat.  Not vegetables.  Not bread.  Meat.  You learn to filter out the nonsense: I do not want a chicken breast, I do not want that cut, I want these three things, and I want them until my colon surrenders, weeping.  The Indians did not recognize it was my birthday, or they wouldn’t have been two-hit by Brett Freaking Bergesen.  Who is meat.

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Orioles (40-74) 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3 13 0
Indians (47-67) 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 1

tomlin3W: Bergesen (4-9)  L: Tomlin (1-2) 

Gee, I’m sorry I missed that one. 

1) Well, now I’m just confused 

I’ve been wary of Josh Tomlin’s performance to date because of his extreme flyball nature while being a bit hit-lucky.  I’m concerned that this will translate into a bunch of extra-base hits, notably homers, and he’ll turn into Scott Elarton if he doesn’t have his top-notch command. 

So, of course, he posts an 8:3 GO:FO ratio, and of his 10 hits allowed, 8 were singles. 

Tomlin generally pitched well with runners on base: only Cesar Izturis got a hit with a runner in scoring position, and Adam Jones’ double with a runner at first resulted in an out at the plate.  In fact, had the Tribe played a little better defense, the only earned run he would have allowed was the solo shot by Brian Roberts. 

On the other hand, 10 hits is a lot of hits to give up in 5 innings, even if most of them are singles.  And with only 1 strikeout (although with 8 swinging strikes), this was not a very sharp performance. 

Let’s review, though: Tomlin gave up 2 earned runs in 5 innings, requiring only 81 pitches to do so.  I am on the verge of complaining about an outing in which the pitcher nearly has a Quality Start.  Perhaps my expectations for Tomlin are not entirely realistic. 

Anyway, he didn’t pitch great, but he certainly kept the Tribe in the game.  Which made no difference, because … 

2) True story 

Brett Bergesen completely throttled the Indians’ offense. 

Although this looks ridiculous on the surface, as Bergesen has a 5.84 ERA on the season and isn’t actually any good, it’s worth noting that his last two outings were 7-inning affairs in which he gave up 2 runs on 5 hits and 1 run on 5 hits.  He’s got a lousy 49 Ks in 111 IP this season (not entirely out of line with last year’s performance, frankly), but he seems to have put together a hot streak, and the Indians got chewed up by its peak. 

I mention this because I was in a Smart Guy Fantasy League last year with at least a couple nationally-known writers, and … well, my team wasn’t very good.  Because of injuries and some uncharacteristically poor performances and some misguided choices and the fact that I wasn’t as good at the game as some of the other managers, I ended up in the middle of the pack, largely because my team slugged like .400.  (That’s lousy.) 

Anyway, when I’d fallen significantly behind, I embarked on a “churn and burn” strategy of waiving starters and picking up other starters at the margins, so I pretty much had three guys starting for me every night.  I piled up a lot of counting stats that way, but of course, I was working at the margins. 

One of these pitchers was Brett Bergesen. 

Bergesen was actually terrific for me: he didn’t strike out a lot of guys, and his WHIP was middle-of-the-pack, but he posted a 2.72 ERA in July and a 2.23 in June.  And then he got hit by a line drive or something and I had to move on to Jason Vargas or some other Fluke of the Month and … anyway, I got creamed and it wasn’t much fun. 

Anyway, my point is, Bergesen is probably better than a 5.84 ERA guy.  He’s not Roy Halladay, but he’s probably at least league average.  Last year, for example, he gave up 5 runs in a game exactly once, in his second (of 19) start(s).  I’d rather have Bergesen than any of the Sowers/Huff/Laffey triumvirate, for example. 

Getting two-hit by Bergesen is pretty lame, though. 

3) The offense in a nutshell, because it fits in one 

Luis Valbuena singled home a run in the fifth inning. 

4) Hidden Plays I 

Part of the reason that Valbuena’s hit produced a run is that Shelley Duncan was on third base.  Duncan had drawn a walk, which is not hidden: it’s right there in the box score.  However, he was on third base because he’d advanced to second base on a ground ball to first (they took the easy out instead of trying for the force), and took third on a fly ball to right. 

It’s possible that Duncan could have scored from second on Valbuena’s single, but his baserunning doesn’t show up in the box score, except insofar as the “1” in the R column can be attributed to it. 

5) Hidden Plays II 

On the other hand, the Indians gave one back to the Orioles because of THEIR baserunning: in the first inning, Nick Markakis hit a ground ball to second with Brian Roberts on first.  This time, the Indians DID get the force, but they couldn’t turn the double play, and Markakis ended up scoring the run.  Had Markakis been doubled up there, Luke Scott’s grounder to short would have been the third out and Chris Gimenez’ passed ball would have been harmless fun. 

6) Nice hose! 

Jordan Brown is not the smoothest left fielder, although it should be noted that he flipped places with Shelley Duncan as LF/DH, so we’re not talking about going from steak to hamburger, more like beef liver to chicken liver.  To his credit, Brown chased down Adam Jones’ double, hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a good throw, and Cabrera gunned down Luke Scott trying to score from first.  If Brown is able to contribute anything defensively, he will have a much stronger case to make the 2011 Opening Day roster. 

7) Flashing the leather 

The Indians did turn three double plays last night: it’s just that two of them were doubling up Ty Wigginton, who is built roughly like a spinet piano and has a neck made out of thigh. 

However, the other DP was when Tomlin speared a liner off the bat of Markakis and doubled Brian Roberts off first.  Nice play. 

8) Managerial Retro-Head-Scratchers 

Luke Scott came to the plate with runners at the corners and Joe Smiff on the mound. 

Manny Acta replaced the right-handed Smiff with the left-handed Raffy Perez. 

Perez got ahead of Scott 0-2 and retired him on a routine fly out to left (the opposite field). 

So … why was this method not employed the night before? 

By the way, Raffy induced four swinging strikes, 3 more than Justin Germano, Joe Smiff, and Tony Sipp did in the aggregate. 

9) General Managerial Head-Hurters 

Jess Todd?  Really? 

I mean, sending down Huff, well, yes, of course, although the idea of the 2-11 Huff facing the 2-11 Kevin Millwood tonight has a certain appeal.  But Jess Todd? 

I know I’m giving up way too early on Todd, but his pitching annoys me. 

10) Open Questions 

If Jayson Nix is the future at 3B, why was he at 2B while Valbuena was at 3B?  (Frankly, neither one strikes me as the future of anything.) 

If you get on base in a game in which baserunners are at a premium, is being doubled off first base on a fly ball to LEFT a bad play?  (We’ll ask Mike Brantley about that one.) 

If you see you have players who see: 

5 pitches in 3 PA (Brown) 
6 pitches in 3 PA (Nix) 
5 pitches in 2 PA (Gimenez) 
9 pitches in 3 PA (Valbuena) 

… is this infuriating, or just discouraging?

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