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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 8/27 - 8/29
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

After a week in which they averaged -0.6 runs per game, the Indians broke out for 15 runs Friday night and took two of three from the Royals.  Between the 15-run outburst, the walkoff home run by Asdrubal Cabrera, a multi-hit game for Chris Gimenez, and two errorless games for the Tribe, this weekend series was truly one for the Unexpected.  Buff looks at the amazing base-clogging ability of the Royals, strange decisions with respect to Fausto Carmona and Frank Herrmann, and the amazing Justin Germano. 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals (54-74) 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 4 16 0
Indians (52-76) 0 6 0 1 3 0 0 5 X 15 17 0

W: Tomlin (2-3)  L: Bullington (1-3) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 R H E
Royals (54-75) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 10 2
Indians (53-76) 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 9 0

W: C. Perez (2-2) L: J. Chavez (2-2) 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Royals (55-75) 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 1 2 6 10 3
Indians (53-77) 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 6 3

W: Chen (9-7)  L: Carmona (11-13) 

2881008190018_Indians_at_RoyalsI am looking forward to September callups, because somehow, 25 mooks is not enough mooks. 

1) Everybody hits!  And scores!  And tapdances! 

Josh Tomlin weaselled out of trouble the first couple of innings, while the Tribe went down meekly in order to the powerful presence of Bryan Bullington, who has won a game in the majors.  Then a funny thing happened en route to yet another discouraging loss: 

The Indians began pounding the ball with authority. 

Consider this: after the three-run homer by Matt LaPorta, which after all isn’t completely shocking, Jason Donald followed with an opposite-field single that was one of his FOUR hits on the night.  Chris Gimenez drove him home with one of his TWO EXTRA-BASE hits on the night.  Mike Brantley drove in Gomenez for one of his two RBI … and he scored on Shin-Soo Choo’s two-out double. 

Gimenez’ OTHER extra-base hit was a three-run homer.  It was only the second of THREE “Earl Weavers” the Tribe would hit, as Jayson Nix pounded his three-run homer as his THIRD extra-base hit off some schmoe named Holland in the 8th.  Nix also doubled twice.  Other players with extra-base hits included Travis Hafner (2-for-3, 2 BB), Asdrubal Cabrera, and Donald. 

Three players reached base four times: Hafner, Choo, and Donald.  Two more reached three times each (Nix and Gomenez, who also walked).  In fact, the only guys NOT to reach base at least twice were … well … frankly, the top two hitters in the lineup.  So there’s still work to do. 

2) The Actually More Amazing Flip Side 

The Indians scored 15 runs on Friday, which isn’t completely unexpected give that they had 17 hits and drew 7 walks.  I mean, that’s 24 baserunners: in 8 innings, you’re going to score some runs with 24 baserunners.  (It helped that 10 of the 17 hits were for extra bases, but the Indians still left 9 on base, which isn’t bad compared to 15 runners NOT left on base.) 

What WAS amazing was that the Royals managed 23 baserunners … and scored FOUR runs.  Granted, 23 in 9 is fewer than 24 in 8 … but 23 baserunners is a lot of baserunners, while 4 runs is not really a lot of runs. 

How did they do that? 

Well, first off, they grounded into three double plays.  Josh Tomlin got Kila Ka’aihue to ground into a pair of DPs in the first three innings, once in the 1st and once in the 3rd.  The first was a nifty 3-6-1 that shows Tomlin’s athleticism, at least compared to Ka’aihue.  The second involved Tomlin as well, a 1-6-3 job that ended the inning.  (The first DP was only the first two outs of the inning.) 

And certainly the double play is the pitcher’s best friend, something Tomlin needed because he managed to cough up nearly a walk an inning (4 in 5 IP) and 8 hits, including a pair of doubles and a homer.  This is not really a very good performance.  Heck, it’s the same number of baserunners as Bullington, who is creamed chicken in a basket. 

Before you start sputtering about “pitching in the clutch” or “knuckling down with men on base” or any other such nonsense, even ignoring the fact that none of that noise is statistically significant anyway, consider the other Cleveland pitchers, walking through inning-by-inning: 

1 (Tomlin): 2 H, 1 DP, 1 LOB 
2 (Tomlin): 1 H, 1 LOB 
3 (Tomlin): 2 BB, 1 DP, 1 LOB 
4 (Tomlin): 4 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 2 LOB 
5 (Tomlin): 1 BB, 1 H, 2 LOB 
6 (Germano): 2 H, 1 HBP, 3 LOB 
7 (Germano): 1 H, 1 LOB 
8 (Herrmann): 2 H, 1 BB, 1 DP, 2 LOB 
9 (Herrmann): 3 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 3 LOB 

There.  You’re telling me that Frank Herrmann is “super extra clutch” because he can give up 7 baserunners in 2 innings but only allow 1 to score?  No, Frank Herrmann was terrible.  It’s just that the Royals were Extra Triple Worse.  I mean, look at that.  They left a runner on base in EVERY INNING.  They left at least two guys on base in FIVE OF THE LAST SIX INNINGS.  They LEFT the bases LOADED in TWO innings, and scored in NEITHER of them.  Three double plays hurt, but great googly moogly, so did sucking raw roc eggs

3) One last WTF Moment from Friday 

Gregor Blanco, bless his heart, leads off for the Kansas City Royals.  He’s kind of a limited hitter, but this is a team that slots Jason Kendall in the 2 slot (he of the .317 OBP and the TWO NINETY NINE slugging pct) and plays a lot of Willie the Q and thinks Yoon Betancourt is an asset hitting .270 despite the fact that his OBP is only .289 and he moves to his left like Bill O’Reilly.  Blanco singled to lead off the game, although he was the victim of the first Ka’aihue GIDP. 

In his second plate appearance, he batted second in the inning after a leadoff walk to Chris Getz.  He sacrificed Getz to second base.  It was a nice enough bunt. 

Except that this is the top of the third. 

And Cleveland scored SIX RUNS in the bottom of the second. 

Making this Extra Special, Blanco went 4-for-4 on the night. 

(Note: he may have been bunting for a hit instead of a straight sacrifice.  But the man went 4-for-4 and his team was down 6-zip.  A sacrifice there … in front of Jason Kendall, who is a prune danish at this point in his career … looks bad.)

4) Wait, what about the actual POINT? 

Tomlin wasn’t very good.  I’m pretty sure he’s not actually very good, either.  I appreciate his contributions to the team: he’s been quite solid indeed as a young guy thrown into the deep end, and has been victimized by some poor run support. 

The man has given up a homer in each of his last five starts … has struck out at most two batters in four of his six starts … has been very hittable in his last three starts after three great starts to begin his career … has raised his ERA after every start, now up to 4.08 … has a lousy 16:11 K:BB ratio in 35 1/3 IP … I mean, look: he’s a young guy, he has great poise, he’s only made six major-league starts, he’s got plenty of development time left … but frankly, I’m not seeing that he’s got a lot of development development left.  He’s a guy.  I like that he’s pitching solidly enough.  I don’t see his ceiling as particularly high. 

Look, the man got TWO swings-and-misses Friday.  TWO!  To his credit, he threw strikes with the big lead: he wasn’t nibbling, generally speaking.  But he gave up 3 extra-base hits and 12 baserunners in 5 innings, including doubles to guys with SLGs of .366 and .380.  I have concerns. 

5) Functional difference? 

So why am I more excited and/or sanguine about Jeanmar Gomez?  After all, his WHIP is higher than that of Tomlin, and his ERA isn’t a whole lot lower (3.55). 

Well, first off, he just LOOKS better.  His stuff seems to have more “stuffiness” to it when I watch the games on  He also generally gets more ground balls than Tomlin, although in his past two starts they’ve been able to elevate the ball against Gomez. 

Not only that, though, he’s really had one bad start.  Granted, that start was truly ghastly, with 11 hits and 3 walks in 3 innings pitched.  Very, very poor.  In each of his SIX other starts, he has allowed no more than 2 runs.  Sure, he doesn’t get very deep into games, but I think part of that is by design.  He’s only 22 (Tomlin is 25), and has thrown as many as 100 pitches exactly once in seven starts.  The Tribe brass seem to have a quick hook on Gomez, and more power to them. 

Was Saturday’s start Super Awesome?  No, no objectively.  He gave up a two-run shot in the sixth inning and ended up yielding 6 H and 2 BB in 5 2/3 IP.  He did strike out four hitters, which is better than normal for him (heck, it ties his “major league career high”).  And the fact is, the two-run shot in the sixth masked the fact that he’d started the game with five scoreless innings, without the benefit of the six-run lead Tomlin had. 

I don’t mean for this to turn into a Tomlin v. Gomez competition.  Guns AND butter.  Tacos AND beer.  The more, the merrier, and if BOTH guys pan out, hey, that’s great.  I’m all for it.  But I just want to get across that I think Gomez and Tomlin are, right now, in completely different CLASSES when considering who has the chops to help for the rest of the decade: in the absence of future data, Gomez is simply the better pitcher. 

6) Drooby Doo! 

You gotta be kidding me. 

I mean, I’ll take it, but … c’mon. 

7) Managerial Back-Patters 

Speaking of the walkoff shot in the 10th, I really liked that Chris Perez pitched the top of the frame.  This, combined with the five-out save he had last week, suggests a willingness by Manny Acta to break free from the “one-inning saves only” approach to closers that some others have had.  You have the top of the lineup coming up in the bottom of the inning, go ahead and put your best pitcher on the mound (and make no mistake: Justin Germano’s Wonderful World of Gork aside, Chris Perez is the best pitcher on this staff for a one-inning stint).  Not a save opportunity?  Who the hell cares?  Do you want to win the ballgame or not?  If winning is important to you, you put C-Pez on the mound. 

Manny put C-Pez on the mound. 

Not coincidentally, Cleveland won the game. 

8) The legless batting order 

As opposed to Friday night, where everyone BUT the top of the order hit, on Saturday, each of the first four hitters reached base at least twice.  Brantley, Cabrera, and Hafner each had a pair of hits, while Shin-Soo Choo walked twice (Cabrera also walked). 

Meanwhile, the last five slots in the order went 3-for-19 with a walk (by Souper Lou, of course). 

Note: “legless” is only a reference to having a top with no bottom: in fact, it was the top of the order that produced both Caught Stealing (Choo, Cabrera) while the mid-bottom stole two bases (both by Trev Crowe). 

9) Adventures in Second-Guessing! 

Sure, some of this is post hoc analysis, but I did wonder about them in real-time as well. 

In the 8th inning Saturday, Joe Smiff cleverly walked light-hitting Jason Kendall because he is insane.  Acta brought on Raffy Perez to pitch to the left-handed Kila Ka’aihue, and Perez quickly got him down 0-2 before inducing a fly out to the opposite field. 

Pitching to Wilson Betemit, Kansas City’s sole hot hitter, batting right-handed against the lefty Perez, Raffy uncorked a 1-0 wild pitch to put Kendall at second and advance the count to 2-0 on Betemit.  The next hitter due up was Alex Gordon, a left-handed hitter who is positively useless against left-handed pitching. 

Shouldn’t you go ahead and walk Betemit there?  I mean, I know this comes to mind because Betemit doubled to tie the game: without that, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, or at least wouldn’t have blown four paragraphs on it, but it DID come to mind (mostly because I was terrified of Betemit) and it DOES seem like it would have been pretty reasonable. 

On Sunday, Fausto Carmona had thrown 105 pitches through 6 innings.  He got to pitch some more, he gave up another run, he left with 118 pitches.  This all sounds very familiar because it’s EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST F*#$ING GAME. 

Now, I admit, it is possible to get value from this.  Stretching Carmona out to a longer workhorse is not valueless.  The best way to stretch a pitcher is by stretching the pitcher.  I get that.  I am not CERTAIN this is what they’re doing.  I’m not even sure I don’t like it.  It seems that way, though. 

Speaking of being stretched, was there hidden value in letting Frank Herrmann throw FIFTY-FOUR F*#&ING PITCHES Friday night?  I mean, it saved anyone else from having to pitch, I guess, and Herrmann was a starter once upon a time, but 54 pitches is a lot of pitches to throw in 2 innings. 

10) Musical Interlude 

Ach, du lieber, 
Ambriz sucks 
Ambriz sucks 
Ambriz sucks 

Ach, du lieber, 
Ambriz sucks 
Please make him go 

11) Amusement in a bag 

Tony Sipp came out with two outs in the 6th inning Saturday with Willie the Q on first base.  Sipp immediately picked him off before throwing a single pitch to Mitch Maier.  This is the second time in the last coupla weeks Sipp has done this.  It still makes me snort out loud. 

12) Not all zeroes are created equal 

Justin Germano kept his 0.00 ERA in tact, but not before loading the bases on a two-out double, HBP, and single.  He then struck out the next hitter and escaped unscathed. 

I like Germano as a reliever.  But that’s not very good.

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