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Indians Indians Archive The B-List: 9/1
Written by Steve Buffum

Steve Buffum

Carlos Carrasco’s wonderful 2010 debut was marred by yet another bullpen botch-up, and today’s B-List covers all the interesting happenings, and then a bunch of other stuff, too.  Carrasco’s long-term future is discussed, while a root of much evil is identified, and a pitcher is compared to a character from “Highlights.”  A player from the past makes a guest appearance in an effort to short-circuit your brain, and Shin-Soo Choo is still really good.  Cleveland left fielders?  Not so much. 

FINAL 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
White Sox (73-60) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 6 8 3
Indians (53-80) 0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 10 0

carrascoW: T. Pena (4-2) L: Germano (0-1) S: Sale (1) 

N is for Neville who died of ennui. 
-- E. Gorey, “The Gashlycrumb Tinies”

0) Administrative Note 

I am still looking for a way to contact an Indians player.  If anyone has a contact, or has had success doing this, please email me at 

Also, I’m not too proud to beg.  Please send feedback, or a question, or a coupon for ice cream, or anything.  Peeker doesn’t count: he’s required to read the column.  I’m dyin’ out here. 

1) Welcome back! 

Now THAT’S the guy I hoped we were getting in the Cliff Lee trade! 

Was Carlos Carrasco perfect, or even excellent?  Certainly not the former, and arguably giving up two homers precludes the latter, but it was a very good start.  Carrasco appears to have done a better job of harnessing raw stuff this time around, putting the memory of last year’s Kuppa Kawfee into rather distant focus in the rear-view: not only did he finish his year at AAA Clumbus on a strong note (posting a 2.08 ERA over his last 8 starts), but he showed a degree of poise and polish that was simply absent last year.  The guy I saw last year threw pretty straight stuff down the heart of the plate and was punished for it.  This guy had more movement and a LOT better command than that guy. 

I don’t know if this is really Carrasco’s M.O., but he induced at least one ground ball out every inning and finished the game with 13.  He never gave up more than one fly out in an inning and had three innings with no outs in the air.  He induced a double play after a leadoff single in the 7th, and was throwing just as hard at the end of the start as he was at the beginning. 

(Reports say “95,” but I take all velocity reports with a grain of salt.  Carrasco clearly throws harder than nimrods like Aaron Laffey, but does he “really” throw 95?  That was one of his selling points, so perhaps he does.  I apply a blanket skepticism to all velocity readings, that’s all.  Nothing personal against Carrasco.  I am skeptical that Aroldis Chapman threw 104, too.) 

One of the more encouraging things Carrasco displayed was an ability to finish off hitters: although he got only 6 swings-and-misses, three of them were strikes three.  Only two of the six hits he allowed came with two strikes, and they were an infield single and a blooper over the second base bag.  Otherwise, the maximum number of hitters he faced in an inning was four.  With C.C. Sabathia no longer around to provide guidance, it is possible that Carrasco will avoid learning the Indians staple, the Inning of Crap™. 

If there is a warning light to be seen, it comes in the form of two solo shots allowed.  Certainly a solo shot is better than a three-run homer, but homers are a commodity to be minimized.  The fact that Carrasco poster a 13:5 GO:FO ratio is encouraging in that regard, and the fact that the solo shots came early in their respective innings suggests a willingness to challenge hitters with the bases empty.  But homers are bad. 

I think the thing to take away from this start is not necessarily that he allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 7 innings (then gave up 2 in a partial 8th: a four-pitch walk around your 100-pitch mark is a good sign that’s enough for the day), but rather that he barely looked like the same GUY from 2009.  If his numbers in Clumbus point to a more mature approach, this start fits in with those data, and the combination makes Carlos Carrasco a frontrunner to grab a rotation spot in 2011.  Sometimes we forget that this guy isn’t a long-timer who hasn’t broken through, but rather a 23-year-old who hadn’t put it together yet.  I’m gonna stop some rods short of saying he’s all the way developed now, but I think taking encouragement from this start isn’t unwarranted. 

2) Goofus & Gallant 

When Goofus wants something that someone else is using, he grabs it and says, “My turn, bitch!” 
When Gallant wants something that someone else is using, he asks politely and waits patiently.

When Goofus sees the elevator doors open, he shoves his way in before the doors even finish opening. 
When Gallant sees the elevator doors open, he steps back and waits for people to exit before walking into the car.

When Goofus sees men on base late in a close game, he gives up a three-run homer to lose the game. 
As a Cleveland Indians fan, I have no f*#&ing idea what Gallant does in this situation.

3) The root of much evil 

Certainly Justin Germano’s “Meatball Pitch” was a suboptimal approach to getting out of the 8th inning.  It was bad, and Paul Konerko is good.  He is ceratinly having a good season.  I chuckle at the idea that somehow having Ice Cold Manny on deck had something to do with it: in September, 2010, I would much rather pitch to Manny Ramirez than Paul Konerko.  Sure, Manny’s a three-four-five slash line guy, but this year, Konerko is a three-four-SIX guy.  Manny’s had the better career, I grant that without reservation.  Heck, Paul Konerko grants this without reservation.  In late summer 2010?  Konerko’s more likely to get a big hit. 

But part of the reason that Konerko’s hit was so big was that there were two men on base.  How did they get there? 

Juan Pierre: walked by Carlos Carrasco 

Okay, I can’t get too upset over this one.  This was Carrasco’s 8th inning, and he kind of lost his mojo.  You don’t want to walk a punchless hitter with nobody on base on four pitches, but hey. 

Alex Rios: walked by Justin Germano 

THIS one is infuriating.  Germano’s first three pitches were all out of the strike zone.  He got a strike looking, then barfed up the walk. 

Did it stop there?  It did not stop there. 

9th inning: Andruw Jones, 4-pitch walk by Jensen Lewis 

The leadoff hitter had singled.  Whatever.  But because of this walk, the runners were bunted to 2nd and 3rd, and a sac fly brought in the 6th run.  That walk was directly responsible for that run. 

Let’s be explicit here: the White Sox scored 6 runs.  They hit 3 homers.  The other three runs were scored by players who walked or were moved up by a walk. 

4) New Math 

Of course, as much as I hate walks given up by my team’s pitchers, I love when they’re drawn by my team’s hitters.  The reasoning here is almost identical. 

However, explain this to me.  The Indians had: 

More hits (10 to 8) 
More walks (4 to 3) 
More stolen bases (2 to 1) at a better success rate (67% to 50%) 
Fewer errors (0 to 3) 
More hits with runners in scoring position (4 to 1) 
Better AVG with runners in scoring position (.308 to .250)

And somehow we still managed to lose. 

The two big culprits: 

Home runs, Chicago 3 to 0 
GIDP, Cleveland 3 to 1


5) Blue screen of death 

Jayson Nix is hitting .252/.311/.446 on the season.  This includes his very poor start with Chicago, but then, those numbers aren’t very big: he only had 49 AB for the ChiSox (he has 242 overall now).  When he got the wazoo, previous third baseman Jhonny Peralta was “hitting” .246/.308/.389, making Nix the more-productive player.  (Note: Peralta hit .254/.316/.375 in 2009 as well.) 

However, yesterday, Jayson Nix went 3-for-3 and got plunked once to reach base all four times he came to the plate.  TWO of his singles were INFIELD singles, and he created a run by making a good slide on a stolen base attempt. 

Brain exercise: try to imagine Jhonny Peralta beating out two infield singles in one game. 


6) Ho Hum Dept. 

Shin-Soo Choo collected three hits yesterday, including a double.  He scored a run and stole his 16th base of the season. 

7) Ho Hum Dept. II 

And then he struck out against a lefty, against whom he has a .676 OPS.  His OPS against right-handers is .954. 

(Fun fact: Choo is hitting .315/.448/.463 with RISP and 2 outs.  Sometimes, the other guy beats you.) 

8) Dept. of Sadness 

Chris Gimenez hit his fifth double in limited playing time.  This does not make me sad.  It’s a fine thing. 

No, the sadness comes from the fact that his .200/.304/.400 batting line is now statistical noise away from Shelley Duncan’s .233/.313/.411 line on the season. 

So … yeah, Duncan will be moving on.  Nice guy.  Not actually very good at baseball. 

9) And yet 

Trevor Crowe: .245/.300/.331. 

What team doesn’t have OUTFIELDERS?  Middle infielders, sure.  Catchers are valuable.  Third baseman can be tough to fine.  But LEFT FIELDERS?  Come one.  Greg Luzinski and Pete Incaviglia played left field.  All you have to do it HIT.  We have NO ONE who can HIT? 

10) For completeness’ sake 

Jordan Brown had an RBI single.  Huzz.

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