With the end of the Indians season, Burning River Baseball is moving on to season two. There are a few changes to formatting that are discussed within the episode, but essentially, we are adding two new segments, "Sports in Other Media" and the "Top Ten List of the Week." On this episode, we talk about other sports radio shows (and podcasts) that we enjoy, like the Trivisano Show and the Davey Mac Sports Program. This week's top ten list is Indians closers, which can be found here. We also discuss the Indians final game of the season against the Rays and our opinions on the new play-off format.no comments
A new addition to Burning River Baseball in 2013 is the Top Ten Offensive Play list. This season we have kept track of every walk-off hit, every last at bat win and any other offensive play that seemed exceptional so we could rank them at the end of the year. Only 32 plays made the final cut, including eleven walk off hits, two inside-the-park-home runs, two mammoth home run shots and a plethora of other situations of importance or great interest. Jason Kipnis and Mark Reynolds lead team with five a piece, but Jason Giambi outshone everyone with four that all made it into the top 15. These were whittled down to just the very best, but there were so many amazing plays that we had to cheat a little. Plays that were very similar were put together so that there are actually 21 plays listed in the top 15. Just enjoy them, these are good.
Five that Almost Made It:
Jason Giambi & Carlos Santana Beat the Twins in 10
Drew Stubbs Just Wants to Go Home
Jason Kipnis & Carlos Santana Get Homers the Hard Way
Surprise Bunt Gives Indians 2 Run Lead - Jason Kipnis 5/3
Carlos Santana Super Shot Gets Indians Into Play-Offs
10. Mike Aviles - September 1st - Super Salami
The Indians had trouble with the Tigers all year and things looked dim again on September 1st after they had already lost three straight to Detroit. Facing Joaquin Benoit, the Tigers closer, super-sub Mike Aviles came to bat with the bases loaded. He used a short sweet swing to set a ball just on top of the bullpen. It wasn't a long shot, but it was enough to get the Indians the 4-0 win.
9. Jason Giambi - May 27th - The Wise Old Master Still Has Some Thump
Even though the Indians eventually lost this game, it doesn't get much more exciting than this hit. The score was 2-1 in the eighth inning when Drew Stubbs struck out to start the inning. The Indians had scored on a sacrifice fly and had only hit safely four times, so Terry Francona went to his bench for some Goon Squad magic. Jason Giambi pinch hit for Ubaldo Jimenez and crushed the third pitch he saw 50 feet past the fence in center field to tie the game.
8. Mark Reynolds - May 6th - That Would Have Been Out of Yellowstone
When defining what made an exciting play, we knew that home runs of a certain length should be included, but didn't have a set distance. This ridiculous monster mash by Mark Reynolds set a standard that no one else came even close to for the rest of the year. The blast landed high in the bleachers, a true distance of 457 feet according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker. The home run brought back memories of 1997 when Mark McGwire became the only player to ever actually hit the score board in the history of Jacob's/Progressive Field. This has to be one of the longest and highest home runs in Indians history.
7. Drew Stubbs - May 3rd - Walk-Off double shot? I'll Have Another
This was a big game for the Tribe that saw Jason Kipnis knock in four (including one on the bunt that there is no video of listed above) and Drew Stubbs hit two doubles in regulation, but that was not enough. It all came down to this 10th inning monster double (Stubbs third in a row), that scored Mike Aviles from second. Just another walk-off win from the 2013 Cleveland Indians.
6. Michael Bourn - July 27th - From Start to Finish
This game featured two of the top starters in all of baseball at the time and the game proved the billing accurate. Bourn hit the second pitch thrown by Rangers' ace, Yu Darvish over the right field wall, making it seem like this might not be the case. Instead, the Indians only had two hits during the rest of the game and Justin Masterson, Joe Smith and Chris Perez combined to shut out Texas. This makes this home run just as important as any walk-off, despite occurring at the opposite side of the game.
5. Jose Ramirez - September 9th - Speed Kills & Forces Errors
Ramirez was the only rookie hitter to be given a chance this year with the Indians and he really impressed after his jump straight from AA. In his sixth game (but only his second at bat) he had his first career hit. This particular play in the top ten however, involved his base running after the hit. Drew Stubbs came up next and hit a ground ball to third. Ramirez was running on the pitch, which broke up any chance at the double play, but that wasn't the end. He went to third on the throw to first, then scored when the ball went into the outfield.
4. Mark Reynolds - April 3rd - Starting Things Off Right
The Indians knew this was going to be a special season early on when they won their first two games against Toronto, the second on this giant Reynolds home run. Reynolds gave the Indians the lead in the 11th inning and it stood up as the Indians started off 2-0. The distance was impressive and provided some foreshadowing for his first two months as a Cleveland Indian.
3. Michael Bourn - July 30th - You Can't Catch the Flash
Bourn and Stubbs brought a new dimension to the Indians offense this season after many years of little to no team speed. This play shows all that speed can do, as Bourn grounds into a routine double play into a two run play. Down two with one out in the fifth against Chicago, Bourn beat out the double play and stepped on pitcher Andre Rienzo's foot in the process. While he was hobbling around, Lonnie Chisenhall came around third to score the game tying run.
The importance of this play showed later in the game when Ryan Raburn had another exciting play, hitting a two out, two run, go ahead single in the eight inning that provided the winning margin.
2. Jason Giambi - July 29th & September 24th - You Can Put it on the Board....Yes!
It seemed like every hit by Giambi this season came at an important time, and amazingly, he hit two pinch hit, walk-off home runs against the White Sox. First, pinch-hitting for the struggling Mark Reynolds, Giambi lead off the ninth inning with a huge solo home run to center.
The next time, in a much more important game, he pinch-hit for Matt Carson who had came on defensively at the top of the ninth. After a blown save by Chris Perez turned a one run lead into a one run deficit, Michael Brantley started the bottom of the ninth off with a single. Giambi then came through with a huge home run that was pulled down the right field line. This was a microcosm of the Indians entire season against the White Sox where they went 17-2, including a 14 game winning streak. The second walk-off made Giambi the oldest player in baseball history to hit a walk-off home run and tied an Indians record with three pinch hit home runs.
1. Jason Kipnis, Mark Reynolds & Yan Gomes - May 17th-20th - Walk-Off Weekend
At this point, you may be thinking, "he said their were eleven walk-off wins, but only two have been listed in the top ten so far." That is because the best are being saved for last. Toward the end of May, the Indians swept a four game series against the Seattle Mariners, but it wasn't any normal sweep. The Tribe won the first, second and fourth games of that series in walk-off fashion, including two tenth inning three run home runs. The official number one offensive play of this year was the Kipnis home run as it came with two outs and was a rocket shot out to right.
All video courtesy of MLB.comno comments
|Name:||David Eugene LaRoche||Position:||Closer|
|Accolades:||2 Time All-Star (1976-77)||DOB:||05/14/1948|
|Best Season (1976)||1||4||0.200||3.79||61||21||24||0.875||96.1||57.0||25||24||2||49||104||1.10||9.7||.165|
Dave LaRoche was one of the Indians first closers and remains one of the top closers in team history. Like many Indians closers, his time with the team was short. The 1970's were a poor time for the Indians, but one thing that stood out was their pitching. Gaylord Perry lead the staff with another future Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley throwing behind him in the rotation. With all this attention paid to the starting staff and top relievers surrounding him, like Jim Kern, Jim Bibby and Tom Buskey, LaRoche still stood out and made the All-Star team in both 1976 and 1977 (he was technically on the Angels when he made the 1977 team).
LaRoche had a long career outside of the Indians, starting in 1967 when he was drafted by the California Angels. His first five years were nothing really special, closing sometimes and always used in relief while playing for the Angels and Cubs. In 1975 he was traded from Chicago along with Brock David to the Indians for Milt Wilcox. LaRoche then proceeded to have the best two seasons of his career, keeping his ERA under 2.25 for two straight seasons, something he never did before or after in a single season. After starting off 1977 poorly, the Indians cut ties with LaRoche and traded him back to the Angels in what ended up being a great deal for Sid Monge and Bruce Bochte. Monge stayed around for the next five seasons and became the greatest left handed relief pitcher in Indians history.
Dave LaRoche retired after throwing a single inning in 1983 with the Yankees, but was far from being done with baseball. He immediately went into his coaching career, starting in 1984 as a minor league pitching coach with New York. In 1989 he made it back to the pros as the pitching coach for the White Sox, but didn't stay long, becoming the bullpen coach for the Mets in 1992. He took a few years off in the 1990's, then came back as a minor league pitching coach for a few more years before retiring in 2010. His main achievement in baseball, however, is likely to be the fact that he sired a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates named Adam and Andy. Adam has so far outperformed Andy, but both infielders out-earned their father's career salary in a single season with the Pirates.no comments
"Why keep a massive statistical database of every player in Indians history if you're not going to use it?", is what some people might say and I agree. Keeping track of many stats increases the probability of modern players hitting on one of them and such was the case this season. You may have heard during the regular season, milestones such as Danny Salazar struck out more batters in his first two games than any Indians pitcher since Herb Score or that Jason Giambi set the record for oldest player to hit a walk-off home run. Those type of records are not going to be considered here. Instead the focus is on the top ten Indians records for single season and career.
Starting with the least valued stat first, quite a lot of movement happened in the holds rankings this year. Joe Smith became the Indians leader while Vinnie Pestano moved into fifth all time. In addition, Rich Hill (13), Cody Allen (12) and Bryan Shaw (12) moved into the top 20 on the strength of just a single season. Joe Smith's 25 holds this year was also good enough for fifth all time in a single season, surpassing Tony Sipp's 2011 campaign.
While it isn't a stat that directly shows talent, being used often out of the building shows a certain reliability and Cody Allen was nothing if not reliable. His 77 games played surpassed Sid Monge as the second most used pitcher in a single season in Indians history. Bob Howry set the team record with 79 in 2005 with a very similar season to Allen in 2013.
Rounding out the relief stats, Chris Perez surpassed Jose Mesa early in the season in career saves, moving into third place all time. There is a very good chance this top ten list will not have to be updated for a least a few years, despite the small distance between the leaders as Perez appears to be on his way out.
The Indians history in catchers is simply pathetic. Yes, they have had great catchers ever since 1990, but prior to that, it was a primarily defensive position with almost no offensive stand outs. Because of this, Carlos Santana has been destroying positional records, although he has cheated some by playing first base on his off days. This may be the final year he is eligible for these considerations as a move to first seems immanent.
This year, Santana grabbed top ten spots for three single season catcher stats, games played, runs scored and doubles. Again, this includes all stats for players whose primary position was catcher, not just while actually playing that position. His 154 games played was second only to his own 2011 season when he played in 155. In more impressive stats, he placed sixth all time in runs scored among catchers with 75, falling between Johnny Romano's 1961 season (76) and Victor Martinez in 2005 (73). Santana already had the top spot in this stat as well from his 2011 season (84).
Finally, Santana came one double away from the team catcher record for doubles in a year with 39. Only Victor Martinez (40 in 2007) had more. He is still signed for the next few years and will continue to move up the career charts whether it is as a catcher, first baseman or DH.
Jason Kipnis has been a very effective base runner, both because of his speed and his intelligence/instincts. This was his second season of 30 or more steals, giving him his second spot in the top five for single season steals by an Indians second baseman.
|Single Season SB as 2B|
This is a pretty boring top five and the top ten is likely to be almost completely Alomar and Kipnis by the time Kipnis becomes a free agent.
In addition to the single season prowess, Kipnis surpassed the 50 attempt mark this year, qualifying him for the career stolen base top ten. He has a precarious spot at second all time right now, behind (surprise) Roberto Alomar. Alomar was successful in 86.9% of his steal attempts, while Kipnis has been safe in 82.5%. This places him just slightly ahead of Kenny Lofton (81.3%) who, of course had the disadvantage of stealing almost 400 more games than Kipnis to this point. His qualifying this year also allowed him to jump straight to 26th all-time in Major League history, passing two of his teammates, Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn who were both ranked in the top 20 prior to this season, but fell off.
The Indians most impressive improvement as a team was the pitching staffs ability to strike people out. Not only did an Indians pitcher have the first 190 strike out season since C.C. Sabathia's Cy Young year, but two pitchers did it, Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson. In addition, all five regular starters struck out at least 100 batters, something that hasn't happened since 2005. These, however, aren't the records we're looking for.
Starting with least significant, the Indians had two pitchers join the top five pitchers in single season K/9 with a minimum of 50 IP. This generally means relievers and starters who didn't throw the whole season and there was one of each.
|SS K/9 At Least 50IP|
Most impressively, Danny Salazar bumped off the first season of a different young Indians flamethrower, Bob Feller.
|SS K/9 Qualified|
Increasing the innings limit to 162, we can consider just starters who qualified for the ERA title. Jimenez used his fantastic finish to move into fifth all time, while Justin Masterson came in 12th with a 9.1 K/9. The rest of the top five features some the two greatest strike out pitchers in Indians history (not Colon) and Jimenez even beat one out, knocking back Score's 1956 (9.5) season.
Saving the most significant for last, considering the careers among pitchers with at least 300 IP, Jimenez has jumped from being one of the worst pitchers in Indians history to being someone of importance. He now ranks seventh all-time in the Indians 113 year history, beating out famous strike out pitchers like Bob Feller, C.C. Sabathia and Luis Tiant. In all of Major League baseball, Jimenez now ranks 33rd, while fellow Indians starter Scott Kazmir now ranks 15th.
Following this, Justin Masterson bumped his strike outs up this year, pushing him to 15th all time in K/9. Of course the most exciting pitcher is one who doesn't qualify. Danny Salazar's 11.3 K/9 through 52 innings is the best all time for an Indians pitcher with more than 20 innings thrown. While this will certainly drop as his career progresses, he is already set up to be the Indians best strike out pitcher since Herb Score. Most impressively, he does it with swing and misses, confounding hitters with a 99 MPH fastball and unfair curve. Let's just hope that no one hits a ball into his eye this time.no comments
The statistic used to impartially and unemotionally discover the player of each game is useful for more than that. As an all encompassing cumulative statistic, it makes it possible to compare pitchers and hitters to see who is more useful to the team. The Player of the Game score is used extensively by Burning River Baseball when deciding the player power rankings, team awards and just general comparisons. Below is the final numbers accrued by each players that participated in at least ten games this year. The scores have been split into three categories to show how each player contributed through offense, defense and pitching.
A few notes:
- It should surprise nobody that Kipnis came out on top in both total score and average among hitters, but Raburn coming in second in per game average may surprise. The Indians would almost certainly have been better off during the regular season if he had gotten a little more playing time.
- A negative defensive score doesn't mean a player didn't play well on defense. The majority of points given for defense are for errors and unearned runs, with only small amounts handed out for positive defense plays. Reynolds and Bourn are good examples of this. Swisher had the worst defensive game of the year in June 7th when he committed two errors that allowed three unearned runs, earning almost half his negative score in that game alone.
- Only one semi-regular player earned a negative score for the season (and just one short termer, Kelly Shoppach) on the year. Carrasco actually looked much worse at a point during the year, but gained a positive 10 points after being made a reliever on August 9th. In general, in any game a positive score means the player helped his team, while a negative score means they hurt their team. Usually a player that hurts his team regularly doesn't stick around very long, so there are generally no full season players with negative scores.
Much has been made of the Indians success this season and many people have attributed it to a big offseason in 2012. While those players and personnel have been important, enough credit can not be given to Mickey Calloway's role in turning around the pitching staff, the real reason behind the Indians success this year was the career progression of the players acquired through various means over the past five years.
Before going into the greatness of the long term Tribesmen, credit must be given to the newcomers. Terry Francona has been just about the perfect manager for this team. He was patient when necessary, allowing Ubaldo Jimenez, Lonnie Chisenhall and others to work through their struggles during the early season before making rash decisions. In each decision, he was right, allowing Jimenez to continue while benching Chisenhall and Mark Reynolds. He was generally good in handling the pitching staff as well, keeping the young starters from over extending so they would be available late in the season. Of the rest of the new coaching staff, it is hard to tell how much they actually effected, but the offense, coached by Ty Van Burkleo, has improved over previous seasons. Mickey Calloway and Mike Sarbaugh have been good as well, but are technically not newcomers as they came through the minor league system.
In addition to an entirely new coaching staff, the Indians also spent a lot of money to bring in a slew of free agents, including Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Mark Reynolds and Brett Myers. Some even better deals were made through trades where the Indians picked up Yan Gomes, Mike Aviles, Drew Stubbs, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw. Finally, they added a few role players just before the season started through minor league contracts including Scott Kazmir, Ryan Raburn and Rich Hill.
Of the 25 most used roster members, 12 were new, while 13 were either on the team in 2012 or came up through the Indians farm system. Based on our 2013 final Player Power Rankings, the Indians top six Indians producers this year fell under the second category, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Corey Kluber. This is important to look at before giving Nick Swisher all the credit for the turn around, just because he used to play for the Yankees.
The above chart shows the total final season statistics for the Indians, split between those players who have been with the team at least a year or came up through the system and those that were added just prior to the 2013 season. Obviously, the Indians added a much larger percent of their lineup in the offseason than the pitching staff. In fact, although it wasn't prepared this way at the beginning of the year, four of the five regular starters were hold overs from last year. The sixth starter, Danny Salazar, also counts for that side as a former Indians international free agent signing.
Because of this, there is no question that the old pitchers far outproduced the new, not just in innings, but in the rate stats as well. In fact, almost none of the new pitching acquisitions worked out with Brett Myers and Rich Hill especially being epically bad. Marc Rzepczynski was a great mid season pick-up and is included on the new players list, but didn't throw enough innings to really matter. The main player responsible for anything positive on that side was Scott Kazmir, who was a surprise signing that continued to surprise through the final month of the season.
The offense was a different story. Three of the eight regular offensive players were new as well as the entire bench, most of which eventually became some sort of every day player. An interesting note is that those five starters that remained from 2012 were essentially the only old Indians to play at all this year. Those players all played in at least 94 games with the next highest being September call-up, Juan Ramirez, who played in 15. On the other side, eight new players got into at least 70 games and September call-up, Matt Carson, played in 20. This essentially explains why the counting stats are higher for the new players, but the rate stats are higher for the original Indians.
The most interesting statistical oddity is that not only did new players not steal more bases than the old, but they were more inefficient. Coming into 2013, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs were supposed to bring a new level of speed to the Indians offense, but Bourn was caught 12 times in 35 attempts and Stubbs only attempted 19. Jason Kipnis was the top stealer on the team this year with 30 steals and was only caught seven times. Michael Brantley added 17 of his own and was only caught four times. Yes, the Indians were much more dangerous on the bases this year than in previous years, but it had more to do with the career progression of Kipnis, Brantley and Cabrera than the additions of Stubbs and Bourn.
The fact is, things are looking good for the Indians now and in the future. There is no real competition between the old players and the new and this was just an effort to show that all the Indians success was not due to their extra spending last offseason. Kipnis, Swisher, Santana, Gomes and Bourn are under team control through 2017. Most of the top pitchers, like Danny Salazar, Zach McAllister, Trevor Bauer, Cody Allen and C.C. Lee are under control even longer. If nothing else, this means that last year's off-season was a one time event and won't need to happen again for at least the next four years. If these guys played this well together in their first year, just imagine what they will be like when they hit their prime within the next three years.no comments
The Indians were poised to make a long run into the play-offs this year, the only thing standing in their way being the Tampa Bay Rays and starting pitcher Alex Cobb. As we all know now, this block was insurmountable, but what we really want to know is why.
First off, the odds were against them. Winning ten games in a row against anyone is incredibly improbable and winning eleven is even more so. In fact, ten games was the Indians longest winning streak in 2013 and the longest by any Indians team since August of 2008. While it was necessary to get as far as they did, the Indians would have been much better off had they been able to coast into the play-offs, winning only seven or eight of their last ten.
In addition to just plain bad luck, Alex Cobb matched up against the Indians in all the wrong ways. In general, as a patient team that likes to go deep in the count, but still strikes out a lot, the Indians were easy to take advantage of by Cobb, who had great stuff in this and each of his other appearances against Cleveland. Even his handedness was a liability as the Indians were one of the worst teams in the league at hitting right handers (.247). In fact, a large part of their success at the end of the year had to due with facing so many left handed starters. Against the right hander, the Indians were unable to make use of Mike Aviles at all, while Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera were forced to hit from their weak side.
Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis deserve a lot of the blame as well, although their failures at the plate reflect very little on their ability as hitters. The Indians number two and number three hitters had chances in pivotal situations in the fifth and seventh innings when even a single could have turned around the whole game. With runners in scoring position the two combined to go 0-3 and between the two of them and Asdrubal Cabrera, ended six of the nine innings.
As has been the case all year, the bottom of the lineup and the Goon Squad in general did come through as much as they could. Yan Gomes and Ryan Raburn reached base four times, while recent back-up Lonnie Chisenhall hit safely in each of his first three at bats. While he did make the final out of the game, it was really decided much earlier when none of the Indians top hitters were able to knock in Chisenhall after he got on.
In the end, the team probably ended where it deserved. From their record against Detroit alone, it is obvious that they were not ready for the big guys this year, but things are just getting started. Kipnis just finished his second season and both he and Chisenhall will be getting closer to their prime next year. Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana should be able to continue their success from 2013 and the pitching staff is only going to get better with Trevor Bauer and Danny Salazar around for a full season.
While squandering any chance at a World Series is incredibly disappointing, at the Indians have hope this time that unlike 2001 and 2007, this team could return to the play-offs again in 2014, possibly as Division champions so they can avoid all the one game play-off siliness.no comments
Player(s) of the Game
The bullpen and Justin Masterson in particular deserve all the credit for keeping this game winnable until the ninth inning. Marc Rzepczynski, Bryan Shaw along with Masterson combined to throw four innings and didn't allow a run, giving up just three hits while striking out five.
Goat of the Game
Nick Swisher, he of so much play-off experience, had four at bats in tonight's game including a pivotal chance in the fifth inning. With runners at first and third, where a sacrifice fly would have scored the Indians' first run, Swisher hit an easy ground ball to first that should have been a double play. In his other at bats he went 0-3 with two strike outs, one of which came with two on in the seventh and ended the inning. The game was full of missed opportunities and the top three batters going 0-12 was largely to blame.
1st Inning: Danny Salazar had a top fastball from the very first inning, when he struck out two Rays to end the inning. He struck out Evan Longoria to begin the second as well, giving him three in a row. Two of the other three batters faced in the first two innings popped out easily to Lonnie Chisenhall at third.
2nd: Ryan Raburn had the games first hit with a two out double to the gap in right in the second. The Indians didn't have the two out magic this time as Asdrubal Cabrera popped out to end the inning.
3rd: Delmon Young broke the tie in the third with a first pitch solo home run to lead off the inning. The pitch was a high fastball from Salazar. While Young has shown power throughout his care, he had just 11 in 2013 and batted just .258 while with the Rays.
3rd: Alex Cobb was as expected for the Rays, throwing nothing but strikes early on, allowing just two hits and no walks through the first three innings. While he wasn't getting many swings and misses, he was able to keep the Indians hitters off balance, forcing them to foul off a lot of pitches and make easy outs with the ones they put in play.
4th: Things got shaky for Salazar in the fourth inning after striking out Will Myers. Two ball counts lead to singles by both James Loney and Longoria before Ben Zobrist flew out to right. A Desmond Jennings double down the left field line then brought both base runners home to give the Rays a three run lead.
4th: Jason Kipnis started the fourth inning off with a long at bat, but was only able to ground out to second. Carlos Santana then did a lot more with a lot fewer pitches, taking the 2-1 pitch down the right field line for the Indians second double of the game. Michael Brantley beat out an infield single to extend the inning, but Cabrera made a quick end to the threat with a double play.
5th: Terry Francona started matching up in the fifth inning after Salazar walked the lead-off hitter. In all, Salazar ended up throwing four innings, allowing four hits and three runs while striking out four in his post season debut. The biggest mistake of Salazar during the game was the high fastball thrown on the first pitch to Young, but otherwise, he pitched as well as could have been expected for a 23 year old rookie. Marc Rzepczynski and Bryan Shaw combined to finish the scoreless fifth with two strike outs and a Jose Molina caught stealing by Yan Gomes.
5th: Cobb started losing his pin perfect control after the third inning and he allowed five of six straight batters to reach between the fourth and fifth innings. Nick Swisher almost squandered the fifth like Cabrera did in the fourth, but a poor fielding decision by Loney cost the Rays a double play. However, with two runners in scoring position and two outs, Kipnis hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher to end the inning without scoring a run.
6th: Cobb used those high pressure situations as a launching point as he breezed through the sixth inning, striking out both Santana and Raburn for just his second 1-2-3 inning on the night. While the Rays starter was still in the game with a shut out and less than 100 pitches thrown, the Indians had already used their third pitcher of the night.
7th: Justin Masterson came in for Shaw in the seventh and had a sharp slider, similar to his three regular season relief appearances. Masterson easily struck out Young and got an easy ground ball off Yunel Escobar. He then struck out Molina to end the inning and strand pinch-runner Sam Fuld at first.
7th: Cobb pitched into trouble again in the seventh and was unable to finish the inning. He allowed hits to the only two batters that had him figured out, Yan Gomes and Lonnie Chisenhall, and was pulled for Joel Peralta with two outs. His replacement continued the Rays shut out by shutting the Indians down in yet another run scoring opportunity. In the end, Cobb went 6.2 shut out innings, allowing eight hits while striking out five.
8th: A poor throw by Chisenhall helped the Rays get runners on first and second with nobody out in the eighth, but he more than made up for it. He started a double play on ground ball from Loney and then made a terrific diving catch to end the inning.
9th: Continuing on his roller coaster of a night, Chisenhall committed the games first error in the ninth inning that allowed runners to reach first and third with one out. Escobar then hit a line drive off the glove of Swisher that allowed an unearned run to score.
9th: The Indians had their most successful hitters coming up again in the ninth against Rays closer Fernando Rodney, but they couldn't do it four straight times as they fell in order to end the game. While this was the final nail in the coffin, ending the Indians' season, the Tribe really lost the game much earlier on when they didn't take advantage of any of the many great scoring opportunities they had against Alex Cobb.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 0 - Tampa Bay Rays 4no comments
The Indians announced their 25 man roster for tonight's one game play-off with the Rays this morning and there are a few surprises. As expected, the starting pitchers that would be unable to pitch in this game, Ubaldo Jimenez and Zach McAllister were left off the roster, since the winning team will be able to completely revamp their roster going into the series with Boston. In those spaces, the Indians will be using a fourth outfielder for the first time this season in Matt Carson and will also bring along super rookie, Jose Ramirez.
Those two players will be used to add a little more versatility to late inning maneuvering for Terry Francona. Now he can pinch run in the late innings without worrying about not having a defensive replacement. There is essentially no way either of these players will receive an at bat during the game, but both have been adept at running the bases so far and will allow Francona to use Jason Giambi at any point.
There were some surprises on the roster as well. Rich Hill and Chris Perez are being brought along, despite an almost complete assuredness that they will not pitch in this game. Perez has been removed as the closer and Justin Masterson named his replacement depending on the situation. The Indians never announced anything about Hill, but it should be obvious that he should not be used in any close situation and this game matters so much that the whole game should be considered close.
Hill's biggest problem has been the most important part about being a left handed match-up man, the first batter faced. He had 63 appearances during the regular season and allowed nine walks and 13 hits to the 63 first batters he face. No other reliever allowed more than five walks in this situation and no pitcher that had less than 70 appearances allowed more hits. Eleven of those 21 base runners eventually came around to score, giving him the highest ERA on the team against first batters. Of course it is very unlikely he will pitch in the game, but both him and Perez seem like wasted roster space.
Here's the Indians line-up for today's game:
CF Michael Bourn
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
LF Michael Brantley
RF Ryan Raburn
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Yan Gomes
3B Lonnie Chisenhall
The first postseason episode of Burning River Radio wherein the guys discuss the upcoming Wild Card game between the Indians and Rays and the two "play-off" games that have already happened, the Rays vs Rangers and the Pirates vs Reds. In addition big predictions for the rest of the post season were made and lines were drawn. Imaginary lines.
Here are the play-off picks from the episode. I would expect this kind of blatent homerism from almost anyone, but never from Mike.
|Joe's Winners||Mike's Winners|
|AL Wild Card||Indians||Indians|