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Second Thoughts Game #159: Indians 6, Twins 5

Second Thoughts Game #159: Indians 6, Twins 5
September 27, 2013
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This team is a collection of castoffs and a collection of misfits which has provided a scrapbook full of moments.

No player, no person has been indispensable, they have all been indispensable. Yes, I am referring to your moment in the sun Mark Reynolds, or yours Matt Carson, or even Joe Martinez throwing a few effective necessary innings.

A lot of discussion has occurred surrounding who is the best, who is the most valuable Cleveland Indian, and who is the most essential to their success. No doubt pursuing such answers is a necessary and worthwhile endeavor.

Selecting a most valuable player may be an entirely impossible pursuit. This is because this team has no superstar, no rock who has carried them throughout the season. Rather a collection of good players managed to perfection by Terry Francona (excluding his personal commitment to Chris Perez).

Which brings us to Yan Gomes. It appears no discussion of most valuable player on this team can be had without including Jason Kipnis, Gomes, Carlos Santana and for a small minority Michael Brantley.

Gomes has been incredible, a godsend of course who was acquired for a middle-reliever/converted starter. One of the criticisms of Gomes’ “candidacy” was the limited time he has been on the roster, something like how can your most valuable player have played less than 90 games?

This is fair and understandable but his contribution has been absolutely essential to their success. More impressively Gomes has produced the second highest WAR of any position player even though he will have only played about half the season.

In fact, if you projected his current war over a 162 game season it would be around 6.5, which is absolutely obscene. Of course that sort of prediction is irrational because it would not include matchup starts as well as injuries and BABIP regression. But perhaps it does shine a light on how incredible he has been for this brief period.

None of this includes his ability to handle the pitching staff which has been impressive or any hyperbole surrounding that cannon he has attached to his right arm.  I believe it was the great Greek tragedian Sophocles who remarked “running on Gomes is an act that rarely goes unpunished”.

Perhaps not but the notion stands. I suppose these sorts of things could be said about many a starter because each has played an integral role in this team’s success which is where much of the beauty lies.


Unfortunately, Bryan Shaw will be addressed in brevity which is far less than he deserves. Many have begun to argue that he is closer material and such a case can be made with relative ease. In my opinion, a closer does not matter much. What does matter is that Shaw has established himself as an effective high leverage reliever.

This all stems from a few different things and it goes beyond his 3.09 FIP. The first is his ability to get the swing and miss. Shaw has an 8.71 K/9 which is what you need in order to strand runners at a sustainable rate in high leverage situations. The other piece is that he keeps the ball in the ballpark (he is at a career low and it may not be sustained).

Simply, he along with Cody Allen and Joe Smith should comprise the backend of the Indians bullpen.


Rejecting my dream of a Utopian state where closers do not exist and merely your high leverage relievers pitch in high leverage situations. However, that is but a pipe dream and thus accepting the paradigm in which we exist, I will suggest Perez is at least relieved of duty.

The Indians have a collection of options including: Allen, Shaw, Smith, Carlos Carrasco and even Justin Masterson for a short time.  All of these options would be preferable to what we are forced to endure at this date. It is as simple as that.

Up Next: Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins, Friday, September 27, 8:10 PM ET

Cold blooded killer, Corey Kluber, faces off against Pedro Hernandez. Hernandez is 3-2 with a 6.05 ERA. Each game is essential, and Kluber offers the poise and composure necessary to succeed in games of this nature.

Interact with Michael by email at and on Twitter @MichaelHattery

User Comments

September 27, 2013 - 1:13 PM EDT
"Rather a collection of good players managed to perfection by Terry Francona"

I disagree with this statement....I think Francona really mismanaged Stubbs, Raburn, and Gomes this year. Let Stubbs start far too often against righties, didn't play Raburn enough when he was hot...and took way too long to slide Gomes in as the everyday catcher. I really think we lost a good 2 wins from this.
September 27, 2013 - 10:20 AM EDT
Agreed Tony. Perez is poison and T.F. can't let it fester or it could poison the team and the season. I believe he has already made his decision on what to do
September 27, 2013 - 10:14 AM EDT
its not easy to experiment, I like how masterson came in and threw two k's maybe till hes ready he could be interim closer. I think smith has done well scrabble and hill work good for one outs, and I think if allen smith and shaw could do well if perez cant hone what he has. luckily we got like 20 bull pen guys so it I believe the situation can be fixed john hart would say why buy a reliever when you can pluck one from a tree. I like the Idea or carrasco putting all his power in one inning. I could see him useful. I need to go see how pestano is doing. you take Miguel off the tigers they have prince , vmart, verlander,shcerzer, the Indians cant lose kipnis or Santana. one of them for mvp. francona for coach of the year. now with the bats clicking and pitching keeping up. we will be awesome. the Indians have had many players hit 15 hr this season let alone how many guys have 10-11 hr at least. yan gomes needs more consideration for rookie of year!!!! has top rookies button, and gomes left out and he has better number than all the guys on avg atleast in top 5 for all good stats. plus I think he is a gold glove catcher. Cleveland players are not getting enough love!!! and they are soooo impressive 2 in mlb in strikeouts! best pitchers in mlb since allstar break. mlb best sept record. when the game is in extra innings the Indians are best in mlb. so a 1 game play off may be the extra pressure that makes guys like Brantley always hit when 2 outs and risp

masterson has 14 wins 3 shut outs.close to 200k and he was on DL. jimenez at 12 wins
Joe Chengery
September 27, 2013 - 9:48 AM EDT
I would take ANY of those options as the closer, or even use 2-3 of those based on match ups over Perez. Quite honestly, I would leave Perez off the playoff roster entirely. He can still be with the team (I think) to provide support and advice, but he should NOT pitch in ANY circumstance from this moment forth. He can't be trusted with any lead, and you usually don't bring a mop-up man along to take up a postseason roster spot. Plus, you'd like a guy to give you innings if you do find yourself down big in a postseason game to hold the fort in the hopes of giving your offense the chance to come back. Perez hasn't shown that ability for virtually two months. I just hope Francona doesn't use him again and doesn't put him on the roster. You need every spot taken by someone who is capable and who has recently shown he is capable of getting ML hitters out more times than not. Perez has not, and in the few instances he has, I think it's been more due to luck than being good, as evidenced by his harrowing outings and very few 1-2-3 outings or even just one-base-runner outings.

One roster question: Does the roster that is set for the one-game Wild Card playoff carry over into the ALDS, or is the winning team allowed to adjust the roster for the ALDS? I presume it would be set, as allowing them to set the roster again would give them a bit of an advantage, exactly what the WC game was supposed to prevent in the first place.
September 27, 2013 - 8:56 AM EDT
The fact is that the Indians came out on the winning side of both Perez implosions the last three days. That rarely happens. Imagine had they lose one (or both) or had this happened in a crucial playoff game? They have to be proactive here and I believe they will. There is no clear cut solution, so the possibilities are endless. Will be interesting to see what Francona comes up with.

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