Second Thoughts Game #27: Indians 4, Angels 6
Let’s break down the Cleveland Indians’ loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last night. We will walk through the game, examining some of the key moments, but first, a quick summary:
- It is tough to win games when you allow the leadoff man to get on base in six of eight innings.
- It is tough to win games when you allow 12 hits overall.
- It is tough to win games when you issue 7 walks.
- It is tough to win games when you give up unearned runs.
Corey Kluber continues his up and down 2014 with a tough outing against the suddenly scrappy Angels, reminiscent of their playoff teams and World Series winning formula from years past. Kluber yielded 8 hits (all singles) and 4 walks in just 4 and 2/3 innings.
Despite the traffic on the base paths, he kept the Indians in the game with some extremely timely strikeouts after getting into trouble. Re-visiting our win expectancy graphs from our friends over at www.statlas.co, we see the relatively large impact that these strikeouts had:
2nd Inning: lots of Angels on base following three straight singles, but the damage was stemmed with two quick Ks:
3rd inning: a pair of walks primed a big innings, but it was defused by another pair of Ks:
Once again, Kluber got into trouble in the 5th inning thanks to two consecutive singles. Following a pop-out, Kluber induced what was called an inning-ending double play. However, Mike Scioscia challenged the call and it was correctly overturned. Howie Kendrick performed the coup d’état with a seeing eye single to plate two runs and put the Indians in a huge hole with less than a 5% chance of pulling out a victory being down 4-0 in the fifth inning on the road.
The Indians staged a solid comeback effort and had their best chance to take the lead in the 7th. Down 5-2 following another Carlos Santana home-run and an Angels run in response, the Indians started off the inning with a single, walk, single and another walk to plate a run and keep the bases loaded with zero down. This brought the Indians all the way back to more than a 40% win probability and another hit or walk would actually move it to the Indians favor entirely.
However, as has been too commonplace during the Indians’ five-game losing streak, the big hit never came and the Indians only managed to plate one more run despite the bases being loaded with nobody out.
So in the end, even if you get the timely strikeouts and put a bunch of guys on base, without solid defense, some luck and a big hit or two, you are likely to lose the game. The Indians made it more interesting than it probably should have been. They will look to salvage one game of the west-coast swing later today.
Images courtesy of statlas.co
Raburn's track record actually suggested he was worth more than what the Tribe gave him. 2012 was an outlier.
From 2009-2013 he was worth (by year): $6.6M, $8.1M, $4.2M, -$6.9M, $12.4M. That's a total of $24.4M. Hell, even take out 2013 and still worth $12M over a 4 year stretch...or $3M per year average.
His fWAR by year over that time: 1.5, 2.0, 0.9, -1.5, 2.5...total of
5.4. Again, been average to above average every year but 2012 over the last half decade.
Everyone loves to bring up 2012 as if that's that only year that matters with Raburn. Reality is he has almost always been a solid part time player. He had an absolutely terrible 2012...no way around that. .225 BABIP that year may have had something to do with it (currently right around the same now though). Raburn doesn't look the same as last year, agree...but not ready to call that cheap deal we gave him a waste. Was worth double what we're paying him this year all but one of the last 5.
That all said...this team needs Raburn to pick it up, especially against lefties. Part of me is wondering if he's still banged up from this spring?
The sad thing is....Johnson accounted for 33% of the Tribe's hits yesterday...and 100% of the extra base hits....
I don't want to go into the whole argument again (we beat that to death years ago) but there were Seattle scouts/people that felt 2B was Cabrera's position and he wasn't as good defensively as Yuniesky Betancourt....which is pretty damning considering how bad he was at short. I'm sure some thought he was good enough for short, I mean hell there were some in Cleveland's organization that thought Chisenhall was good enough to stay at short after his first pro season. If you really watched Cabrera objectively in the minors though...very clear that he just wasn't a SS.
An interesting take on Cabrera...could he also move to 3B in a year or two? Arm isn't bad and don't need SS range to play 3B obviously. At first you might think his bat doesn't fit but did hit 14 HRs each of the past two years....last year that would have tied him for 11th among MLB 3Bs with Machado, Sandoval, Plouffe and Prado. His .159 ISO last year also would have ranked 11th...ahed of Headley, Machado, Sandoval, Plouffe and Prado.
Don't see a move to 3B happening in Cleveland but maybe he can settle in as a Juan Uribe type.
Really, given Raburn's track record, why should we be surprised?
Disagree on Aviles being bad defensively though regardless of position. We've seen him a lot at 3B where he isn't the greatest but at SS he actually is pretty solid.
Ramirez does make sense if Kip is out for several weeks. And may depend on just how long he's out on if we see Ramirez or not.
Francona would never do this however....
Even when the Tribe does something well something seems to prevent them from breaking thru. Cabrera finally gets a hit with RISP but Brantley is unable to score due to having to hold up and making sure the ball got past the infielder.
Pen has been good but Lee hasn't been that special, and he was the one available. I'd much rather take my chances with Kluber (bright spot on the year) than Lee. Obviously I (and Francona) were wrong here but never know how Lee would have done.
Now...would have brought up Chiz with the bases loaded...could have changed the game completely.
Lee came in then to face Trout and got him out. Pujols never batted in that 5th inning....he did lead off the 6th inning with a single off Lee (later scored, run charged to Lee).
Re: Sciosia: his teams have outperformed their peripherals every single year except last year where they were 1-game under their expected Win-Loss. Of course, that was the season that they signed all the big sluggers and largely under performed expectations. Just sayin: he makes the most out of what he has. Reagins and Dipoto on the other hand? fair game.