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Second Thoughts Game #27: Indians 4, Angels 6

Second Thoughts Game #27: Indians 4, Angels 6
Michael Bourn grimaces after he strikes out in a key at bat in the middle of the game. (Photo: AP)
April 30, 2014
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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, 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.

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User Comments

May 1, 2014 - 8:58 AM EDT

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, 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 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?
May 1, 2014 - 8:47 AM EDT

The sad thing is....Johnson accounted for 33% of the Tribe's hits yesterday...and 100% of the extra base hits....
May 1, 2014 - 8:46 AM EDT

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.
May 1, 2014 - 6:40 AM EDT
I did something in the water closet recently that looked like this Indians team
May 1, 2014 - 4:11 AM EDT
Roger, simply put, Ryan got paid. He probably never ever thought he'd get paid like that. Heck, after the way he left Detroit, he probably wondered if he'd ever get paid again, period. A nice hot streak last year and his professional future is secure. The Tribe? Not so much.

Really, given Raburn's track record, why should we be surprised?
April 30, 2014 - 7:54 PM EDT
hey guys we should rejoice even though kipnis is hurt we have eliott johnson to take his place and every team wanted that .218 lifetime batting average. gimme a break there is reason why he has a 218 Lifetime avg on acct he is a lifetime 218 hitter like nix lilliquest and other bozo's we have had in the past. raburn isnt hitting well enough to help much he better get his head out of his ass. Columbus is not out of reach for raburn either. he isnt hitting his weight. and doesnt look like he is confident right now.
April 30, 2014 - 5:28 PM EDT
Cabrera was actually developed and projected as a shortstop in the minors. It was his best position. Now, yes, he may play second base better.....I am sure we could make the case that ANY good defensive shortstop can play second base better because of the lesser demands of the position......but I remember talking to some Seattle personnel and scouts at the time of the Cabrera-Eduardo Perez deal in order to compile info on his projection and what he was about and he was clearly a shortstop prospect at that time.
April 30, 2014 - 4:34 PM EDT
Charlie...very possible on Cabrera though in the minors he was always better at 2B than SS as well so don't think it was just age. Now maybe he'd be bad at 2B now too.

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.
April 30, 2014 - 4:21 PM EDT
re: Cabrera being "better" at 2B....could be that he was just younger and therefore able to cover up for things a little? Anything involving Aviles and Cabrera is not a particularly good option because they are both pretty bad at hitting and fielding regardless of position. You have to think Ramirez would be in the discussion: at the very least to create trade value or prove his capability to back up Lindor and Kipnis over the next 3-4 years.
April 30, 2014 - 3:04 PM EDT
Honestly wouldn't mind seeing Cabrera at 2B and Aviles at SS (if Ramirez isn't called up). Aviles is better defensively at short than Cabrera and Cabrera was always a better 2B than SS. Plus would showcase him to other teams that may be in need of a 2B.

Francona would never do this however....
C L Who
April 30, 2014 - 2:48 PM EDT
If Kipnis goes on the DL for a couple of weeks I would like to see Asdrubal cover second base and Lindor at SS for the duration. Probably Mike Aviles will fill in, though.
April 30, 2014 - 1:34 PM EDT
Yeah the 6th inning with 1st and 3rd and 1 out and not being able to score again hurt....and only getting 1 more run after Santana walked with the bases loaded was tough. Game right there.

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.
April 30, 2014 - 1:27 PM EDT
It was Kendrick who hit the bouncer back up the middle to plate the last 2 runs off Kluber.

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.
April 30, 2014 - 1:24 PM EDT
Base Loaded in 7th score 5-4 one out after Brantley's sac fly. Cabrera strikes out and Giambi Lines out. The inning before Gomes struck out with the bases loaded. 2 innings there that Indians had a chance to do heavy damage and they did not.

C L Who
April 30, 2014 - 1:13 PM EDT
Thanks for the correction on the details Hermie. I agree that Kluber was a magician last night at getting out of trouble. Still, the pen is the best part of the team, so why not use it. Which Angel hit the weak bouncer just past Kluber and into shallow center to make it 4 - 0?
April 30, 2014 - 1:08 PM EDT
Also, agree that was a bad at-bat for Bourn there in the 5th (that swing was terrible)....but if he walks there, he doesn't get an RBI. Runners were on 2nd and 3rd...bases were not loaded....

Now...would have brought up Chiz with the bases loaded...could have changed the game completely.
April 30, 2014 - 1:04 PM EDT
Kluber wasn't left in to face Pujols. He was left in to face Kendrick...who he got to pound a ball into the ground. Just a well placed ball unfortunately. Kluber earned the right IMO to try and get out of that inning. Pitched one of the best games a Tribe starter has had in the last 30 years his previous start and while he had labored in this one, had worked his way out of it with timely strikeouts and what was thought to be an inning ending double play. Have no problem with Francona giving Kluber a crack at Kendrick.

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).
April 30, 2014 - 1:03 PM EDT
Shy, I just meant that all their hits were singles, they stole three bases, implemented the hit-and-run and sacrificed.

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.
April 30, 2014 - 12:58 PM EDT
Please Ramirez up. Maybe they have one infielder that is not an embarrassment in the field.
C L Who
April 30, 2014 - 12:57 PM EDT
Almost forgot.....after patiently taking 3 balls, Bourn swings and misses at ball 4......shoulder high and 6 inches outside. Just stand there and Tribe gets a run on Bourn's RBI walk.
C L Who
April 30, 2014 - 12:55 PM EDT
Let's not forget Terry not pulling Kluber when Lee was ready to go, two runners on, and Pujols coming to bat. This was a re-do of the fateful decision to leave Masterson in for one more batter (Trout) in game 1. Both decisions were game ending for the Tribe as the Angels quickly plated runs that the anemic offense could not get back.
April 30, 2014 - 12:09 PM EDT
Good point Tony and Walter about the errors coming back and haunting them. I have always believed that there is a correlation between errors and teams " going bad". You get these bad thoughts in your head, you hear footsteps, and you become error prone. This is where good coaching comes in. Good mental and physical/fundamental preparation are essential to combat "the voices". It's tough to do, esp on the road. It's hard enough to win in this league without falling into mental error patterns. The Indians are better than this. They may not be a World Series contender this year, but they can still win more games than they lose, if they loosen up and play to their potential
April 30, 2014 - 11:58 AM EDT
I watched the Angels lose 2 out of 3 to the A's, and 2 out of the 3 to the Yankees. They didn't look too scrappy. It's funny how beating up on an MLB weakling like the Indians can make you look "suddenly scrappy". I don't know how Sciosia keeps his job really- the team has had a contender payroll but underperformed for years now. I watched a little of the game last night. I got to see Jason Giambi look his age- his swings at Weaver's pitches were pretty embarrassing. The bat speed is gone. If the Indians were a contender I could see keeping a guy like Giambi around for over the top inspiration, but the Indians are going to have to rebuild here in my opinion, so they would be better served bringing up and developing a Jose Ramirez or Jesus Aguilar. I think tomorrow when the team returns to Cleveland, one or more moves may be made.
April 30, 2014 - 11:56 AM EDT
Just amazing how a good percentage of mistakes seem to come back and haunt this team. A passed ball here, an error there. A misplay here, a balk there. A bad jump on the basepaths, a bad jump in the is all just a complete lack of fundamental baseball that is really hurting this team. And for as much as we get on the starting pitching and the offense, it is the defense which has had the greatest effect on their poor start this season.
April 30, 2014 - 11:46 AM EDT
Dont forget the error by Cabrera led to run scored. The balk by Shaw in the 8th inning led to another. Indians had many opportunities to score more than 4 runs last night were unable to get that hit. This was a winnable game last night.

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