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Second Thoughts Game #31: A's 3, Indians 4

Second Thoughts Game #31: A's 3, Indians 4
May 9, 2013
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The Indians catch a break

Unless my admittedly questionable eyesight is failing desperately theAdam Rosales homerun/double call and later review may have been the most abysmal, egregious call I have seen in a long time.

How this crew failed to correct the call on the field and reward Rosales with a homerun is beyond me. However, fortunately for Chris Perez and the Indians this time it went their way. While I won’t wax poetic about the beauty of imperfection, provided by umpires, I will say that these things tend to even out over the course of a season. A 162 game sample size seems to balance out this human element even though it probably could be avoided in the first place.

Never the less, the Indians got yet another break, continuing the momentum and clinching a series win against last season’s A.L. West Champions.

Masterson builds on the rotation’s momentum

While Justin Masterson had struggled after his tremendous start to the season, he like the rest of the rotation over the past two weeks offered a quality start that kept the Indians in the game until the offense could produce. In the first three games of this series with the Athletics, the team leading all of baseball in runs scored, Indians starters have allowed 5 earned runs over 20 1/3 innings. The A’s were due for a valley but they are a solid offensive team who the Indians staff have rendered inert.

Masterson pitched very well, really not allowing any high quality contact all evening. Justin flashed his above average stuff, striking out as many A’s (7) as base runners allowed (7). What the Indians have in Masterson is something between his 2011 and 2012 production; a 2-3 starter who can pitch about 210 innings with an ERA between 3.50-3.90 and 12-16 wins based on run support. Justin is most easily likened to a James Shields type, which is a valuable commodity, just ask the Royals who gave up super prospect Wil Myers for two years of this type of player.

Add in Zach McAllister - a Jake Westbrook type - as well as the three most productive pitchers between Ubaldo JimenezScott KazmirCorey KluberTrevor Bauer, and Carlos Carrasco who have all shown positive signs of late,  and you have a solid big-league rotation.

While the last few weeks have felt like a perfect world scenario for this rotation and regression is due, it still has been immensely positive. They have managed to bridge the gap to the point where many thought Bauer and Carrasco would be called upon and furthermore swapping any one of them out would be an incredibly tough call. In two weeks this rotation has gone from consistently inconsistent to promising, which is cause for optimism.

An overused yet insightful stat

Swisher and Santana’s bombs in the sixth inning represent the 10th time the Tribe has hit two homeruns in the same inning this season; it happened only nine times all of last season. The Indians power from the top to the bottom of the lineup is incredibly deep. Only two of the nine regular starters, Bourn and Brantley, don’t have at least 15 homerun pop. Three of which are 20 home run guys and one of which is Mark Reynolds who is a 40 home run guy. It is becoming clear that with the depth of power in this lineup it is in the top five-to-ten in baseball.

Michael Brantley, professional hitter

This team has a group of guys who work counts, be it Nick SwisherCarlos Santana, or even Reynolds, but Michael Brantley is perhaps the most enjoyable to watch. Brantley’s quick, compact swing and elite eye make him a joy in the batter’s box. His contact ability is impressive; while the league generally averages around .160 in 0-2 counts Brantley is hitting .235. Michael showed this ability last night, watching a few strikes from A.J. Griffin a starter he hadn’t faced and then taking an 0-2 pitch the opposite way for a hit. While he does not offer much power or even impact speed his approach and hit tool make this lineup even longer once Bourn’s return forces him to slide down in the order.

Game Facts:

  • Joe Smith has a 10.13 K/9 and a 0.75 WHIP; one of the most underappreciated relievers in baseball
  • 11,125 in attendance, sadly not even their worst draw of this series
  • The Indians have won 9 out of 10 and the hot streak has left them with the seventh best run differential in baseball at +26

Up Next: A’s v. Indians @ Progressive Field. First pitch at 12:05 ET

The Indians will be starting southpaw Scott Kazmir who has settled down in his second and third starts going at least five innings and allowing only two runs in both starts

Starting for Oakland will be former Indian and PED consumer, the ageless Bartolo Colon. Colon has been effective so far this year, entering the start at 3-1 with a 3.62 earned run average.

Interact with Michael by email at and on Twitter @MichaelHattery

User Comments

May 9, 2013 - 10:56 AM EDT
Good take on umpires and calls- the human element is integral and does balance out over time-like kharma. However, when you use the HD video tool, and you have 3 umps under the hood, and they still get it wrong, that's a little weird. But there's been a lot of weird emanating from Cleveland the past few days. If I were the Indians marketing department, I would do Charles Jenkins bobblehead night- fill up the stands and let the fans shout the weirdness out. As for Justin Masterson, has anyone but me noticed he doesn't pitche well against lefties- the batting average is 40 some points higher, and he doesn't pitch well with runners on base. Until he can, he is not going to be a dependable number one.

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