Second Thoughts Game #81: Indians 4, White Sox 3
Optimism abounds at the half way point
Over the past three games, the Indians have come back from five down after the first, three down in the ninth and one down in the sixth to beat a downtrodden White Sox team. The Tribe’s ability to continually battle and grind out good at bats has paid of immensely late in games.
Resiliency while applicable to this microcosm of a series is also applicable in the big picture. The Indians have suffered two separate valleys; each time leaving the other side more effective and on absolute tears. The valleys have offered incredible depths but the Indians have balanced, righted the ship and reached midway mark at five games over .500.
I suppose you can chalk it up to a plethora of things being a combination ofTerry Francona, veteran leadership or perhaps just improved talent but no matter how you slice this team has handled adversity to this point.
A question with multiple caveats:
If you knew that Chris Perez would be mediocre and spend time on the disabled list…
That Michael Bourn would also be injured for a large chunk of April….
That Asdrubel Cabrera battle through a quad injury and eventually be sidelined…
That Nick Swisher would battle injury issues which sapped his production for a stretch before sidelining him as well….
Zach McAllister would spend a sizable amount of time on the disabled list…
Brett Myers would become a forgotten man on the 30th of June…
That Vinnie Pestano would struggle as a high leverage performer this season….
That Lonnie Chisenhall would struggle early to the point of a demotion…
What would you expect their record to be?
I must say that I doubt anyone would expect us to be just a game back of Detroit after the aforementioned statements but they are.
What about their current roster makeup: Obviously the Indians offensive performance in game one of Friday’s doubleheader was a once a month type of occurrence. However, it feels as if the Indians have almost reached full strength for the first time this season.
Obviously the only major piece missing is Zach McAllister who is getting closer and closer to being ready for his return.
Returning to the offense, however, we see a lineup that has gotten much deeper from top to bottom over the last week. The return of Swisher as productive players so far in the Sox series as well as that of Asdrubel Cabrera and you see a stout offensive force. Couple these returns with Jason Kipnis just shredding the ball and you have an offense clicking on al cylinders.
How the Indians Rank at the Halfway Point
Interesting Pitching Statistics:
- The Indians staff is third in MLB in strikeouts per nine innings at 8.38. Really each member of the rotation at this point has the quality of stuff to be an above average strikeout collector.
- The Indians pitchers BABIP against is .294 good for fourteenth highest in MLB. The positive is that it has probably stabilized thus there should be no fear of BABIP caused regression.
- The Indians rank 28th in E.R.A. at 4.35, 27th in FIP at 4.30 and 18th in xFIP at 3.97
Interesting Fielding Statistics:
- The Indians rank 8th overall in UZR/150
- The Tribe’s outfield ranks fourth overall in UZR
Interesting Batting Statistics:
- The Indians are 6th in MLB in OBP at a .330 clip. This offense has a large collection of players with above average walk rates.
- The Indians are 4th in MLB in walk rate at 9.2%.
- According to Fangraphs base running metric which values a considerable amount of information the Indians rank 9th
- Finally in terms of position player WAR, the Indians rank 6th in MLB at 13.9
Up Next: Cleveland Indians v. Chicago White Sox @ U.S. Cellular Field 2:10 PM ET
Indians one starter Justin Masterson faces off against White Sox ace Chris Sale. Masterson looks to redeem himself after collapsing late in his last start which culminated in a disheartening loss. Both pitchers are the team’s best and each are in classic ace scenarios. One is given the task of going out and nailing down the series sweep to continue to gain ground while the other is given the responsibility of skid-stopper. The way it lines up one would expect a pitcher’s duel but in baseball we must expect the unexpected.
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That says it all