What’s the Damage?
Decided to bring the Wild Card standings into the mix this week seeing as we’re one game away from being in a double-digit hole in the division. Optimism!
(Also, if you read last week’s recap, you’re cool to skip over the next few paragraphs. We suck at home, we suck against the Tigers, and we just kicked off a series at home against the Tigers.)
Another week, another series lost at Progressive Field for your home nine. After winning the only game Mother Nature would allow them to play at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the Tribe returned to Cleveland and split two more with the Cubs, then lost two of three to former bullpen coach Kevin Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays before beginning their bi-weekly grabbing of the ankles for the Tigers last night with an 8-5 loss.
I just don’t get it. Offensively, our home slash line of .254/.334/.387 is actually better than .246/.315/.388 on the road. We have struck out 40 more times at home, but that comes with a little more than 30 additional walks. When we do make contact, we’re hitting around 2% more line drives and making hard contact 2% more often next door to the Q.
The pitching, perhaps?
Sure, our ERA is more than a full run higher at Progressive Field. We’ve surrendered 13 more home runs, walked nine more batters and struck out 13 less (albeit in 37 more innings). Opponents are hitting 41 points higher in front of The Corner.
maybe the most telling stat in regards to our home field disadvantage: our pitchers have given up two unearned runs on the road (113 runs, 111 earned). At home? 28. 192 runs, 164 earned. Opposing team’s .330 batting average on balls in play is A) absolutely ludicrous and B) 29th out of 30 teams at home this year. Our -14.8 defensive UZR for the year is 27th in the bigs.
The good news? In the week he’s been in the bigs, our shiny new shortstop has 2 defensive runs saved in 7 games (and two of the Sportscenter Top 10 plays last night). Jose Ramirez had -2 in 46. Lonnie Chisenhall was actually having a pretty damn good year defensively with 8 runs saved before his demotion, although you’d have to expect some regression to his mean of around -1. And Giovanny Urshela’s calling card is his leather. Fixing the left side of the infield should go a long way toward fixing our problems on our home turf.
Just going to hit the rest of the division real quick since your brains are probably all whimpering after all the knowledge that was just dropped on them:
The Royals are still in first place and I still hate them. They’ve won 6 of their last 8 but are in the midst of a rough nine game road trip that ends with three in Houston. Young whippersnapper Yordano Ventura hit the DL last week with some ulnar nerve problems, and will require a rehab start or two before rejoining the rotation and my GD fantasy lineup. Major League Baseball claimed they scrubbed some 60 million improper All-Star game ballots, but Salvador Perez is still the American League’s leading vote-getter, so they should probably refill the bucket and get back at it.
The Twins of Target Field called up baseball’s top prospect Byron Buxton in hopes of regaining the first place juju, but are 5-5 in their last ten and remain 3.5 games out. Buxton has hit just .200 in nine big league games.
The Tigers are 5.5 games out of first in the division. Nobody’s counting them out, right? The Indians are 5.5 games out of an AL Wild Card spot. Have some hope, people! Unfortunately for us they’re finally getting healthy, with Victor Martinez and Justin Verlander both making their return/debut in the past week or so. Catcher Alex Avila could possibly begin a rehab assignment as soon as Thursday.
Not a whole lot going on in Chicago aside from their lanky lefty.
In Other News
- Cody Anderson dazzled in his big league debut on Sunday. 7.2 innings, 6 hits, 0 runs, 4 Ks. Sitting in the low 90s but almost touching 96, the 6’4″ 24-year-old kept his stellar season rolling with the big club. In ten AA starts he notched three wins and posted a 1.73 ERA. He only had three starts in Columbus before Sunday, but impressed with 2.26 FIP and a K/9 approaching nine.
- You might think Jason Kipnis has cooled off since his AL Player of the Month performance in May. You also might be an idiot. He’s still 4th in the majors in hitting (.346) and second in WAR (4.3). Not to mention the fact he’s riding a 17 game hitting streak and also hitting .490 in his current 26 game hitting streak at home. But, by all means, let’s get Omar Infante to Cincinnati.
- Tito Francona admitted he may have rushed Yan Gomes back into the lineup on Saturday after he missed Friday’s game with neck stiffness.
That’s the second worst thing he did all week.
He sat out last night’s game and his status tonight is still up in the air. They don’t sound too concerned about it but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
- We tossed first round pick LHP Brady Aiken a signing bonus of $2,513,280. That’s just over the slot value for that pick (17th overall) of $2,393,600. Not bad for a kid who was the first overall pick last year.
KEEP THE CHIEF