Results tagged ‘ Carlos Carrasco ’
After a 2-0 win on Sunday afternoon, the Indians have allowed no earned runs in consecutive games for the first time since July 27-28, 2013 (back-to-back shutouts of Texas, 1-0, 6-0)….Corey Kluber allowed only an unearned run in his complete game victory on Saturday night. The team’s final two victories over Chicago mark the first time since April 23 and April 24, 1991, vs. Kansas City that the Indians have struck out 8 or more batters and walked none in consecutive games. More on today’s starter, Carlos Carrasco:
- Fell an out shy of his first career shutout after allowing two singles in the 9th (8.2IP, 4H, 0R/ER, 103 pitches/74 strikes)…In six starts since rejoining the rotation on Aug. 10, Carrasco is 4-0 with a 0.70ERA (3ER/38.2IP) and 42 SO vs. just 4 BB… In his two no-decisions in that span, Carrasco allowed just 2 R/ER in 11.2IP while receiving 3 total runs of support.
- Marked the 7th time this season an Indians starter has pitched at least 8 innings with 8 SO and 0 BB….Carrasco has struck out 8 or more batters in three of his last four starts.
Watch Carlos talk about his start in a post-game interview with Carrasco by clicking here.
Despite last night’s loss to Detroit, Cleveland is 39-30 (.565) overall this season in games decided by one or two runs, 4th-best in the A.L. & 5th in Majors.
Carlos Carrasco did not factor into the decision despite holding Detroit to a single run and fanning 10 over 5.1 IP (one BB); he became the first starting pitcher in Indians franchise history to reach double-digits in both hits (10) and strikeouts, while completing fewer than 6.0 innings…according to Elias, only one other pitcher in last 7 seasons has a start of that nature: John Lackey, July 5, 2014 vs. Baltimore-G2 (5.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R-ER, 1 BB, 11 SO).
According to Elias, last night’s game marked the first time in modern baseball history (Since 1900) for each team’s starting pitcher to record at least 10 strikeouts in fewer than 6.0 innings. Detroit starter Kyle Lobstein also had 10 strikeouts
In five starts since re-joining the Tribe rotation, Carrasco has allowed just 3 earned runs in 30 innings (0.90ERA), with 34 strikeouts in that stretch.
The Indians have posted a 2.89 ERA in the second half, 4th-lowest in the A.L. and Majors…that includes a 3.08 ERA (85ER/248.0IP) by the rotation (3rd in A.L./Majors…TB: 2.80, SEA: 3.04) and a 2.56 ERA (41ER/144.1IP) by the bullpen (5th in A.L./Majors).
Dating back to the first Mid-Summer Classic in 1933, the Indians have posted a sub-3.00 ERA in the second half on just 3 occasions: 1954 (2.49), 1968 (2.88) and 1972 (2.82).
The Indians offense has been held to 3-or-fewer runs in 24 of the club’s 42 completed games since the All-Star break, although Cleveland has managed to go 9-15 in those games overall thanks in part to an 8-6 record in decisions by one-or-two runs.
After logging back-to-back scoreless starts since rejoining the Tribe rotation on August 10 at New York-AL, Carlos Carrasco has now allowed just 2 earned runs over 24.2 innings (0.73 ERA) racking up 24 strikeouts against just 3 walks; opposing batters have gone 11-84 (.131) with just 2 extra-base hits (1 HR, 1 2B)…Carrasco’s 0.73 ERA ranks 2nd in the American League (LAA Shoemaker; 0.66) among all pitchers who have made at least 4 starts over that span.
Even with allowing 12 runs on Monday night, Cleveland’s second-half team ERA rose only from 2.72 to 2.93, still 4th-lowest in the A.L. and Majors, trailing only Tampa Bay (2.57), Los Angeles-AL (2.77) and Seattle (2.79)…that includes a 3.23 ERA (87ER/242.2IP) by the rotation (5th in A.L., 6th in MLB) and a2.43 ERA (38ER/140.2IP) by the bullpen (5th in A.L., 6th in MLB).
The Tigers plated 9 of their 12 runs by way of 5 homers, most big flies allowed by Cleveland’s pitching staff all season since surrendering 5 HR’s back on June 15, 2013 vs. Washington.
With 6 games remaining in the 2014 season series between Cleveland & Detroit, the Indians hold a 7-6 edge over the Tigers, going 3-4 here at Progressive Field and 4-2 at Comerica Park.
August was the fourth straight month for Cleveland to finish .500-or-better – excluding March/Oct. games, that is a feat the Indians have accomplished for the first time since April July 1998…Tribe last had 5 such consecutive months May-Sept. 1997
Cleveland owns the 3rd-highest home winning pct. in the A.L., T5th-highest in the Majors at 39-26 (.600), winning 9 of 14, 16 of 26 and 36 of their last 57 games at Progressive Field following a 3-5 start.
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco is acting a lot like a reliever these days – by design.
And since moving to the rotation on Aug. 10, he’s looking a lot like a very successful reliever – himself.
When re-inserted into the Indians starting rotation for an Aug. 10 start vs. the Yankees in New York, Carrasco has carried over all of his habits from his successful 26-game stint in the bullpen.
Typically, when the entire team emerges from their clubhouse for an early stretch before batting practice, that day’s starting pitcher remains in the clubhouse. He also stays there during BP, when the rest of the pitchers shag fly balls in the outfield.
After BP is over, the scheduled starter will proceed to his team’s dugout approximately 30 minutes before first pitch to go through a myriad of exercises with pitching coach Mickey Callaway, bullpen coach Kevin Cash and, catchers Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes (whoever is starting that day).
Carrasco has bucked conventional wisdom by changing that typical starter routine – and it’s worked brilliantly. Last season and in April this year, Carrasco admitted to struggling with the mental aspect of being in the rotation, with thinking for four days about who he’ll be facing on his day.
After struggling in the rotation, Carrasco moved to the pen, where in 39 innings he allowed 8ER (1.85 ERA), with 34 strikeouts and a .200 opponents average.
When Carrasco moved back to the rotation, he carried a reliever’s routine over. He stretches early with his pitcher friends. He shags fly balls. He heads to the bullpen area to meet Callaway, Cash and the catcher about 15 minutes before first pitch, and throws fewer pitches than a more typical starter’s warmup would entail.
It’s worked: In Carrasco’s four starts, he’s 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA over 24.2 innings, with 24 strikeouts.
“Being in the bullpen is a different mindset; it’s a credit to all those relievers who played a role in relaxing his mind a little bit,” Cash said. “Starters have four days to dwell on things – as a reliever, you’d better get over it. Carlos learned that and responded.”
Baseball by nature has a lot of down time – a lot of time to think, especially on the road, where Carrasco will start tonight, in Chicago. Getting out of the clubhouse early, and remaining active, has helped Carrasco on the days he’s started.
“It’s a way to keep him mentally engaged,” Callaway said.
For his part, Carrasco said he has stopped dwelling on too much before his starts, and has kept it simple: Just pitch.
“You don’t have to save anything,” he’s told reporters after a couple starts. “I just go as hard as I can go.”
–TribeVibe contributor Joel Hammond
The Indians moved to 3-1 through the first 4 games of this 5-game homestand against Arizona (1-1) and Baltimore (2-0, + 1 game), improving to 62-60 and two games over the .500 mark for the first time since August 4 (57-55)…marks Cleveland’s 9th shutout of the season and first shutout since a 3-0 win at New York-AL on August 9…the Indians are now 9-5 to begin the month of August and have won 5 of their last 6 since dropping 4-straight from 8/5-8/8…the win gives the Indians a 17-12 record vs. teams from the AL-East this season, making this the 7th time in the last 11 seasons that the Indians have gone .500-or-better vs. the AL-East since 2004…the Indians have 4 remaining games vs. the AL-East this season (1 vs. BAL and 3 vs. TB).
- Carrasco worked 7.0 scoreless innings and picked up his fifth win of the season and second win as a starter this year (W, 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R-ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR, 79 pitches/57 strikes)…after going 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA (17 ER/22.0 IP) through his first 4 starts of the season, Carrasco has gone 2-0 through 2 starts (12.0 scoreless innings) since transitioning back into the starter role…the last time Carrasco worked 5.0 scoreless innings in
back-to-back outings was on June 7-June 13, 2011 (15.1 IP)…the last time Carrasco worked at least 7.0 innings was when he did not earn a decision, despite going 7.1 innings in a 2-1 loss vs. Kansas City on June 17, 2013…the last time he worked at least 7.0 scoreless innings was when he earned a 1-0 win at New York-AL on June 13, 2011.
- Carrasco improves to 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA (6 ER/29.1 IP) in 10 appearances/3 starts vs. American League East opponents this season…Over the Tribe’s last 6 games dating back to August 9, Cleveland’s starting rotation has posted a 0.69 ERA (3 ER/39.0 IP).
- Delivered his 21st home run of the season, a 3-run shot to center field that put the Indians on the board 3-0 in the first inning…the home run marked Santana’s 92nd career homer, tying him with Sandy Alomar for 28th-most home runs in Indians history…with Santana’s first-inning home run, the Indians last 6 runs have come courtesy of the home run ball…Santana’s 92 career home runs rank 20th in the American League since 2010…Santana finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and 3 RBI.
- Registered his 18th home run of the season, coming as a 2-run homer to right field in the fifth inning and giving the Indians a 6-0 lead…Brantley’s 2 RBI give him 80 RBI on the season as he becomes the only player in the American League with a batting average over .300, 18-or-more home runs, 10-or-more stolen bases and at least 80 RBI this season.
The Indians took the first game of this 4-game series with the Angels and have now won a season-high 10 consecutive home games, longest win streak at Progressive Field since Tribe won 11 straight home games from July 11-August 1, 2013 – stands as the longest home win streak in the Majors this season…the Indians are scheduled to play 16 of their next 24 games in Cleveland entering the All-Star break in July.
At 22-11 (.666), Cleveland owns the highest home winning percentage in the Majors – winning 10 straight, 13 of 16 and 19 of the clubs last 25 games here in Cleveland.
The Indians and Angels are meeting for the 2nd and final time this season after the Indians were swept in a 3-game series in Anaheim earlier this season…Cleveland is now 45-39 all-time vs. the Angels here at Progressive Field.
Worked into the 7th inning for the second time in his last 3 starts and picked up his second victory of the season after allowing just 3 runs across 6.2 quality frames (W, 6.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R-ER, 4 BB, 6 SO, 119 pitches/72 strikes).
Threw a career-high 119 pitches, most for an Indians pitcher this season and most since Justin Masterson threw 120 pitches on July 10, 2013 vs. Toronto.
Bauer has earned both of his victories on the season here at Progressive Field and improves to 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA (8 ER/24.2 IP) through his first 4 home starts; has gone 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA (11 ER/16.0 IP) in an equal amount of road starts.
Worked the final 2.1 innings and earned his first career save, allowing just one hit and a walk while striking out 4 of 8 total batters faced (SV, 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 SO, 33 pitches/21 strikes)…marks the first save of at least 2.0 innings in a one-run game since Rod Nichols on June 19, 1991 at Chicago-AL.
In 12 games since moving to the bullpen, Carrasco owns a 2.14 ERA (5 ER/21.0 IP) with 20 strikeouts and 5 walks…over his last 6 games, Carrasco has allowed just one earned run over 12.0 innings, while notching 13 strikeouts against just 3 walks.
Staked the Indians to an early 2-0 lead, connecting for a 2-run homer in the second at-bat of the game following a lead-off single by Michael Bourn…the home run call stood after Crew Chief Joe West reviewed the call on the field (1:58)…marked Cabrera’s 7th home run of the season, tied with Chicago’s-AL Alexi Ramirez for most among American League shortstops.
Over his last 13 games, Cabrera is batting .298 (17-57) with 3 home runs, 5 doubles, 10 RBI and 13 runs scored.
Cabrera hit his 3rd career walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th in the final game of the Tribe’s last homestand on June 4 vs. Boston
Gave the Indians a 4-3 lead with his 9th home run of the season in the bottom of the 4th off Angels starter Jered Weaver…Santana owns a lifetime .500 (10-20) average against Weaver, including 2 home runs, 5 RBI and 4 walks…has now hit safely in 4-straight games, registering 2 home runs and 3 RBI over that span.
Santana hit .343 (12-35) with 2 homers, 2 doubles, 6 walks, 8 RBI and 3 runs scored over the Tribe’s recent 10-game roadtrip.
Over his last 15 games around a 7-day DL stint, Santana has gone 17-51 (.333) with 4 homers, 13 RBI, 12 walks and 9 runs scored.
–Photos by Dan Mendlik/David Cleveland
The Indians notched their 5th walk-off win of the season, as Asdrubal Cabrera connected for a game-winning 3-run shot off Boston’s Edward Mujica with one out in the bottom of the 12th.
The win marked the Tribe’s second walk-off win of the homestand (Sunday, 6-4 win vs. COL); three of the five Cleveland walk-off victories this season have come by way of the long ball, as Michael Brantley (5/19 vs. DET) and Michael Bourn (6/1 vs. COL) have also notched game-winning long balls.
The game also marked just the second time in the history of Progressive Field (1994-present) that the Indians have collected a walk-off home run vs. the Red Sox in the regular season: Manny Ramirez owned the club’s only previous regular season walk-off homer vs. Boston on June 19, 1995, a solo-shot in the bottom of the 10th off Ken Ryan…Tony Pena hit a walk-off solo homer off Zane Smith in the bottom of the 13th in Game 1 of the 1995 Division Series vs. Boston – the club’s only other walk-off homer against the Red Sox at Progressive Field.
The game-winner marks the 73rd walk-off home run in the history of Progressive Field – the most by any team over that span ahead of Cincinnati (60) and Oakland (57).
–Photos by Dan Mendlik
Here are post-game notes compiled by the Indians Baseball Information Department after the Tribe’s 6-4 win over Toronto on Sunday.
- The Indians dodged their first series sweep and snapped the club’s 3-game losing streak with their 4th come-from-behind victory of the season.
- With 3.1 shutout innings today and 5.2 frames over the last 2 games, the Tribe’s bullpen has posted a 2.76 ERA (18 ER/58.2 IP) through the first 18 games this season.
- The Indians pen entered today’s game with the 3rd-lowest relief ERA in the American League.
- With 8 more strikeouts today, Tribe hurlers have averaged 9.38 SO/9.0 IP (164 SO/157.1 IP), which entering this afternoon’s game ranked second to only Washington for highest in the Majors.
- Today’s victory signaled the first time the Indians have won a game while scoring 6 runs on just 5 hits since August 12, 2006 vs. Kansas City.
- The Indians will welcome those Royals to town tomorrow for a 4-game series to round out this 7-day, 7-game homestand.
- Staked the Tribe to an early 1-0 lead with his 3rd home run of the season in the bottom of the 2nd vs. Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow.
- Knocked home his team-leading 16th RBI with a double to right in the bottom of the 4th bring the Tribe within a run of the Blue Jays lead at 2-3.
- Brantley is now batting .394 (13-33) with runners on base.
- Owns a .372 (34-89) lifetime average vs. Toronto (22 games), a stretch that includes 3 three-hit games and 3 four-hit games.
- Cleared the bases with a game-winning 3-run double following three consecutive 2-out walks in the bottom of the 6th.
- Smacked a bases-loaded triple against the White Sox at U.S Cellular Field on Saturday, April 12 and is a lifetime .342 (27/79) hitter with the bags full.
- David Murphy and Michael Brantley have combined for 12 of the Indians 17 RBI since Sunday’s 3-4 loss at Chicago-AL.
- Earned his 3rd victory of the season after recording the final out in the 6th inning following starter Carlos Carrasco’s departure.
- Outman has now won his last 7 decisions dating back to October 1, 2012 as a member of the Colorado Rockies.
- His 3 victories are tied for most in the Majors among relief pitchers.
- Logged 5.2 innings in his 3rd trip through the Indians rotation this season, but did not factor into the decision after the Indians regained the lead in the inning after his departure (ND, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R-ER, 3 BB, 5 SO, 88 pitches/55 strikes).
- Retired the first 9 batters in order to being his outing (2 SO’s) before allowing 3 straight hits to start the 3rd.
- Carrasco is still seeking his first win as a starter since June 29, 2011 at Arizona, taking a no decision or a loss in each of his last 16 starts (non-consecutive appearances); Carrasco is 0-11 with a 8.28 ERA (73 ER/79.1 IP) over that span.
Photos by Dan Mendlik and David Cleveland
CLEVELAND INDIANS (7-10) vs. TORONTO BLUE JAYS (10-8)
RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 7.84) vs. RHP Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.52)
Game #18/Home #9 » Sun., April 20, 2014 » Progressive Field » 1:05 p.m. (ET) » SportsTime Ohio, WTAM/WMMS/IRN
PICKED A BAD TIME TO BE IN LOVE
» The Indians dropped their third consecutive decision on Saturday afternoon – and second straight to Toronto – getting shut out 5-0 by southpaw MARK BUEHRLE (7.0+IP, 4 H) and the Blue Jays…COREY KLUBER (6.2 IP) worked into the 7th inning, but was touched for 5 runs (4 earned) on 9 hits…Cleveland was held to a season-low 4 hits, including just 2 from the 3rd inning on.
» Entering Saturday, the Indians had been one of 5 teams in the Majors that had yet to be shut out this season…that list is now confined to the Angels, Dodgers, Giants and Rangers.
WINS & LOSSES
» At 7-10 (.412), Cleveland is 3 games below the .500 mark to establish a new low water-mark for the season…Tribe’s high watermark of 2014 is 2 games above the .500 mark on April 4 (3-1) & April 9-G1 (5-3).
» Cleveland has lost 3 straight games to match club’s longest losing streak of the season (also April 9 G2-April 11)…Tribe has lost 4 of 5 and 7 of 9 after starting the year by winning 5 of first 8.
» Cleveland is 0-2 to begin a 7-day, 7-game homestand against Toronto (0-2) & Kansas City (4 games)…Tribe finished recent weather-shortened 8-day, 6-game road trip at 2-4 thru Chicago-AL (1-3) & Detroit (1-1)…club went 3-3 on first homestand of season vs. Minnesota (1-2) and San Diego (2-1)…Tribe began the year with a brief 3-game road trip, during which Tribe took 2 of 3 from Oakland, improving to 27-9 against the A.L. West since start of 2013 campaign…Cleveland will end April with a West Coast trip.
» Tribe is below the .500 mark both at Progressive Field (3-5) and one game below the .500 mark (4-5) on the road…team has gone 4-3 in night games, but 3-7 during the day.
A.L. CENTRAL STANDINGS
» Cleveland holds 5th place in the A.L. Central standings, trailing Detroit (8-6) & Kansas City (9-7) – both tied for first place – by 2.5 games…only division with a smaller margin separating all 5 teams is A.L. East (Yankees & Red Sox separated by 2.0 games)…Tribe has spent 2 days in 1st place, 9 days in 2nd place, 4 days in 3rd place, 2 days in 4th place and 3 days in 5th place.
» The Indians are 3-6 against A.L. Central opponents (went 44-32 in 2013) and 4-4 outside the division.
» Now assured of a series loss to Toronto, the Indians are 2-3-1 in 6 series played so far this season (1-2-0 at home, 1-1-1 on the road)…Tribe winless in last 3 series (0-2-1).
» Cleveland enters this afternoon’s tilt with a 1-4 record in series finales this season, dropping 4 straight since winning the Tribe’s first series finale in Oakland…club was 30-23 in finales last season.
ONE BRIGHT DAY
» Ten of Cleveland’s 17 tilts so far have been day games, but the Indians are just 3-7 (.300) in those contests…Tribe’s 10 day games played are 2nd-most in the A.L. & 4th in Majors behind Minnesota (13) and Chicago-NL/Cincinnati (11 each).
» Offense is batting just .238 (79-332) w/ a .696 OPS (.325OBP/.370SLG) in those 10 day games, while averaging 4.1 runs-per-game (41 R/10 G).
» Pitching staff has a 4.43 ERA (43 ER/87.1 IP) in day games, allowing 8 more runs (49) than Tribe’s offense has scored.
» Tribe went 34-20 (.630) in day games last season, the 2nd-best win pct. in the A.L. behind Boston at .651 (28-15).
SOUTH OF CANADA
» Cleveland has been held to 4 runs-or-less in 14 of the team’s last 16 games against Toronto dating back to the 2011 campaign (6-10 record).
» The Indians held a 4-2 advantage over the Blue Jays in 2013 (1st winning season vs. TOR since 6-4 mark in 2010), taking 2 of 3 at each ballpark…Cleveland’s offense was held to 4 runs-or-less in 5 of 6 meetings – including all 4 of team’s victories – as the Tribe’s pitching staff registered a 2.95 ERA (18 ER/55.0 IP) and one team SHO vs. TOR last season, including a 1.72 mark (9ER/47.0IP) in the 5 games in which Cleveland plated 4 runs-or-less.
» Cleveland has gone 50-35 (.588) all-time time vs. Toronto here at Progressive Field, but just 4-8 vs. the visiting Jays since start of 2011.
PANCHO & LEFTY
» With Saturday’s loss to Buehrle & the Blue Jays, Cleveland fell to 1-6 this season when facing a left-handed opposing starter…based on known probables, the Tribe is scheduled to face 3 straight righthanders before ending their 4-game series against Kansas City with back-to-back lefties (Vargas/Chen).
ANSWER THE BELL indians at a glance
» Cleveland’s pitching staff owns a 4.25 ERA (70ER/148.1IP), 10th in the A.L. this season…starting rotation’s 5.03 ERA (52 ER/93.0IP) is 3rd-highest in MLB ahead of only Arizona (7.50) and Minnesota (5.36), although Tribe hurlers have worked at least 6.0 innings w/2 runs-or-less in 3 of their last 5 starts (rotation avg.’ing almost 5.2 IP-per-start overall).
» Despite somewhat inflated numbers overall, the Indians pitching staff has worked 21.0 consecutive innings without surrendering a home run, as IAN KINSLER’s 3-run shot in the 5th inning of Thursday’s 7-5 loss at Detroit is the only big fly allowed by the Tribe over the last 4 games & 35.0 innings pitched.
AT THE BACK END
» With 2.1 scoreless frames yesterday, the Tribe’s bullpen has been largely effective thru first few weeks of the season, posting a 2.93 ERA (18 ER/55.1 IP) – 3rd in the A.L. – & a .212 (43-203) avg. against, 4th in A.L.
» Indians relievers have stranded 23 of 26 inherited runners for an A.L.-best 88.5% success rate, 2nd in the Majors behind only Los Angeles-NL (88.9%, 24-27).
INSIDE LOOKING OUT
» With 7 more men left on base last night and 19 in this series against Toronto, Cleveland has stranded 134 runners this season (nearly 8-per-game), 4th-most in the A.L. & T5th-most in MLB.
» The Indians are hitting just .208 (32-154) w/ runners in scoring position as a team, 12th in the A.L.
» The Indians are 0-for-14 w/ RISP thru 2 games of this series; meanwhile, the Blue Jays have gone 7-for-19 (.368)…over last 5 games, Tribe is batting .140 (6-43) w/ RISP.
» Cleveland is also hitting just .178 (30-169) with 2 outs, 2nd-lowest in the A.L. ahead of Houston (.138), as Brantley (.300, 6-20) is the only player with a qualifying two-out batting avg. above the .300 mark…6 of Brantley’s team-leading 14 RBI have come with 2 outs…after finishing with the 6th-most two-out runs in the Majors last season (292 of 745, 39%), Cleveland has plated 19 of the team’s 71 overall runs with two outs (26.8%).
GAME OF THRONES
» At the conclusion of this weekend set vs. Toronto, the Indians are set to finish their homestand with a 4-game set against the Kansas City Royals…Cleveland narrowly edged KC in the 2013 season series, winning 10 of 19 meetings, including 6 of 9 here at Progressive Field.
» Last season, the Royals (86-76) finished 3rd in the A.L. Central standings, 7 games behind first-place Detroit and 6.0 games behind 2nd-place Cleveland.
» Cleveland’s record through 17 games this season (7-10) matches club’s record through 17 games in 2013…club dropped 3 of next 4 to fall to 8-13 before a stretch that saw the Indians win 18 of their next 22 games, rising to 26-17.
» The Indians have played 17 games w/o going to extra innings this season, one of 6 teams yet to participate in bonus baseball…LAA, LAD & OAK lead Majors w/ 4 extra-inn. games each…Toronto has played one extra-inn. contest (12-inn. 2-1 loss 4/12 at BAL).
» Cleveland has lost both Sunday contests played this season and has gone 1-4 on weekends…Tribe was 36-18 in weekend games last year (18-9 on Sundays).
» Cleveland’s staff has averaged 9.47 SO/9.0 IP (156SO/148.1IP), 2nd-most in Majors behind only Washington (9.91SO/9.0 IP)…the Indians’ 156 K’s overall are T2nd-most in the A.L. with Toronto behind only Boston (158) and T5th-most in Majors.
» DH JASON GIAMBI (fractured rib) is expected to be activated from the 15-day DL on Monday…has appeared in 3G w/ Double-A Akron during rehab assignment.
THIS DAY IN MUSIC
» 1969: Influential Motown session drummer Benny Benjamin (“Papa Zita”) passed away at the age of 43 in Detroit, MI; Benjamin laid down drum tracks for hit singles like “Money (That’s What I Want)”, “My Girl”, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” and was credited with coining the name “Funk Brothers” to refer to his Motown studio bandmates…1996: Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” debuted
at No. 1 on the UK singles chart…2012: With the man himself onhand, the city of Austin, TX unveiled a statue of Willie Nelson in front of the Moody Theater, where “Austin City Limits” is taped.
» BORN ON THIS DAY: (1948) Craig Frost, keyboardist for Grand Funk Railroad and Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band; (1951) Luther Vandross; (1972) Stephen Marley, son of Bob & member of the Melody Makers.
Editor’s note: This Q&A with Indians President Mark Shapiro, conducted in Spring Training, has been republished here with the permission of Al Ciammaichella and The DiaTribe.
For the second year in a row, Indians team president Mark Shapiro was kind enough to take an hour out of his very busy spring training schedule and sit down for an interview with me in beautiful Goodyear, Arizona. Here’s a link to last year’s interview in case you missed it. We covered a wide variety of topics, including the difference in the 2013 and 2014 free agent market, Yan Gomes, ticket pricing, promotions, Francisco Lindor and of course, Justin Masterson and the breakdown in his long-term contract negotiations. The following is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation this past Friday.
Al Ciammaichella: This offseason was much quieter/different than last offseason. Were the moves you made last year looking forward to this year’s free agent class where you signed guys like Swisher and Bourn knowing this offseason would be quieter?
Mark Shapiro: We always have to take an opportunistic lens when it comes to free agency. When we look at free agency, if we’re dependent upon it to build our team, then we’re in a very difficult, if not impossible, spot. The reality is that we’re either looking for where the value is in the market or looking to be opportunistic. Last offseason there happened to be two guys that fit multiple year, positional needs for us at values we thought we could afford and who have some other special attributes, especially in the case of Swish, but really Bourn too, as a leader as well. They filled gaps we had in our system, where we felt like we didn’t have anyone coming up at all. And we also knew that this offseason there was a lot national TV money coming into the system and a lot less guys, so there were going to be more resources available, greater demand and less supply. So while it’s already a tough market, that was going to make it nearly an impossible market. So I look at last year as our chance to make a bigger splash in free agency, and this year was going to be “are there little things we can do?” I think we studied David Murphy, who I think is a good pick up for us. He’s going to improve both the defense, and give us a really good platoon and depth in the outfield.
AC: We talked a lot about levers last year, which became one of my new favorite buzzwords. How did you decide what levers to pull this year, with Murphy, and how did you decide which not to pull, with not bringing back guys like Ubaldo and Kazmir?
MS: Those decisions are never as simple as “do you want the player or not?” I think that the fan tends to look at it as “you didn’t want the guy.” We loved what Kaz did for us, we wanted him, but the level of risk involved with multiple years and the level of risk involved with those dollars just didn’t fit our payroll parameters this year with the natural, built in escalation of contracts. I think with Ubaldo, same thing. It ended up being a good deal for us, particularly in light of what we gave up, but it wasn’t the right fit for us this year. When you talk about levers, I think the neat things to think about from last spring to this spring are the evolution of a guy like Yan Gomes. Where all of a sudden, you look at Gomes and there’s a guy who leverages his ability to impact a game at more than just his position because of what he means defensively, what he means for his passion for making pitchers better, for helping to call a game. So I always like to think about, “where are the guys that can impact a game beyond objective statistics? Beyond just their own performance?” And Gomes is a guy who when he started to catch last year, I think that was one of the keys to our team really taking off.
AC: So when you traded for Gomes, and I could sit here all day and talk to you about Gomes, but when you traded for him, did you have any idea he’d be that much of an impact defensively? I’ve talked to some Blue Jays guys, and they were of the opinion that he was maybe a 3rd catcher while he was with the Jays.
MS: Any GM or front office guy who tells you he knows exactly what he was getting when he traded for a guy is just pounding his own chest. What you do is you try and find something you like, a defined attribute that you like about a guy. Even when we traded for Asdrubal or Shin-Soo Choo, there were always questions. We never thought they’d both be as good as they were, never. So when we traded for Yan Gomes, we thought that maybe he could catch, but really what he was, was right handed power, and a guy who could play multiple positions. That’s what we thought. When we got him, I think we did a smart thing, similar to when we traded for Justin Masterson. We didn’t know Masterson could start, but we knew he could be a dominant bullpen guy. But in our situation it’s important to maximize the value because we can’t go out and buy those things. So we put Yan back there, and right away Tito and the staff said “this guy’s got pretty special hands, he’s got some strength behind the plate.” When you go back and look at his career, whether it’s in Tennessee (in college) or in the Toronto system, he played behind Arencibia both places, and they had D’Arnaud there as well. So he was behind two of the best young catchers in the game and he never got to catch much. He just took right to it. He got better and better. He’s a worker, he’s smart, he’s tough, he has a lot of the attributes you look for in a catcher.