Indians

He’s one sharp Cookie: Between Innings

The Cleveland Indians (83-56) have the best run differential in MLB (+190), an 11 game lead in the AL Central division, and have loosened the grip on the number one seed in the American League by the Houston Astros to just three games despite a seven game winning streak of their own. The Tribe’s win streak reached 14 games when they defeated the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, 5-1. That streak had stood since the Indians won 14 straight games an entire 14 months ago. The team goes for a new franchise record tonight as Corey Kluber takes the mound as the Tribe can also finish off a sweep of their entire 11-game road trip.

A quick reminder the Indians have continued their win streak despite injuries to Michael Brantley, Jay Bruce, Jason Kipnis, and Andrew Miller. Danny Salazar, Lonnie Chisenhall, Bradley Zimmer, Josh Tomlin, and Abraham Almonte have only recently returned from injury. The common sports phrase of Next Man Up been made possible by the front office having accumulated depth through youth in the farm system (Yandy Diaz, Greg Allen, Tyler Naquin) and through free agency and trades (Austin Jackson, Jay Bruce). Manager Terry Francona has then continued to piece everything together with an expertise at having the team crest late in the season.

On Wednesday, Naquin’s sacrifice fly in the fourth was the game’s only score through seven innings. Despite Carrasco’s dominant pitching, the game was once again in doubt as it had been the night prior. As they had on Tuesday, the Indians came through with late runs to provide a much-needed late inning cushion. Carlos Santana played the role of hero as he followed up some spectacular defensive plays at first base all game with a towering two-run home run to deep right field off Lord Farquhar, who would give up two walks and two hits including the Santana blast. Greg Allen and Jose Ramirez concluded the scoring for the Indians when they both took advantage of Matt Davidson at first base on consecutive plays.

Hurricane Irma

Let us pause a moment to pray for everyone who has sat and will sit in the path of Hurricane Irma. Unlike Hurricane Harvey, the main worry of destruction is not from torrential rainfall (though over 10 inches in a short time period can still cause mayhem), but from the steady 175 mile per hour winds. Puerto Rico has already been hit, leaving over a million without power. The island of Barbuda has suffered catastrophic destruction.

A great number of the players on the Cleveland Indians hail from one of these islands. Roberto Perez and Francisco Lindor played for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic as Carlos Santana did for the Dominican Republic. Just as Jay Bruce lamented his mind was on South Texas in the aftermath of Harvey, appreciate and pray with the players whose families and friends are in the current path of the storm.

Everyone’s path in life is either entering, leaving, or within a storm. A common figurative device to demonstrate the struggles every human faces. Those in the Caribbean and South Florida happen to have it be a literal reality at the moment.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

https://twitter.com/mymixtapez/status/905603393745539072

https://twitter.com/stevechristo_/status/905544188686737408


Translation: “People without respect, a Category 5 storm on the way to our countries and people only making memes and mockery, even with God?”

One sharp Cookie

Carrasco finished off the White Sox with a complete game, three-hit, one-run performance that included nine strikeouts, zero walks, and just 97 pitches needed (76 strikes, 78%). To put the pitch count in perspective, the White Sox needed 168 pitches (95 strikes, 57%). On Tuesday, the White Sox threw 173 pitches (107 strikes, 62%) and the Indians tossed 172 (107 strikes, 62%).

courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net

Everything was working for Cookie on Wednesday. He mixed up his pitches as he threw an almost even amount of sinkers, fourseam fastballs, and curveballs, while throwing an occasional slider and change up just to keep the White Sox off balance. Both the sinker and curve generated good swing-and-miss as 13 of his amazing 17 whiffs were from those two pitches. Given that Carrasco never threw more than 14 pitches in an inning, he was able to get constant rest between his workloads, which helped him maintain a steady velocity on his fastballs throughout. He only touched 97 miles per hour in the second and third innings, but otherwise kept a steady beat at 96 miles per hour the rest of the game.

Given an 84 mile per hour curve that appears to be his hard sinker off his hand, hitters had no chance other than to wildly guess on pitch selection. Carrasco had no fears of utilizing the entire strike zone because of that deception.

courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net

Unfortunately, with shades back to his July 1 2015 near-no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays, non-slugger Adam Launch Engel stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning as Carrasco had an opportunity to finish off a complete game shutout facing the minimum number of batters and staying under 100 pitches.1 Engel took a fourseam fastball over the heart of the plate and hit it over the fence to ruin that opportunity.

Instead, Carrasco will have to be satisfied with his best start in what has been a dominant past 30 days for him. In the last six games he has started, Carrasco now has pitched 42.2 innings (over seven innings per start) with a 1.90 ERA, 50:4 strikeout to walk ratio, and allowed just 30 hits for a .197/.226/.289 slash line against. His 2017 season ERA now sits at 3.53 with a FIP of 3.29 as he passed Chris Archer in fWAR, and he now only trails Chris Sale, Kluber, and Luis Severino. Yes, Carrasco is on pace to finish in the Top 5 of the AL Cy Young Award race.

  1. The term Maddux refers to any complete game shutout with the pitcher staying under 100 pitches. []

  • Gage Will

    Carrasco’s consistency over the past few years is incredible. Without Kluber or a few minor injuries, he’d be recognized a bit more, I think.

  • Allen P

    For the first time in my life, I don’t miss watching a game. This is so much fun.

  • mgbode

    I’m honestly a little worried he’ll be left out of the AL Cy Young Top 5 just because he’s Kluber’s teammate, which will be ridiculous (should it fall that way).

  • scripty

    I don’t feel like we talked about the 109mph single Santana hit off the wall on TUES evening. That was outrageous.

  • scripty

    Brian Shaw shaved and is being shawsome. Deal with it.

  • mgbode

    He hit it so hard that they were throwing it in before Santana could make the turn at first base. It was outrageous.

  • jpftribe

    And the reality is the Indians last two games have been their worst games in weeks and still won handily.

  • scripty

    Barking dogs notwithstanding, the home plate sound at New Comiskey on TV is excellent. The game sounds pop.

  • scripty

    Worth a glance – MLB all time Hold leaders

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.fcgi?id=wi7Yy

  • jpftribe

    You’re in luck. He got last night off, so he should be good for daily appearances thru next week.

  • mgbode

    Hitting for last night sure, but Cookie…

  • Eric G

    Don’t bring up the dogs to Hammy. He’s…not a fan.

  • Harv

    Broken record: the Jose Ramirez thing is beyond impressive. The offense looked understandably sluggish with the grind of the streak and road trip and the poor opponent They were leaving guys all over the bases. But after the Santana homer Jose is still pushing pedal to metal by scoring from second on a ball dribbling just a few feet from the first baseman.

    He’s not playing for his first big money, he’s already banking it. And that seems to have only upped his intensity. What great role-modeling for Yandy, Mejia, Naquin and Zimmer. Two years ago who would have guessed that he’d be outplaying a healthy Lindor.

  • Allen P

    Yep, last night’s enjoyment was all about Carrasco. Until Santana decided to go all Encarnacion on that ball late.

  • Allen P

    The grammar in this comment is terrible. I should have said: “For the first time in my life, watching Tribe games is a nightly priority” or some such.

  • jpftribe

    Oh yeah, didn’t mean to include Cookie in that. If it wasn’t for a non-existent Sox D, we may have been in trouble.

  • mgbode

    Yeah, though their OF defense was pretty nifty last night, I was quite thankful for Davidson.

  • mgbode

    QC self flagellation

  • mgbode

    Attendance was 13,000- only if you include 1000 dogs

  • scripty
  • jpftribe

    Which would be about 12,950 more than what showed up in Miami. Feel bad for those guys worried about their families and having to play in front of an empty house.

  • mgbode

    No doubt.

  • jpftribe

    Good discussion on a2z comparing Lindor and JRam to Swann and Stallworth. Two different pedigrees making each other better than great.

  • jpftribe

    I kinda like that some of these guys fly a little under the radar. Frankie deserves every bit of accolades he gets. But at his age to now have every waking minute of his life in high demand has got to be tough to manage. He’s superb at it, but it takes effort for it to be that way.

  • Eric G

    He’s been going hard on the whole South Side this trip

  • tsm

    Re Irma – My family is affiliated with a school in Ouanaminthe Haiti which is located on the border with the D.R. I am praying for the people in the path of the storm as well as all those who are helping.

  • mgbode

    Praying with you, friend.

  • mgbode

    I am not opposed to it.

  • Eric G

    Nor I. I find it quite amusing, actually. I love when there’s disdain in his voice.

  • mgbode

    Now that the disdain is not directed at Carlos Santana, I agree.

  • paulbip

    Don’t drag god into sports. He caused the weather so live with it.

  • mgbode

    Every piece I write is a bit of who I am and my faith is a big part of who I am. Look to Harvey, it was catastrophic on the city devastation scale, but it was heart-warming on a humanitarian measure. At a time our country needs healing, coming together after tragedy might be what we need the most. So, I pray that we as a people are able to take the good through whatever comes our way.

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  • Eric G

    If nothing else comes of this world, we will know that you, in the teeth of the wind, never faltered in your support for ‘Los and Robo.

  • mgbode

    Is there room on the tombstone for Sunshine?

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