I’ve been putting together this “Former Indians in the Postseason” post for several years now – both in 2011 and 2012; this is the first year that the Indians actually made the playoffs themselves. Here is a list of former Indians (both players and coaches) that also made the 2013 postseason. I typically have put this together prior to the playoffs, but this time I decided to wait so I could examine the players’ performances.
Boston Red Sox – World Champions, 97-65 during the regular season
Coaches: John Farrell, manager and Torey Lovullo, bench coach.
These two men are both familiar to the Indians organization. Farrell played for the Indians at one point, and also worked in their front office as director of player development from 2001 to 2006. Prior to the 2007 season, he joined the Red Sox as their pitching coach. He eventually left to manage the Blue Jays, but returned to lead Boston to a World Series title in his first season with them. Lovullo managed in the minors for a number of years with the Indians, and was up for the management position after Eric Wedge was fired. When the Indians went with Manny Acta, Lovullo left to manage in the Red Sox organization. His name has been mentioned as a contender for several vacant major league managerial positions this offseason.
Players: Craig Breslow
Breslow’s time with the Indians was brief; he was claimed off waivers in 2008 (from the Red Sox) and appeared in just seven games before they designated him for assignment. He was picked up by Minnesota to finish out the season, but seemed to really catch on with Oakland, where he pitched from 2009-2011. Breslow had a rough World Series – giving up 3 hits and 2 ER in just a third of an inning pitched for a 54.00 ERA – but performed much better during the ALDS and ALCS. He did not allow an earned run over 7 innings pitched during the two series.
Detroit Tigers, lost the ALCS to Boston in 6 games. Went 93-69 during the regular season.
Players: Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. Both Martinez and Peralta were part of the Indians’ postseason run in 2007, and like the ALCS of that year just could not make it past Boston. Peralta was on fire for much of the postseason after returning from his 50-game PED suspension, but he had some good numbers during the 2007 postseason as well. During the ALDS against Oakland, he hit .417/.417/.750 with one home run, and during the ALCS against Boston he hit .286/.318/.429 with no home runs. Martinez also had a fantastic postseason – hitting .450/.450/.700 with one home run during the ALDS against Oakland and .364/.417/.455 with no home runs during the ALCS against Boston.
Coaches: Toby Harrah (assistant hitting coach; was the first base coach in 1996 for the Indians) and third base coach Tom Brookens, who played with the Indians in 1990.
Oakland Athletics, lost the ALDS to Detroit in 5 games. Went 96-66 during the regular season.
Players: The A’s have two familiar faces on their roster – Bartolo Colon and Coco Crisp. Colon started game 1 for Oakland and had a bad first inning, giving up three earned runs. Even though he shut the Tigers down after that, Oakland’s offense wasn’t able to get much going against Max Scherzer. Colon would have been set to go in game 5, but manager Bob Melvin instead decided to go with rookie Sonny Gray, the winning pitcher from game 2. Gray wasn’t as sharp, and the A’s offense ran into a buzz saw against Justin Verlander. Crisp had a great series for Oakland, hitting .389/.455/.611 with no home runs and a stolen base.
Tampa Bay Rays, lost the ALDS to Boston in 4 games. Went 92-71 during the regular season (counting their one-game playoff against the Rangers).
Players: Even though there are a number of familiar faces on the Rays, not all of them made the postseason roster. For example, former Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez did not make the wild card or the ALDS roster. Former Indians utility man Chris Gimenez was on the roster for the wild card game, but not the ALDS (although he did not appear in the wild card game). Chris Archer, a player drafted by the Indians and traded to the Chicago Cubs in the Mark DeRosa deal (later flipped to the Rays in the Matt Garza deal), appeared in two games of the ALDS. He did not allow an earned run over 1.2 innings pitched. Jamey Wright was with the Indians during the 2010 season, and he was used with relative frequency out of the Rays’ pen this season. He did not have a good ALDS – over 2 games (2 IP), he allowed 4 hits and 4 ER, good for a 18.00 ERA for the series.
Coaches: Derek Shelton, the Rays’ hitting coach, served the same position in the Indians organization under Eric Wedge. First base coach George Hendrick played with the Tribe from 1973-1976.
St. Louis Cardinals, lost to the Red Sox in the World Series in 6 games. They went 97-65 during the regular season.
Players: There aren’t too many former Indians players on the Cardinals’ roster, as much of it is comprised of their own young, home-grown players. Former Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook didn’t even make the postseason roster, and reliever Edward Mujica was almost invisible, despite the fact he was on the roster. Mujica only pitched one inning during the NLDS against Pittsburgh, giving up no hits or runs. During one inning of the NLCS against the Dodgers, he surrendered one earned run in one inning.
Coaches: There were several people on the Cardinals’ coaching staff that had connections to the Indians. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist played with the Indians during the 1990s, bench coach Mike Aldrete played with the Indians in 1991, and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley played briefly in the Indians minor league system in 1997.
Los Angeles Dodgers, lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS in 6 games. They went 92-70 during the regular season.
Coaches: The only person with any connection to the Indians is bench coach Trey Hillman, who played in the minors for the Indians from 1985-1987.
Pittsburgh Pirates, lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS in 5 games. They went 94-68 during the regular season.
Players: There were two players with connections to the Indians – Jeanmar Gomez and Jason Grilli. Grilli was actually signed by the Indians to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training prior to the 2010 season. He was injured in spring training and missed the entire season though. He came back strong with the Pirates in 2011, and has pitched mostly as their closer. An injury down the stretch this year limited his appearances. Even when he returned and appeared healthy, he didn’t seem to instill the confidence he once did pre-injury in the closer’s role. He pitched a perfect inning in the wild card game, to propel the Pirates over the Reds. He appeared in three games against the Cardinals in the NLDS and did not allow a run. Gomez had a nice season in Pittsburgh, where he pitched primarily out of the bullpen. He pitched four innings during the NLDS and allowed 0 ER on 3 hits (with 2 unearned runs scoring).
Coaches: Hitting coach Jay Bell started his major league career with the Indians; he was traded to the Tribe from the Twins in the Bert Blyleven deal in 1985. Bell was eventually traded to the Pirates as a player to be named later in 1989, where he became a fixture at shortstop during their early 1990s runs to the playoffs. Coach Jeff Branson played with the Indians in 1997.
Atlanta Braves, lost to the Dodgers in the NLDS in 4 games. They went 96-66 during the regular season.
Coaches: The only person with a connection to the Indians is bullpen coach Eddie Perez, who played with the Indians in 2002.
Cincinnati Reds, lost to the Pirates in the wild card game. They went 90-72 during the regular season.
Players: The Reds have several familiar faces to Indians fans. Shin-Soo Choo, traded to the Reds last offseason, went 1 for 3 with a home run during the wild card game. Brandon Phillips, traded to the Indians in the Colon deal and shipped out for next to nothing, went 0 for 4 in the wild card game and was critical of his own performance afterward. While Jack Hannahan made the wild card roster, he did not appear in the game. Ryan Ludwick, who played with the Indians from 2003-2005, had a great wild card game, going 3 for 4 with two doubles.
Coaches: Hitting coach Brook Jacoby played for the Indians for much of the 1980s, while bullpen coach Juan Lopez was signed as a nondrafted free agent by the Indians in 1983, and spent several years in their minor league system.