In 2012 I wrote a few pieces called Tribe-o-Metrics—basically a collection of the best notes I could dig up on the Indians. The semi-weekly piece eventually faded and since I had to take hiatus from IPL for most of the 2013 season (there’s limited internet access in the middle of Alaska), Tribe-o-Metrics has been lost into the deep dark tunnels of IPL history.
But this year’s it’s back and better than ever, rebranded as Tribe Tidbits!
With much help from the Baseball-Reference Play Index, and a few databases I’ve put together myself over the years, Tribe Tidbits will take a look at just about any statistical note you could think of involving the Tribe. So if you’re ever watching a Tribe game and wonder “when was the last time that happened”… leave a message on the blog or send me a tweet (@TribeFanMcc) and I’ll try to add it to the next installment.
And now on to Tribe Tidbits from opening week…
Due to a slow-starting offense, the Indians starting rotation is 0-2 through the first five games of the season. That hasn’t happened since 2009 when the Indians started 0-5. And, dating back to 1914 (as far as the Baseball-Reference data goes), the Indians have never won 3 of their first 5 games without at least one victory from a starting pitcher.
The beneficiary of the Indians late rallies was Cody Allen, who picked up the W in the Indians’ first two victories. In doing so, he became just the 17th relief pitcher in baseball history to win two of his team’s first three games of the season. He’s the third Indian to do so, joining Dave LaRoche (1977) and Dan Boone (1923).
Carlos Carrasco is in the midst of one of the most miserable stretches for a starting pitcher in Tribe history. And, thanks to injuries, it’s a stretch that dates back to 2011. Although Carrasco picked up a victory in relief last season, his last win as a starting pitcher came back on June 29, 2011. During that stretch, he’s 0-10 in 14 starts.
During this stretch, Carrasco has been particularly awful in Progressive Field. In each of Carrasco’s last nine starts at home the Indians have lost, which ties Steve Hargan from the 1971 and ’72 seasons for the Indians longest losing streak behind an individual starting pitcher in the last 100 seasons.
In the hope opener, Lonnie Chisenhall started at DH in the 9th spot in the batting order. It was just the 19th time in franchise history the Indians used their DH in the 9th spot. Each of the last four times it’s been Chisenhall, which ties him for the franchise record in this obscure category with Jason Dubois, who batted 9th as the DH four times in 2005. Shawon Dunston (three times), Coco Crisp (twice) and Ruben Amaro (twice) are the only others to hold down this unique spot in batting order more than once.
Sticking with the theme of lineup quirks, in the first game of the double header against the A’s, Asdrubal Cabrera lead off as the DH (somewhat rare, but not unheard of) and Nick Swisher batted 2nd as the first basemen (not rare at all thanks to Swisher, Julio Franco and Mike Hargrove). But the combination of the two—a DH and first baseman batting 1-2, in either order—has only happened two other times in franchise history. On July 13, 2011 Grady Sizemore led off as the DH, followed by Carlos Santana. And in 1989, Jerry Browne was the leadoff hitter as the DH and first baseman Pete O’Brien batted second in the order.
Through the Tribe’s first give games, Chisenhall is 4-8 at the plate. He’s the first Indian with a .500 average through five games (with at least eight at bats) since Victor Martinez started the season 6-12 in 2007. In the past 20 years, only four others, including Martinez, have matched Chisenhall’s hot start: Ellis Burks (9-18 in 2001), Sandy Alomar Jr. (6-8 in 1998) and Eddie Murray (11-22 in 1995). And I suppose it’s worth mentioning that the Indians made the playoffs in all four of those seasons.