Considering their convincing lead in the division, this was far from a must-win game but it sure feels good to quickly put that 8th-inning collapse in the rearview mirror.
Mike Napoli got the party started with a first-inning home run and the Tribe cruised to a 7-3 victory.
It was also great to see Bryan Shaw come in and look absolutely filthy, striking out Morales and Perez on three pitches apiece and then get Gordon to send a weak grounder back to the mound. He disposed of the Royals on just eight pitches (all strikes) to pick up his 16th hold of the season.
Shaw’s ERA has been irreparably damaged by three horrific outings, but he’s been flat-out dominant more often than not. For some context on just how nasty he can be, consider this group he joined on Tuesday:
8th time this season Shaw's had 2+ K, 0 base runners in a game.. only Betances, Miller, Kimbrel, Jansen, Oh and Dull have more
— Ryan McCrystal (@TribeFanMcC) July 20, 2016
Four of those six reliever were All-Stars and Ryan Dull and Seung-hwan Oh probably would have been if they weren’t unknown rookies. So while I would welcome the addition of more bullpen help, I’m happy with Shaw because he is unhittable far more often than he collapses.
Somewhat unrelated to Tuesday’s game, I need to address some nonsensical rambling from Rick Manning…
If you were watching the game on STO you may have heard Manning go on a little rant about how he doesn’t understand why Carlos Santana expands his zone and loses patience with runners on base.
Well, unsurprisingly, Rick Manning’s assessment is flat-out wrong.
Not only is Santana sufficiently patient with runners on base, he’s actually more patient than anyone in Major League Baseball. Santana leads the majors with a chase percentage (swings at pitches out of the strike zone) of 17.2 percentage.
It drives me crazy when Manning just makes up stuff like this during the broadcast. As great of a sports town as Cleveland is, I’ve found the majority of Indians fans to be shockingly unintelligent baseball fans compared to my interactions with other fan bases (note: I’m probably not referring to you—after all, you’re reading a smalltime Indians blog). And I honestly believe the lazy effort from Manning and Matt Underwood on a nightly basis are a significant reason why this is the case. Most fans don’t seek out information beyond the broadcast and The Plain Dealer coverage—both of which are still operating in a pre-Sabermetrics baseball world and have yet to enter the new generation of baseball.
This nonsense from Manning is also a wonderful example as to why analytics are necessary in sports.
Manning watches every single Indians game, which includes hundreds of at-bats by Santana, and yet his “eye test” tells him that Santana is bad at something that he literally does better than anyone else.