July 17, 2012

Well, the Indians lost to Tampa Bay Tuesday night, 4-2.  Tampa Bay scored 3 in the 1st, but the Indians scraped back a couple of runs in the 4th and 5th innings.  There were moments when I thought they might pull one out of the crapper, so to speak, but it wasn’t to be.  Josh Tomlin didn’t pitch one of his best games, but he wasn’t horrid either. Four runs isn’t an insurmountable score. Yet nearly every time we had runners in scoring position (RISP), they ended up being stranded.

According to, the Indians rank 18th among MLB teams in RISP, with a .245 average. However, over the last five games (since the end of the All-Star Break) the Indians are  6-43 (.139) with runners in scoring position. I had to add that up more than once just to check, because it’s so abysmal. Even worse, we’re .195 with bases loaded–26th in MLB. Here’s how it breaks out over the last five games:

7/13 Team RISP: 0-for-6.
7/14 Team RISP: 3-for-10.
7/15 Team RISP: 0-for-10.
7/16 Team RISP: 2-for-12.
7/17 Team RISP: 1-for-5

Here’s how each player is batting with runners in scoring position. While I’m happy to see people get a hit occasionally (yes, Aaron Cunningham, I am talking to you), it’s somewhat meaningless if you can’t get a hit that moves a runner around the bases. In looking at the numbers below, it seems that the majority of the starting lineup is more than respectable (Casey Kotchman’s and Carlos Santana’s struggles notwithstanding). But  with the exception of Jose Lopez, there’s a frightening drop-off when you get to the bench and platoon players. As we approach the trade deadline, I keep hoping and praying the Indians will find a way to rectify the gaping hole in left field and at the right side of the plate. But what do we have to bargain with? And who on the roster or on the farm is untouchable?

Kipnis .386 RISP
Brantley .306 RISP
Lopez .300 RISP
Cabrera .278 RISP
Choo .276 RISP
Hannahan .274 RISP
Santana .219 RISP
Cunningham .208 RISP
Kotchman .205 RISP
Marson .194 RISP
Duncan .163 RISP
Damon .135 RISP
Hafner .130 RISP




  • PatrickSands says:

    I think hitting with runners in scoring position is very important but I would like to see some statistics on players being able to sacrifice when they have a chance. For instance a runner on second with nobody out. Who can get a meaningful out? Hit the ball to the right side of the infield, or with a man on third with 1 or 0 outs who can get the run home? I haven’t seen us bunt to get somebody to third in ages it feels like (granted I don’t get to see many games, but I stare at gamecast for hours). These are just little things but when you have no power these are things you MUST do. We have a team that is built to play NL style small ball but Acta still tries to play AL ball and let hitters swing away when a sacrifice will do.

    - Frustrated Indians Fan

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Patrick, I share your frustration. For “Runner on 3rd, less than 2 outs,” we have a .282 average, 22nd in the majors.

    • Drew says:

      It seems like the Indians are always hitting into inning-crippling DPs. I don’t care who it is, but every player should know how to bunt. I had a coach, for whom I played travel ball in high school, who always at least would have u us show bunt on the first pitch of an at-bat with runners on 1st and 2nd and no-outs. Even the #4 hitter. The defense and the pitcher have to react! What if you draw in the 3B on the play but send the runner from second? No one is covering 3B or it becomes a foot race with the SS. Now all of the sudden you have runners at the corners with no-outs!

      I cannot wait until I get to coach little league…

    • Mary Jo says:

      Is it really that high of an average? I would have figured somewhere in the middle-upper 100s.

      I mentioned elsewhere that I should write a murder mystery called “Death on Third Base”. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but if I see a book with that title under YOUR name Susan I won’t waste any time hunting you down. ;-)

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Drew: I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of the bunt, but once in a while it would be useful to at least show bunt…

    Mary Jo: I don’t steal titles, just bases. :)

    • Drew says:

      Susan, you make a great argument on the bunt. Most of the time, it creates an out and a team only gets 3 in an inning. If I were Travis Hafner, I’d learn to bunt down the 3B line and keep doing it until the defense quits shifting, then swing away. I mean, the man goes out 77% of the time right now, I’ll take the odds that bunting will reduce that amount.

  • Susan Petrone says:

    Good point, Drew. You know, I swear once in a while I see Hafner show bunt when there aren’t any runners on base.

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