What If?

August 11, 2011

When I was at the game tonight, I kept thinking a lot about the Indians’ “What If?” campaign that’s been going on throughout the season.  Primarily, for two reasons – what if they never called Jason Kipnis up to Cleveland?  And what if they were somehow able to overcome Detroit to conquer the AL Central?  What if they wouldn’t have traded for Ubaldo Jimenez?  After Kipnis went 5 for 5 tonight, I think it’s pretty easy to say that the Tribe doesn’t win this game without him.  Even though the Tribe has had solid starting pitching for much of this year, it was pretty fun to watch Jimenez dealing at Progressive Field tonight.

The Indians’ offense fared quite well outside of the hits provided by Kipnis (who raised his average from .295 from .232) – the Indians tied their season high in doubles with 7 – Kosuke Fukudome had two and Lonnie Chisenhall, Ezequiel Carrera, Lou Marson, Carlos Santana, and Jason Kipnis each had one.  Overall, the Tribe had 18 hits; every starter in this game had at least one hit, while Kipnis, Travis Hafner, Santana, Fukudome, and Chisenhall all had multiple hits.  This is the kind of offensive outburst that fans have been waiting for; hopefully it can continue in the season finale against Detroit and against the Minnesota Twins this weekend.

In order to sweep the Tigers, the Indians will have to get past Justin Verlander.  Verlander is having a Cy Young caliber season, but doesn’t have great lifetime numbers against the Indians – he is 11-11 with a 4.82 ERA in his career versus the Indians and is 4-8 with a 6.31 ERA in 13 starts at Progressive Field.  Even if Verlander bests the Indians on Thursday night, at worst the Tigers would leave town with a 3 game lead over the Indians.  In this case, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!


  • TJ says:

    “:…2 out of 3 ain’t bad.” That is decades of following the Tribe talking. We all suffer from it. That kind of talk is fine BEFORE the series started but not AFTER taking the first two. Thursday’s game is crucial–it means the HUGE difference between being 1 game behind or
    3 games behind, in effect a 2 game differential. After those tough loses in Boston and Texas, the Tribe really needs this sweep! Of course I doubt they’ll get it…

  • Drew says:

    I doubt the Tribe gets it as well. Manny Acta will see that left-handed batters are hitting .095 against Verlander and will sit Cabrera and Chisenhall in favor of Duncan and Kearns. Even Mr. Sparky Kipnis himself won’t be enough to muster up any sort of offense.

    Also which Fausto Carmona shows up?

    Nonetheless, I certainly hope I am eating crow on this blog tomorrow morning.

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    TJ – HA! As much as we try to stay positive, the ‘ol negativity just keeps slipping in there!

    Drew – I’m also concerned about which Fausto shows up. Plus if Verlander is dealing tonight, even a reasonably good Fausto will not be enough, unfortunately.

  • ben says:

    Drew – I saw that stat somewhere, but its actually (per ESPN) “Lefties are hitting just .095 (7-for-74) in at-bats that end with a curve and righties are hitting only .169 (11-for-65)”; i.e. the curve is deadly. Your point still stands though, in that the LH Indians have their hands full tonight.

    Another thing to consider when viewing our games over the rest of the season, we have two make-up games (SEA and WSOX) that the Tribe should be favored to win, so we could pick up a cheap game on DET by winning those two…

  • Ben says:

    Carmona is absolutely, positively, fucking terrible. I am beyond words as to what I think of him as a professional baseball player, but if he is somehow on our team on opening day 2012, i will give up on the idea that the front office has half a brain. I have no idea what on earth we could have done with him this year, but we honestly don’t need to start the guy. ever. again.

  • SeattleStu says:

    carmona battling…give him credit….switching gears, dont know if it will end up mattering, but we’ve gotten verlander to 100 pitches in the 6th….and i like our bullpen v. theirs…..we got 8 innings from U last night whereas DET had to go back to back nights deep into pen given 15 inning and then 10 run injun uprising chasing starter early….cmon guys….DIG DEEP!

  • SeattleStu says:

    ok my theory looks pretty bad :-)…..kipnis spent too much time on his press clippings today….cmon guys, final ups let’s get em.

  • Jerry says:

    Our 20th 1 run loss………….:<…………time for a glass of wine……

  • Stephanie Liscio says:

    I have to agree with Vern’s post – two Carmonas for sure. As much as I was ready to hide my head in shame at the beginning, I was impressed that he was able to turn it around. There are losses that make me mad, and losses that I can accept. Tonight was one of those that I can accept.

    (Although Jerry, that stat makes me also want a glass of wine. Or several glasses…)

  • Drew says:

    I watched the game last night and while you want to say that there was a tale of two Faustos, “We would have never met “Bad Fausto” in the first inning if Lonnie’s throw was like the other 97% of his tosses to first base. Cut the guy some slack! He was far from effective prior to the month of July but since then he has put the Indians in a position to win in each of his starts.

    The 2nd inning started with single by Peralta that if it hadn’t been for Ezekiel Carerra basically playing on the warning track would have been a fly ball out. Peralta scored on a seeing-eye dribbler through the hole at SS The second run scored on a come-backer to the mound that deflected off of Fausto’s glove and into right field. The 3rd run of the inning was a properly executed squeeze bunt! If given the same set of circumstances, even Cliff Lee would have given up 3 runs in that inning!

    The Indians had less hits than the Tigers had runs. This is a recipe for a loss. This one cannot be blamed on Fausto Carmona as he had a 1.29 WHIP, 3.85 ERA, 6 Ks in 7 innings in which he threw 70 pitches of his 110 pitches for strikes. And how many of the strikes were swinging strikes?

    My father once did some analysis and observed that a baseball team that scores five runs (versus 4) for example, yields the greatest increase in winning percentage than any other marginal increase in runs scored. Neither team accomplished this last night and as evinced by the 2:47 minutes in which it took to complete the game, this was a closer to a pitcher’s duel than what the final score indicates.

  • SeattleStu says:

    @ Drew, very cool on your pops analysis