May 1, 2013
Chapter 25: The party continues
The last three and a half days have been like a party, in which you're having fun and no cares, and reality hasn't intruded yet. I know there's going to be a heck of a morning after, but at this point, I don't think anyone cares.The last time the Indians won four games in a row by the combined margin (+34) that they've won by? 1948.
This win defied all probability: one of the best pitchers in the game giving up five runs in six inning, a talented but unpolished pitcher walking six batters in five innings but somehow keeping the other off the scoreboard. Ryan Raburn, who until Monday was just a bench guy (and not a well-loved one at that) has gone 11-for-13 with 4 homers and a double (now he's hitting .364/.407/.655). There were cheap infield hits, well-laid bunts, and line-drive hits at exactly the time needed. It's like good fortune, like a sun, suddenly poked through the cloudy sky that is Cleveland sports and shone down its fortunate rays directly on this team.
Trevor Bauer will go back down to Columbus today, as he still has things to work on, most notably command of his fastball. Last night his fastballs were almost exclusively high pitches, something is not sustainable in the majors; you might get away with that in AAA, but a consistently high fastball is going to get hammered sooner or later. We saw glimpses of his curve, especially the one that Carlos Ruiz flailed at in the fourth inning (see the :39 mark in this video). And he never gave in, even in some very tough jams, which is impressive for someone so young and with so little major-league experience.
A look at Bauer's Fx last night shows a lot of wildness, but great stuff:
|Pitch Type||Avg Speed||Max Speed||Avg H-Break||Avg V-Break||Count||Strikes / %||Whiffs / %||SNIPs / %||Linear Weights|
|FF (FourSeam Fastball)||94.28||96.85||-3.52||9.03||43||22 / 51.16%||1 / 2.33%||17 / 44.74%||-0.8899|
|CH (Changeup)||83.09||84.44||-2.66||8.03||8||2 / 25.00%||1 / 12.50%||2 / 25.00%||0.3285|
|SL (Slider)||83.39||85.45||3.81||-1.28||14||10 / 71.43%||3 / 21.43%||9 / 69.23%||-0.5037|
|CU (Curveball)||77.77||80.21||5.42||-9.27||12||6 / 50.00%||1 / 8.33%||3 / 33.33%||-0.8455|
|FC (Cutter)||87.18||88.67||-3.80||5.53||16||10 / 62.50%||1 / 6.25%||9 / 60.00%||0.3415|
Pitch classifications provided by the Automatic MLBAM Gameday Algorithm.
SNIPs are "Strikes Not In Play" and do not include any balls in play.
Velocities are assumed from 55ft (rather than the gameday standard of 50ft) for increased realism.
These 55ft numbers are directly comparable with our player cards.
I understand why Bauer likes to throw the high fastball, because using that nasty off of it is going to make it a deadly combination - there was a 17 mph difference between his fastball and curve. If he ever can have 75% the command that Cliff Lee has...look out, baseball.
A hat tip must be given to the middle relief; a 5-0 lead with four innings to play isn't always a guaranteed win, especially against a lineup still capable of scoring runs quickly. Last season the
back front end of the bullpen was mostly a bad group of pitchers, overwhelming the excellent pitching of Smith/Pestano/Perez. This year, after some initial bumps, this group of relievers (Shaw, Allen, Hagadone, Hill, Albers) has been almost uniformly excellent; opposing batters are hitting .208/.289/.345 against this group, and so far it looks that the Indians are buiding for themselves a good and deep bullpen. Of course, the starters will need to pitch deep into games so that that trend continues the rest of the season.
Today is an off day, a day to reflect on what the Indians have done. This can't continue at this rate, but at the very least we've seen that this club, even with some key players out, is capable of administrating a sound beating to any team and any pitcher; ask the Phillies about that.