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1995 Cleveland Indians: Week 1; Catching Splits

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We open our weekly review of the 1995 Indians with the opening series of the season, a four game set in Texas. We also review how the Tribe catchers fared in 1995.

Sandy Alomar and Tony Pena
Sandy Alomar and Tony Pena

With the 1994 strike finally settled in late March, each MLB team rushed through an abbreviated spring training schedule and opening day was scheduled for the last weekend of April, using the existing developed schedule. Basically each team skipped their first five series on the schedule.

April 27-30, 1995

April 27: Indians 11, Rangers 6

April 27: Indians 9, Rangers 10

April 27: Indians 5, Rangers 6

April 27: Indians 7, Rangers 6 (12 innings)

The Indians opened on the road in Texas on Thursday April 27, taking on the Rangers for a four game set. Manager Mike Hargrove chose Dennis Martinez for the opener and followed with Mark Clark, Orel Hershiser and Charles Nagy in the four spot.

The Tribe cruised in the opener, tattooing Kevin Gross for nine runs in the second and third frames. The first homer of the season wasn't by any of the expected sources, but rather Paul Sorrento; although both Albert Belle and Eddie Murray did go back to back in the third. Manny Ramirez and Carlos Baerga both hit solo shots, bringing the opening day total to five home runs. Martinez was up to the task giving up just two runs in six innings.

Belle hit a three un shot in the first the next day, but Clark pitched like Gross, being chased in the second inning and leaving the Tribe down 9-3. That historic Tribe offense tied the score in the sixth, but in his third inning of relief, Jim Poole gave up a solo shot to Mickey Tettleton to take the loss.

Orel Hershiser struggled in his debut, giving up five in the second and third innings. But again the offense was up to the task, evening it in the seventh, with Sorrento's second homer the biggest blow. Paul Shuey took the loss as the Ranger walked off on a pair of free passes and a single. This would be the only time all season the Indians would have a losing record.

Charles Nagy didn't pitch all that well either, being pulled after just four innings, but he did leave with a 5-4 lead. Tettleton tied it up off Julian Tavarez in the fifth. But the bullpens both pitched brilliantly until the twelfth. Jim Thome had an RBI grounder and Alvaro Espinoza drove in an insurance run with a single. It came in handy as Jose Mesa in his season debut gave up a solo shot to Dean Palmer in the bottom half.

Catching Splits Review

G

PA

R

RBI

SB

BA

OPS

wRC+

BAbip

Tony Pena

87

279

25

28

1

262

679

299

Sandy Alomar

56

208

32

35

3

311

841

313

Eddie Tucker

10

27

2

0

0

000

231

000

Jesse Levis

7

21

1

3

0

353

821

316

Total

535

60

66

4

274

728

293

League Average

563

58

69

2

254

713

285

As amazing as the Tribe lineup was, the catchers themselves were not part of that overall brilliance. But they were still above league average. Alomar missed essentially the first three months, but it was his bat that got this group back above average. Pena, the backup in 1994 who was resigned that offseason, got the bulk of the playing time until Alomar was healthy and actually did fine for a 38 year old. Levis opened the season on the 25 man roster as Pena's backup. But when Tucker became available from the Astros, Levis was sent down. Upon Alomar's return, Tucker was lost on waivers to the Braves and Levis returned when the rosters expanded in September.

Summary

The offense was off to a great start, but the Tribe ended up with just a split in Arlington. Next week: A three game set in Detroit, followed by the home opening series against the Twins.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Milwaukee Brewers

4

1

800

-

35

25

649

Cleveland Indians

2

2

500

1.5

32

28

561

Kansas City Royals

2

2

500

1.5

18

18

500

Minnesota Twins

2

3

400

2.0

29

41

347

Chicago White Sox

1

4

200

3.0

28

50

257