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1995 Cleveland Indians: Week 4; Third Base Splits

A 6-1 week prior moved the Tribe to the top pf the AL Central standings. This week they continue their road trip in New York and Boston. Also, we review the third base splits.

Jim Thome, crushing one of his numerous bombs
Jim Thome, crushing one of his numerous bombs
Al Bello/Getty Images

The beginning of the road trip last week was in Baltimore over the weekend. This week, the Indians headed to Yankee Stadium and Fenway.  Also, we review how third base fared against the rest of the AL.

May 16-17, 1995

May 16: Indians 10, Yankees 5

May 17: Indians at Yankees, postponed

This game started innocently enough. The Tribe scored one on the second on a sacrifice fly by Alvaro Espinosa and Albert Belle hit a two-run shot in the second. Charles Nagy didn't give up a hit until the fourth, unfortunately it was a solo shot by Mike Stanley. The Indians plated two more in the fifth and sixth, pushing it to 7-1. After a Manny Ramirez solo shot, Bernie Williams and Pat Kelly hit back to back homers off Dennis Cook in the seventh. Paul Sorrento ties Manny for the team lead with his sixth bomb on the season and Jose Mesa gave up two in the ninth after needing some work. The Wednesday game was postponed, sending the team to Fenway for four.

May 18-21, 1995

May 18: Indians 3, Red Sox 4

May 19: Indians 9, Red Sox 5

May 20: Indians 7, Red Sox 5

May 21: Indians 12, Red Sox 10

In the opener, Dennis Martinez faced Vaughn Eshelman. Mike Greenwell hit a two RBI single in the first for an early 2-0 lead. Eshelman shut the Tribe down until the sixth, when an RBI triple by Carlos Baerga and a sacrifice fly by Eddie Murray tied the game. The Red Sox took a brief lead in the bottom half off Martinez and Baerga promptly tied it again in the seventh. But a solo shot by Mike Macfarlane in the eighth sent the Indians to their sixth loss on the year.

The Friday game started with a Kenny Lofton triple and an Omar Vizquel single off Zane Smith, but Mo Vaughn promptly tied it on an RBI double off Mark Clark. Clark was pulled in the fourth when the Sox took a 5-1 lead. Lofton came home on a double play in the sixth and again in the eighth on an error making it 5-3. Down by two, Manny led off the ninth with a solo homer off Ken Ryan. Wayne Kirby walked and stole second, but both Jim Thome and Eddie Tucker struck out. Lofton was given a free pass. Both Vizquel and Baerga singled, to take a one run lead. Then Belle put it out of reach with a three run shot to right-center.

Belle opened the scoring in the first on Saturday with an RBI single off Rheal Cormier, but Mike Greenwell plated two with a single of his own off Orel Hershiser. Reggie Jefferson and Greenwell plated one more each in the third to make it 4-1. A two run bomb by Murray in the fourth got the Tribe within one, but Jefferson drove in one more in the fifth. But like Friday night, the Indians would come back, this time in the eighth. Belle led off with a solo homer off Alejandro Pena and then Thome hit a three run bomb deep down the right field line off Derek Lilliquist to make it 7-5. Mesa picked up his second straight save.

The Sunday game was similar to the previous two, lots of runs, plus yet another comeback. Omar drove in Lofton with a fly in the first after he singled and stole a base and took third on an errant throw. Then Baerga hit an inside the parker to make it 2-0. Sorrento made it 3-0 in the second on yet another big fly. But six hits by the Sox in the second led to four runs off Bud Black. Another two run homer by Greenwell made it 6-3, ending Black's day. Vaughn crushed one in the fourth off Jason Grimsley, and heading to the seventh it was 8-4. A two run homer  by Baerga cut the lead in half, but Tim Naehring got one back off Julian Tavarez. Thome doubled leading off the eighth and Manny plated him with single to center of Stan Belinda. Sorrento greeted Ryan with a two run shot to tie the game at nine. In the ninth, Thome doubled in Baerga and then Manny had a two run single to make it 12-9. Mesa gave one back in the bottom half, but got his third save in three days.

Third Base Splits Review

G

PA

R

RBI

SB

BA

OPS

BAbip

Jim Thome

130

545

91

73

4

318

1002

371

Alvaro Espinosa

20

56

5

8

0

231

562

244

David Bell

2

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Herbert Perry

1

3

0

0

0

000

000

000

Billy Ripken

1

2

1

0

0

500

1000

1000

Total

606

97

81

4

308

953

355

League Average

611

79

76

3

271

789

300

Thome was still only 24 in 1995 and hadn't even finished a full season as the starter. He spent most of the season as the #6 hitter. He started all but 16 games (all of those went to Espinosa). Bell pinch hit twice (and then took over at thtird) in May before his trade to the Cardinals. Perry made a late game appearance in August while Ripken appeared in late September. Espinosa was not very good as a hitter while playing third. But Thome was extraordinary. The league average at tird for homers was 17, Thome had 25. His 1002 OPS helped the #6 spot in the lineup finish at 1028, second only to cleanup's 1087. That 1028 OPS at #6 led the AL by a wide, wide margin; the Mariners were second at 920. The 134 wRC+ by the third baseman, led the AL as well. Thome's 158 was far above his closest AL competitor, Robin Ventura at 129.

Summary

The Tribe took four of five, and really hit the ball well in Fenway. Their lead in the division grew by 3.5 games as the rest of teams had bad weeks. All of them ended up below 0.500. The pitching staff didn't do great or terrible, but the offense more than made up for any deficiencies. They scored 41 times in those five games. Next week, the Tribe comes home to face the Brewers, before heading back on the road, this time to Toronto.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

15

6

714

-

144

97

673

Milwaukee Brewers

11

12

478

5.0

112

112

500

Kansas City Royals

9

13

409

6.5

75

112

324

Chicago White Sox

8

14

364

7.5

120

139

433

Minnesota Twins

8

16

333

8.5

131

179

361