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1995 Cleveland Indians: Week 6; Left Field Splits

The Indians had a 4.5 game lead entering this week, with a four game set on tap with the White Sox and the Blue Jays also coming to town over the weekend. Also, we review the left field splits.

Albert Belle, doing his norm in 1995, jogging around the bases
Albert Belle, doing his norm in 1995, jogging around the bases
Al Bello/Getty Images

The Indians started a long homestand with the division rival White Sox for four games. Then the Blue Jays visited, making this a full seven game week. Also, we review how left field fared against the rest of the AL. Hint, left field was very, very good.

May 29-June 1, 1995

May 29: White Sox 6, Indians 7

May 30: White Sox 1, Indians 2

May 31: White Sox 3, Indians 6

June 1: White Sox 4, Indians 7

Dennis Martinez really struggled in the series opener. By the sixth inning the White Sox had a 6-0 lead, mainly due to a Robin Ventura RBI single and solo shot, a Frank Thomas two run shot, and an error and wild pitch. Wilson Alvarez silenced the Tribe bats, until the sixth. Manny Ramirez drove in one on a single to left and then Dave Winfield deposited one over the left field wall to make it 6-4. They tied it in the seventh off Alvarez and Jose DeLeon on a Carlos Baerga RBI single and a Eddie Murray grounder. DeLeon took the loss in the eighth when Jim Thome doubled and Tony Pena did the same. Jose Mesa pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for save number nine.

Jason Grimsley got the spot start on Tuesday and matched Alex Fernandez surprisingly well. Ventura drove in Tim Raines in the first, and then he blanked them through the fifth. Thome had a leadoff home run in the fifth to knot it up. Dennis Cook got the final two outs in the sixth and all of the seventh, with Eric Plunk and Paul Assenmacher splitting the eighth. Some small ball in the eighth got the Tribe the lead (Wayne Kirby single, Kenny Lofton bunt, Albert belle single) and Mesa got Raines to pop out and Thomas to hit into a double play after Assenmacher had walked Lance Johnson.

There was a bit less suspense in game three. Orel Hershiser netted his fourth win on the year as Jim Abbott ended up given up five runs, but just one earned, that on a Jim Thome bomb (#8). The White Sox cut it to 5-3 in the eighth on a Raines two RBI single but Belle got an insurance run back with a solo shot. Mesa again got his third straight save with a 1-2-3 ninth, after a Ventura single off Assenmacher.

The Indians looked for a four game sweep as Bud Black faced Jason Bere. Paul Sorrento hit his eleventh homer to put he Tribe up 2-0 and Baerga drove in another in the second. Belle and Thome hit solo shots in the third to make it 5-0. The Sox tallied single runs in each of the fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth innings. Murray slammed a two run shot to deep left in the seventh to make it 7-3, letting Mesa have a day off.

June 2-4, 1995

June 2: Blue Jays 5, Indians 0

June 3: Blue Jays 0, Indians 3

June 4: Blue Jays 8, Indians 9

The previous week, Al Leiter stifled the Tribe bats for the first time, combining an a six hit shutout. He was even better this day, shutting them out again, this time on just three hits, with Mike Timlin getting the final four outs. Charles Nagy took the loss this time and the game was essentially over in the first when Joe Carter belted one to deep left, spotting the Blue Jays a quick 2-0 lead. Carter hit another one of Nagy, ending his day in the eighth to make it 5-0.

Martinez returned the favor on Saturday, scattering nine hits in his nine innings of run-free baseball. The Jays stranded two each in the first, fifth and ninth. Baerga's two run bomb in the third broke the scoreless tie and Omar brought Lofton home after he tripled in the fifth with a fly ball to wrap up the scoring.

Sunday's game was the offensive game of the week. Grimsley did not fare as well as his first start, giving up a seven spot in the first. He walked the bases loaded and a pair of RBI singles by Carter and John Olerud made it 3-0. Then Shawn Greene hit a three run shot to end his day real quick. Chad Ogea allowed the last run in, but finally got the last out. Devon White hit his second sacrifice fly off Ogea in the third to make it 8-0 and the Indians looked dead to rights. Omar singled in Kirby after he doubled in the third to get one back. Lofton drove in Thome and Sorrento in the fourth. Murray hit a two run shot in the fifth and a RBI single by Belle had the Indians back in the game 8-6. All of this damage was done to David Cone by the way. But Tony Castillo shut down the offense until the ninth. After retiring Baerga on a bunt, Castillo gave way to closer Darren Hall. Belle and Murray both singled, making it first and third. Thome hit into a force out, scoring Belle. And then Sorrento ended the game with a walk off shot to deep right, his twelfth on the young season.

Left Field Splits Review

G

PA

R

RBI

SB

BA

OPS

BAbip

Albert Belle

142

627

121

126

5

317

1095

293

Jeromy Burnitz

3

6

1

0

0

500

1000

500

Ruben Amaro

3

5

0

1

0

200

400

333

Wayne Kirby

1

1

0

0

0

000

000

000

Total

639

122

127

5

318

1086

295

League Average

626

85

71

18

273

782

300

Belle was an absolute monster in 1995. He should have gotten the MVP. Not only did he have 120+ for both runs and RBI (leading the league for both) he also led the league in doubles (50) and homers (52), recording the only 50-50 season on record. It is absolutely criminal that Mo Vaughn got the MVP with an OPS 128 points behind him, especially since he also did not have any defensive help. And Belle outpointed Vaughn 173 to 139 in wRC+.

As for the rest of the AL left fielders, there was nobody close to Belle. Rickey Henderson was the closest at 130 wRC+. BJ Surhoff of the Brewers, Garret Anderson of the Angles and Marty Cordova of the Twins were next in line. Honestly, it was the NL that had stronger LFers in 1995, with Barry Bonds, Ryan Klesko and Ron Gant at 140 or better. Carter was the closest in home runs in the AL at 25, unless you count utility guy Tony Phillips at 27.

Summary

The Royals had a decent week themselves to get a second team in the division over 0.500. But the 6-1 week by the Tribe left them a comfortable five game lead. Next week they complete the long homestand with a visit from the Tigers and head to Milwaukee for four.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

24

10

706

-

205

152

634

Kansas City Royals

19

15

559

5.0

144

151

478

Milwaukee Brewers

15

20

429

9.5

161

165

489

Chicago White Sox

13

21

382

11.0

192

220

438

Minnesota Twins

11

26

297

14.5

175

252

339