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This week in 1995: Tribe sweep A's; walk-off versus Eckersley

Some of the Tribe rested, but a good portion of them went to the All-Star game. But once the second half started, there was no drop off as they swept the A’s in four games, and impressed a Hall of Famer. Also, a brief look at the home/road splits.

Carlos Baerga had the best All-Star appearance by a Tribesman
Carlos Baerga had the best All-Star appearance by a Tribesman
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Indians had been the most dominant team in the first half, so it was no surprise that they had six players on the AL All-Star team. Unless you were like me, a longtime fan who was used to seeing a single representative who rarely appeared in the game. Even though the AL lost the game, 3-2, there was no dropff for the team as the second half began. The Oakland A's visited the Jake for a doubleheader on Friday as part of a four game set over the weekend.  Also, we review the home/road splits.

July 11, 1995

July 11: NL All-Stars 3, NL All-Stars 2

After a very good 1994 season and a torrid first half, the AL All-Star team was dotted with Indians all over the roster. Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga and Albert Belle all were voted in as starters. Manny Ramirez made it as a reserve and both Dennis Martinez and Jose Mesa were named to the pitching staff.

Lofton struck out versus Hideo Nomo in the first, but Baerga singled as was thrown out trying to steal. Belle struck out in the second. In the fourth, Lofton grounded out to second, but Baerga singled again, this time off John Smiley. He would score on a Frank Thomas homer, but Belle flew out to short left. Dennis Martinez pitched a scoreless fifth and gave up a solo shot to Craig Biggio in the sixth, but was still credited with a hold as the score was still 2-1.

Lofton finished his day by grounding out back to Tyler Green in the fifth. Baerga doubled off Denny Neagle to lead off the sixth and was replaced by Robbie Alomar as a pinch runner. But Belle grounded to short to end the inning and his night. Ramirez pinch hit for Kirby Puckett and worked a walk off Carlos Perez, but was stranded. Meanwhile the NL hit two more solo shots (Mike Piazza and Jeff Conine) to take the lead, one in the seventh, and one in the eighth. Jose Mesa pitched a perfect ninth, including a strikeout of Dante Bichette. Ramirez did work a two-out walk off Randy Myers, but the AL never really threatened.

July 14 - July 16, 1995

July 14 Game 1: A's 0, Indians 1

July 14 Game 2: A's 6, Indians 7

July 15: A's 2, Indians 7

July 16: A's 4, Indians 5, 12 innings

For the opener of the second half, manager Mike Hargrove selected Albie Lopez to make the spot start because of the doubleheader. In his first start of the year, Lopez was fantastic. In 5.2 shutout innings, he allowed just a double in the  third and a single and walk in the sixth. Alan Embree got the final out in the sixth and Julian Tavarez pitched two frames with Jose Mesa wrapping it up. Ariel Prieto was almost as good for the A's, pitching a four hit complete game. He faltered only in the sixth when Wayne Kirby singled, went to second on a balk and was bunted to third by Ruben Amaro. Kirby scored on an infield single by Carlos Baerga.

Charles Nagy was not as sharp as Lopez however in the nightcap. The A's scored three in the first, two of them on a single by Jason Giambi. The Tribe promptly tied it right back up on a two run bomb by Baerga and a solo shot by Jim Thome off Ron Darling. Scott Brosius also went deep in the second to make it 4-3 A's. Thome tied it with a single in the third and Manny Ramirez hit a three run homer to make it 7-4 Indians. A bit of small ball in the fifth got the A's a run closer and it stayed that way until the ninth. Mesa took over as usual, but a Baerga error and a Rickey Henderson made it first and third with no outs. Terry Steinbach got one in with a flyball, but after Brosius singled, Mesa wrapped up his 23rd save with a strikeout and flyout.

The Saturday game was less intense. Steinbach opened the scoring with a two run shot of Orel Hershiser in the second. But again, the Tribe responded quickly, scoring four in the bottom half, two on a Manny double and two more on an Alvaro Espinosa single. Espinosa drove in another with a double in the fourth, followed by an RBI single by Omar Vizquel. A Manny moonshot completed the scoring in the eight. But it was Hershiser, Paul Assenmacher and Eric Plunk allowed just six baserunners after the second.

The series finale again started poorly as a Henderson leadoff bomb and a two run shot by Geronimo Berroa in the first off Dennis Martinez in the first. Manny scored on a Tony Pena grounder in the second to pick up one. And it stayed that way until the seventh when Albert Belle hit a two run shot off Mark Acre to tie the game 3-3. Neither team garnered a baserunner in the tenth or eleventh. But Henderson led off the twelfth with a double and took third on a wild pitch by Alan Embree and scored on a Stan Javier fly ball. That set the stage for one of the classic Tribe 1995 moments. Down by one, Baerga led off with a single off Dennis Eckersley. But Belle popped out as did Thome. Hargrove put in Kenny Lofton for Baerga and he stole second. On a 2-2 pitch, Manny belted one to deep left for a walkoff win, while Eckersley could only mouth "WOW".  And with that a series sweep.

Home/Road Splits Review

PA

R

RBI

SB

BA

OPS

BAbip

Cleveland

Home

2774

400

384

68

293

849

309

Road

2912

440

419

64

288

830

302

American League (Average)

Home

2776

370

349

47

277

790

305

Road

2859

361

343

48

264

753

291

Jacobs Field

Cleveland

2774

400

384

68

293

849

309

Opponents

2767

272

251

56

242

669

272

That 1995 offense was spectacular no matter where they  played. The 849 OPS is amazing, even in that era. But there was very little drop off, if any when they went on the road. That in itself is unusual as most teams play better at home due to familiarity, not being in a hotel, etc. The big jump in plate appearances is mainly because they won so many games at home and rarely batted in the ninth.

When compared to the average AL marks (which does include the Tribe's numbers), it is much more evident just how good this team was. They had a plus 0.016 batting average at home and a massive +0.022 on the road. The OPS is even more telling, a positive +0.059 jump at home and +0.077.

I've also listed how much better the Tribe was at Jacobs Field compared to their opposition. They had 39 more home runs and a whopping 257 more total bases. The disparity of +0.180 in OPS is incredible. Now a lot of that has to do with how good that offense was. But the main reason for that disparity was the pitching staff, which almost always gets lost in the shuffle in the kudos. We will dive more into the pitching next week.

Summary

A four game sweep of the A's only netted the Tribe a half game in the standings, but it really didn't matter at that point because a 14.5 game lead in mid-July was rarely given up. The next week finds the Indians wrapping up the homestand with two games with the Angels, two games in Texas, and a three gamer in Oakland.

Standings

W

L

Pct

GB

RS

RA

Pythag

Cleveland Indians

50

21

704

-

403

285

653

Milwaukee Brewers

36

36

500

14.5

380

346

543

Kansas City Royals

35

35

500

14.5

288

319

453

Chicago White Sox

29

42

408

21.0

373

414

452

Minnesota Twins

24

48

333

26.5

334

445

372