Shawn Armstrong was finally promoted from Columbus yesterday, at least a month late by my estimation. But his presence in the bullpen didn't help the Indians avoid another "after we scored to close the gap" pitching meltdown. After Lonnie Chisenhall homered to cut the Rangers lead to 1 run, Terry Francona made no use of his massive bullpen, leaving Corey Kluber in to face the first 3 hitters of the 8th inning, none of which he retired. Bryan Shaw was then brought in, not because Tito understood that this was now a low leverage situation perfect for one of his poorer relievers, but because he's Shaw and he needs to use him five times a week.
The good news is Lonnie Chisenhall is really heating up, with an OPS of nearly 800 and all 3 of the Indians RBIs yesterday. In this down offensive environment, an 800 OPS along with good defense and baserunning makes you one of the best players in the league.
News and Notes
• 538 tries to look at which MLB players are actually hitting the ball better this year and which ones are just lucky. Mike Napoli is hitting the ball better. Enough that his OPS should be 200 points higher than last year(!) But of course, because we're the Indians, we couldn't have that—bad luck has lowered that 200 to just 19 points better than his 2015. (this has changed a little since the data was pulled on 5/25, though)
• Carlos Carrasco will start for the Indians on Thursday against The Kansas City World Champions. That's what they're called, right?
• Fangraphs takes a look at Brady Aiken's professional baseball debut. Way more exciting than whatever that sport was that the Indians tried playing last night. Though, saying ~"he was more impressive in high school" is something you never want to hear said about anybody.
• The Dodgers DFA'd 3B/LF Alex Guerrero. The Dodgers gave Guerrero a 4-year, $28-million contract out of Cuba in October of 2013. This was not an instance of Scott Boras doing a poor job for his client, as Guerrero has a career OPS+ of 83. Anybody know of someone who needs a third baseman or left fielder??? If not, he'll have to #StickToBodyCoaching.
• Christian Bethancourt played LF, 2B, C and pitched in the same game yesterday. He had quite the fastball and also threw changes and knucklers! Link with video.
• The Shapiro Jays traded Sean Ratcliffe to the Braves for relief pitcher Jason Grilli. Grilli hasn't been very good for the Braves but his FIP does suggest some improvement.
• LGFT Steven Wright is starting to pitch very well. With lots of viral movement. Hopefully, the Indians lineup full of whiffers doesn't have to face him this season.
• I'm so tired of hearing about the Red Sox this season, but Mookie Betts hit 3 home runs, which I should probably mention.