This 5th set of games saw the Indians return to first place in the AL Central, for one day. However most importantly, in this writer's humble opinion, the Indians lost no ground in arguably their toughest set of 27 games on the season. In a stretch of 20 games against teams .500 or better starting on August 2nd the Indians managed to go 11-9, including a series win against Minnesota. This stretch of games finished on kind of a sour note when the Indians got the Manhattan flu and lost 3 straight to the NY Mets but overall this stretch of games was another positive set of games for the Indians who finished this stretch with a 16-11 record.
Records in previous sets ,
Set 1 - 15-12, season Run Differential +1, 2 Games back, bullpen and Carlos Santana carry the load.
Set 2 - 12-15, season record 27-27, 10 GB, season RD -11, Kluber is broke, everything sucks the season is over!
Set 3 - 17-10, season record 44-37, 8 GB, season RD +11, Cookie has Cancer, everything sucks we just lost to Baltimore 0-13!
Set 4 - 19-8, season record 63-45, 3 GB, season RD +61, Jose Ramirez doesn't suck anymore and the division is ours!
Set 5 - 16-11, season record 79-56, 4.5 GB, season RD +98, I miss Trevor Bauer. Franmil Reyes can mash. Hamster is out for the season. Playoffs looking likely.
Carlos Santana - What else is new this season? Santana put up a wRC+ of 179 in this set and continued his destruction of every pitcher sent out there to face him. At the age of 33 Santana is having the absolute best season of his career. He's been worth 4.6 fWAR so far in 2019 and that is 1.3 more fWAR than his previous high of 3.3 back in 2016. CLEFO's decision to bring back Santana this previous off season looks like a stroke of total brilliance right now.
Jose Ramirez - TURDS! Jose Ramirez was on an absolute tear before breaking his hand. His wRC+ of 184 during this set of games was the best on the team. Jose had finally found himself at the plate and it's just crushing to lose him for our final set of games. Hopefully next year we can avoid Jose going through a slump that drags on for the first half of the season.
Jason Kipnis - Low bar alert here but Kipnis did manage to have a nice set of games here in our fifth set. A wRC+ of 113 in this set of games was by far the best on the season for Kipnis. With Jose down the team is going to need Kipnis to continue on that sort of pace if they're going to stay atop the wild card standings and potentially catch the Twins to take the division.
Mike Freeman - Small sample size here but Freeman had another nice set of games. His wRC+ of 143 trailed on Ramirez and Santana. With the injury to Ramirez Freeman is probably going to see more opportunities at the plate and if he can continue to contribute he could be a key player for the Indians down the stretch.
Starting Pitchers - The Cleveland Indians starting pitching has been nothing short of amazing this season and it's the primary reason the season wasn't over in mid July. In this set of games the Indians starting staff ranks 1st in all of baseball in ERA, FIP and fWAR and a pathetic 3rd in xFIP.
About what we expected
Francisco Lindor - As with some of our other sets Lindor being so exceptional leads to this placement. A wRC+ of 123 is fine and dandy for most players but for Lindor that's basically average. The team is going to need Lindor to step up his game at the plate in Ramirez's absence if they're going to make it into the playoffs
Bullpen - The bullpen took a couple steps back in this set to a more middle of the road position but that's pretty much what most people expected this year. 13th in fWAR, 10th in ERA, 8th in FIP and 21st in xFIP.
Franmil Reyes - Reyes has been better the last 10 days or so but in his first set of 27 games with the Tribe he didn't exactly kill it offensively. His wRC+ was 83 and that's well below his year to date production and what the robots project him for. As I noted though he's been much better of late with a surge in both power and plate discipline hopefully that continues.
Tyler Naquin - Poor Tyler he just can't stay healthy. A torn ACL is a real bummer way to end what had been a pretty decent season but this last set of games wasn't Naquin's finest. Similar to Reyes Naquin's wRC+ of 89 is a touch below Naquin's season to date production and what the robots project for Naquin. Hopefully Naquin will make a speedy recovery.
Greg Allen,Roberto Perez, Oscar Mercado - These guys were all similarly putrid during this set of games. They're wRC+ of 58, 45 and 42 are down right pathetic. I fear that Mercado and Perez are running out of gas. I think Allen just isn't a good baseball player.
Yasiel Puig - Puig is basically the opposite of Reyes. His first 2 weeks with the Indians were great but he's been slumping for the last 2 weeks and that's led to him producing a wRC+ of just 94. The team really needs Puig to get it going at the plate.
Tito - I'm getting pretty sick of Tito and his managerial style. I agree with many in the LGT community that Tito's failure to grasp basic baseball analytics is costing the Indians games. Between the bunting, crap lineup construction and over use of mediocre and bad players like Adam Cimber and Greg Allen I'm just sort of done with Tito. I don't know who the person is that we should get to replace Tito but with an already small margin for error we can't have the manager costing us wins.
This final set of 27 games for the 2019 starts with the final 2 games in Tampa, which could prove pivotal to the Indians wild card chances. This set also features 6 games against the Twins and if the Indians are going to win the AL Central they're going to need to win at least 4 of those games. Aside from that the final 27 games features the season finale in an NL park, which is dumb, but thankfully the Nats season should be decided by then. The final set of games will also feature the return of Carlos Carrasco to the Indians bullpen which probably means the Indians just made the best bullpen acquisition of all the AL contenders. Hopefully Cookie's return gives the team a boost down the stretch.
Here's to catching the Twins and a successful final set of games to finish the 2019 season, Let's Go Tribe!