Friday, September 2

Tribe things

Wow, check out "ball" 3 (pitch #6) from the Gameday from Wednesday's Tribe game. It's not just a strike - it's a strike that lies about halfway within the very center sub-square of the strike zone. No wonder Hamilton was so incredulous about it.

- Hamilton also made a point about how most closers don't have a very good move to first base and can be run upon. I think he's right, but does this make any sense? How hard is it to develop a decent throw over to first? I'm going to go ahead and say: not that hard. It takes so much natural ability to be a closer, especially a great arm and nerves of steel. Seems like you'd want to complement those rare attributes with a fairly commonplace way to prevent every guy who reaches first from strolling down to second.

- Ezequiel Carrera doesn't need to play winter ball to improve his game so much as he needs to spend a few hours a day with a baseball tutor. The guy has some skills, slotting in as a good option for a fourth OF, but he's made an astounding number of mental mistakes in his short time with the Tribe. He's been picked off at least five times that I remember counting (in just 45 times on base), got caught between second and third for no apparent reason the other day, lost a key game for us by losing a ball in the sun with his sunglasses resting upon his hat, takes weird routes to the ball, thinks he can bunt because he did one time and it worked...the man just needs some basic instruction in how to play smart baseball. I mean, he's on-basing .338, so he's not without value, but he has much to learn.

- Who's your Indians MVP? If the season ended today, I think I'd take Justin Masterson. He leads the club in WAR at 4.2, so I could end the argument there, but there's more. He's been the anchor in the rotation all season long (Josh Tomlin has been good too, but not at Masterson's level) despite a dearth of run support that could have been really deflating. He's 4th among AL starters in ERA and 7th in WAR among pitchers, in large part because he allows a league-best .288 home runs per nine innings, a figure 40% lower than second-place Doug Fister.

A couple of weeks ago, Asdrubal Cabrera would have been my frontrunner here, but Cabrera's production has dropped off as the season has progressed. His OPS has dipped to just .750 in August - still solid production, but not the .830 level he posted before that. Cabrera does a lot for this team, appearing tonight in his 133rd game, and he's been their best position player, but as of now I'm taking Masterson.

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