Know Your Foe #36: Rebounding Rockies Take On the Tribe

Cleveland Indians (39-31, 1st in the AL Central)

Last Series vs. Rockies: June 17-19, 2008 L(0-3) @ Coors Field

Game 1 of this series was one of the few bright moments of Greg Reynolds' depressing 2008 debut. Reynolds scattered 5 hits over 6 innings, walking none while striking out 4, allowing 1 earned run. Ryan Speier allowed a single run over 2 innings of relief, and Luis Vizcaino pitched a perfect 9th, striking out 2.

The offense brought their heavy hammers, tagging Paul Byrd for 5 runs over 4, former Rockie Scott Elarton for another 2, and longtime Oriole Rick Bauer (you know, Jack's brother) for another 3 over the final 3 of the game. The only players in the Rockies' lineup without a multi-hit game were Todd Helton, Brad Hawpe, Chris Iannetta, and pitcher Ryan Speier. Yes, Reynolds went 2-for-3. Wayback names to mention: Omar Quintanilla (SS, 3-for-4, 2B), Jeff Baker (2-for-5, HR), and Doug Bernier (2B, defensive replacement for Jeff Baker).

Game 2 featured Jeff Francis vs Aaron Laffey. Francis pitched well, allowing 2 runs (1 ER) over 6 innings, punching out 2 and walking none. Jason Grilli (lol), Taylor Buchholz, and Brian Fuentes 1-hit the Tribe over the final 3 innings of the game.

Offensively, it was another team game, where only 2 spots in the lineup went hitless: Helton and Francis. Remember that this was the season where Helton's back troubles really came to the forefront. Quintanilla added a couple more hits to his season, Jeff Baker contributed another 2 hits (HR, 2B) on his rise to interim 2B awesomeness.

Laffey was tagged 3 of the 4 runs on 8 hits over 6 innings.

Game 3 was one of those shaky/dominant starts from Jorge De La Rosa. DLR went 6 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits, but struck out 10 and walked only 1, including 9 groundouts to 3 flyouts. Similar to game 2, Manny Corpas, Taylor Buchholz, and Brian Fuentes combined to 1-hit the Indians over the final 3 (Fuentes gave up the lone hits in both games).

After the jump, Purple Row swapped questions with the Indians blog Wahoo Blues, so if you click past the jump, you can get the matchups, stats, and the Q/A with Wahoo Blues.

Latest Series Results: L 1-2 @ Detroit, W 2-1 vs Pittsburgh

1. After a hot start to the season, the Indians are holding 1st place in the division by a thread from the Tigers. Do the Indians have the firepower to really be the division leader or are we looking at a similar situation to the San Diego Padres in 2010?

It's definitely possible for the Indians to hold their lead, but at this point I think the Tigers have to be the favorites. Cleveland needs a boost from somewhere-could be anything from Fausto Carmona's bad luck turning around to Cord Phelps getting more playing time to trading for Jose Reyes-to put them over the top.

I'd love to say they could keep this up forever and there are times where it seems like they'll never lose, but for now I'd say they're more likely to be in second place on September 29-which after years of losing would be a success to Tribe fans.

2. Asdrubal Cabrera has been somewhat up-and-down his entire career, both in terms of offense and defense. How legit is his .301/.345/.510 line this season, and is this a legitimate breakout for Cabrera?

The only real difference between now and every other year for Cabrera is power. He's a little small for a slugger, but given that he's 25 years old, I'd say it's him developing, not a fluke. His BABIP is actually lower than his career mark, so there's no reason to expect a real regression.

As for defense, I'd say he's been more "down and down" than "up and down." He's like Derek Jeter-he looks good because he makes every play he gets to and he's known for his web gems, but his range has always been subpar.

3. After seeing Buster Posey get taken out for the season, I can't help but think of the same play happening with Carlos Santana last season. His bounceback has been impressive, but how has the Indians fanbase/brass felt about the calls for a change in the rules regarding catcher collisions?

I haven't noticed any real trend specific to Indians fans, but personally I think it's frustrating that Santana's injury (which was more gruesome than Posey's) didn't spark this same outrage. To anyone who has called for a rule change since the incident, I ask: where were you a year ago? Maybe I missed it, but I don't remember anyone outside Cleveland having this kind of reaction when Santana's leg bent the wrong way. In fact, I remember reading an article saying he deserved it.

It's great that body-slamming home plate collisions are finally being seen as out of place in a finesse sport, but this controversy isn't about principle, it's about celebrity. I'm sure no one would have cared if it had happened to a lower-profile player because no onedid care when it happened to a lower-profile player. If people had paid attention then, Posey's leg might still be in one piece.

4. Is Pronk back for realz? How about Sizemore?

Hafner? Not a chance. I don't care how well you're seeing the ball, no one can maintain a .415 BABIP. Plug in his .323 xBABIP instead and his slashline falls from .345/409/.549 (170 OPS+) to .279/.343/.443 (122 OPS+). He's in for a sharp decline when he gets back.

As for Sizemore, his power has been phenomenal, but there's definite cause for concern about his plate discipline. His strikeout rate hit a career high last year, and it's even higher now. At the same time, his once-phenomenal walk rate is down to 6.5% (6.4% last year). And that's not the kind of thing you can blame on injuries.

5. Kind of a followup to Question #1: Is the bullpen legit enough to keep the Indians in contention down the stretch? How about the rotation?

The bullpen, sure. Tribe relievers have a 3.18 ERA, second-lowest in the American League. The rotation is less stable, but part of that's bad luck-Indians starters rank 12th in the league in ERA (4.29) but fourth in xFIP (3.85). Another starter would be nice, but this team's pitching is better than people think.    


Friday through Sunday: 3-game series at The Jake Progressive Field

Expected Pitching Matchups
Monday, June 10 @ 5:05PM MT


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Juan Nicasio 2-1 4 4 0 0 0 0 24.0 28 10 9 2 5 18 3.38 1.38


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Fausto Carmona 4-8 15 15 0 0 0 0 91.2 97 65 59 14 28 57 5.79 1.36

 

Tuesday, June 21 @ 5:05PM MT


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 8-4 15 14 1 1 0 0 93.0 66 32 29 11 34 81 2.81 1.08


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Mitch Talbot 2-4 7 7 0 0 0 0 37.2 49 21 21 7 17 26 5.02 1.75

 

Wednesday, June 22 @ 5:05PM MT


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jason Hammel 4-6 14 14 0 0 0 0 87.2 89 45 39 7 31 47 4.00 1.37


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Josh Tomlin 8-4 14 14 0 0 0 0 89.1 84 40 39 11 12 51 3.93 1.07

 

Expected Lineup

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR HR RBI SB
Grady Sizemore CF .243 .318 .500 .353 125 1 7 19 0
Michael Brantley LF .277 .341 .402 .331 109 1.5 5 28 9
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B .301 .345 .510 .382 145 2.6 12 43 11
Travis Hafner DH .345 .412 .552 .412 165 1.3 5 23 0
Shin-Soo Choo RF .237 .328 .349 .307 93 1.1 5 25 10
Carlos Santana 1B .222 .345 .382 .326 106 1.3 8 29 2
Lou Marson C .239 .286 .310 .264 63 0.3 0 7 1
Orlando Cabrera 2B .248 .270 .326 .267 65 -0.6 3 32 4
Jack Hannahan 3B .227 .312 .356 .303 90 0.9 5 19 2

Bench

Name Position AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ WAR HR RBI SB
Travis Buck LF .226 .273 .344 .274 70 0.1 2 8 1
Austin Kearns LF .209 .299 .291 .263 62 -0.1 0 2 0
Cord Phelps 2B .063 .211 .063 .157 -11 -0.3 0 1 0
Adam Everett SS .228 .290 .246 .254 56 -0.3 0 1 1

 

Closer


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Chris Perez 2-2 28 0 0 0 17 1 25.1 18 7 7 0 12 18 2.49 1.18



Cleveland Indians Injuries

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Matt LaPorta ankle 06/18/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Trevor Crowe shoulder 03/30/2011
Alex White fingers 05/21/2011
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