The Indians lost for the 13th time in 17 games Friday night, putting them squarely at .500, with a 30-30 record. Losing on a night when the opposing team had Justin Verlander on the bump is nothing to be ashamed of, but these last three weeks have been pretty darn miserable. Bad-Ubaldo Jimenez showed up and the trouble was compounded by poor defense. Nick Swisher made two errors, leading to three unearned runs (in a game with a two-run margin of defeat). He also went 0 for 4, running his slump to 20 straight at bats without a hit.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle takes a look at last night's game. Can Sherlock Holmes get to the bottom of this?
A few other Indians links:
The Indians have signed left-handed relief pitcher J.C. Romero to a minor league deal and assigned him to Columbus.Until recently opting out of his deal, Romero had been pitching for Syracuse (The Nationals' AAA affiliate), where he compiled a 2.84 ERA in 13 appearances. If he has a couple solid outings for the Clippers, look for him to be brought up to Cleveland, where a good lefty reliever is sorely missing.
MLB.com gives a rundown on the players drafted by the Tribe on Friday. Seven of the eight players selected by the Tribe are pitchers, hopefully at least one of them becomes a solid Major League starter eventually, and a couple others become bullpen members.
Sports Illustrated's Joe Lemire gives a behind the scenes look at draft day for the Indians' 1st round pick, Clint Frazier.This article was mentioned once or twice in the comments last night, but is worth another mention, as I know many of you will be interested to learn more about a player we hope becomes a key contributor in 2016 or so.
Hardball Talk's Bill Baer found this pretty incredible home run call for a blast hit by LGFT Manny Ramirez recently (for those who don't already know, Manny is currently playing in Taiwan). I'm thinking Tom Hamilton ought to start using that one for home runs by the Indians, the single members of the team at least.
Sports on Earth's Patrik Hruby looks at baseball (and other sports) fighting the war on drugs. I found myself nodding in agreement more than once as I read it. There are no easy answers, certainly not the ones MLB has seemed to be peddling.
The Dodgers signed Cuban refugee Yasiel Puig to a 7-year, $42 million contract last summer. The team had high hopes for itself in 2013, but has started off poorly. Last weekend the team decided to call up Puig, who'd been crushing the ball down on the farm. He's repaid them by destroying the ball in his first five Major League games and becoming a sensation in Los Angeles.
I discovered that Puig joins Mike Jacobs as the only players in history to hit four home runs in their first five career games. Is it too late to use the money spent on Swisher to sign Puig instead?
If you want to look into the draft (for better or for worse), Baseball-Reference's draft database is of immense help. I used it to compile this list of the Indians' most productive 1st round picks, going solely on what they did while with the Indians:
6) Ray Fosse (7th pick, 1965, 10.7 WAR) - A 2-time All-Star. Sadly, Pete Rose had to kill him.
5) Rick Manning (2nd pick, 1972, 11.5 WAR) - A little less production than you'd like from a #2 overall pick.
3) Greg Swindell (2nd pick, 1986, 16.6 WAR) - Solid, but like Manning, less than you'd like from a player picked so high.
3) Charles Nagy (17th pick, 1988, 25.2 WAR) - A 3-time All-Star and the Tribe's best pitcher for the 1990s.
2) CC Sabathia (20th pick, 1998, 27.4 WAR) - 3-time All-Star with the Tribe and the 2007 American League Cy Young winner.
1) Manny Ramirez (13th pick, 1991, 29.9 WAR) - A 4-time All-Star with the Tribe, he holds franchise single-season records for RBI and OPS.