Happy Pi Day

In honor of Pi Day, I decided to see which Indians pitcher had an era closest to Pi.

ImageAnd the winner is… the legendary Jeremy Hernandez!

Hernandez was acquired from the Padres midway through the 1993 season and posted a 3.14224 ERA in 49 appearances out of the Tribe pen. He was traded to the Marlins in exchange for Matt Turner the following offseason, thus ending his Tribe career with an era of Pi.

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Pestano broke 75-year-old rookie record

In 2011, Vinnie Pestano set the Indians rookie record (min. 50 innings) for most strikeouts per nine innings. The previous record, held by Bob Feller, had stood 75 years.

Interestingly enough, Pestano’s performance came in the exact same number of innings pitcher (62) as Feller, who was used as both a starter a reliever, back in 1936. Feller recorded 76 strikeouts (and 47 walks), while Pestano struck out 84 (with just 24 walks).

Garland on both sides of Indians-White Sox rivalry

You don’t often see players of Jon Garland‘s caliber swapping jerseys within a division, especially not between long time rivals such as the Indians and White Sox. As a result, Garland will be the winningest pitcher in White Sox history to ever join the good guys, eclipsing Jack McDowell by one victory.

We can only hope the Garland era goes a little more smoothly than McDowell’s, who went just 16-12 in 12 in 36 starts in two years with the Tribe and spend the majority of the ’97 season on the DL.

Shelley Duncan enters rare club

Shelley Duncan belted two home runs off Justin Verlander on Wednesday afternoon, joining Carlos Quentin as the only players to do so this season.

But that’s not that rare club.

It was Duncan’s second multi-home run game of the season, despite the fact that he’s hit just eight homers all season.

Assuming he fails to hit another home run this year (a very realistic possibility) he’ll join Jose Hernandez, Frank Duffy and possibly Jack Hannahan as the only Indians with two multi-home run games in a season in which they hit eight or fewer total homers (since 1970).

David Huff’s remarkably improbable performace

Last season David Huff became the 14th pitcher in Indians history to make at least 15 starts with an ERA over 6.00. In fact, he entered his start on Monday with the 3rd worst ERA in franchise history (min. 200 innings).

So what he did in Minnesota – seven shutout innings – was nothing short of remarkable.¬†And yet, it’s becoming common in Cleveland.

Prior to Huff, the two Tribe pitchers with with an ERA over 6.00 were Cliff Lee (2007) and Fausto Carmona (2009). The following year each pitcher became the Indians’ ace, with Lee winning the Cy Young.

Carmona, of course, has regressed back into his 2009 version, but the fact remains that the Indians coach staff (mostly the minor league staff I would assume) has done a remarkable job rebuilding these pitchers.

It’s hard to know who to give credit to because the staff has changed so much in recent years, but someone is clearly doing something right. Let’s hope Huff can keep up the good work.

Some All-Star break notes on the pitching staff

  • Justin Masterson is the 8th Indians pitcher (min 75 IP) since 1990 to post a pre-All-Star Break ERA under 3.00 and the first since Cliff Lee in 2008. The lowest in that time span belongs to Tom Candiotti (2.24 in 1991), who didn’t even make the All-Star team that year.
  • Josh Tomlin is the 10th Tribe pitcher since 1990 with double-digit wins before the All-Star break, but does so with the third-highest ERA of the group. The highest ERA in that span belongs to Charles Nagy, who went 11-4 with a 4.43 ERA in the first half in 1999.
  • Joe Smith has the lowest ERA (min 25 IP) of any Tribe pitcher since 1957 (as far back as the baseballmusings database goes). The previous low belonged to Derek Lilliquist (1.13) in 1993.
  • Amazingly, Mitch Talbot‘s 6.33 ERA is only the 4th highest by a Tribe pitcher (min 10 starts) before the break in the past five seasons. Fausto Carmona (7.42 in 2009), Jeremy Sowers (6.93 in 2007) and David Huff (6.71 in 2009) were all worse. Carmona’s dreadful 2007 first half is the Tribe’s worst since 1957. The only other pitcher above 7.00 in that span was Don Schulze (7.27) in 1985.

Eight shutout innings vs Yankees

Justin Masterson was brilliant on Wednesday night – hopefully locking up a spot on the All-Star team once the replacements are announced. His gem was just the 7th time a Tribe pitcher tossed eight shutout innings against the Yankees since 1990, and the first since Billy Traber‘s one-hitter in 2003.

Unfortunately his high pitch count – a recurring problem with Masterson – ruined any chance at a complete game.

Player Date Rslt App,Dec IP H R BB SO Pit
Justin Masterson 2011-07-06 W 5-3 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 2 6 112
Billy Traber 2003-07-08 W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 0 5 102
Bartolo Colon 2000-09-18 W 2-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 1 0 1 13 114
Dave Burba 2000-09-15 W 11-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 3 7 102
Bartolo Colon 1998-06-21 W 11-0 GS-8 ,W 8.0 3 0 5 10 139
Charles Nagy 1995-09-13 W 5-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 3 0 2 5 115
Charles Nagy 1992-06-12 W 3-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 5 0 0 5 90