Tribe wins 1-0…. again

The Indians defeated the Yankees 1-0 on Monday night, their 3rd 1-0 victory of the season and the most they’ve had since 1989 when they had seven.

A few other notes from the game….

  • It was the Indians first 1-0 victory in New York since 1988 when Greg Swindell tossed a three-hit shutout, out-dueling Al Leiter for the win.
  • Carlos Carrasco is the first Tribe starter with two 1-0 victories in a season since Tom Candiotti, Bud Black and Swindell each had two in 1989.
  • Carrasco is also the first Tribe pitcher to win consecutive starts by a score of 1-0 since Dick Tidrow on July 31 and August 4, 1972. Carrasco’s wins came in the 23rd and 24th starts of his career, Tidrow’s came in his 25th and 26th starts (and, unlike Carrasco, in his rookie year.)
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Tomlin’s 6-inning start streak ends

Things have been going downhill for Josh Tomlin for the past two weeks, but it wasn’t until Sunday that his streak of six-inning starts came to a halt.

Prior to his start against the Yankees Tomlin had gone at least six innings in each of his 12 starts – the longest streak to open a season since Greg Swindell in 1988. Over the past 50 seasons, only four different pitchers had opened the season with a streak longer than Tomlin’s.

But now Tomlin has another streak to worry about.

In each of his last three starts he’s allowed six earned runs – the Tribe’s longest streak since Cliff Lee in August, 2007.

No Indians pitcher has allowed six earned runs in four consecutive games since Wes Ferrell in 1933.

Tomlin goes for 7th win vs Rays

Josh Tomlin takes the hill tonight against the Rays in search of his 7th win. Over the past 30 seasons, only eight Tribe pitchers picked up at least seven wins in the team’s first 50 games.

Tomlin’s 2.41 ERA also ranks as the 5th lowest through 50 games over the past 30 seasons. Amazingly, of the four pitchers currently ahead of him on this list, only Cliff Lee was selected to the All-Star game.

If Tomlin wishes to earn a trip to the midsummer classic, tonight would be a golden opportunity to throw his hat into the ring. He’ll be going head-to-head with Rays ace David Price, who shut down the Tribe at The Jake earlier this year.

Another Masterpiece for Masterson

On August 26, 2010 – in his 26th start of the year – Justin Masterson picked up his 5th win of the season.

On April 26, 2011 – in his 5th start of the year – Masterson picked up his 5th win of the season.

What a difference an offseason makes.

Masterston is just the 9th Tribe pitcher to win each of his first five starts in a season over the post 90 years, and the first since Cliff Lee in 2008 (six straight).

Rk Strk Start End ▾ Games W CG SHO IP ER SO ERA
1 Justin Masterson 2011-04-03 2011-04-26 5 5 0 0 33.0 8 22 2.18
2 Cliff Lee 2008-04-06 2008-05-07 6 6 1 1 44.2 4 39 0.81
3 Greg Swindell 1988-04-06 1988-05-02 6 6 3 1 51.2 12 30 2.09
4 Bob Lemon 1955-04-12 1955-04-30 5 5 4 0 43.1 10 23 2.08
5 Jim Bagby 1942-04-14 1942-05-02 5 5 4 1 44.0 10 8 2.05
6 Wes Ferrell 1932-04-13 1932-05-01 5 5 5 0 47.0 12 16 2.30
7 Duster Mails 1920-09-01 1920-09-27 7 7 6 2 55.0 12 23 1.96
8 Jim Bagby 1920-04-19 1920-05-20 8 8 8 0 73.0 20 13 2.47
9 Stan Coveleski 1920-04-14 1920-05-09 7 7 6 1 61.0 13 25 1.92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2011.

It’s certainly an impressive list to be on, but when you look at Mastersons stats compared to the others it’s clear that he owns a lot to his bullpen. Masterson is averaging just over six innings per start and is the only pitcher on the list without a complete game in his streak. He also has the highest era (not that there’s anything wrong with 2.18) since Wes Ferrell in 1932.

Let’s hope Masterson (and the bullpen) can keep it up.

Quality starts leading Indians to victory

The Indians have had 11 quality starts through their first 14 games this season, tied for the second most over the past 20 seasons. The only teams with more were the 2002 Giants and the 1997 Padres.

The last American League team with more? The 1991 Cleveland Indians.

Of course, the Tribe went 57-105 that season, so… yeah, there’s that.

Here were the 12 quality starts from the first 14 games in ’91.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO
1 Greg Swindell 1991-04-08 CLE KCR L 2-4 GS-6 ,L 6.0 8 4 3 1 2
2 Tom Candiotti 1991-04-09 CLE KCR W 2-1 GS-8 ,W 8.0 5 1 1 1 5
3 Charles Nagy 1991-04-10 CLE KCR L 0-1 CG 8 ,L 8.0 7 1 1 1 6
4 Eric King 1991-04-11 CLE BOS W 6-4 GS-7 ,W 6.2 6 3 3 0 3
5 Greg Swindell 1991-04-13 CLE BOS L 0-4 GS-7 ,L 6.2 7 3 2 3 3
6 Tom Candiotti 1991-04-14 CLE BOS W 6-0 GS-7 ,W 7.0 4 0 0 3 9
7 Charles Nagy 1991-04-15 CLE BOS W 1-0 GS-9 8.1 4 0 0 5 4
8 Eric King 1991-04-16 CLE TEX L 1-3 GS-9 ,L 8.1 8 3 3 1 5
9 Tom Candiotti 1991-04-20 CLE BOS L 1-2 GS-7 ,L 7.0 7 2 2 3 3
10 Charles Nagy 1991-04-22 CLE KCR W 10-4 GS-7 ,W 6.1 2 4 3 1 3
11 Greg Swindell 1991-04-24 CLE KCR L 2-4 GS-8 8.0 4 1 1 0 12
12 Tom Candiotti 1991-04-26 CLE TEX W 5-2 GS-7 7.0 5 2 1 1 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/17/2011.

Masterson continues to roll

Justin Masterson improved to 3-0 on Friday night against the Orioles, becoming just the third Indians starter to win each of his first three starts while posting an ERA under 2.00 in the past 30 seasons.

Masterson joins Cliff Lee (2008) and Greg Swindell (1988), each of whom would go on to win at least 18 games that season. In 2008, Scott Lewis also accomplished the feat, but did so only after being recalled from Buffalo in September.

While it’s nice to imagine Masterson turning in a Cliff Lee-like season (or even a Swindell season, for that matter) realistically we have to assume he’ll fall back down to earth.

Through his first three games his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is only .242. Over the course of a full season, we can expect that number to even out around .300, meaning to this point he’s probably been the beneficially of some balls simply rolling his way.

Along those same lines Masterson’s FIP (fielding independent pitching – in essence, ERA with defensive variables removed) is 2.64. However his xFIP (expected FIP) is 3.43. Like his BABIP numbers, this indicates that Masterson has benefited from a certain amount of luck through his first three starts.

By no means do I intend to take away from what Masterson has accomplished through three starts. It undoubtedly is a good sign and hopefully a confidence booster, but we need to keep our expectations realistic.