Here we go again: the annual Tony Sipp collapse

Here’s how Tony Sipp‘s season goes. He’s dominant. He melts down. Then he’s dominant again.

Sipp could be in for rough stretch

In 2009 Sipp had a 2.77 ERA through his first 15 appearances and opponents were batting just .122 off him. Over his next six games, Sipp was horrendous, posting a 16.20 ERA with an opponents BA of .412. After settling down, Sipp made 25 more appearances over rest the season, with an ERA of 1.14 down the stretch.

In 2010 it was more of the same. Through his first 21 games Sipp had an ERA of 1.40. He then gave up 11 runs in his next three outings and over his next 27 games he had an ERA of 8.61. But once again Sipp settled down, posting an ERA of 1.74 in his final 22 appearances.

And here we go again in 2011… Sipp was nearly unhittable through his first eight appearances, but melted down last night against the Royals. If history tells us anything, he’s due for a rough month of May before he regains his confidence and morphs back into the elite 8th-inning setup man that he has the potential to be.

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Tony Sipp is on fire

Tony Sipp recorded his 6th hold of the season today, and has yet to allow a run in eight appearances.

He is just the 7th pitcher in baseball history (according to baseball-reference) with six holds through his team’s first 15 games (list below). Of course, holds are an unofficial statistic and the definition varies slightly from source to source, but nonetheless, its an impressive early-season streak for Sipp. He also joins Scott Linebrink as the only pitcher on this list not to allow a run in the process.

Rk Player Year ▾ Gms Link to Gms ERA
2 Kevin Jepsen 2010 6 Ind. Games 1.80
3 Kyle McClellan 2008 6 Ind. Games 1.12
4 Scott Linebrink 2008 6 Ind. Games 0.00
5 Ryan Franklin 2008 6 Ind. Games 1.59
6 David Weathers 2003 6 Ind. Games 1.00
7 Mike Remlinger 2001 6 Ind. Games 1.08
Generated 4/17/2011.

Additionally, Sipp extends his own team record by making his 8th straight appearance of at least one inning without allowing a run to being the season. The previous record of six, was shared by five pitchers – most recently Paul Shuey in 2000. Chris Perez has also eclipsed that mark, by making his 7th straight such appearance this afternoon against the Orioles.

Recapping the season through 10 games

A few notes on the first 1/16th of the season…

  • Asdrubal Cabrera is the 11th Indian in the Jacobs Field era with four homers through 10 games (Travis Hafner is the only one to have done it twice). The others are a fairly predictable crew, but one name did stand out: Kevin Mitchell. While he only hit four homers in his 20-game Indians career, all four of them came in the first 10 games of the 1997 season.
  • Cabrera is also the first shortstop with four homers through 10 games since Woodie Held hit five back in 1960.
  • The Tribe pitching staff has tossed two shutouts through 10 games for the first time since 1991. That year they blanked Boston in consecutive games (once by a 1-0 score, just like this year). Tom Candioitti and Charles Nagy were the starters, yet neither tossed a complete game. The 1-0 victory was a 13-inning affair in which Steve Olin picked up the win while tossing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless/hitless ball in relief.
  • The Plain Dealer erroneously reported today (shocker) that Chris Perez and Tony Sipp are the first Indians relievers to toss at least one inning of scoreless ball in each of their first five appearances of the season since Paul Shuey in 2000. In reality Fernando Cabrera (2007) and Bob Wickman (2001) have each accomplished the feat more recently than Shuey.
  • Perez and Sipp are, however, the first pair of Indians to accomplish that feat in the same season since Clint Brown and Joe Heving in 1941.