Notes after the last weekend in April

Superman has renounced his U.S. citizenship. It’s okay Clark Kent, we can get bad guys on our own.

Your division leaders as of this morning are the Indians, Yankees, Angels, Phillies, Cardinals, and Rockies. The Indians have the best record in the AL (and baseball), and the Phillies pace the NL.

(The NFL had a draft and was supposed to start its league season after the lockout was lifted. Then order to lift the lockout was stopped. Or it was not, or it was. Players are so confused now, they probably have no idea when to cycle off their off-season drug regiment.

Note to NFL fans: Take a chance and watch some baseball. Lot less legal talk…and get this…the INDIANS are the best team in baseball! No, really.)

The Indians have people befuddled. Where did that pitching come from? Of their 28 games, they have given up 15,10 and eight runs in three games and five or fewer in the rest, and they have lost two starting pitchers to the disabled list.

Their 2009 top draft pick makes his first MLB start, gives up two solo home runs in six innings, gets four strikeouts with only two bases on balls. He doesn’t get the win (the bullpen provided seven shutout innings to allow the offense to win the game in the 13th) but was a serviceable replacement. At least for now, the Indians have pitching depth. Who would of thunk it?*

*Hint: I did.

Conventional wisdom says Indians will cool off. But, hey, conventional wisdom does not help the cow understand that he just might be getting treated so well for the sole purpose of being slaughtered.

If the Indians cannot maintain this pace, a .500 winning percentage for the rest for the year makes this an 86-win team. The Indians are doing exactly what you expect of a good team.

They are beating bad teams, or beating times going through slumps. They are taking advantage of their good fortune and getting lucky in close games. They have already put 40 percent of their starting rotation on the DL and not been significantly effected by it. All this time, they are taking advantage of the bad play by people in their division.

Now, even when the Indians cool down, teams in their division are going to have to play significantly better than they are now to overtake the Indians. Yes, it is a long season, but which out of the Twins, White Sox, Tigers, or Royals** are capable of doing that? Are any of those teams able to do that with their current players?

**Yes, the second place Royals.

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  1. el Mussol said...

    You said:

    …conventional wisdom does not help the cow understand that he just might be getting treated…

    Cows are female.

    el Mussol

  2. rob said...

    yeah, and are the Indians supposed to be the cow? Who’s doing the feeding? What slaughter lies ahead?

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    The Indians seemingly have gotten every break this year, especially on offense where only Choo and Santana have shown anything resembling a slump. Hafner, Sizemore, Brantley, LaPorta, Cabrera, Jack Hannahan!? Talk to anyone before the season and the odds of just one of those players being a serious offensive contributor was probably 50/50. Instead, they’re ALL hitting. Even O-Cab is doing his thing.

    Regression’s a bitch and could still pounce, but it honestly looks like the entire Indians offense might have taken a step forward this year.

    The rotation, I’m quite willing to continue to write off as “extremely terrible.” White looked pretty good though.

  4. Mat Kovach said...

    @Greg W

    I am not exactly sure how you are comparing the Blue Jays going 18-9 in the AL East (and being in second place behind the Red Sox) to the Indians being 20-8 and 4.5 games ahead of the Royals, 8 ahead of the Tigers and 10+ ahead of the White Sox and Twins.

    If we take the current Wins, assume the teams in the AL Central play to their expected winning percentage, this is what happens:

    CLE 82
    DET 79
    MIN 76
    CHW 77
    KCR 71

    Using the following excepted win % (via Baseball Prospectus’ Playoff Odds)

    CLE   0.462
    KCR   0.415
    DET   0.501
    MIN   0.496
    CHW   0.501

    If the Indians play the rest of the season, winning at a 46% clip, the other teams in the division have to do BETTER than expected to overtake them.

    And right now, I don’t see any team in the division where the current players on the roster will be able to play better than projected.

    This was NOT the case with the Blue Jays. In fact, when looking at hot starts for teams, you ALWAYS need to look at the division they play. At hot start in the AL Central for a lower projected team has advantages a quick start of a lower projected team in the AL East.

  5. Greg W said...

    Two years ago the Toronto Blue Jays were 18-9, two games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East. Remember how well that worked out? Anyone?

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