Will the Indians’ defense hold them back in 2015?

The Indians’ defense cost them a playoff berth in 2014.

Whether you watched every game or merely looked at the performance data, this is a conclusion that most fans come to.

This is, of course, a bold claim that cannot be established, though the metric defensive runs saved would cause us to estimate that their defense cost them an estimated seven wins, which allows us to make such a claim.

Defense is a continual frontier. Though we may be better able to estimate defensive skill, defensive value, we accept that at the margins, some flaws are imperceptible. This discussion of the Indians’ defense in 2015 will discuss defensive issues, which are easy to perceive a la the Indians leading MLB in errors with 116 in 2014 or issues which are harder to perceive like the unquantifiable range.

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A Formula For Success: Constructing Cleveland’s Bullpen

Of the top 10 bullpens in Major League Baseball last year, Cleveland’s pen had the most innings pitched.

There were 39 pitchers who made at least 70 appearances last year. Cleveland had four, including 80 appearance man Bryan Shaw. Terry Francona used Shaw, Cody Allen, and Scott Atchison for 70 innings each, give or take a few here or there.

When Francona was managing the Red Sox from 2004 to 2011, he utilized his bullpen less than every team in baseball outside of the Angels and White Sox, at least in terms of innings pitched. But he had one of the most effective bullpens, proving that less usage equals greater success. But he did that because he had the pieces in place.

You could go on with a list of names from some of the most important pieces like Jonathan Papelbon to someone like former Indian Dan Wheeler. But it isn’t the names, so much as it is the roles those names fill and how the roles lead to results. Continue reading

Breaking Indians News from EHC

Exclusive breaking news – Everybody Hates Cleveland has learned that contrary to widespread belief among fans, Nick Swisher is in fact NOT dead.

Swisher was widely considered to be deceased after batting a paltry .208 and playing in only 97 games last year. When reached for comment, Swisher said the following:

“Dead? What the hell are you talking about? I’ve been around all offseason. You’ve seen me on Twitter and Instagram. I literally joined the broadcast team for the freaking World Series. Was no one paying any attention? Is this a joke or something?”

Swisher, who played in 145+ games in each of the past 8 seasons continued:

“I mean, I understand I had a bad year, but I’ve been in MLB for 11 years. Doesn’t that mean anything? Both of my knees were injured. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a major injury. This is insane.”

When it was pointed out most fans assumed Swisher had died of natural causes after reaching the ripe old age of 34, Swisher appeared insulted:

“I’m 34. That’s not even that old. It’s 2015, I’m not trying to go on the Oregon Trail or something, here. Is this a real interview?”

When asked if he would allow Paul Hoynes to pinch him to prove he wasn’t a ghost, Swisher erupted:

“That’s it. Enough. I’m not the first player to ever return from an injury to play again. It happens hundreds of times a year. Hell – Michael Bourn is right over there, ask him.”

Everybody Hates Cleveland was unable to confirm that Michael Bourn, who was also considered super dead, is in fact still living and planning to play baseball this year.

More as the story develops.

Oh No, Bro: Nick Swisher and The Persona Cleveland Has Come to Hate

Baseball, more than any other sport in my opinion, loves to throw around the idea of pressure. Specifically in regards to players and how they perform.

Every year on multiple occasions there are situations in which a team signs a player who just didn’t really fit into what his old team was about. Whether it was because he didn’t fit into the clubhouse culture, or the organization “didn’t favor him” for one reason or another, or, my favorite, he received too much attention or pressure from the media and the outside.

Pressure. Dude, that’s everywhere. Even if you play in New York or Tampa Bay, there’s pressure to produce. I get the argument, have made it myself in defending players or giving reasons why one person may succeed in a different environment. It is most definitely true. Everyone feels pressure though. There may be different kinds of pressure, which is a way better to summarize that, rather than to pigeon hole it into one “he can’t deal with the media” stereotype.

Carl Pavano was the best example of “Well, the New York Media was just too brutal for him” argument and given that he had success pre-New York, and post-New York…but he was also hurt a lot there.

As I said, everywhere you go there, there will be pressure, because the media or the fan base is ultimately not the one signing the paycheck or making sure you are employed. The team is, and if you aren’t making the team’s expectations, they will be the one that tells you this partnership isn’t working out. It is up to that particular athlete on how hard that pressure will be applied. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: The Cavaliers’ opener, a big win over the Bulls, Anderson Varejao’s extension

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

Y-JP-LEBRON-master6751. On Thursday, right before the Cleveland Cavaliers were about to take on the New York Knicks in their season opener, my wife turned to me and said, “You’re treating this game like it’s a Super Bowl.” I laughed at first. But guess what? She was right. Heck, everything about my actions on this night were uncharacteristic of my normal behavior. I even asked my wife to take a selfie with me while we both were wearing our LeBron James jerseys. I hate selfies. Loathe them. Yet something about this game, and this particular moment, made me want to capture us, even if it were in the form of an attention-grabbing photo. I’ll never forget all of the hoopla surrounding Thursday’s game. The scene outside the Quickens Loan Arena, the introductions, the Nike commercial — all of it was tailor-made for a Hollywood movie. Over the next three hours, I would cry, yell, jump and remain silent. No regular season game in any sport has ever had that kind of effect on me. I doubt another ever again will. Continue reading

Orbiting Cleveland: Appreciating Corey Kluber’s 2014 Campaign

Orbiting

hi-res-77db53bec8cc04f3e1aac8d47ac9a18d_crop_northHindsight is 20/20. Is that how the saying goes?

The Cleveland Browns are emerging as one of the NFL’s trendiest teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James are about to embark on a “Championship or Bust” season. Yet, here I sit, content to reflect on the Cleveland Indians’ 2014 season.

Something must be wrong with me.

Or maybe not.

Perhaps a little bit of reflection could serve us all well. When looking back at the Indians, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives.

The Tribe finished with a record of 85-77, a far cry from a year earlier when they finished 92-70 and captured the American League’s top Wild Card spot.

At times, this team was painful — incredibly painful, in fact. Continue reading

10 Orbservations: Browns vs. Steelers, Brian Hoyer, Bittersweet Sixteen, Chris Bosh, Bound for Glory

10 Orbservations is a regular Saturday piece at Everybody Hates Cleveland where EHC Managing Editor Steve Orbanek offers 10 quick sports takes, both on Cleveland topics and national ones.

nfl_g_hoyer_600x6001. The Cleveland Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers tomorrow. Doesn’t it seem like this just happened? If it does, it’s because — well — it did. As we all know, in week one of the NFL season, the Steelers narrowly defeated the Browns 30-27 in a game that saw the Browns rally for 24-straight second-half points to knot the game at 27. I hate the term “must-win,” yet I’m pretty big hypocrite because I can’t seem to stop using it. When I look at tomorrow’s game, I see the definition of a must-win. Over the past few seasons, we’ve noticed that the Browns have slowly closed the gap in regard to competition with the Steelers. That seems to suggest that the Browns are slowly getting better while the Steelers are slowly getting worse. Nonetheless, the Browns should and need to win this game. If they do, I really think we could see this team make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. That’s an outlandish statement for a team that is just 2-2, but I think it’s accurate as well. The importance of tomorrow’s contest cannot be denied. Continue reading

Payroll Disparity and the MLB Playoffs: The Division Series

mlb-playoffsLast week, I wrote two articles concerning money and the Major League Baseball playoffs, one asking who Cleveland Indians fans should root for – the team their heart wants to win or the one that best benefits the Tribe in the long run – and a second article looking at what teams advanced to the Divisional Series, all based on payrolls to start the 2014 season as listed on Deadspin.

Now that the Divisional Series have ended, let’s revisit this idea and see what teams remain as it relates to payroll. Continue reading

Payroll Disparity and the MLB Playoffs: The Wild Card Games

mlb-playoffsOn Tuesday, Everybody Hates Cleveland published an article where I talked about payrolls in Major League Baseball and how it translates into wins and playoff appearances.

I pointed out how seven of the 10 teams in this year’s playoffs were in the Top 15 in MLB payrolls, and how the three teams in the bottom half were all Wild Card teams.

Now that the WC playoff games are finished (I hate referring to them as playoffs.) I want to go back and take a look at the information from that article and how it looks now that the real playoffs are about to start. Continue reading