Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Tribe pen the Rodney Dangerfield of MLB

ESPN’s David Schoenfield listed what he thinks are the best bullpens on “contenders” in his latest Sweet Spot column.

We’re not sure what we’re more offended by, the fact that he didn’t give the Indians bullpen any credit or that he doesn’t consider the Tribe – who only have the best record in the American League – contenders.

Predictably Schoenfield places the Yankees as the third best bullpen and tops in the American League, writing:

Yes, Mariano Rivera had that little burp, but he’s back on track. Setup man Rafael Soriano has struggled, but I project he’ll turn it around. Joba Chamberlain is throwing better than he has in years, and underrated David Robertson has one of the nastiest curves you’ll see. The ‘pen has allowed just five home runs in 95 innings. The big question is whether Boone Logan will prove to be a reliable lefty in the absence of Pedro Feliciano.

Well of course Soriano is going to turn it around, they’re the Yankees after all! And we can’t forget Joba, only the most over-rated pitcher in the game.

The Tribe bullpen is better or as good as the Yankees in every statistical category. Heading into Tuesday night’s game with Tampa:

  • The Indians bullpen has a 3.16 ERA to the Yankees 3.22 ERA
  • The Indians have allowed 79 hits to the Yankees 85
  • Thirty-six walks and 76 strikeouts for the Tribe; 35 and 78 for the Yankees
  • The Yankees have allowed “just five home runs in 95 innings”? Well, the Indians have given up just four in 94 innings of work.

But still, no respect.

The Indians bullpen right now matches up with any bullpen in baseball:

  • Closer Chris Perez has 10 saves in 15 innings of work, with nine strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA
  • Tony Sipp has worked 15.2 innings, striking out 12 and putting up a 1.72 ERA
  • Vinnie Pestano has worked 13.2 innings, striking out 15 and posting a 1.32 ERA
  • Joe Smith has nine strikeouts in eight innings of work after coming off the disabled list
  • Rafael Perez has worked 13.1 innings, striking out nine and posting a 0.68 ERA

Now tell us the Yankees have a better bullpen.

We get it; no one thought the Indians were going to be very good this season. We weren’t even sure what to expect.

But eventually the on-field performance has to be more important than perceptions. What the team is actually doing is more important than what people think they should be doing.

Until then, we’ll just enjoy watching the Tribe as it sits atop the Central Division standings.

If you think the bullpen is doing well, check out how the starters are performing.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t pass along Cleveland Frowns latest Tuesdays with Tony.

***

Peter Crouch did his old team a solid on Tuesday, scoring an own goal to help Manchester City beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0.

The loss by Spurs puts Liverpool in the driver’s seat for Sunday’s game at Anfield. Win and the Reds secure a spot in Europe for next year.

Not bad for a team that was sitting in 12th place in January.

Don’t feel too bad for Crouch, though. He got to go home and have nachos with Mrs. Crouch after the game.

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