- It wasn't pretty, but the Indians finally won their first series since the All-Star Break. And again, the pitching has kept the Indians in the Wild Card race. As bad as Cleveland has looked, they are now 2.5 games behind Oakland and Minnesota. The problem going forward is that there are eight teams still within 5 games of the Wild Card lead, so the percentages still aren't good. But just the same, making the playoffs isn't out of the question. They have a key series with Oakland coming up, and next week play the Yankees at home, so the Indians still can control much of their own destiny.
- Does Kevin Millwood's 4-9 record convince even the most ardent supporters of win-loss records that wins are team statistics and not pitcher statistics? I also laughed a bit when Sanders mentioned increduously that the Mariners' bullpen has the league's second-best ERA, yet has the fewst wins. Reading anything into a reliever's win-loss record is even more suspect than a starters' record. For example, assume that the score is tied in the 9th inning with two outs, and Reliever A walks the hitter. He's pulled from the game; Reliever B enters. He grooves a fastball to the next batter, who hits a home run. Player A gets the loss. How does this loss tell me anything about Reliever A's effectiveness? This is one of my pet peeves, but despite sterling examples to the contrary (see Jeriome Robertson), writers and announcers continue to concentrate on a pitcher's win-loss record as the gold standard for pitching.
- As of July 24:
Jhonny Peralta 262 AB, .302/.360/.538, 17 2B, 13 HR
Omar Vizquel 343 AB, .294/.353/.388, 20 2B, 2 HR
- Of course, I'm also more than willing to admit when I'm wrong, especially when me being wrong means good things for the Indians. And boy was I wrong about Scott Elarton. Far from being out of the rotation by June, like I predicted, he's been a pretty nice innings-eater for the Indians. Probably the biggest key to his success is that he's lowered his walk totals dramatically, allowing him to stay in games longer. He also seems to spotting both his curve and fastball well; this keeps hitters off his high fastball. And of course you can't discount that Elarton has a good defensive outfield behind him. Will this last? It looks like it will the rest of the season, barring injury. Heck, Elarton has a better VORP (11.3) than CC Sabathia (10.0), although this probably says more about Sabathia than it does Elarton.
- Something else I find interesting about Jhonny Peralta: he has the most home runs by a Indian shortstop in a season since Woodie Held's 19 in 1962. Held holds the team season record for home runs by a shortstop with 29 (although I think this is incorrect, as Held played 49 games at other positions in 1959, the year he set the mark).
EDIT: Omar Vizquel has the most home runs in a season since 1962 with 14 in 2002. This article, therefore, is incorrect.