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2021 Series #13 | Indians @ Angels | May 17-19, 2021

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Wham with the Right Hand

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The Indians arrive in the City of Angels with a three-game losing streak in tow, hoping to get their anemic offense moving and finish the west coast swing on a high note. Normally when you have Shane Bieber going against another team's bullpen you get a win almost every time, but that wasn't the case yesterday.

The Angels are 17-22 overall and 8-9 at home. After getting off to a 13-12 start they are 4-10. However, those 10 losses have come against Boston, Houston, the Dodgers, and Tampa Bay - all winning teams. The Angels have played the 3rd most difficult schedule in the majors according to powerrankingsguru.com. Based on their schedule I would say they are better than their 17-22 record suggests. They're probably an average team.

Their offense is about average with a wRC+ of 103. They are very aggressive with the bat, ranking last in the A.L. in walk percentage and 3rd highest in pull percentage. They're also last in hard hit percentage. But they're 6th in the A.L. in runs per game probably because they're 5th in slugging percentage, 4th in batting average, and 5th in BABIP. They seem to get more hits than they should based on being last in hard hit percentage and walk percentage. You'd think they chase a lot of balls and make a lot of weak contact, but they manage to score more runs than average.

Their pitching staff ranks 5th in xFIP, 1st in strikeouts per 9 innings, and 15th (last) in walks per 9 innings. I'm picturing guys who have great stuff and either strike you out or walk you. The Indians need to be patient and not chase and they'll be rewarded with walks.

Their staff has the 2nd highest home run to fly ball rate in the A.L, so they are very susceptible to the long ball. This is the ultimate three true outcomes pitching staff; 1st in K's, 15th in walks, and 14th in home runs. Their bullpen ranks 12th in xFIP and last in preventing inherited runners from scoring. If the Indians can be patient, take walks, run up the starters' pitch counts, and get to the bullpen they should be able to score a few runs.

Defensively the Angels are ranked 14th by FanGraphs. The have committed more errors than any team in the A.L. and they're ranked 14th in UZR. They have little range and when they get to the ball they screw up more than anybody. The numbers indicate they're a horror show on defense. Their pitchers rank last in BABIP which agrees with the very low zone rating. No wonder their pitchers are trying so hard to strike batters out.

Adam Trout is the mega star and he's off to a great start at .333/1.086. Jared Walsh (1B) is at .338/.982. Ohtani is hitting .262/.901 and leads the league with 12 HR's. Anthony Rendon started slow but is hitting .273/.951 in May. So they have four very dangerous hitters. The rest of their batting order is not producing much. They look a lot like Seattle with a few guys in the middle of the lineup that will hurt you (Haniger, Seager, Lewis) but the other guys aren't much of a threat.

Tonight it's Sam Hentges against LHP Patrick Sandoval (0-0, 6.14). Sandoval is 24 years old in his third season. In 15 career starts he's 1-9, 5.40. This will be his first start of 2021; he's pitched three times in relief for a total of 7.1 innings. This might be a semi-bullpen game for the Angels. Sandoval's longest appearance this season was 52 pitches. The best case scenario would be to get to him early and make their bullpen go 5-6 innings tonight, reducing their options for tomorrow's game.

Hentges is coming off a start where he held the Cubs scoreless for 4.2 innings and was removed after 84 pitches. Hopefully he can build off that start and go 5-6 innings tonight with similar results. Despite giving up 24 hits and walks in 13.2 innings his ERA is a solid 3.29 because hitters are 1-for-17 against him with RISP. He's shown he can knuckle down and execute his pitches when ducks are on the pond.

With nobody on base opposing hitters are batting .452 against Hentges with an OBP or .485. With runners on they're hitting .154. Maybe he should pitch from the stretch all the time. Three of his four HR's allowed have come with the bases empty. He's been terrible at preventing base runners but pretty good at preventing runs.

Tuesday it's Plesac against another lefty, Andrew Heaney (1-3, 4.75). Heaney is in his 8th season with a career record of 25-32, 4.46. This season he's had four good starts and three bad ones - nothing in between. He's a fly ball pitcher with a 2/1 fly ball to ground ball ratio. I guess his success depends on whether the fly balls leave the yard or not. In his three losses he's allowed 7 home runs in 11.3 innings. In his four good starts he hasn't allowed a home run. He's averaging 12.3 K's per 9 innings, so either you get him or he gets you.

Plesac has been on fire lately, allowing two runs in his last three starts covering 21.2 innings.

Wednesday it's Civale against Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.10). I've never seen Ohtani pitch and was surprised to find out he's a right-hander. In five starts he has thrown 25.2 innings so he's a five inning guy. He has 40 K's and 20 walks in those 25 innings so he's tough to hit but will walk a lot of hitters. He's very similar in that way to Tristan McKenzie, who has thrown 28 innings with 40 K's and 25 walks. Ohtani allowed one run in seven innings in his last start against the Astros. At age 26 he appears to be putting it all together in terms on being both a hitter and a pitcher. He's on pace for 50 HR's and 120 RBI's plus the 2.10 ERA as a starter.

Ohtani may have been lucky, however. FanGraphs has his expected ERA at 3.19 and xFIP at 3.59.
 
Todays line up.. No real surprises, except maybe Chang who seems to have squandered his shot at playing 1st base:

1. Cesar Hernandez (S) 2B
2. Jordan Luplow (R) CF
3. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
4. Franmil Reyes (R) DH
5. Eddie Rosario (L) LF
6. Harold Ramirez (R) RF
7. Josh Naylor (L) 1B
8. Amed Rosario (R) SS
9. Rene Rivera (R) C

No Gimenez.... Really hard seeing him sticking with the club much longer.. He is not alone.. Bauers and Chang are also on notice.

Suspect Miller and Johnson are on the short list to join the ML club ... Maybe Bradley or maybe Zimmer (last chance before DFA) could come up instead of Johnson, but only if they suck it up with Bauers and say goodbye..
 
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We shall see. Perhaps we will get a hint from the actions of the various CLE farm clubs.

This week Columbus is visiting Toledo (Detroit AAA) & Akron is at home vs Reading (Philly AA).

To complete the info list:
Lake County is visiting Great Lakes (Midland, MI (near Saginaw), LA Dodgers affiliate)

Lynchburg is hosting Myrtle Beach (Cubs affiliate)
 
We've bitched about Bauers, Chang, Gimenez, and a couple of others, but we've said very little about the player with a line of 183/330/463/793 for some reason. Maybe the entire thing is f'd and I shouldn't worry about players' individual performances? The shotty performances of 3/4 of the lineup only shines a brighter light on how good the pitching staff has been. By all accounts and purposes we should be hovering just above the Twins and Tigers right now, instead we're within easy striking distance of the division lead.
 
We've bitched about Bauers, Chang, Gimenez, and a couple of others, but we've said very little about the player with a line of 183/330/463/793 for some reason. Maybe the entire thing is f'd and I shouldn't worry about players' individual performances? The shotty performances of 3/4 of the lineup only shines a brighter light on how good the pitching staff has been. By all accounts and purposes we should be hovering just above the Twins and Tigers right now, instead we're within easy striking distance of the division lead.

Maybe because that .330 OBP is second on the team for all the regulars.

And that .463 SLG ranks third.

And that .793 OPS ranks third.

And the 118 OPS+ ranks third.
 
If only any of Chang, Bauers, and Gimenez came close to Luplow...there wouldn't be talk of replacing them.
 
Maybe because that .330 OBP is second on the team for all the regulars.

And that .463 SLG ranks third.

And that .793 OPS ranks third.

And the 118 OPS+ ranks third.
If only any of Chang, Bauers, and Gimenez came close to Luplow...there wouldn't be talk of replacing them.
Well damn! There goes the idea of having hitters that put the ball in play as opposed to hitting for power.
 
We've bitched about Bauers, Chang, Gimenez, and a couple of others, but we've said very little about the player with a line of 183/330/463/793 for some reason. Maybe the entire thing is f'd and I shouldn't worry about players' individual performances? The shotty performances of 3/4 of the lineup only shines a brighter light on how good the pitching staff has been. By all accounts and purposes we should be hovering just above the Twins and Tigers right now, instead we're within easy striking distance of the division lead.
it's a relative thing man - the last three numbers are at the top on this team - to be sure this isnt owen luplow
 
it's a relative thing man - the last three numbers are at the top on this team - to be sure this isnt owen luplow
My post was meant to imply that some players are underperforming, and Luplow is one of them. Stating some of his numbers are 3rd best on one of the worst offensive teams in the league is as you suggest.......relative. Before someone implies that I said Luplow needs to go, know that I only said that no one has said a thing about his underperformance, including me. I made no mention of shitcanning him, but there might be a case in looking to improve his roster spot should an opportunity present itself.

Anyway. Sorry to get off track in this game post. This discussion belongs in the roster talk thread. I won't say another word about here. Thanks for starting it Wham and posting all that info. Play ball!
 
I think Luplow could end up not being the regular we want, but I'm keeping mum for now. He's facing a lefty tonight and he likes those. Giving him another 20-30 games
 
My post was meant to imply that some players are underperforming, and Luplow is one of them. Stating some of his numbers are 3rd best on one of the worst offensive teams in the league is as you suggest.......relative. Before someone implies that I said Luplow needs to go, know that I only said that no one has said a thing about his underperformance, including me. I made no mention of shitcanning him, but there might be a case in looking to improve his roster spot should an opportunity present itself.
I'd say the guy who's somehow only batting .183 and still hitting well above league average is due to positively improve and likely isn't anyone you look to replace. He's hitting for power, he's working counts, he's drawing walks--that's all you ask a guy to do. Hits should come.
 
If we want to complain about somebody, how about Eddie Rosario? 206/266/594.

Despite the UGLY line, he has been pretty clutch when it counts... Kind of..

Team needs a spark. I would love a blow out tonight.
 
First pitch of the game... GONE!
 

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