Is there such a thing as momentum in baseball? Some will say that “momentum is only as good as the next days starting pitcher.” But what about in-game momentum? The big hit, the big defensive play, or a huge strikeout to end an inning.
These moments most often occur with 2-outs in an inning and after the game the outcome is often looked at as the turning point in a game. These moments play hard on the fans emotions and the 2013 Indians have delivered joy and pain to their fans with 2-outs in an inning.
Starting with the good. The Indians offense has scored 454 runs this year which is good for 4th in the American League and 5th in the major leagues. They rank 2nd in the American League and 3rd in the major leagues in 2-out runs with 188. The only teams to score more runs with two outs than the Indians are the Detroit Tigers (194) and the St.Louis Cardinals (195).
As can be expected the Indians perform well with 2-outs with runners in scoring position leading the American League with an .882 OPS second only to the St.Louis Cardinals (.880). They are tied with the Tigers for the most home runs in the majors with 15.
The team leader in RBI with 2-outs is Carlos Santana with 23 and the best hitters with 2-outs have been Ryan Raburn at .375 (21 for 56) and Michael Brantley .321 (35 for 109) who both are second on the team with 20 RBI.
The Indians have provided many big moments and key hits to bring their fans joy. Unfortunately, they play into the old hand that you can’t have light without darkness or good without evil.
In the scenario above the pitching staff has played the role of darkness and evil. The Indians pitching staff has allowed the second most 2-out runs in baseball with 184 trailing only the Los Angeles Angels (192).
With 2-outs and runners in scoring position the opposition has the 9th highest batting average against (.253) and the 8th most home runs against (10). Remarkably the Indians pitching staff has allowed the 12th fewest hits in baseball with 800 but combined with walking the most batters in baseball at 347 give them the 5th highest WHIP (1.369).
Justin Masterson and Corey Kluber have given up the most runs with 2-outs with 20 each but Masterson has 180 plate appearances against and Kluber 120. The highest ratio of runs allowed/plate appearance (minimum 50 plate appearances) belong to relievers Cody Allen (22.9%), Matt Albers (21.2%), Vinnie Pestano (20.0%), and Joe Smith (18%). The best ratio belongs to Ubaldo Jimenez with 8.2%.
For the Indians to make a run at a playoff spot in 2013 the offense is going to have to bring the joy of the 2-out hit while the pitching staff is going to have to limit the pain of the 2-out run and limiting the amount of baserunners by reducing the number of walks will be a giant step forward.