What’s that, you say? The Indians lost their first series of the season? Well dang, that’s sucks. But we haven’t given up on the season yet; that would take a special type of pessimist, not to mention this article would be a huge waste of your click. No, Tribe fans, we’ve got a quartet of data-driven reasons to get psyched..
Your Cleveland Indians have done a lot of things we were hoping they’d do when we were chatting and writing about them prior to Opening Day. If they continue beyond this small sample size, it’s gonna be another fun season of dominating the competition.
Get Ready To Pump Your Fist
1. Klubot Is Showing Machine-Like Efficiency
Despite an absurd fan fixation on the one bad pitch he made all day, Corey Kluber had an excellent start against the Mariners in the opener. He needed only 91 pitches to coast his way through eight strong innings, 66 of which went for strikes. He notched his first eight strikeout victims of 2018, too. The two earned runs he allowed across that start puts him on pace to match last year’s 2.25 ERA. The main takeaway is that Kluber is in midseason form, which should allow us to firmly vanquish any doubts caused by his 2017 playoff performance.
2. Gomes Is Showing Power and Patience
Most of you probably noticed that Yan Gomes smashed a dinger deep beyond the walls of Safeco Field in the Tribe’s 6-5 win on Saturday. A smaller number of you noticed that he drew a walk, which is another positive sign; when Gomes starts being selective, that’s when he’s at his best. But only the few readers who are as ridiculously nerdy about baseball as I am noticed that Gomes has already seen 43 pitches in just eight plate appearances. That’s more than five pitches per plate appearance, which means that the Tribe catcher is showing as much patience early on as he’s shown in his entire career… and against two good pitchers in Felix Hernandez and James Paxton. It’s just a small sample, but if it continues, we could see Silver Slugger Gomes again this year rather than the version for whom his team sacrificed a chicken in an attempt to lift a curse.
3. Alonso Dominated A Lefty
Like Gomes, offseason acquisition Yonder Alonso has shown he’s willing to wait for his pitch, and can crush it when it comes. The left-handed-hitting first baseman has already got a pair of walks, and a pair of extra base hits to go along with them. But more importantly, his homer and both of his walks came against a tough left-handed pitcher in Paxton. Some skeptics had concerns about whether Alonso would need to be platooned in order to be effective; he shut them up pretty quick for the time being.
4. Edwing Is Off To A Hella Hot Start
Twin dingers by Edwin Encarnacion isn’t enough to get you excited? If that’s true, you’re not human. As we mentioned earlier this year, there’s no easy way to predict how Encarnacion will fight the aging curve. But two bombs in the same game sure puts him on top for the month of April so far. We look forward to seeing the parrot as many times as possible this year.
Photo courtesy of Erik Drost, via Flickr.