Month in review: August

I will never cover a collapse of this kind again. I could spend the next half-century as a scribe chronicling Cleveland baseball — I doubt my wife will let that happen — and history says this will not occur again on my watch.

There are teams that are supposed to be bad. They turn in 90-loss seasons, or maybe even drop 100, and no one really makes much of a fuss, because, hey, what did you expect? But this? This Tribe team was supposed to contend. And they did contend.

On June 23, the Indians were in first place in the American League Central with a 37-32 record. Since then, the Tribe has gone an incredible 18-45 to fall to 17.5 games out of first place and just 1.5 games from being the worst team in the AL. It has been an historic stretch for this team.

The true start of the rapid descent was July 27 — the day after the Tribe defeated Justin Verlander and the Tigers with a dramatic comeback. From there, Cleveland lost 11 in a row, and later went on to have losing streaks of nine and six games. That last skid is active entering tonight’s action.

In August, the rotation disintegrated and the Tribe parted ways with the likes of Derek Lowe, Johnny Damon, Jose Lopez, Jeremy Accardo and Shelley Duncan. Grady Sizemore was declared done for the season, even though he had yet to play a game. Josh Tomlin underwent Tommy John surgery. Travis Hafner was shelved once again.

In all, Cleveland went 5-24 in August for its worst showing in a single calendar month in the club’s 112-year history. The 1914 Cleveland Naps had a 24-loss July nearly a century ago, but they won six and had one tie that month.

The Indians are the second team to have a 24-loss month this season, joining the Astros, who did so in July. It marks the first time since 1982 that two teams had months of 24-plus losses in one season. The Twins (26 in May) and Mets (24 in August) accomplished that dubious feat 31 seasons ago.

In the last 30 seasons, only the 2012 Indians, 2012 Astros and 1999 Cubs turned in a month with at least 24 losses. It has happened 10 times in the past 50 seasons. Dating back to 1921, there have been 46 such occurrences. The record for futility in a single month (since ’21) is 27 losses. Well done, 1939 Phillies and 1940 Athletics (both in September).

It has been ugly, but I still sifted through the wreckage to find some monthly award winners. It was much easier to do for the Minor League affiliates this time around.

With the calendar flipped to September, here is a look back at August…

Overall: 5-24
At home: 4-11
On road: 1-13

Offense (AL rank):

.231 average (12)
.290 on-base (12)
.352 slugging (13)
.643 OPS (12)
24 home runs (12)
39 doubles (12)
94 RBI (12)
96 runs (12)
72 walks (10)
212 strikeouts (8)
23 stolen bases (6)
223 hits (12)

Pitching (AL rank)

5.49 ERA (12)
4 saves (14)
252.1 innings (5)
291 hits allowed (14)
179 runs (14)
154 earned runs (12)
37 home runs (11)
95 walks (13)
206 strikeouts (8)
.288 opp. average (14)
1.53 WHIP (14)
.838 opp. OPS (14)

Player of the Month: C Carlos Santana
Stats: .277/.368/.436/.803, 4 HR, 4 2B, 16 RBI, 12 R, 28 H, 29 games

Previous winners: DH Travis Hafner (April), 2B Jason Kipnis (May), RF Shin-Soo Choo (June), CF Michael Brantley (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Esmil Rogers
Stats: 2.04 ERA, 17.2 IP, 18 K, 2 BB, 1.25 WHIP, 13 games

Previous winners: RHP Derek Lowe (April), CL Chris Perez (May), RHP Justin Masterson (June), RHP Zach McAllister (July)

Reliever of the Month: RHP Esmil Rogers

Previous winners: RHP Vinnie Pestano (April, July), CL Chris Perez (May), RHP Esmil Rogers (June)

Performance of the Month (hitting): INF Brent Lillibridge
Line: 3-for-4, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 runs in 5-2 win over Red Sox on Aug. 11

Performance of the Month (pitching): RHP Zach McAllister
Line: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K in 5-2 win over Red Sox on Aug. 11

—————————————

MINOR LEAGUE HONORS

Triple-A Columbus

Player of the Month: 2B Cord Phelps
Stats: .310/.395/.504/.900, 5 HR, 7 2B, 17 RBI, 22 R, 35 H, 29 games

Previous winners: 1B Matt LaPorta (April), INF Jason Donald (May), 1B/OF Russ Canzler (June), OF Tim Fedroff (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Matt Langwell
Stats: 2-0, 1.98 ERA, 13.2 IP, 20 K, 8 BB, 1.39 WHIP, .220 avg, 9 games

Previous winners: RHP Corey Kluber (April, July), LHP David Huff (May), LHP Eric Berger (June)

Double-A Akron

Player of the Month: OF Thomas Neal
Stats: .319/.426/.451/.876, 3 HR, 3 2B, 6 RBI, 17 R, 29 H, 28 games

Previous winners: INF/OF Jared Goedert (April, May), OF Thomas Neal (June), 1B Adam Abraham (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Toru Murata
Stats: 1-0, 1.17 ERA, 30.2 IP, 26 K, 4 BB, 0.82 WHIP, .194 avg., 6 starts

Previous winners: LHP T.J. McFarland (April), LHP T.J. House (May), RHP Steven Wright (June), RHP Paolo Espino (July)

Class A (high) Carolina

Player of the Month: 3B Giovanny Urshela
Stats: .336/.345/.586/.931, 6 HR, 9 2B, 12 RBI, 12 R, 39 H, 28 games

Previous winners: DH Jeremie Tice (April), 1B Jesus Aguilar (May), INF Ronny Rodriguez (June), INF Tony Wolters (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Rob Nixon
Stats: 0.89 ERA, 20.1 IP, 20 K, 4 BB, 0.93 WHIP, .205 avg., 9 games

Previous winners: LHP T.J. House (April), RHP Shawn Armstrong (May), RHP Kyle Blair (June), RHP Danny Salazar (July)

Class A (low) Lake County

Player of the Month: 2B Jose Ramirez
Stats: .392/.436/.525/.961, 2 HR, 6 2B, 15 RBI, 27 R, 47 H, 30 games

Previous winners: OF Luigi Rodriguez (April), 1B Jerrud Sabourin (May), OF Jordan Smith (June, July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Enosil Tejeda
Stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 IP, 9 K, 1 BB, 0.67 WHIP, .163 avg., 11 games

Previous winners: RHP Cody Anderson (April), RHP Joseph Colon (May), RHP Mason Radeke (June), RHP Manuel Carmona (July)

Class A (short-season) Mahoning Valley

Player of the Month: INF Joseph Wendle
Stats: .3336/.362/.445/.808, 2 HR, 4 2B, 17 RBI, 12 R, 37 H, 26 games

Previous winners: C/1B Charlie Valerio (June), INF Joseph Wendle (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Luis Encarnacion
Stats: 1.50 ERA, 12 IP, 20 K, 9 BB, 1.00 WHIP, .081 avg., 8 games

Previous winners: RHP Luis DeJesus (June, July)

Arizona League Indians

Player of the Month: OF Anthony Santander
Stats: .371/.439/.614/.1.053, 2 HR, 9 2B, 10 RBI, 14 R, 26 H, 20 games

Previous winners: 3B Jorge Martinez (June), SS Dorssys Paulino (July)

Pitcher of the Month: RHP Felix Sterling
Stats: 3-0, 0.95 ERA, 19 IP, 29 K, 6 BB, 0.95 WHIP, .174 avg., 5 games

Previous winners: RHP Luis Morel (June), RHP Alexis Paredes (July)

Dominican Summer League Indians

Player of the Month: 1B/C Juan De La Cruz
Stats: .317/.416/.413/.828, 4 2B, 1 3B, 13 RBI, 8 R, 20 H, 20 games

Previous winners: 2B Odomar Valdez (June), OF Victor Cabral (July)

Pitcher of the Month: LHP Luis Gomez
Stats: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 13.1 IP, 12 K, 5 BB, 0.83 WHIP, .130 avg., 3 starts

Previous winners: RHP Juan Nivar (June), LHP Luis Gomez (July)

—————————

Month in review: July
Month in review: June
Month in review: May
Month in review: April

–JB

6 Comments

“I could spend the next half-century as a scribe chronicling Cleveland baseball — I doubt my wife will let that happen —”

Is this really necessary? It comes off like a slight on Cleveland, and we’ve had enough of that already. (Whether it’s her slight or yours, it becomes yours when you say it in your article.) Maybe I’m misinterpreting this, but whatever the case, your entry would not suffer without this remark.

And if your wife has a problem with your being a scribe covering baseball in general, please advise her that there are plenty of people who would love to be paid to watch baseball, talk with the players and other people connected to the team, and write about it.

4th single has not been coefmrind yet but it will be announced here first An album re-release is being discussed and if it goes ahead it will more than likely coincide with the tour dates.Rachelx

Is the reason there are only two comments (counting mine) in this blog is the total lack of meaningful content?

Pingback: While We’re Waiting… A New Un-Level Playing Field | WaitingForNextYear

LaundroMat: I think you’re misintepreting my joke. Saying I’ll never cover anything like this again is based on the fact that the Indians accomplished some dubious feats that had not been done in nearly 100 years. The chances of it happening again are slim to none. It’s in no way a slight on Cleveland, and not sure how it was taken as such. As for the comment about my wife, believe me, she loves baseball. That said, being married to a ball scribe takes a toll on family life. It was just a joke — nothing more. — JB

Pingback: Month in review: Sept/Oct « Major League Bastian

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