Month in review: August
You might call it The Mark Reynolds Effect — the fact that the Indians’ slugging percentage has declined each month since April. Reynolds’ slump, and subsequent release, coincide with the Tribe’s regression on offense as a whole. In August, there were slumps on top of slumps, and virtually every batter struggled in the month.
Here’s the thing, though.
Even after a 1-5 trip through Atlanta and Detroit, the Indians are still in this thing. The Tribe sat 3.5 games back in race for second Wild Card, entering Monday.
“We’ve played ourselves positively and negatively into a position where every game means so much,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I can think of a lot worse scenarios. I can think of a few better, but I can think of a lot worse.
“The fact that it’s September, and every time we go out there it’s so meaningful, that’s good.”
Here is a look at the month that was for the Indians…
Offense (AL rank)
.229 average (14)
.295 on-base (15)
.362 slugging (15)
.658 OPS (15)
92 runs (14)
221 hits (13)
45 doubles (t-6)
3 triples (t-11)
26 home runs (t-9)
86 RBI (15)
86 walks (t-10)
217 strikeouts (7)
18 stolen bases (8)
74 extra-base hits (9)
350 total bases (14)
Notes: The Indians suffered their worst single month in terms of offense since, well, last August. Over the past 20 seasons, Cleveland has had three months with an OPS of .658 or worse: August 2013, August 2012 and June 2011. Over past 20 seasons, only in August 2013, August 2012 and April 2005 did the team have an OBP of .295 or lower. Prior to this August, Cleveland hadn’t turned in a slash line of .230/.295/.365 or worse since June of 1991 (.230/.294/.295).
Pitching (AL rank)
12 wins (t-10)
3.77 ERA (6)
4.10 rot. ERA (7)
3.25 bullpen ERA (5)
7 saves (t-8)
255.2 innings (6)
242 hits (6)
117 runs (9)
107 earned runs (7)
19 home runs (1)
107 walks (14)
257 strikeouts (1)
.249 average (4)
1.37 WHIP (9)
Notes: This marked only the sixth time since at least 1916 that the Indians had a month with 250-plus strikeouts and 100-plus walks. The Tribe also did so in May earlier this season, but prior to that the club hadn’t had a month like that since the ’60s (August 1967, September 1965, July 1964, June 1964). September of ’65 was the last time the Indians had 250/100 and an ERA of 3.77 or better. This was the first time since September 1989 that Cleveland had an ERA of 3.77 or better with at least 16 losses in a single month. Add 200 strikeouts to the mix, and the Indians hadn’t done it since August of 1968.
INDIANS PLAYER HONORS
Player of the month: C Yan Gomes
Stats: .281/.361/.422/.783, 2 HR, 3 2B, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 6 R, 18 H, 19 games
Notes: In a month with very few individual offensive standouts, Gomes seemed to be the best choice. He led the Indians’ regulars in average and on-base percentage for August and assumed the bulk of the playing time behind the plate (156 innings).
Previous 2013 winners: C Carlos Santana (co-winner, April), INF Mark Reynolds (co-winner, April), 2B Jason Kipnis (May, June), LF Michael Brantley (July)
Pitcher of the month: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
Stats: 1-4, 3.10 ERA, 29 IP, 37 K, 13 BB, 1.38 WHIP, .241 AVG, 5 starts
Notes: It is hard to turn in an ERA of 3.10 and lose four games. In fact, Jimenez’s month marked the first time since June 2002 (Chuck Finley) that an Indians starter lost at least four games with an ERA of 3.10 or better. The last to do so, while also having at least 35 strikeouts, was Gaylord Perry in September of 1974.
Previous 2013 winners: Masterson (April, May), Jimenez (June), LHP Scott Kazmir (July)
Reliever of the month: LHP Marc Rzepczyski
Stats: 0.00 ERA, 11.2 IP, 10 K, 4 BB, 0.86 WHIP, .150 AVG, 13 games
Notes: This marked only the third time since at least 1916 that an Indians pitcher enjoyed a single-month with an opponents’ batting average of .150 or better and no earned runs allowed in at least 13 games (no starts). The others: Matt Miller in August 2004 and Paul Assenmacher in July 1997.
Previous 2013 winners: RHP Joe Smith (April), RHP Cody Allen (May), RHP Vinnie Pestano (June), RHP Chris Perez (July)
Game of the month (hitter): Ryan Raburn, Aug. 1, during 6-1 win over White Sox
Stat line: 3-for-4 with 2 HR, 2 R, 4 RBI, 9 TB
Notes: Raburn turned in his second two-homer, three-hit, four-RBI game of the season, making him the first player to have two such games in one year for the Indians since 2011 (Asdrubal Cabrera). Raburn became the first Tribe outfielder to have two such games in one season since 1999 (Manny Ramirez).
Game of the month (pitcher): Jimenez, Aug. 29, during 3-1 loss at Braves
Stat line: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
Notes: For the first time in his career, Jimenez finished a start with 10-plus strikeouts and no walks. Unfortunately, one ill-time mistake cost him in the form of a three-run homer to Atlanta’s Brian McCann. Jimenez became first Indians pitcher since 1976 to go 0-2 in back-to-back 10-plus strikeout games.
The monthly Minor League awards for August/September, along with my picks for the top players and pitchers of the year, will be posted following the completion of the Minor League season.