CLEVELAND, Ohio – It’s been five days since the Indians were swept in the ALDS by Houston. It is still shocking that that one team beat another team so thoroughly on the postseason stage.
Jason Kipnis said the Indians were not only out-played, but out-scouted and out-coached to a certain degree. Mike Clevinger, who threw five good innings in Game 3, when asked what happened told reporters, “A lot of stuff. A lot of things. I’m going to keep it really short. We were a little bit, kind of had our backs against the wall before this started when it came to the analytical side. But everybody was out there giving it their all. They just had some really good arms to back it up.”
Scouting and analytics beat the Indians? That’s why they were outscored, 21-6?
*The Indians, who led the AL in stolen bases during the regular season, didn’t steal one base in the ALDS. The main reason being they had only 19 baserunners in three games, while the Astros had 50.
*In Game 3, an 11-3 loss, the Indians made three errors, threw two wild pitches, walked eight batters and committed a balk.
*Indians’ pitchers made four errors over 162 games in the regular season. They made three in Game 3 – one by Clevinger and two by Trevor Bauer. Bauer made both his errors in seventh inning when Houston scored twice to 3-2 lead on the way to a 11-3 romp.
*The Indians went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position for the series. The Astros went 11-for-30.
The Indians have been at the forefront of baseball’s analytical movement for years. They created their own computer system to scout and evaluate players. Executives John Hart, Dan O’Dowd, Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff and many more have worked hard over the years to blend analytics with traditional scouting in terms of using analysis and logic in evaluating players and building a roster.
For players to imply that they were beaten because Houston’s analytical brainiacs were smarter than the Indians’ brainiacs is an excuse. And a lame one at that.
What I saw in the ALDS was one team beat the other team up one side and down the other. How did analytics play a part in Bauer making two critical errors in Game 3? The day before Game 1, Justin Verlander told reporters he’d changed his pitching style since being traded to Astros in August of 2017. He said he started throwing harder, concentrating on his four-seam fastball. The next day he went out and threw 95 mph to 97 mph four-seam fastballs past the Indians for five plus innings.
That has nothing to do with analytics and everything to do with just getting flat-out beat. This Indians’ team had a stuck-in-neutral vibe all year. The transmission finally blew out in the ALDS.