Elliot Johnson And The Play That Cost The Indians


Elliot Johnson Fails To Secure A Simple Fly Ball…..

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The Cleveland Indians finished the season with a 85-77 record and missed the postseason by a mere three games.

One of the most costly games of the season  was a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres in the second game of a twin bill on April 9th.

The loss could be placed on the dormant Indians bats who only mustered a single run against Friars hurler Robbie Erlin or we could fault the inability of Elliot Johnson,to secure a simple fly ball.

In the top of the first inning and with Evereth Cabrera at second base (we’ll ignore the fact that he reached on an Asdrubal Cabrera error) Chris Denorfia sent a fly ball toward the right field wall. Johnson got to the ball in plenty of time but was unable to secure the ball through the transfer allowing Cabrera  to move up to third.

The inability to  make the simple play cost the Indians a run as Seth Smith grounded out to score Cabrera from third. The mistake was magnified when Trevor Bauer came back to strike out Yonder Alonso and Chase Headley to end the inning. Without the miscue by Johnson the game and the Indians season may have ended differently.

Of course, the conclusion of what happened in the play above was about as ridiculous as the new MLB transfer rule adopted prior to the season. A rule that was so absurd that Commissioner Bud Selig issued an edict before the end of the month of April to revert to the old rule….for Elliot Johnson and the Indians the rule change came a few weeks too late.

Unfortunately for Johnson it was his inability to hold on to the ball as well as batting just .107 (2 for  19) that eventually cost him a spot on the 25-man roster after appearing in just seven games.

On May 2nd he started at second base against the Chicago White Sox lefty John Danks and besides going 0 for 4 with two strikeouts he made a pair of errors on easy double play balls. After the game he was designated for assignment eventually agreeing to report to the Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers.

He appeared in 87 games with the Clippers posting a triple slash line of .236/.326/.366 spanning 365 plate appearances. He played all over the diamond including 55 games in the outfield, two at first base, 13 at second base, three at shortstop, one at third base. On May 29th he even logged 2/3 of an inning on the mound against the Charlotte Knights allowing just one hit.

On Monday afternoon Johnson’s ties to the Cleveland Indians were formally severed as he elected free agency along with 43 other minor league players (MLBTradeRumors).