Week one is in the books, and week two is on the horizon.
Well we can surely be honest and say that this is not how we envisioned week one to go for the Tribe. After taking two out of three from the Houston Astros, the Cleveland Indians made their season debut against the Detroit Tigers and lost all three games in blowout fashion. Adding insult to injury, literally, Michael Brantley is battling a bad back and Yan Gomes is out of action for 6-8 weeks with a MCL sprain. Let’s take a look at the results of week one with a stock watch before looking at the matches for week two.
Apr 11, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielderRajai Davis
(20) is forced out at home plate by Cleveland Indians catcherYan Gomes
(10) in the ninth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
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Starting pitching proves potential is palpable, but maybe not probable just yet.
After netting 27 strike outs by the starters and holding the Astros to only one run in three games, the worm turned and Cleveland looked hopeless at times against the Tigers, allowing 25 runs in 3 games. The Tribe will live and die by it’s starters this year and if they can get games like the ones from Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer had in Houston, all is good. Carrasco and Bauer walked away with wins, an ever elusive stat, while Kluber came out with 2 in the loss column. With a 2 start week projected for Carrasco, buy now while you can. Bauer will see one start against the White Sox, which much like the Astros last week, is a gamble. A double digit strikeout total could be in the works, but he could also see 4 homers out of the park. Zach McAllister will be skipped in the rotation, and after Sunday’s performance, TJ House could see his spot be wiped as well with Shawn Marcum pitching well in relief. It remains to be seen what Terry Francona does with the rest of his rotation, but you don’t want anybody after the Big Three.
Apr 10, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Michael Brantley (23) hits an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Injuries, injuries, injuries
The bug hit early this year, with Michael Brantley missing games due to back spasms and Yan Gomes spraining his MCL in a horrendous crash at home plate with Rajai Davis. Brantley is not expected to miss much time, but it is troubling that he sat out Saturday and Sunday after playing Friday. A DL stint is unlikely, but can’t be ruled out. After an off day Monday, the Indians play face off against 2 lefties in Jose Quintana and John Danks. It’s possible Brantley will sit Tuesday against the tougher opponent Quintana so be careful in DFS/daily leagues. Those in weekly leagues, consider sitting Brantley if you have other options and if David Murphy/Ryan Raburn are your options in your fantasy league, may God have mercy on your team.
Gomes will be out 6-8 weeks, and is already on the DL. If you have the DL spots available, and I always suggest you keep players stashed, Gomes should be back this year and will be a nice mid-season pick-me-up for your team. Looking for replacements for Gomes is harder than finding such for Brantley. Roberto Perez will get the majority of starts for the injured Gomes and could be very valuable to those in AL only or deeper leagues. As for those in mixed leagues, the catching position is shallow, and few options remain. Of those available in less than 50% of ESPN leagues, Wilson Ramos, Derek Norris, Alex Avila and Mike Zunino would all be good pickups until the Animal returns.
has been on a tear this season, hitting the ball to the opposite field with authority.
When you look at what Kipnis was able to do last year and compare it to 2013 when he broke out, you would see a completely different player. The long-talked-about oblique injury sapped his opposite-field power and made him into a pull hitter, and with his return to health, Kipnis is hitting to left field again. Nobody is going to be selling on Kipnis right now, so if you have him, hold onto him.
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
Jerry Sands was recalled on Friday from Triple-A Columbus and immediately put on a show Saturday, hitting two doubles and collecting four RBI on the day. He will undoubtedly see more time until Brantley’s back is fully healed and could push David Murphy and Ryan Raburn for spot starts against lefties. He is a non-entity for fantasy baseball purposes, however, as his play in the field leaves much to be desired, and regular at bats are far from secured.
Apr 6, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) throws out a runner at first base during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Week 2 Preview!
It’s a short week, with only 5 games on the docket. Cleveland will be playing at home against the White Sox on Tuesday and Wednesday before a day off on Thursday. They travel to Minnesota for a weekend series with the Twins. Those in weekly leagues should consider sitting some of your Indians if you have worthy replacements, but if you are in DFS or leagues that allow daily lineup changes, feel free to stream them. Facing two lefties in Quintana and Danks is not good for the lefty leaning lineup, and could see Brantley and or Brandon Moss on the bench. Kipnis seems immune to splits at the moment, but it would be a good day off for the slugging second baseman to have him sit against a lefty, so watch updates.
Parkfactors.com has Cleveland as a mostly neutral park that seems to be leaning pitcher friendly. The new renovations seem to open up a wind tunnel in center field that helps bat down fly balls. It will be years before any research is complete on that front, but after the opening series, that is what many players and writers have commented.
Minnesota has a very new stadium which means there isn’t much data for ParkFactors to work with. It has very medium deep fences and higher than normal walls to keep fly balls in the park, which is a good thing for Minnesota’s flyball pitchers.