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The Cleveland Indians Make Monday Interesting

It’s Monday. I spent all day trying to find/buy a new phone after my most recent one found the bottom of a toilet over the weekend — again. No dice yet.

There were no NBA or NHL playoffs games on today. In fact, the schedule for the Heat-Bulls series is simply ridiculous. Unfortunately, we have all been forced to become accustomed to that stalling layout with the NBA.

There’s only so much to say about issues in the news that I don’t think people want to talk about any longer. Namely, the NFL’s now not-temporary lockout and the Posada-Jeter-Yankees overreaction.

I thought there wouldn’t be anything of much interest to write about tonight.

Then the Cleveland Indians stepped into the batter’s box.

Nineteen runs in a game by one team is a fairly rare event; it’s happened only three times since September 2009. But this isn’t so much about what the Indians did through nine innings as what they did through five.

Cleveland pretty much called off the dogs, scoring just twice in the final four innings. But in those first five — holy mother! The Indians scored 17 runs during their first five times up. Most of the damage was done by a 10-run fourth inning that featured nine runs scored with two outs on six consecutive hits. Vin Mazzaro’s ERA has become horribly disfigured until the end of time.

And, as is always the case in such blowouts, there are a few neat statistics to dole out. Well, they are neat to me.

The Chicago Cubs were the previous team to score at least 17 in the first five innings of a game. They did so against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 14, 2009. The Cubs didn’t score past the fourth in that one. They had scored so much, their sticks stopped working. Let me tell you, that’s always a tough personal time to go through.

When Cleveland annihilates an opponent, they seem to do it in a hurry. The last four games in which the Indians scored at least 19 runs, including tonight, they pushed 15 across by the end of the fifth inning. Coincidentally, the previous three times came against the New York Yankees, including a game from April 18, 2009 that I have seemingly forgotten. The Indians, trailing 2-0, put up a measly 14 spot in the second inning. They won, 22-4.

I must have subconsciously washed it from my memory. I still remember that 22-0 evisceration at Yankee Stadium like it took place an hour ago.

The 17 runs were the most allowed by the Royals in the first five innings since giving up 19 to the A’s almost 11 years ago. That game included a 10-run third.

The Royals were beaten by this same score the last time they gave up 19 runs. Not surprisingly. it didn’t happen too long ago. Zack Greinke got lit up. The Royals have allowed more runs in a game just three times in their 43-season history. The Royals haven’t been on the good side of such a night since 2004.

And here’s one final group of numbers: This win made the Indians’ record 25-13. They are 4.5 games clear in the American League Central, they are up by 2.5 games over the Rays for the best record in the AL, and they are up by one game over the Phillies for the best record in all of baseball.

We are finished with the first quarter of the season. I don’t think anyone can continue to call them just an early season fluke.

5/17 UPDATE: Damn, I was so focused on overall team numbers, I overlooked what Mazzaro’s personal disaster meant to baseball history. But of course Joe Posnanski has got those answers. And they make me giddy. Just skip to the final five or six paragraphs to get to the good stuff.

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