Indians finding convergence with Michael Brantley up in lineup

Tribe posting big innings, more often since May 11

Alex Hooper
May 22, 2018 - 11:34 pm
May 22, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (11) celebrates his three run home run with right fielder Melky Cabrera (53) during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

© Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Convergence theory in psychology proposes that people tend to get caught up in and emulate the behavior of a crowd.

In baseball, the theory is demonstrated through the proverbial ‘moving the line,’ that Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona often refers to. One batter can only do so much in one at-bat, and an offense can largely depend on multiple hits in succession.

Maybe less so when you are the most home run dependent team in baseball, which the Indians are, as well as the team with the third-most home runs in the league.

That is beside the point.

A successful lineup construction yields a high level of convergence, which largely yields big innings. The Indians again posted three big innings in their 10-1 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, four runs in the 3rd, and three more in both the 4th and 5th.

The 3rd inning was Cleveland’s tenth 4-run inning in 46 games in 2018, while the next two were their eleventh and twelfth 3-run frames. For comparison, the Major League leading Boston Red Sox have eight 4-run innings, and 13 3-run innings.

Unsurprisingly, 11 of those innings of three-or-more runs have come in the 11 days since Michael Brantley was moved into the 2nd spot in the lineup. The Indians are just 5-5 in that span, but it has rarely been at fault of the offense.

The team’s new top-three in their lineup, Francisco Lindor, Brantley and Jose Ramirez; are all .300 hitters (OK, Ramirez is at .297, but he hit a three-run homer on Tuesday, so we’ll give him the bump for now).

The trio set things up perfectly in the 3rd, Lindor walking and Brantley singling prior to Ramirez’s home run off of Tyler Chatwood. Lindor, Brantley and Ramirez finished the night 5-for-12 with 5 walks.

The rest of the lineup walked five more times in the game, six of the night’s 10 walks coming off of Chatwood.

“I thought we did a good job,” Francona said. “We took advantage of, Chatwood was having trouble with command, but we took advantage of it. We didn’t chase, and we made him come in the zone, then Jose with a big hit to get us on the board, then we stayed after him, which was good.”