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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | July 19, 2019

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Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 27

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 27

| On 01, Mar 2019

Major League Baseball is now less than a month away from the start of the 2019 season, its earliest start ever (excluding international openers). All 30 teams will take the field on March 28 this year. Follow along with Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down the days until Opening Day 2019. – BT

Countdown to Opening Day – 27 days

Former Indians reliever Bryan Shaw’s number 27 was back on the diamond at Progressive Field in 2018, just over nine months after he took it off for the last time in Cleveland.

Shaw’s absence from the Indians bullpen was noticeable in 2018, even if he himself did not have a great first season with the Colorado Rockies after leaving the Tribe as a free agent two offseasons ago. Shaw joined the Rockies on a three-year, $27 million deal with a team option for the 2021 season, while the Indians failed to address his departure that offseason, instead bringing in low-risk options to try out as his replacement.

The void of his unfilled heavy workload took a toll on the entire pitching staff, with starters pitching deeper into games and the bullpen struggling as players tried to find new roles. The Indians eventually added a pair of relievers at the trade deadline, picking up Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the San Diego Padres, but those moves were made more with an eye to the future, when Cody Allen and Andrew Miller both would get their turn on the free agent market (they did, with the pair leaving for the Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively).

While the Indians opted not to fill Shaw’s role on the club, they did fill his number with top prospect Francisco Mejia, who used it on the field for just one game on July 14 (drawing two walks in four plate appearances) before being dealt at the end of the month for Hand and Cimber.

Josh Donaldson’s stint was both longer and more productive for the Tribe, but his time with Cleveland lasted just over a month. Acquired by the Indians from the Toronto Blue Jays at the waivers trade deadline on August 31 for a player to be named later (pitcher Julian Merryweather, sent on October 5), Donaldson was still working his way back to health after missing much of the season with injury. With just 36 games under his belt in his eighth big league season, Donaldson suited up for the Tribe for the first time on September 11. Three days later, he hit a solo homer (one of three that he hit with the Indians in the regular season), and by the end of the month, he was just starting to heat up, just in time for the postseason.

Shaw – Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Unfortunately for the Indians, the entire club came out flat in the playoffs, outscored 21-6 in a three-game American League Division Series sweep by the Houston Astros. Donaldson went 1-for-11 with a single, a walk, and four strikeouts. A free agent after the season, he signed a one-year, $23 million pact with the Atlanta Braves.

As for Shaw, he was a second round selection by the D’Backs in the 2008 draft. He appeared in nearly 100 games for Arizona between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, posting a 2-6 record with two saves, a 3.18 ERA, and a 1.39 WHIP, before he was sent east as part of a large package of players on the move that winter in a three-team trade between the Indians, Diamondbacks, and the Reds. The Indians acquired Shaw, Matt Albers, and Trevor Bauer from Arizona and outfielder Drew Stubbs from Cincinnati.

While Bauer seemed to get the bulk of the attention surrounding Cleveland’s return on the trade, Shaw would become an undervalued member of the roster for the next half decade. He pitched in 70 games in relief in 2013, logging 75 innings, posting a 3.24 ERA, and earning seven wins and 12 holds. The next season, he led all of baseball with 80 appearances, earning a 2.59 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP while saving two games and holding 24 more. He continued to be reliable in relief over each of the next three seasons, averaging a 3.26 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP with six saves and 74 holds in 207 1/3 innings over 228 games for the Tribe, not counting some extensive work in the playoffs over those last two years (14 games and 16 1/3 innings).

No pitcher had taken the mound more than Shaw from 2015 to 2017. In his 228 appearances in that time, he led the American League with 75 in 2016 and all of baseball with 79 in 2017. He was the bridge in Terry Francona’s bullpen between the starting rotation and closers Allen and Miller.

Shaw became a punching bag for a large contingent of fans, excluding his unofficial fan club in The Corner at Progressive Field. He could at times give up runs in bunches, bloating his ERA and causing some to look away from his more routine and better pitched outings. Last season, he allowed two runs or more in nine games, but few gave him credit for his 55 scoreless trips to the mound. The year before, he allowed two runs or more just five times (with three of those outings earning him a blown save and/or a loss). He made 61 scoreless appearances that year. He limited the damage of others overall, however, allowing just 28% of inherited base runners to score in his five seasons in Cleveland.

Other notable 27s in Tribe history (38 in total): Moe Berg (the first in 1931), Steve Gromek (1948-53), Herb Score (1955-59), Leon Wagner (1964-68), Dick Bosman (1973-75), Mel Hall (1984-88), Jaret Wright (1997-2002), Jack Cressend (2003-04), Lonnie Chisenhall (2011).

Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images

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Miss out on our other Countdown pieces? Check out more Indians history below.

Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 99
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 90 – Adam Cimber
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 88
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 77
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 76
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 75
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 73
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 72
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 71
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 70
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 69
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 68
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 67
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 66
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 65
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 64
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 63
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 62
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 61 – Dan Otero
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 60
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 59 – Carlos Carrasco
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 58 – Neil Ramirez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 57 – Shane Bieber
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 56 – Cody Anderson
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 55 – Roberto Perez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 54
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 53
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 52 – Mike Clevinger
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 51
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 50
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 49 – Tyler Olson
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 48
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 47 – Trevor Bauer
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 46 – Jon Edwards
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 45 – Adam Plutko
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 44 – Nick Goody
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 43
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 42
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 41 – Carlos Santana
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 40
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 39 – Oliver Perez
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 38 – Eric Haase
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 37
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 36
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 35 – Ben Taylor
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 34
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 33 – Brad Hand
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 32
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 31 – Danny Salazar
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 30 – Tyler Naquin
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 29
Countdown to Indians’ Opening Day – 28 – Corey Kluber

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