Some writers—no doubt emboldened by four no-hitters, two perfect games and one near-perfect game—have christened 2010 as the “year of the pitcher.” (Never mind that 1968 was really the “Year of the Pitcher,” with four no-hitters, one perfect game and a scoring environment nearly a run per game lower.)
The Indians witnessed perhaps the best-pitched game of 2010, when Armando Galarraga dispatched the Tribe with great haste. Had Jim Joyce gotten the call right, Galarraga would have completed a perfect game in just 83 pitches. Even if every Indians hitter had looked at three straight strikes, they would have spared Galarraga only two pitches of effort.
Tribe hurlers were rarely so commanding or efficient last season, but they had their moments. Here are the top nine pitching performances by Indians of 2010.
Not that Ramirez.
Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers have designated Max Ramirez for assignment.
As you may recall, Ramirez was once traded by Atlanta to Cleveland for Bob Wickman. At the time, it was considered quite a coup for the Tribe to obtain a 21-year-old catcher with an .857 OPS (albeit in Single-A) for a 37-year-old potbellied reliever who was missing part of the index finger on his right hand.
But just one year later the Tribe sent Ramirez, now 22 and sporting a .924 OPS in High-A, to the Rangers for the warmed-over remains of 40-year-old Kenny Lofton so that he could aid us down the stretch and retire an Indian.
Ramirez has never been much of a catcher—he wears a glove only when absolutely necessary—and he struggled to hit the past three seasons at Oklahoma City, where he posted a .700 OPS in 587 plate appearances. But he routinely got on base more than 40 percent of the time in the low minors, and in 2008 he hit .354/.450/.646 as a 23-year-old in AA for the first time.
Ramirez may never again hit as well as he did that season, and his weaknesses as a hitter might have been revealed once he began to face more advanced pitchers, but he had something special once.
And with the Indians in desperate need of right-handed power and loath to spend what it would take to bring back Manny, they would do well to sign this Ramirez to a minor league contract and see if the 26-year-old can get “it” back.
Most Indians fans would rather not remember last season. Our best player, Grady Sizemore, suffered another season-ending injury. Our top prospect, Carlos Santana, had his season shortened by a Ryan Kalish slide. Our best pitchers in seasons past, C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee, once again led their teams to the playoffs while the Indians skidded to another fourth-place finish.
All in all, 2010 was a year to forget.
But being a Cleveland fan often means taking pleasure in the trees, even when the forest is burning down around us. When Manny Ramirez hit his final home run as an Indian, I rejoiced even though the Mariners eliminated the Indians from the playoffs the very same day.
Here, then, are the top nine hitting performances by Indians in 2010.