Five MLB Playoff Teams Feature Former Indianapolis Indians
INDIANAPOLIS - With the 2020 MLB expanded-field playoffs beginning at 2 PM today, many former Indianapolis Indians across the league could make an impact on their respective teams. With limited off days and a three-game wild card series, former Tribe aces will be leading the pack in the American League, with position players making their mark in the National League.
Tampa Bay Rays
Player(s): RHP Tyler Glasnow (2015-17), RHP Charlie Morton (2009-10, 2012-13, 2015)
Glasnow, 27, went 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 2020, a step back from the numbers he put up last season. In making one less start (11) than in his injury-shortened 2019 (12), his rising strikeout numbers offset his rising ERA. With 91 punchouts, Glasnow led the Rays by a wide margin and finished fourth in the American League. If Glasnow's 2019 was any indication, however, there's more in store when he finally returns to a full, uninterrupted season. He pitched in Indianapolis for part of three seasons from 2015-17 and went 19-6 with a 1.95 ERA and 321 strikeouts in 43 starts.
Morton, 36, was Tampa Bay's Wild Card Game starter in 2019 and is slated to pitch in winner-take-all Game 3 (if necessary) of the AL Wild Card Series vs. the Blue Jays on Thursday. The right-hander, who was a two-time All-Star in 2018-19, saw his numbers rise from previous seasons. His 4.74 ERA was the highest since his 2015 campaign with Pittsburgh, and his 1.39 WHIP was at its highest point since 2012 (1.45). Morton has an abundance of playoff experience, with the 2020 campaign marking his fourth straight and fifth trip to the postseason overall. With the Tribe, Morton went 5-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 22 starts over five years.
Players(s): LHP Oliver Perez (2005-06), OF Jordan Luplow (2017-18)
Perez, 39, only pitched 18.0 innings for Cleveland in 2020 but was one of the big-league Tribe's most effective relievers. He appeared in 21 games and went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts. Perez is a seasoned major leaguer, 2020 marking his 18th season in the big leagues. As a starter, he appeared in nine games for Indianapolis from 2005-06.
Luplow, 27, was an impactful bat in the Cleveland lineup in 2019, but his numbers have not transferred this season. He batted .192 through 29 games with just eight extra-base hits and as many RBI. However, the lefty-mashing corner outfielder did sport a .270 average against southpaws as opposed to a .122 average against right-handers. He first showed off his offensive potential with Indy in 2017, batting .325 in 44 games. He returned in 2018 and was a doubles machine, nabbing 25 two-baggers and a .287 average.
New York Yankees
Player(s): RHP Gerrit Cole (2012-14, 2016), LHP Tyler Lyons (2019), C Erik Kratz (2009-10)
Cole, 30, followed up his Cy Young runner-up 2019 campaign with another stellar season, this time in a Yankee uniform. In 12 starts, Cole went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 94 strikeouts to rank among American League leaders. His 2020 ERA was slightly higher than his career mark with the Tribe, where he made 19 starts with a 2.59 ERA over parts of four seasons.
Lyons, 32, has only appeared in one game all season for the Yankees. He tossed 1.2 innings on Sept. 23 at the Blue Jays' 2020 home in Buffalo, N.Y. and surrendered four runs on three hits. Lyons spent most of the 2019 season in Indianapolis and made 35 relief appearances with a 3.35 ERA.
Kratz, 40, stood out with his offense in 16 games with the Yankees. He hit .321 in a small sample size and could be a good bat off the bench in a tight spot. He was with Indianapolis from 2009-10 and had similar seasons in both of those years, batting .273 in 2009 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI and .274 in 2010 with nine home runs and 41 RBI.
AL teams with no former Indianapolis Indians players: No. 2 Oakland Athletics, No. 3 Minnesota Twins, No. 6 Houston Astros, No. 7 Chicago White Sox, No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays.
Player(s): OF Corey Dickerson (2019), OF Starling Marte (2012, 2014, 2017)
Dickerson, 31, battled injuries in 2019 but has become an everyday player for the Marlins this season. He batted .258, his lowest major league clip since batting .245 in 2016 with Tampa Bay. Dickerson appeared in nine games with the Tribe in 2019 on a major league rehab assignment.
Marte, 31, played in 61 games during this 60-game season split between Arizona and Miami, making him the first player to play more games in a season than the amount of total games since 1996. He hit .311 in 33 games with Arizona and .245 with the Marlins, aiding in their postseason efforts. Marte was a fan favorite in the Circle City when he made his Triple-A debut in 2012 and appeared with the Tribe for two more short stints throughout his career.
Player(s): Josh Lindblom (2017)
Lindblom, 33, is back in the majors after spending two full seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2018-19. Overseas, he won the Choi Dong-won Award - given to the league's best pitcher - both seasons, and the Indiana native became the fifth foreign player to win MVP in the KBO last year after going 20-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 30 starts. This year, he appeared in 12 games for Milwaukee (10 starts) with a 2-4 record, 5.16 ERA and 52 strikeouts. The veteran hurler played in Indianapolis in 2017 during his lone year with the Pirates and collected a 4.06 ERA in 17 games (four starts).
NL teams with no former Indianapolis Indians players: No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers, No. 2 Atlanta Braves, No. 3 Chicago Cubs, No. 4 San Diego Padres, No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals, No. 7 Cincinnati Reds.
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