Smoke Signals: Arizona’s Blocked Punt, Chisenhall and Kipnis’ Returns

Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – There exists a secret formula to winning in football, something in which you can do that will win you the game 90 percent of the time.

Block a punt.

There is a statistic that exists, at least within urban legend, that teams who block a punt win 90 percent of the time, and it makes sense. Blocking a punt has a direct relation to a team’s field position, their ability to score, and turnovers already affect the game’s outcome enough as it is.

You would think that the same thing would not exist within baseball, with such individualized opportunities to score and limited distribution of runs to opportunities.

As the Indians held a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth, the tone of the game seemed to change when Josh Tomlin hit opposing pitcher Shelby Miller while attempting to bunt. Despite a two-run lead, it was easy to feel that there was bad news to come.

Tomlin struck out the next two Diamondback hitters before a five-run barrage came with two-outs after Miller had offered himself up for an out that would have prevented it.

It turns out, Tomlin and the Indians suffered a similar fate to those who have hit their opposite number.

According to Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, there have been 402 games in which an opposing pitcher was hit by a pitch, 3 of which featured a pitcher on both sides being struck.

In the games in which only one team hit an opposing pitcher, that team ended up losing 260 times, or 65 percent of the time.

Comeback trail

As many were made aware, before Friday’s loss, Jason Kipnis took batting and fielding practice at Chase Field, as he returns from a strained shoulder.

Kipnis will begin his rehab assignment Sunday with the Double-A Akron Rubberducks, when he will DH. The all-star will then play second base on Monday in Akron before being re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Lonnie Chisenhall’s return began Friday with Triple-A Columbus, where he went 1-for-4 with an infield single as the designated hitter in a 7-2 loss at Louisville.

Chisenhall is expected to be in the outfield on Saturday for the Clippers and is still on schedule to be activated before Tuesday’s home opener.

The assumption would be that Abraham Almonte would be the first optioned to Columbus upon Chisenhall’s return, as Almonte was informed he would make the opening day upon Chisenhall’s injury.

When Kipnis comes back, the situation complicates itself.

Yandy Diaz is most likely to be sent down upon when Kipnis returns, mostly so he can continue to get regular at-bats and because he has options available.

If the team felt hard-pressed to keep Diaz on the roster after showing promise on offense and defense, they could release Austin Jackson. Don’t expect that to happen.

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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