Friday, August 22

No Superman does good, the Indians are doing well.

With this sweep of the Kansas City Monarchs the Indians have now won 10 of their last 13 and the uphill climb to .500 continues. I guess you should credit Wedge with continuing to keep this ballclub playing hard. Your players could have easily packed it in once August rolled around and mailed in the rest of the season while continuing to cash their checks. However, the Indians have played maybe their best baseball, at least offensively, over this recent stretch of games. You could try to make the argument that maybe Toronto, Baltimore, or KC aren't exactly the cream of the AL crop, especially given the series split with the Orioles. However a defeat of the Angels was impressive, and let me remind you when a team is in last place, like the Tribe was of late, any win is nice and any streak of wins is amazing. Sure the Indians have been playing below expectations all year, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the Indians winning these meaningless games. Look: the alternative is to spend a week arguing if Derek Anderson is mentally tough, and nobody wants that.

Game one of this three-game series saw flat-brimmed Anthony Reyes take the mound for the Tribe. Reyes doesn't have what could be considered ace material. He has, however, pitched consistently, and as a replacement for Byrd I think he'll do. Reyes had another fine outing, going five innings, six hits, and two runs. After Reyes came the bullpen parade of Donnelly, Perez, Betancourt, and Kobayashi. All of them pitched one inning with Donnelly and Kobayashi surrendering a run each. Offensively the Indians exploded for nine runs. Actually, nine runs was the median for this series by the Tribe. Scoring eight usually takes a lot of peope contributing and this game was no exception. Grady had three RBI and Choo and Garko had solo homeruns. Every Indian had at least one hit. And for once and the only time this series the Tribe had fewer men left on base than their opponent, with nine to the Royals' ten. Getting back to the pitching: why was Reyes pulled after five innings and 84 pitches? While no one is going to consider that he was cruising I think our bullpen has been used enough this year to ask Reyes to go out their for the sixth. Personally I would be more worried about Kobayashi going out there than Reyes, but what do I know. Tribe win 9-4.

Wednesday's match saw the newest Tribe rotation addition, Zach Jackson, pitching against the ace of the Royals staff, Gil Meche. Jackson's first start wasn't impressive but it also wasn't disastrous. Jackson's second start was similar. Jackson did, however, manage to go seven innings while giving up five runs, four earned. Not great considering the Royals aren't exactly an offensive juggernaut - actually they're 26th in MLB in runs scored. When Jackson was pulled the Tribe was looking at a 3-5 defeat. Rincon was called upon to pitch the eighth and did so without surrendering a walk or hit. In the bottom of the eighth the Indians bats came alive to the tune of five runs. With the score sitting at 8-5 in the ninth, Lewis came in and recorded his fourth save. Offensively, Kelly Shoppach broke out of his recent slump with a two home run game, Peralta also hit his 20th of the year, and not to be outdone, Gutierrez hit a three-run homer in the eighth to seal the game.

Thursday's game pitted Cliff Lee, going for his 18th win, against Zack Greinke, looking for his 9th loss. This may seem repetitive but Cliff pitched well going seven and giving up two runs. Of course the defense helped Mr. Lee out with five double plays, which isn't anything to scoff at. Betancourt and Donnelly came in to finish off the Royals in pitching scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth respectively. Offensively Grady Sizemore had seven RBI - SEVEN! While Grady isn't usually going to put up huge RBI numbers leading off he got some help from Cabrera and Carroll scoring each every time they were on base. Grady going four for five with seven RBI was enough for Cliff Lee I'm sure, but Choo chipped in another of his bent knee homeruns along with another four-bagger from Peralta. Tribe get the sweep and win 10-3.

It would be nice to see this kind of offensive production continue for a while. Choo's two homeruns were encouraging and it was nice to see Shoppach bust out of his slump. Peralta continues to hit the ball hard and I suspect he'll hold down the cleanup spot in the lineup for the rest of the season. Betancourt has pitched a few good innings, as has Rincon. I'm not saying they're both good, just they haven't made me curse their name in a while.

The Tribe head out on the road for a six-game trip to Texas and Detroit. Neither team is above .500, with Detroit 11.5 games back of the White Sox and Texas 15.0 back of the Angels. Amazingly, Texas is in second place in the AL West that far back. While the Indians haven't exactly impressed anyone on the road this year, making up the 2.5 games between them and Detroit would be really nice. Hey, at least it is an achievable goal.

Game 1: Fausto Carmona, RHP (5-5, 4.71) vs. Matt Harrison, LHP (5-2, 5.77)
Game 2: Jeremy Sowers, LHP (2-6, 5.46) vs. Brandon McCarthy, RHP (0-0, -.--)
Game 3: Anthony Reyes, RHP (4-2, 3.66) vs. Vicente Padilla, RHP (12-7, 4.96)

These three pitchers have the ability to win these games. But solid outings by Carmona and Reyes would be nice and a win by Sowers, number three baby, would make my weekend.

In the game I'll be attending Sunday:

Houston Astros vs. New York Mets
Randy Wolf, LHP (8-11, 4.81) vs. Oliver Perez, LHP (9-7, 3.93)

While not the pitching matchup of Oswalt and Santana of tonight's game I at least expect good weather.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

1 comment:

Andy said...

9 was also the mean runs scored for the Indians, and in a 3-way tie for the mode runs scored.

Game 2 was strange; the Tribe got 3 runs off of 2 hits from Meche before he set down like 17 in a row. The Indians torching Soria was the big story there - Gutierrez's HR was a big time hit.

Finishing .500 and passing the Tigers are really the Tribe's main objectives at this point.

I'm jealous you're going to Shea - I never made it there when I was in NY, even though I hear it's a bit of a hole. And playing Houston as well - you tell those sons of bitches that no Met will EVER play in Houston!