Thursday, July 22

Twins avoid a sweep at the hands of the Indians. Really.

Are the Cleveland Indians the most dangerous team in the AL Central right now? Probably, but the best part of a 162 game season is that for a small stretch almost any team can put together a streak like we just saw the Indians put together. Starting 6-0 after the All-Star break for the first time ever is still impressive. The fact that I saw some of that baseball in person with friends makes it even better. Where would teams like the Indians be without streaks like this?

With Andy covering the Detroit sweep I'll just stick to the series against the Twins here. This was the Indians' first trip to not-the-baggy-dome Target Field. You know that things are working for the Tribe when the much maligned (by this blogger even) Trevor Crowe collects four hits. Luckily for the Indians, Scott Baker somehow pitched worse than Aaron Laffey, who did a decent job fooling the Twins for five innings with a fastball that topped out around 84 mph Jamie Moyer-style. Baker was tagged for six runs in 4.2 innings of work with five relievers following him accounting for another four runs. The Indians bullpen, on the other hand, has been solid for most of this post-break streak. Specifically Frank Herrmann (paging Mr. Herrmann) has been a pleasant surprise (which is what you say about any Indians reliever performing well). Of note is that the Indians racked up 20 hits with only Austin Kearns and his bum knee failing to register a hit in his two at bats before being replaced by Shelley Duncan, who did have two hits. Tribe (39-54) get the win 10-4.

Pretty much all of the Indians reporters in attendance raved about Target field. There is pretty much no excuse for a bad ballpark to be built in today's MLB. Sure, occasionally exuberance gets the best of people and things like Comerica Park and Yankee Stadium happen, but after Camden Yards this baseball park thing seems to be solved. I'm glad the Twins have a new stadium and that they're not hitting as many home runs anymore too.

The second game of the three-game series was a much closer affair. Justin Masterson pitched a solid 6.1 innings before being relived by Rafael Perez, who quickly allowed both of his inherited runners across, setting the Indians back to a tie ball game at 3-3 after having taken a 3-1 lead on Duncan's two-out two-run double.. Offensively the Indians put together enough good at-bats to score four runs with Travis Hafner's eighth inning double that scored Carlos Santana all the way from first (having a catcher that can run is nice) was the decisive run. This game also saw the return of Asdrubal Cabrera who was placed back in his familiar leadoff spot and did his best Michael Brantley impression by going 0-5. Tribe (40-54) win 4-3.

Thursday's day game against Francisco Liriano went as was to be expected. After going 6-0 after the All-Star break for the first time ever, the Indians couldn't score a run off of seven hits, leaving eight on base and going 0-6 with runners in scoring position. Unfortunately Jake Westbrook didn't help his trade value much by giving up four runs over 6.0 innings. Tribe (40-55) lose 6-0.

The Indians playing well is definitely easier to watch and way easier to write about. Hopefully this team doesn't fade in the second half and the return of Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo should help prevent that from happening. Next up is the Tampa Bay Rays, battling the Yankees and Red Sox for a playoff spot in the rough AL East.

Game 1: Jeff Niemann, RHP 8-2, 2.92 vs. Fausto Carmona, RHP 9-7, 3.65
Game 2: David Price, LHP 12-5, 2.84 vs. Mitch Talbot, RHP 8-8, 3.89 ERA
Game 3: Wade Davis, RHP 7-9, 4.41 ERA vs. Aaron Laffey, LHP 2-3, 4.62 ERA

- Wow the Rays have some good pitching.
- Mitch Talbot should be motivated, pitching for the first time against his old team.
- If Laffey and his "dead arm" pitch Sunday I will be surprised.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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