Sunday, April 10

Winning with a small sample size

Let me start by stating the obvious: when your baseball team is winning, it makes the season a lot more fun. Eight games into the season, we have a hint as to how this team can perform and boy is it nice to have a winning record. As Terry Pluto points out in his Talkin’ article today:

The Indians were 4-2 heading into Friday's game at Seattle, which they won. It was the first time since Sept. 22, 2008, that they were two games over .500. Think about that: more than two years to be just two games over .500 at any point in the season! And at 5-2 heading into Saturday night's game, you can feel the impact as people once again are talking Tribe.

So yeah, it has been a while since the Indians had a winning record. I could point out how it is way easier to have a winning record early in a season but the Tribe haven’t had a winning record this early in the previous two seasons either so basically I’ll take whatever I can get.

One thing that team president Mark Shapiro pointed out on twitter is that it is nice to see the Indians win in different ways; game-ending squeeze bunt: check, huge offensive blowout: check, dominant starting pitching: check, bullpen: check. This is often called finding a way to win and I’m not that good of a writer to not use this same cliché.

Biggest surprises

I hate to jump on this bandwagon but Travis Hafner being effective is probably my biggest surprise. Even if he breaks down later in the season some production now is better than what we’ve gotten the last three seasons. The other big surprise is the starting pitching being so good after the first two games went so badly.

Hope for the future

Justin Masterson is for real and maybe this rotation isn't so bad. That, combined with an offense capable of 10-run innings, hopefully points to the Indians' performance so far not being a complete aberration. While many people likely want to point to Grady Sizemore’s return as another piece of good news, I’m not so sure we can expect Grady to really contribute the way we remember he did before the last two missed seasons. I do however like an outfield with Shin Soo-Choo, Michael Brantley, and Grady Sizemore more than one with Austin Kearns or Travis Buck. And lastly, Manny Acta has done everything right this young season.

The upcoming series with the Angels will give another measure of this team’s ability. The Angels enter Sunday at 4-4 but already sit three games back of the Texas Rangers. That series is followed by a homestand against the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles.

Go Tribe!

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

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