Eight wins in a row… unbelievable.
This has gone from surprising to astounding. Eight straight wins and a two game lead in the Central. If I had told you this is where the Indians would be after 10 games, a lot of you probably would have told me I was high. Hell, even I wouldn’t have believed me. A record of 8-2? Amazing.
Tonight was the same basic formula the Indians have been using throughout this winning streak; pitching, defense, and timely hitting. Just like they did against Seattle, the Indians were able to get out to a quick lead thanks to the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera. He has 3 homers in his last 4 games, all of which came in the top of the first. He was named co-AL player of the week earlier in the day and at this pace, he might be looking for a second straight week. Between his solid hitting and his defense up the middle with Orlando Cabrera, Asdrubal has done it all.
Tonight he wasn’t alone in the home run parade. Matt LaPorta, who many had serious questions about, homered in the top of the second with two men on to give the Indians a 4-0 lead. The home run should be a good sign for everyone. LaPorta took the fast ball to right field and used his power to send it over the wall. It shows that he’s staying on the ball and really putting a charge behind it. Let’s see if he can build on it and string together a couple of solid hitting performances in the next two games.
Despite the work done by Cabrera and LaPorta at the dish, the story of the game was the pitching of Mitch Talbot. After a shaky first start against the Red Sox in Cleveland, all Talbot did was take the mound tonight and deliver 8 solid innings. His final stat line…8 innings pitched, 5 hits, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. He came out to the mound in the ninth to attempt the complete game shut out, but after a lead off double by Bobby Abreu on an excellent inside pitch, Manny Acta sent him to the showers in favor of Vinnie Pestano. Pestano faced three batters and retired all three. Ball game.
Talbot was incredible. He had full command of both his pitches and the strike zone. The Angels had absolutely no answer for him. They continually beat balls into the ground and made things simple for the Tribe. They never really threatened or put any sort of pressure on Talbot and it goes to show. In 8 plus innings of work he only threw 112 pitches. The man had it working tonight. It’s also the 8th solid pitching performance in a row by Tribe starters which has been key in continuing this streak. If they keep this up, watch out… we might have something special on our hands.
Meanwhile, Shin-Soo Choo continues to struggle. He went 0-3 again tonight and left 4 men on base. For the season he’s only batting .184. I wouldn’t say I’m concerned yet, though. Choo is a great hitter and will figure things out eventually. It just makes you wonder how many more runs they’d be able to score if their best player wasn’t currently hitting below the Mendoza line.
And let’s hear it for ESPN. The worldwide leader does an excellent job of bursting everyone’s bubble. On Baseball Tonight they ran the Indians highlights first. They talked about their hot start and how they’ve accomplished it. They also praised the Super Cabrera Bros. for their play, specifically Asdrubal’s pop, Orlando’s leadership, and their combined defense. I was excited, but ESPN couldn’t stop there. They then moved on to the Indians veterans and began discussing who would be traded come the trade deadline, and who would be the best value to a possible suitor… Really? Ten games into a new season in which the team is 8-2 and on an 8 game winning streak and ESPN feels it necessary to explore trades for the trade deadline.
I’m speechless. They’re probably panicking and need to find ways to derail the Indians so they can continue to be the unofficial second channel for both the Yankees and Red Sox. With the Indians being good they might be forced to televise one of their games over one of the big two… and we can’t be having that. I guess that’s what you get though when your owner is a cheap skate and has a history of selling off the team at the deadline. Ladies and Gentlemen, THE LARRY DOLAN ERA!!! Seriously… go to hell, ESPN. I hate you sometimes… I really do.
The Indians look to run their winning streak to 9 tomorrow as they once again take on the Angels… Stay Tuned for more.