Indians! Sizemore! Hafner! Pitching! WINNING!
Let’s get something straight, the Indians are good. Everyone keeps wanting to count this team out because of youth, lack of experience, and because everyone said they’d be bad. Well they aren’t bad. As long as they keep getting pitching like they’ve been getting, this team is going to compete. They haven’t given up more than four runs since the second game of the season… that was 13 games ago. 13! Seriously, two or three games would be a fluke, but 13 straight games tells me something, It tells me that the Indians pitching staff is incredible.
A quick look at the ERA’s of the pitching staff tells you everything you need to know. Mitch Talbot, Josh Tomlin, and Justin Masterson all have ERA’s under 3. Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco have ERA’s over five, but those are inflated due to giving up 15 runs and 8 runs, respectively, in their first starts of the season. The bullpen has been even more impressive, Chad Durbin and Frank Herrmann aside. The core of the bullpen, Sipp and the Perez boys, the three pitchers we’ll rely on to get us through the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings have a combined ERA of 0. Yes, you read that right. 0, zip, zilch, nada… Throw in Vinnie Pestano’s 1.80 ERA for good measure and that’s winning baseball.
In case you wanted more to be excited about, how about the fact that Grady Sizemore made his triumphant return yesterday and all he did was go 2 for 4 with a home run and a double. I was skeptical of the Indians for plugging Sizemore into the leadoff spot right away. I know it was only one game, but you can’t argue with the results. If Sizemore is going to keep doing what he did yesterday, then things just got a lot more interesting. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to think that he’s automatically going to be the player he was 3 or 4 years ago after major knee surgery, but everything else has been going right so far. Why can’t Sizemore be Sizemore again? Crazier things have happened.
Travis Hafner also continued his torrid start to the 2011 season on Sunday when he pulled out his 3 iron and sent a line drive over the fence in right center. The homer was Hafner’s team leading 4th home run of the year. With that, he raised his batting average to .354 and his OPS to 1.053. Talk about a resurgence. If he keeps this going it will continue to make everyone around him in the order better. It forces pitchers to pitch to the batters ahead of him in order to keep them off the bases. That means more fastballs, more strikes, and hopefully, more productivity, especially from Carlos Santana. Sanatana also homered on Sunday to help bust out of his 0 for the century slump.
All in all it was another successful weekend for the Indians. It was their third series sweep of the season, something they didn’t accomplish last year until July, and helped maintain their strangle hold on first in the central. For the time being I’m just going to enjoy the ride. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop and the Indians to fall back to the pack and then take their rightful place in the cellar.
Oh, and a quick pop quiz: what team currently has the best record in the American League? … … … Time’s up. The answer is the Indians.