Well, the Indians did it again. This time coming from two down to topple the Royals 7-5.
Justin Masterson pitched great, yet again. This is becoming a trend I’m beginning to enjoy. Masterson was highly regarded when the Indians acquired him from the Red Sox in the trade of Victor Martinez. After struggling mightily last season, Masterson has completely turned things around. After 4 starts this season, he looks like the front runner in the Cy Young Award race. This just goes to show what hard work and a constant desire to improve can accomplish. It also helps knowing that if you don’t perform an entire fan base of rabid lunatics is coming for your head… but I digress.
This spring Masterson talked about a new series of self check points he could use in order to make sure he keeps his delivery consistent. I have no idea what the hell those check points could possibly be, but whatever they are… they’re working. These check points really came in useful last night. Although Masterson has been nearly unhittable so far this year, he was erratic in the 1st inning. It took him 30 some pitches to get through the inning and in the process gave up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk. Two of those hits were given up on back to back singles by right handed hitters. Masterson had only given up 3 hits all year to righties. I was worried and I’m sure the rest of you were as well. Fortunately, Masterson went to the dugout and regrouped. From the second inning on he was a completely different pitcher. For the game Masterson threw 6 innings giving up only 2 runs on 6 hits. He walked 5 and struck out 3 while picking up his fourth win of the year.
While Masterson kept the Tribe in the game, the offense bided it’s time before finally striking for 4 runs in the top of the 6th. Matt LaPorta, who is starting to hit like the run producer we all hoped he would, doubled home Michael Brantley and then scored on a balk of all things. A few batters later Shin-Soo Choo doubled in Asdrubal Cabrera to make it 3-2. Two batters later Travis Hafner doubled to left scoring Choo from third. In two of the next three innings the Indians added a two RBI double by Jack Hannahan and a RBI single by Carlos Santana. It’s a good thing too. The usually reliable Tony Sipp finally had a rough outing and gave up three runs in the 9th. Chris Perez would come in and close things out for his 6th save of the season.
A few quick points from last night’s offensive explosion. First of all, Jack Hannahan is truly a conundrum. He’s left handed. Usually lefties struggle against left handed pitching. Not Hannahan. All he’s done is bat well over .400 versus left handed pitching, but is below the Mendoza line against righties. Figure that one out. Second, Michael Brantley is not letting this Grady Sizemore thing affect him at all. Last night he managed to get himself on base 3 times and scored 2 runs. He really looks like he’s found his groove. Lastly, as I mentioned, LaPorta is starting to drive in runs. Right now he’s batting just a shade under .260, but has driven in 10 runs. That’s the same amount as Travis Hafner. Even more encouraging is the fact that he doesn’t look utterly lost at the plate anymore and I’m beginning to have confidence in him. He goes to the plate looking like he knows he’s getting a hit and I feel like he’s going to get a hit. That wasn’t the case in the past. I’m not ready to declare that he’s completely figured it out until the power really shows up, but for now… it’s encouraging.
Last night’s win, the 13th over the span of 16 games, drives the Indians record to 13-5 and once again gives them a 2 game lead in the central over the aforementioned Royals. It’s an impressive run, but how many of you are buying into it. All I’ve done is go on and on about how I am all in on this team and how the rest of you should be too. But are you? I want to know. Why are you in on this team? Why are you still skeptic? Are you too busy listening to the national naysayers who keep telling us that this thing can’t last and eventually the cream will rise to the top of the division? Well, I have a question for you. What if the Indians and all of their $40 million payroll are the cream this year. Do you really want to miss out on any of this?
Are you in the Tribe?