Yo ho… Yo ho… A pirate’s life for me…
Thank you, baseball gods for giving us the Pittsburgh Pirates. Yes, I realize the Pirates are having a good, if not great year by their standards, but the truth of the matter is that the Pirates are still the Pirates. As one would expect, the Indians beat up on the Bucs and restored a bit of confidence in themselves along the way. By the time the weekend ended, the Indians had swept the Pirates and climbed back into first place. Order appears to be restored, at least for the time being. Things will get a bit harder this week as the Indians welcome Colorado to Progressive Field.
Speaking of welcomes, welcome back Travis Hafner. Pronk returned to the Indians lineup Friday night and his presence paid immediate dividends. Granted, Hafner was only 2 for 7 with 1 RBI in the two games he played, but he provides so much more that can’t be measured in terms of numbers. Hafner provides a legitimate bat in the clean up spot. It allows Acta to move Carlos Santana into a much more comfortable position in the lineup. Notice the two games Hafner played Santana went off. His presence takes pressure off of everyone else. Having him back might be the biggest acquisition they’ve made thus far.
Major kudos also has to go out to Carlos Carrasco. He pitched another lights out performance on Saturday night. Since coming back from the disabled list, Carrasco has been the most consistent pitcher for the Indians. In fact, he’s been damn near unhittable. Saturday he managed to take an actual no-hitter into the sixth inning. He’s finally pitching like the #1 starter he was billed as when the Indians acquired him.
The negative of the weekend was the injury to Matt LaPorta. Just as the Indians start getting healthy another body falls victim to the injury bug. Of course what fun would it be for Matt LaPorta to get hurt if it didn’t show off his awesomely bad baseball intelligence. On a ball hit in front of him, LaPorta tried to advance to third. As is the case when things like that happen, the shortstop and third basemen got him into a run down. The fleet of foot LaPorta than turned, planted, and blew up his ankle… disabled list. Now, while many are arguing we won’t be missing much because LaPorta is only hitting in the .240’s, .240 is still better than the .220 Lou Marson is hitting. Things keep looking up. It looks like Sanatana will be playing first for the time being while Marson assumes the catching duties. Great.
Last, but certainly not least… Cord Phelps! After looking somewhat lost at the plate in his first week in the majors, Phelps finally came through Sunday. Phelps went 2 for 5 Sunday and began defining his place in Indians lore when he sent a pitch over the right field wall in the bottom of the 11th to win the game for the Tribe. The three run shot was Phelps first career home run. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ll admit, I’ve been skeptical of the move given how poorly Phelps has been performing, but if this is the moment that allows him to settle down and become a productive member of this team, then sign me up. It was a great moment for Phelps and a great moment for the Indians.
Like I said, thanks to their sweep of the Pirates the Indians now find themselves back in first place by a full game over the Tigers. They’ll need to keep their winning ways going. The Tigers are still lurking and showing no signs of going away, the White Sox have been playing better ball of late, and the Twins have quietly turned into the hottest team in baseball and look poised to make their run for the AL Central crown once again. Stay tuned, folks… this is about to get interesting.