The Indians finally took a home series from the hated New York Yankees. That’s the first time in more than five years we’ve been able to say that. By taking two of three from the Yankees, the Indians kept pace with the Tigers and maintained their 1.5 game lead in the division. The Indians also completed a fairly impressive nine game stretch of baseball.
After being swept by the Giants in what could easily be described as some of the ugliest baseball we have ever seen. Seriously, they committed more errors in that three game series, 6, than they scored runs, 5. They somehow managed to lose a game 1-0 in which the lone run of the game was scored on a balk. After that three game series the Indians looked done. The fact that they could come back, win their next three series (all of which came against teams in playoff contention) and win 6 of their last 9 is impressive. It shows their mental fortitude and ability to put things behind them and press forward.
Taking two of three from the Yankees is even more impressive given what the Yankees did the Indians back in June. In that four game series, the Yankees took three of four and made them look silly. In all honesty, the Indians didn’t even look like they belonged on the same field as the Yankees and made many begin to question whether or not this team was as good as we had been led to believe. It was looking like the Tigers were in position to over take the Indians in the Central and our hopes and dreams of this teams were sinking fast.
During this recent nine game stretch they key for the Tribe has been the pitching. Between the starters going deep into games and the bullpen slamming the door in the late innings, the Indians have made it very difficult to score runs. With the exception of Fausto Carmona, none of the starters have struggled much. It’s this strength, I believe, that will help the Indians hold on in the Central. Right now, from top to bottom, the Indians have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Even with how anemic the offense has been given the breakout of injuries, the Indians are pretty much in every game. When it comes down to the late innings it give the Indians a distinct advantage over whoever they’re playing. That’s why it’s become that much more important that the Indians find a way to acquire a bat for the middle of the lineup.
They’re still struggling to score runs and drive home runners in scoring position. It’s been better of late and helped out a lot by the addition of Travis Hafner back into the lineup (thanks a lot interleague play) but it’s still not great. I outlined yesterday some of the best options for the Indians and I firmly believe any of them could help put them over the proverbial hump. Get it done Antonetti… get. it. done.
Another important note from last night’s game, Lonnie Chisenhall hit his first major league home run last night. Yes, he was only 1-4, but all it takes is one to get a player going. He’s off the schnide, so to speak. If, and this is a big if, Chisenhall can get hit bat going it would be huge. He was brought up to be that piece they’ve been missing in the bottom part of the order that can drive in runs and provide some pop. Hopefully last night can serve as the igniter for Chisenhall to be the player he’s been advertised as.
Finally, let’s all hope the Indians can keep the momentum going from their past three series. Over the next four days leading into the all-star break, the Indians are taking on the Blue Jays at home. Toronto is a decent team with some really good players, Jose Bautista anyone, but they can be had. There is no reason why the Indians can’t take three of four, or even get the four game sweep. They’ll have to if they want to go into the break in first. Detroit is in Kansas City for a four game set, meaning they could very well win their next four games leading into the break. If anything, the Tribe needs to keep pace.