Indians Beat Up on Rangers; Strengthen Hold on First

Jason Kipnis is on a tear right now and a big reason why the Indians are in first place.

It’s May 7th and the Indians are in first place by themselves in the AL Central.  I don’t want to get too excited given what happened last season and the fact that there are still a ton of games left to play but you know what… SUCK ON THAT DETROIT!  How’s that Prince Fielder thing working out for you?

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to business.  The Indians are on a roll right now.  They’ve won three straight series over the Angels, White Sox and, most impressively, the Rangers, who might very well be the best team in baseball.  The early season success has been great, but to come out and take two of three from the Rangers shows this team might just be for real.

With the way the year started out against the Blue Jays and White Sox, this has to be a sigh of relief for a fan base that was worried before the season even got going.  It just goes to show that you can’t necessarily judge a book by its

Even Johnny Damon, #33, has had a positive impact in his first week on the team.

cover.  The craziest part of the 2012 Indians thus far has to be the fact that despite how well they’re playing, they still haven’t really gotten things going.  Allow me to explain.

Yes, the Indians are 15-11 and 1.5 games up on the Tigers, but they’ve done it mostly without significant contributions from the following:

  • Ubaldo Jimenez (He’s had two solid starts, but for the most part he’s been a train wreck)
  • Justin Masterson (Had a great Opening Day start and then struggled mightily after.  He got his first win last week)
  • Shin-Soo Choo (Batting .215 with 1 home run, missed a week already with a tight hamstring)
  • Carlos Santana (Drawing walks at a Ruthian rate, but is only batting .236 and leads team in strikeouts)
  • Michael Brantley (Struggled in the leadoff spot, just now showing signs of life)
  • Casey Kotchman (Only Batting .163, been great with the glove though)

That’s a significant chunk of the team that has yet to really find its groove; a significant chunk of the team that was expected to make an enormous contribution to this team’s overall success.  So, the fact that this team has played as well as it has to this point given the performance of those players is remarkable.  If, and ultimately when, those players get it going the Indians will really get on a roll.

That is a testament to how well the rest of this team has played.  Jason Kipnis (.300/.377/.540) and Asdrubal Cabrera (.333/.411/.548) are on an absolute tear right now at the plate and the rest of the starting staff has been lights out.  Seriously, Derek Lowe, Jeanmar Gomez, and Josh Tomlin have been ridiculously good so far.  Combine that with the Bullpen Mafia doing what the Bullpen Mafia does and it’s no wonder why this team is succeeding right now.  Again, get the studs going and the sky’s the limit for where this team can go in 2012.

I know last year this got thrown around a lot last year, especially early on, but what if… what if this is the team we’ve all been waiting for?  This team certainly appears to have the talent to do something really special this year.  It’s all just a matter of realizing that talent and piecing it all together.

So far… so good.

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