As an Indians' fan you would have a hard time being happier right now. 25-20, coming off taking 3 of 4 (and 3 in a row after a tough loss in the first game of the series) on the road against the White Sox and going 4-3 on their road trip through TWO first place Sox-wearing teams. Here are some things to think about as we fire up the grills this weekend.
1. A little factoid - Last year if Corey Kluber had gone 16-9 instead of 9-16 the Indians would have made the playoffs. Now I know that is a big if but Kluber has hit his stride. Will it be like 2014 where that continues or like 2015 where he is great one day and mediocre to terrible the next.
2. The Indians are starting to get production up and down the order. That being said, 6 of the 9 guys had hits yesterday. Guess who the 3 were that weren't? Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd and Juan Uribe. It really hurts that Giovanny Urshela got hurt and that Bradley Zimmer is scuffling and, although it isn't a big thing to me when the guy is batting 9th, that Tyler Naquin gave the Indians the opportunity to send him out by not drawing a few more walks. Imagine what the Indians would be like now if Byrd, Davis and Uribe were all hitting .260. Only .260, mind you. While other guys have known chinks in their armor that we hoped they would fix (see Yan Gomes, for example), our veteran free agent signees just flat out stink...which if undoubtedly why Cleveland got them, because other teams saw they were not going to be helpful to a contender, at least on the field.
3. And we are winning without Carlos Carrasco, due largely to Josh Tomlin stepping up big. I think Mike Clevinger needs more seasoning and his psyche was not helped by being left in his first start until he lost as 4 run lead in the 6th. Cody Anderson had a good game on Monday to start this streak. I hope he has found himself and becomes the solid #4 many of us thought he was a lead pipe cinch to be when this season started. If he has and Kluber becomes version 188.8.131.52 again, good things will happen.
Still, as we approach this holiday weekend, Mike Chernoff cannot be sitting on his hands. He has 3 unproductive veterans who either need to hit or get gone. The Indians waited too long with Swisher and Bourn and it hurt them big time over the last two years. We are right on the cusp of being a very good team, worthy of Sports Illustrated cover-like hype. We have to plug those holes, though and I hope we have the horses in the minors to do it...and soon.
Have a great weekend!