On a date marked the 1st of the month, the Cleveland Indians came into May with 18 wins, a franchise record for the month of April. What would May bring? Another victory, yes! Now they have 19!
Before the beginning of the 2011 season, #11 Manny Acta was joking but also somewhat serious when he contemplated how the Cleveland Indians were going to win 100 games. On day 1, #19 was honored and it was announced that a patch for Bob Feller was going to be worn on their sleeve.
Also the team promotes all the wonderful events of its 110 year history by saying “what if?” Things are happening for a reason and I say this by faith. The Indians organization led by #11 in 2011 have won 19 and are inspired by #19 on the day marked 01 on the calendar. The organization was established in 1901.
On this date, if Bob Feller was still alive on Earth, having served in World War 2, he would approve of the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. This was announced to the crowd in Philadelphia in the 9th inning with the score tied 1-1.(9-11) Eventually the Mets would win. This allowed the Cleveland Indians to have the best record in Major League Baseball for at least the one day. What a blessing! Thank God! USA! USA!
It has been a wonderful moment for the USA, for New York and Cleveland also and for the world! Whatever happens from here, God only knows. However, we Cleveland Indians fans can be happy that for the moment we are #1 led by the memory of #19 and the wisdom of #11 and the memories of 1901, 2001 and May 1, 2011.
On a side note, I think it is also special that the offense has been helped so far by the reemergence of Travis Hafner #48 and the pitching has been helped by #54 Chris Perez. 1948 and 1954 are special years in Cleveland Indians history as you know. I just think it has been a very special year so far. Let’s see what happens next!
When the season prognosticators came out with their predictions, many picked the Royals and Indians, including myself, for fourth or last place in the American League Central. Yet, tonight, these two franchises are going to begin a four game series in a battle for first place.
Its like an episode of the Twilight Zone
The Twins, White Sox and Tigers are all saying it is early. The Royals and Indians will come down to Earth soon and then the season will be back to normal. For myself, I hope it stays like this all year long. This is some outstanding baseball to watch so far.
The Kansas City Royals have a team batting average of .275, 148 hits, and 82 runs scored in 15 games. The Royals are lead by Alex Gordon who has a .365 batting avg., 23 hits, 8 of which are doubles, and 11 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support for the Royals are Billy Butler, Jeff Francouer, Melky Cabrera, and Chris Getz.
For the Cleveland Indians, as a team, have a batting average of .265, 132 hits, and 79 runs scored in also in 15 games. The Indians are lead by Travis “Pronk” Hafner who has a .354 batting average, 17 hits, 4 of which are homeruns and 9 runs batted in. Others providing offensive support are Asdrubal Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera and Michael Brantley. Add the reemergence of Grady Sizemore and the promise of Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo and you have a powerful lineup. Still at this point in the season, I have to give the offensive edge to the Royals of Kansas City.
The Royals pitching staff has a 3.70 ERA, giving up 63 runs, 59 earned runs and 145 hits in 143.1 innings pitched. They are lead by Bruce Chen 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. The Royals bullpen has Joakim Soria who is 4/5 in save opportunities The Cleveland Indians pitching staff has a 3.16 ERA, giving up 50 runs, 48 earned runs and 107 hits in 136.2 innings pitched. They are lead by Justin Masterson 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA and Josh Tomlin 3-0 with a 2.75 ERA. The Indians also are consistent in the bullpen with the reemergence of Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and 5/5 in saves for Chris Perez. I think the advantage in pitching goes to the Cleveland Indians so far.
I do not know who will win this series. However, if the Indians pitching holds to form, I think the Indians will have the advantage. After all, the old saying is good pitching beats good hitting. Let us buckle up and see how this will help see who wants to be a factor in the AL Central in 2011. It should be fun and intense for the next 4 days. Hopefully the Indians can do well.
The Cleveland Indians have WON 7 IN A ROW! This is remarkable since the season start looked bleak after an 0-2 start. How have they done it so far?
1. Starters The starters have avoided the big inning. In the two losses to begin the 2011 season, the White Sox had a big inning scoring 8 in the 4th inning on Opening Day and 4 in the 2nd inning of Game 2. Since then the big inning has been nonexistant. The starters since Game 2 have allowed, in the 7 wins, 9 total runs. In the 2 losses, the starters have allowed 17 total runs.
2. Bullpen The bullpen has been very consistent. Coming out of Spring Training, the general consensus has been it was the strength of the team. So far, this has proven to be true. In the 7 wins, the bullpen came in with the lead and never allowed the opposition to tie the score. In the 2 losses the bullpen surrendered a total of 6 runs. In the 7 wins, a total of 5 runs have been surrendered. For a bullpen to be successful, it needs to have a lead to protect. In the two losses, the bullpen added to the chaos caused by the starters. In the seven wins, the lead was never surrendered.
3. Hitters Anytime a lineup is pressed to score a bunch of runs and come from behind, it makes it very hard to win. In the 2 losses, the Indians at one point found themselves behind 14-0 on Opening Day and 5-0 in Game 2. For the 7 wins, they were only behind in two of the games by the score of 1-0. Otherwise, they scored first and never surrendered the lead. 39 runs scored 13 runs scored in the two losses. They scored 12 in Friday’s win alone. Leading the way is Travis “Pronk” Hafner. He is not relying strictly on the long ball for his offensive production. He is 10-27 with 2 homeruns and had gotten a hit in every game he has played in this season and has a .370 batting average so far. Overall, the team has has a .285 batting average, 6th among all in Major League Baseball, 11 homeruns, tied for 6th in MLB, 86 hits, 6th in MLB and 49 runs batted in, 6th in MLB.
All in all, these consistencies have helped the Tribe to have a successful start to the 2011 campaign. Let us hope these trends can continue to improve as the season continues.
I remember some years back seeing a young Jake Peavy with the Padres on WGN against the Cubs. The exact totals of the game or details escape me. I do remember it was during the day, however. What I do remember was how much pinpoint control was used by Peavy. “This guy is very tough to hit”, I thought.
I heard about the matchup and was thinking it was going to be one of those 1-0 or 2-1 games. After all, with Fausto pitching so well in Spring Training and Peavy, showing me that he had that control every team wants in an ace, I was just hopeful that our effort offensively was not going to be as OFFENSIVE as it was on Opening Day.
I was watching MLB Network showing the rain falling in at U.S. Cellular Field and thinking the game might not be played. To help me get my baseball fix in just in case the game might not be played, I took my son to his first baseball practice of the season. It had to be cut short due to showers in the area. April had returned. I was getting too used to May-like weather.
Thinking the game might be rained out as I was watching the Bucs and Dodgers begin their game, I heard the Indians were going to play now that the rain stopped. As I was channel surfing, I saw that the Indians were down 3-0 early. I thought to myself “Are we ever going to score?” After all it was now the 3rd and it was not good to see us down by 3 when only 1 hit had been given up. With an ace like Peavy and the temperature allowing breathing to be seen, I thought these factors were going to lead to the demise of the team for the second straight game.
The highlight for me did not come from the offense even though it was nice to see key hits with men on base especially from Sizemore to help tie the score, Matt LaPorta’s double to help us take a 4-3 lead and Andy Marte getting a RBI with a hard shot to Mark Teahen at 3rd leading to a fielder’s choice.
Instead my focus was on our new closer, Chris Perez who we received for Mark DeRosa last year. One may ask “Why?” You see I have seen closers that blow stellar efforts from starting pitching. Tonight I was definitely not in the mood for a Jose “Messup” Mesa-like effort from anyone.
To see Chris not give in even after giving up a walk to the second batter faced in Mark Kotsay even though Andy Marte had to help him in the end with some fine play at first to end the game gave me great satisfaction and great confidence going into tonight’s game as Justin Masterson is due to start against Gavin Floyd and a chance to win series #1 of 2010. I can only hope! Thank God for this opportunity for the Tribe!