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.
Just so you know Indians brought up Rafael Perez and sent David Dellucci down today!
Welcome back Raffy left. Get the Yankees and everyone else OUT!
Today on my way home, I heard that Rafael Perez was sent to AAA Columbus. No surprise here! In his place was called up Matt Herges, formerly of Colorado and Florida San Fran, Montreal and LA Dodgers. Hint to Matt Herges: Note to Matt Herges. I liked your signing with the team. I want to love your signing with the team. Hint: Get hitters OUT!
I know! I know I’m a whiner! However, I would like to play a game called “what is different between the two pictures?”
I hate when these types of calls are what decide a team’s fate. Both were in Yankee Stadium, old or new. What is the need for instant replay, if this cannot be reviewed fairly? I saw the fan’s mitt enter into the field of play and interfere with Crowe’s glove today. I often wonder if this was Paul O’Neil in the top picture and Nick Swisher in the picture below if the call would have been called differently.When the umpire decides the momentum, it just gets UGLY! It was not an act of God with the midges. It was an umpire’s choice! To prevent a riot, the umpires did what they felt was the safe call. However, I saw a blownup version of the play and clearly saw the fan with the black hat and black mitt collide with Crowe. Now this does not excuse what the bullpen did to ruin Pavano’s excellent start. Perez, not able to get people out and Jensen Lewis giving up another homer to right field in relief just is not acceptable. What upset me further was Choo’s giving up on a ball down the left field line that landed fairly. It is games like this that I don’t want to hear cause us to lose out on playoffs in October. I hear often, a team cannot win a division in April, but they sure can lose one.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have to go home and win series, PERIOD! It was nice to earn a split in the Bronx but we had the chance to get 3 out of 4. However sloppy play, controversy and bad decisions led to this loss. Losses happen, yes! This one however needs some explanation which the umpires did not explain. Controversy looms!
I’m going to focus on the farm teams tomorrow and rejoin the Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday! Thanks for your feedback, readers. Your comments are appreciated and very much welcome.
I received a call today that I was sort of expecting that I was not exactly in the best of health. the test brought back the results I was expecting. Don’t worry readers, I will adjust my medications and diet and increase my exercise especially on this upcoming trip and be better in no time. However, to remain healthy will be a constant struggle and must be a refocus for me from now on. Luckily, I have the support and love and refound passion to make it happen! Let’s just say former Indians pitcher Jason Johnson and I share something in common. We both are Type 1 diabetics and have insulin pumps. Jason, throughout his career has been a role model for me. He now has a minor league contract with the archrival Bronx Bombers and is battling to be their fifth starter in Spring training. Its great to know that he is still an active player in the game.
For the Tribe, health is going to be a recurring issue on and off the field especially for the pitchers. Eric Wedge added on Sunday that six of the seven pitchers are set and one of the pitching spots are up for grabs. In years past, the camp seemed like an all-out patchwork job but not this year! Kerry Wood, Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt, Jensen Lewis, Joe Smith and Masa Kobayashi were the six pitchers mentioned whose roles were defined. Still when one sees this group, it is great to see the acquired depth the Indians have to fill in given the injury history of last year for the Tribe as well as the tendencies that some of the pitchers show from their past. This depth is also great to see concerning the rotation and their injury history.
In the off season, we signed pitchers Kerry Wood and Carl Pavano. Both these pitchers have injury-riddled pasts that make Yankee fans and Cub fans cringe. I really believe they are diamonds in the rough for our organization and can really excel but I’ll let their play speak for them. I hope they will live up to their billing
If you ask me, for some of the other pitchers like Kobayashi, the adjustment to the major leagues caused him to have some difficulty. Betancourt also had some issues to struggle with.
Joe Smith also has issues of switching leagues.
This being said, Rafael Perez and Jensen seemed to be the healthiest of the bunch.
Still it is nice to have depth and focus going into 2009 who like me want to turn things around and rise again to the top of the division and deep into the playoffs. I truly hope they do too. I look forward to seeing their progress in about a week.