6 – 6 through 12 games for the Cleveland Indians so far in 2010. There has been a fair mixture of really good and really bad, in all facets of the game thus far. One thing that is clearly obvious to fans is that the team has more fight than they seemed to last year (except Jhonny Peralta) and you get the feeling that the team is never out of a game. The starting pitching has been quite strong, a shock to pretty much everyone, and the bullpen hasn’t been completely heart stopping. The offense has gone through highs and lows as well. One game they easily score 7 runs in the first 2 innings, but then fail to put another run across the next 7 innings. But it is all allright so far in Cleveland, and fans aren’t too depressed with the on the field product. What is depressing is that there has been barely over 10,000 in the crowd day in and day out. I know they don’t have a shot at the championship this year, and they don’t have the undying faith it seems the state has in the Browns, but I think we can do better than 10,000. I can’t say much because I haven’t been to a game yet, but I live 800 miles away. I have yet to miss an inning of action, except for when MLB.TV was blacked out this Saturday because the game was broadcast on Fox… MotherF**ckers… but I will save my anger for when it is needed some other time (like if the Browns make a bad pick Thursday night). The Indians start a 9 game road trip when they play Minnesota in the new stadium tonight. The trip also sees them head out west to Oakland and Los Angeles for what will be a tough 9 games. The Indians are sending a few guys to the mound in the next few days who have strung together several good starts in a row as a unit, Justin Masterson pitches the opener, followed by Mitch Talbot and David Huff. Masterson doesn’t have a win to show for his good pitching thus far, but he has been solid. Talbot had a rough first start, but looked a lot better the following time out. David Huff has been lights out with a 1.80 ERA through his first 2 starts. Well we know the pitching has been pretty solid for the starters, but what else has been going on with the Tribe?
– Michael Brantley was optioned down to AAA Columbus on the Indians day off. Russell Branyan is expected to be activated for the game tonight in Minnesota. This could add another big left handed bat to the Indians lineup but the defense will immediately take a hit. Branyan is not as good as LaPorta at digging out bad throws, which he will receive a lot unless the Indians do what they should…..which is…
– Bench Jhonny Peralta! I posted over the weekend my displeasure with Jhonny. Everyone’s displeasure. Peralta continues to play lazily and seems to refuse to put up quality at bats. He seems to also have forgotten how to throw a ball to first base, which worries me with the beginning of the Branyan era. LaPorta could at least dig out most bad throws, Branyan can’t bend over that much.
– Shin-Soo Choo is on fire. He started off slow, but has picked it up lately. Ranked as the #2 player on ESPN fantasy baseball. Batting .350 with 4 home runs (a grand slam in Sunday’s win) and 12 rbi, he has stolen 3 bases and scored 10 runs as well. He is driving the Tribe offense.
– Masterson has been a pleasant surprise. In 11 innings, 2 games, he has 14 k’s and only 2 walks. His 2.45 ERA and faces a tough test tonight in Minnesota.
– Jensen Lewis looks like the reliever he was in 2007, when he seemed like the closer of the future. He also leads the team in wins so far.
– Chris Perez has 4 saves in 5 attempts. Not bad for our ‘placeholder’ but he has shown that he is not ready for the 9th inning responsibility long term. He has had a few VERY shaky outings.
– Aaron Laffey has been a great reliever. I still think he should be a starter though…
– Fausto Carmona is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA, has pitched 20 innings in 3 starts and has walked 12 guys. Not bad, not terribly good, but it is better than the last 2 years. So I will take it.
– Bench Jhonny Peralta…
– Mitch Talbot and David Huff pitched back to back complete games, during the Indians 4 game win streak they look to extend tonight.
– Choo leads the team in every offensive category except for Triples. Of which he has 0, but Sizemore has 2.
– Michael Brantley really struggled in the first 12 games, he looked very uncomfortable at the plate which was very disappointing based off of what we saw last fall.
– Austin Kearns looks like a solid 4th outfielder, but I miss Trevor Crowe
– Lou Marson has 2 hits in 22 at bats. His average is .091. IT IS CARLOS SANTANA’S TIME TO BE CALLED UP. WHO CARES ABOUT HIS ARBITRATION CLOCK?!?!! WHEN IT COMES TIME TO PAY HIM… PAY HIM. LET HIM PLAY NOW….
– The offense has been lackluster overall – with 9 homeruns and a team average of .219 it has not been too pretty. But they have scored 45 runs. But that ranks 28th in baseball.
– Only Kearns, Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera are batting over .275. This needs to improve.
– The team has wasted a few really good starts.
– Jhonny Peralta has 2 of the teams 4 errors…
– I think Andy Marte should get a chance to strut his stuff as the 3rd baseman, to give us a better defender and potentially more offense, a more patient hitter, who hit 6 homers in 47 games last year, compared to the 11 peralta hit in 150 games… just sayin’…
Ultimately it has been a decent 12 games for the Indians. Plenty of positives and negatives, but a lot to build on moving forward. Lets hope this winning streak keeps going, playing better this time of year than they have in the past few Aprils is a encouraging sign. They are 2.5 games behind Minnesota for 1st place, so if we win this series it puts us right up there, and if we continue to play well, we could build a small lead…. let’s go Tribe!