CLEVELAND – Thanks Mark Reynolds’ grounding into a fielder’s choice, the Cleveland Indians are as hot as the May weather.
Reynolds’ ground ball to Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan pulled catcher Jesus Contero off of home plate, allowing Jason Kipnis to score the game-winning run with the bases loaded.
With the win, the Indians have won 16 of their last 20 games and(as of this writing)sit half a game ahead of the Detroit Tigers atop the AL Central.
While it is only the middle of May, with the Indians—pardon the pun—hot streak, can they win the division?
At 24-17, and a young team with proven veterans in the form of Ryan Rayburn, Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Reynolds and Jason Giambi, the Indians have the talent to challenge the Tigers for divisional supremacy, while this script has been repeated twice in the last two years in Cleveland, the recent string of late-game heroics along with veteran depth on the bench in the form may finally help the Indians write a different ending.
Gone are the of-injured—yet talented Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, and while Shin Sou-Choo is now downstate in Cincinnati, the free-agent additions of Bourn, Swisher and Reynolds are beginning to pay dividends, while messing with the Indians young homegrown core of Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, Michael Brantley and Kipnis.
As with all things, it all comes down to pitching, which may—or may not—be Cleveland’s strong suit.
Led by Justin Masterson’s six wins and 60 strikeouts, Cleveland’s rotation of Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber have helped fuel Cleveland’s improbable 17-4 run.
While their collective ERA of 3.92 ranks 15th overall, Cleveland is in the top ten in runs (197), batting average(.263), on base percentage(3.33) and tops in baseball with a slugging percentage of .457
What does that all mean in layman’s terms?
Basically, the Indians hot bats tend to bail out the average pitching now, which needs to rectify itself after the All-State break, where the Indians have shown a history of sputtering and petering out down the stretch.
While it may be May and now atop the AL Central, the Indians need to show more consistency in quality starts and wins from it’s pitching staff before fans start going out and buying those World Series tickets.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] follow me on Twitter @RC_TheInscriber and follow The Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber