Indians 4 Tigers 2 (Box)
Paul Byrd finally got his 100th win. He’s been sitting at 99 since May 13th. For his career he is 100-86. Not bad numbers for a career 4th or 5th starter. He was good Friday night. Good enough to go 7 complete innings and only throw 80 pitches, a far cry from the Tribe’s totals in Texas. (I’m sure they are happier than us to be out of that ballpark.) Offensively the Tribe got 2 hits from Gutierez, and one hit apiece from Sizemore, Martinez, Garko, Blake and Peralta. Blake had the big hit, a two run double in the 4th. Garko finally broke free from the singles he was hitting on the trip and launched a pitch down the left field line that just missed the foul pole and landed in the stands for his 5th homer of the season. He nearly had to take a knee on the pitch to hit it, but he got it. Joe Borowski had a relatively uneventful ninth, he gave up 1 hit, you know because he’s allergic to 1-2-3 saves.
The Tribe is now 4-4 on the road trip with 3 more to go in Detroit. (They finish on Monday.) With the White Sox cruising at the time of this writing it looks like the Tribe will stay 6.5 games behind Chicago. The Indians have 33 games until the All-Star break, and 46 games before the trade deadline. Why bring that up? From ESPN-
ESPN’s Jayson Stark writes that the Indians have scouts looking at prospects around the league just in case they decide to test the trade market with staff ace C.C. Sabathia. The Indians are at a crossroads as they still are hoping to make a run at the AL Central but they also want teams to know if that doesn’t happen they would be willing to listen to offers for Sabathia. The downside for possible suitors is that Sabathia will be looking for a long-term deal in the six or seven year range. With his current body size scouts say teams could have some apprehensions in signing him, as his large body could limit him in the latter years of a new deal.
As I see it, the Indians are going to be buyers or sellers this year, no in between. If they think they can win the division then they will make a few moves to bolster the line-up and possibly the pen. If not, I believe Sabathia may not be the only one to go. The next 3 weeks are critical. Actually, the next 24 games. Unfortunately, they will begin inter-league play after the Twins come to town next week. This is unfortunate because it is entirely possible for the Indians to play well and not make up any ground in the Central. At the tail end of this 3 or 4 week stretch the Tribe will play the White Sox for 3 games. If they are still sitting 6 games out after that series, I think Shapiro may start to field calls for the Tribe Ace.
What kind of record will it take to catch the White Sox? I’m not sure, but the Indians had better start playing above .500 ball. There is no room for error. Yes, Westbrook and Carmona being out hurts. Yes, Betancourt is due to go on the DL any day now with the next mystery injury. Yes, the Indians will have to make this run with the hitters we already have. Can they do it? Sure they can…but will they? Stay tuned…