Who else is having fun? There’s plenty of room on the bandwagon Cleveland, so hop on board. Who needs sleep? Not me, I’d rather stay up watching West Coast Tribe action. I mean, what is not to lose about your Wahoo Warriors right now?
They are getting A-Plus pitching from both the rotation and the bullpen. They are playing stellar defense behind said pitching, and they continue to come up with timely hits. All of this has added up to an improbable eight-game winning streak. And as last night’s starter, Mitch Talbot said “It’s awesome, the thing is, I think we’re capable of keeping it going.”
That is just what they did last night in Anaheim.
Talbot, the much maligned fifth starter, came out looking to continue the rotations run of hot pitching. Nobody could have seen it coming, but “The Itch” was nowhere to be found. “The Fury” came out to play instead. Knowing that the three back-end bullpen horses – Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp, and Chris Perez – were all needing a night off, Talbot went to work. For the first time this year, a Tribe starter pitched into the ninth. Shockingly enough, it was “The Fury.”
Scattering five hits and two walks over eight innings, Talbot was phenomenal and never got into any real trouble. “My fastball was my best pitch,” said Talbot. “It has some sink and it was moving. I got a lot of ground balls. Then ones they hit in the air, Michael Brantley tracked down in center field.”
After Bobby Abreu worked a long at bat for a leadoff double in the ninth, Manny Acta called for Rookie Vinnie Pestano with Talbot at 112 pitches and a 4-0 lead. Pestano, a native of Orange County, came sprinting out of the bullpen in front of family and friends. With relative ease, Vinnie mowed down the next three Angels to close out the win for Talbot.
“It was fun to get in there,” said Pestano. “I was just trying to pump strikes.”
Meanwhile, after Talbot’s eight inning gem, the Indians rotation has an ERA of 1.55 in 52 1/3 innings pitched during the eight-game winning streak.
It was easy for Talbot to get settled in thanks to some early offense from the Tribe. Once again, the unlikely power source named Asdrubal Cabrera struck right away. On a 3-1 count in the first, AC crushed a Tyler Chatwood fastball to the seats, giving the Tribe an early lead. The reigning co-AL Player of the Week now has four homers in 10 games. His career high for a season is six.
With one out in the second, Orlando Cabrera (now hitting 361.) singled and Austin Kearns followed with a double to the gap in Center. Cabrera was held at third. With first base open and one out, Chatwood decided to go right after Matt LaPorta. That turned out to be a huge mistake. The Gator, who is so important the dynamic of this lineup, took a Chatwood mistake the other way over the high wall in right for a three-run shot. Just like that, it was 4-0.
We haven’t seen the Indians show this kind of power since 2007, and even then, they were more of a doubles kind of team. They have hit 13 home runs in their first 10 games, good for third in the AL.
It turned out to be all the offense the Indians would need, thanks to Talbot. Its a good thing, they loaded the bases in the with one out in the fifth and didn’t score. But the way things are going with the Tribe right now, it didn’t come back to bite them. They are going to ride this wave as long as they can.
The best part about it is, this group seems to really be having a good time while playing smart, sound, winning baseball. “It’s fun,” said Pestano. “That’s what we need right now. We’re a young team and we need that confidence, we need that momentum.”
What can’t be overlooked that the Indians are doing this with their best player, Shin-Soo Choo, in a major slump to start the season. He just 7-38 (.184) with a homer and two RBIs.
The smoldering Tribe go for their ninth in a row tonight behind #1 starter Fausto Carmona. It should be a solid pitchers duel as the Angels send out their ace Dan Haren.