Say it loud. Say it proud. Your Cleveland Indians are a first place baseball team. Sure, you can tell me how two years ago they were 30-15 and how last year they spent time on top of the AL Central during the first two months of the season, but this just feels different, doesn’t it?
Manny Acta’s clubs were fools gold. They won a lot of low scoring, one-run games thanks to a fantastic bullpen and timely hitting. The roster was not exactly loaded. The Terry Francona version play with a different sense of urgency and confidence. This is a group that expects to be good and plays like it. Of course it helps Francona to have veteran additions like Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, and Mark Reynolds to go along with the maturation of Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, and Carlos Santana. Having that deep and solid bullpen certainly doesn’t hurt.
Francona and his Wahoos ended their 8-1 homestand with a four-game sweep of Oakland and headed to Detroit for a measuring stick series with the AL Champion Tigers, who entered the weekend in first place. The pitching matchups for the most part weren’t going to favor the Tribe, but all weekend they battled and came out with a series win and a move into a tie for first with the team from that state up North. [Read more...]