C.C. Sabathia needed just 111 pitches to finish up the game for the Indians in their 5-2 win over Oakland. He struck out an impressive eight batters and he gave up two runs on nine hits and he didn’t walk a single batter. With the win, he’s now tied with Josh Beckett for the major league with 11.
Of course this doesn’t quite make up for the two losses against the Nationals, but that’s water under the bridge. Even better, the Tigers lost tonight so the Indians are back to being just a game out of first.
Travis Hafner hit his first homerun in the month of June and he drove in his first run in almost two weeks. It’s been an odd season for the big guy because at this point, it seems like all he does is draw walks. Still, he’s seen his batting average drop close fifteen points in the month of June and just based on that, it’s not a huge surprise that the Indians are a mediocre 11-12 in the month of June.
Cliff Lee gets the start tomorrow and the Indians will try to manage a Cy Young contendor in Dan Haren. This guy has a better ERA then anyone in baseball so the Indians have their work cut out for them.
We all know the Indians are good team. Heck, maybe a great team. And while they’ve hit a patch where they’ve played .500 ball (5-5 in their last 10), so far this year they’ve done just enough to hold back the Tigers. Yeah, they’ll tie us and everytime the Indians take a two game lead they’ll tie us again, but the Indians have been playing from a position of strength most of the season and it’s been a while since that happened.
For example, out of that 5-5 record, they’ve now won three of four. Just in time because the Tigers dismantled the Nationals in their three game series. Still though, the standings show the Indians right there.
I know he probably won’t get too much consideration, but Victor Martinez should be an MVP candidate this year. He’s driven in 59 and he has all of the other numbers to go with it. On top of that, he’s done okay behind the plate. His .302 EQA would be a career high if he finished with it. And he’s also been pretty consistent. His OPS in April was .845 and since then he’s been just over .900. And he’s hit at least .295 each month with June so far being his best month to date.
C.C. Sabathia won his tenth game the other day and with Johan Santana only being very good this year, it means Sabathia could have a Cy Young in his future. If he wins 20 and strikes out 200 while keeping his ERA in the low 3.00′s I’d say he’s a lock especially if the Indians make the playoffs.
And Travis Hafner hasn’t even gotten hot yet. He sits at just ten homeruns but he has 57 walks versus 56 strikeouts and a .401 OBP. So he’s still producted, just not by putting the ball over the fence. And he’ll heat up, we all know he will.
The Indians have an important series this weekend not because it’s a top notch team but because it’s a team they should sweep. The Indians play at Washington for three games against the Nationals. Fausto Carmona will take the mound in the opener tomorrow and he’ll face Micah Bowie. The Tigers play three against a tough Braves team so I see the Indians back in first by themselves come Monday morning.
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