The Tribe completed a series win against those lowly Reds today to move to 39-34 heading into a tough stretch of games (Boston, Baltimore, NY) before the All Star Break (with at home series vs. Detroit mixed in). The Tribe used the homestand to its favor moving to within 1 1/2 games of the Twins and staying in the midst of the Wild Card (though it still isn't even the All Star Break).
I heard something on the radio the other day that I thought was interesting. They were talking about how 2005 was the target year when the rebuilding project began. A caller said that this is a farce because of the way the White Sox are running away with the Central. But, let's look at where the team is, almost to the halfway point: 5 games over .500. Nobody said that the Indians were going to win the World Series in 2005, just that they would be in contention, and that's exactly where they are. The Indians can't control that the White Sox are on fire, they can't make other teams beat the White Sox. They can only control the games that they play, and recently, have been doing a great job at it. I'm cautiously optimistic about this East Coast trip. I think they will win one of the series against the AL East, but not get swept in any of the series. I'd like to see them go 8-7 leading up to the All Star Break, which would leave them at 47-41 to start the second half. I'd take that.
Some thoughts over the weekend:
- Is there a difference between what Alex Cora is doing for us and what Brandon Phillips could do for us? Cora can't seem to hit but seems to play good defense when called upon. I realize the argument is to have a veteran to help out Peralta, but Phillips seems to have finally turned a corner in Buffalo (named to the IL All Star Team).
- With so many teams looking for relievers and Fernando Cabrera tearing it up in Buffalo, is anyone expendable? What about moving Howry (who's a FA after this year), and bumping Riske into the Howry role, Betancourt into the Riske role, and Cabrera into the Betancourt role? If Cabrera continues to dominate at the ML level, you move him accordingly in the pen. I know that you're not supposed to mess with a good thing, but Cabrera is becoming impossible to ignore.
- Couldn't Casey Blake fill the Jose Hernandez role (1B, 3B, occasional OF) better than Hernandez. The 2 HR night notwithstanding, Hernandez does nothing for me on this team.
- With all of those thoughts, what is the problem with moving 2 of those guys for a RH stick (Kearns) or even throwing in a AAA starter (Cruceta, or even Tallet/Traber) to get a Wily Mo Pena? RF needs to become a productive position, and its not happening with the Gerut/Blake platoon.
- Other possible trade partners could be the Dodgers (they would love Howry, but have little to offer), the Rangers (who would eat up Cruceta or Traber/Tallet, but again have only Kevin Mench to offer) or the Orioles.
- I would like to see Moises Alou added to this lineup (we can black out the 1997 Series from our memory banks, if we haven't already), but I don't know what the Giants would want.
- Nice to see a sellout on Saturday. A 12-7 game in front of 42,000? Did Assenmacher pitch?
As you can see, I've taken a much more optimistic approach to the season. After a conversation with a non-Clevelander who goes to a lot of games (my bride), I realized that I was getting too high and too low as each game was played.
After Thursday's game I was told that, "It's a long season, and it's not even July. The Red Sox are World Champs for a reason, they were better than anyone last year. The Tribe played 2 close games against them and you come home, freak out, say that everyone stinks, and that Hernandez couldn't play in a rec league softball game (I'll stand behind that comment). Just relax. That's what's wrong with Cleveland fans, you WAIT for things to go bad almost like you want them to, rather than focusing on the positive and just saying, 'Oh, well that was a great game. We'll get 'em next time'."
Tribe Record on the homestand with me there: 1-4
Tribe Record on the homestand without me there: 7-0
Anybody want seats in the Mezzanine for the rest of the year?