Thursday, May 17, 2007

Team Teflon

The Indians completed the sweep of the Indians as El Diablo outdueled Johan Cyntana and The Little Engine that Could is developing into a full-blown freight train. The obstacles that have been thrown up in front of them simply become items in the rearview mirror.

The Opening Series against the Mariners was cancelled due to snow?
No problem…watch the fans make some snow angels and get ready for the Angels.

The Angels’ series gets moved to Milwaukee due to inclement weather?
Roll with it. Then take the series from the AL West-contending Halos in front of those crazy Wisconsinites.

Cliff Lee starts the season on the DL, followed by Jake Westbrook?
Don’t sweat the technique. Just plug Fausto Carmona in there and watch him rattle off a 5-1 record (including 2 wins against Johan Santana) with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Carmona’s pulling his best Grady Sizemore (circa 2005) impression…daring the club to send him down to Buffalo. How about this quote from Torii Hunter on Carmona after the complete game shutout -“That dude is filthy. ... If you've never played the game, listen to me, I'm a hitter. Right-handers have no chance unless they get lucky and get a hit on a broken bat.” Um…it’s time to call a realtor, Fausto.

Joe Borowski blows the final game in New York, letting up a 5-run 9th, allowing the Yanks to sweep?
All good. Unfazed, the Tribe just rattled off 11 wins in their next 13 games.

Travis Hafner proves to be human after all, batting .163 with a .679 OPS in the month of May?
That’s fine. The rest of the team has stepped up to the point that they have scored 10 more runs than the Red Sox (94 to 84) and 13 more runs than the Yankees (94 to 81) in the first 15 to 16 games of the month. The Indians 94 runs for the month of May, by the way, lead all of MLB. The most notable contributors include Nixon (14 RBI), Peralta (14 RBI), and the Stick (12 RBI).

Borowski blows another 9th inning game in heartbreaking fashion against the A’s?
Water off a duck’s back. Bring on the divisional rival Twins to beat up on as they sweep their way through the series, outscoring Minnesota 24 to 8. The Twins best chance to win, with Santana, sunk just as quickly as the 95 MPH sinker (?!?) coming out of Carmona’s hand.

The point is, this team has not been given the easiest road to hoe, but it continues to put the blinders on, keeping their collective head down and winning. They sit on the 2nd best record in the AL and 4th best in all of MLB despite the fact that the offense is just now hitting it’s stride and the fact that the bullpen still has an air of uncertainty around it.

If anyone else just waiting for the next barrier to go up in front of the Indians, that’s just your natural reflex as a Cleveland fan and you’re not alone. But nothing sticks to this team, (that’s now 10 games over .500) as it has rolled over all the speed bumps to this point and doesn’t show any signs of letting little things like home games in Milwaukee, two complete meltdowns by your closer (albeit in the midst of getting 12 saves), enduring injury to two of the vital cogs of your rotation, getting jobbed by the umps against Baltimore, and a very un-Pronklike month get in the way of staying on a roll.

The team that we are seeing right now is the team that we all expected going into 2006.
Remember that, the optimism of last March? The Tribe was fresh off of a playoff push, at the top of most Power Rankings to start the season and was the trendy pick to win the World Series. Well, that team has finally arrived, ready to fight this thing out until the end in the AL Central and beyond.

Maybe it’s a year too late, but better late than never.


Anonymous said...

I have a Borowski-related thought. In 17 appearances, he has 2 losses and 12 saves. Obviously, we don't want to leave our analysis in the hands of the official scorer, so let's put this in perspective. The Indians have now played 38 games. If someone had told you that the closer the Indians would sign would pitch in about half of all games played, and do what was asked of him in 88% of them, would you have taken it after last year?

Extrapolate: Borowski is on pace to make 72 appearances this year, and at the very least he is on pace to NOT LOSE, if not to close out, 63 of them. I'm beginning to think Mastny's the closer of the future here, but for this season, I find those stats to be acceptable. I hereby publicly regret my pre-season Borowski Jitters.

Cy Slapnicka said...

i think we are witnessing something special this year. after games like yesterday, i am starting to plan road trips to cleveland in september and october.

btw, does anyone else think fausto's head shot makes him look like nick cannon from Drumline?

and finally, after saying MLB should all appologize for the juice and come clean HGHiambi had the follwing to say when asked why he took the juice..."Maybe one day I'll talk about it, but not now." Thanks Mr. McGuire, please disappear now.

Paul Cousineau said...

The fact that The Big Borowski is on pace for 72 appearances is frightening.

I'll go along with the fact that I'm over my pre-season Borowski jitters, but the whole point of having Foulke was so one of the guys didn't get burned out.

Well, without Foulke, JoeBo is running the distinct risk of getting burned out (at this pace) unless someone else steps up and grabs that 8th inning with the possibility of pitching the 9th.

Baltimoran said...

like the new picture better, nice work all around.

it was encouraging to see mike brown take some chances when things were slipping away last night (sitting hughes, and playing gibson, jones, and marshall). that first half was incredible.

it will be interesting to see how sowers pitches with the pressure of knowing that he will definitely be losing his job if he doesn't improve (granted he has a month still).

Cy Slapnicka said...

that 3rd Q was the worse than anything i've seen. if mike had called a timeout during that meltdown, we may have overheard hughes talking to kevin nealon and phil hartman about how he'll never be in Haiti again.

i know lebron was sitting, but it was just awful. not one good look or drive. i know they still won, which is awesome, but i'm real worried about what a team like the pistons or spurs do to us if that happens again.

t-bone said...


i wonder if HR's pending lawsuit against the WWL is what is holding up any other network coming for him. the last thing i read on deadspin about him, he seemed to think he would have something soon.