The Red Sox are in town and everybody’s excited. The fans are excited to see some good baseball. Asdrubal Cabrera is excited because he has a 12-game hitting streak going. Shin-Soo Choo is excited because he has a nine-game hitting streak going. And Terry Francona’s excited because he thinks he’s actually going to win a game here.
Okay, I’m being facetious. I don’t think the Indians will sweep Boston, nor do I think Boston will take them all from us. Boston got off to a horrible start, but it’s not the Indians’ fault the Red Sox started off 0-6. The Tribe was only responsible for three of those games. Perhaps I should rephrase that–Boston got off to a horrible start for a team packed with star power and with the third-highest payroll in major league baseball. Clearly it took some time for them to jell. They have, and they’re playing good ball. With a one-loss blip during inter-league play to the Cubs. they’ve won eight of their last nine games, including a sweep of the Yankees. Boston is not to be taken lightly, but I still give the Indians the edge in the series. And I give the edge to Masterson tonight against his former teammates.
As a fan, I want to see Masterson dominate as a starter against the team that wanted to make him a reliever. He’s averaging 6.6 innings per game with a 2.52 ERA. He’s wired to be a starter. However, he’s facing Clay Buchholz, whose 3.65 ERA hides the fact that he has a 1.40 ERA for the month of May. He’s on a tear. Masterson had some problems against Tampa Bay, but he also gave the Indians their first win of the season and their only win this season against the White Sox. While it’s not quantifiable, he brings a certain optimism factor to the mound that shouldn’t be discounted.
The Red Sox may be looking to even the score from the teams’ first meeting this season. Indians fans have longer memories than that. It isn’t just the 2007 ALCS. It’s all the years when our team was kicked around the bottom of the AL East and “You’re being traded to Cleveland” was the punchline of a joke. Cleveland fans know that no team, no fan base is owed anything. A team doesn’t deserve to win simply by virtue of its history or payroll. You earn your wins and your losses. This season, we’re earning more of the former than the latter. Here’s to keeping that trend going.