Twitter is very helpful. Not only does it list major trending topics (like #YouWillNotBeTakenSeriouslyIf and #CantBeInARelationship, because it’s, you know, important to learn these things about people) but it tailors individual trending topics. This afternoon, “Scott Kazmir” was one of my tailored trending topics. And why shouldn’t he be? He went 6 six innings, gave up only one run, no walks, and struck out 10 batters. If my Twitter feed is any indication, he’s the hot item for fantasy ball club owners.
If you’ve been wistfully wallowing through your 1995 Indians season yearbook this season and haven’t been following Kazmir’s story: Up until this season, he hadn’t pitched regularly in the majors since 2010 (let’s just forget about the 1.2 innings he pitched in 2011). The journey Kazmir has made from this guy to This Guy is testament to every adage you ever heard about hard work and talent.
Kazmir’s great performance today made it easy for the Tribe to sweep the A’s in a decisive 9-2 victory. After last night’s “Who-are-we-to-argue-with-the-ump’s-call?” win, we needed a no-questions-asked sort of win. The Tribe hit the ground the running. Michael Brantley led off the game with a single and Jason Kipnis scored him with a two-run homer. Doubles by Mark Reynolds and Yan Gomes, a single by Drew Stubbs, and a sacrifice fly by Kipnis scored 3 more runs in the 2nd. Nick Swisher hit a solo dinger in the 3rd to make it 6-0. The Indians scored 3 more runs in the 5th on a double by Asdrubal Cabrera, a Jason Giambi single, and Mark Reynolds’ 11th home run of the year. (He is leading the AL in home runs and is second only to Justin Upton in the majors.)
This win, this sweep begins to answer of the lingering questions most fans have had thus far this season: Can the offense step up without it being feast or famine? Can we find a solid starting rotation? Oakland came into the series leading the American League in runs. We outscored them 21-8 and hit 9 home runs. Jimenez, McAllister, Masterson, and Kazmir each had very good starts. Masterson and McAllister were stellar and solid, respectively, during April. Kazmir has now had three good starts in a row. Jimenez has had two. (And let’s not forget that his first start of the year on April 3, he went 6 innings and gave up 1 run.)
This team is starting to make hitting a habit and winning a habit. Yes, we have the most home runs by any team in either league. What I like just as much is that we’re also 2nd in the AL in batting average and 4th in on-base percentage. So much of our scoring over the first 20-25 games of the season was binge scoring–we either scored a ton of runs or couldn’t even rustle up 3 runs a game. The offense seems to be stabilizing. The starting rotation seems to be stabilizing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the Detroit series.