The Indians’ roster doesn’t have any huge, glittering stars. Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn are big names, but they aren’t those almost-infallible superstars who often carry the weight of the team’s fortunes on their shoulders. The longer this season goes, the more I’m comfortable with this set-up. Instead of depending on one or two superstars to not have a bad game, I kind of like having a bunch of pretty darn talented guys who take turns having really good games.
Jason Giambi and Carlos Santana were the the heroes on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, with walk-off home runs. In today’s 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox, it was Ryan Raburn’s turn to be the hero. Raburn hit not one, but two dingers with four RBI to clinch the sweep. It should be noted that the Indians have swept two four-game series with the White Sox this season. We’ve never done that. We’re 10-2 (.833) against Chicago this year. For comparison’s sake, from 2008-2012, the Indians were 38-52 (.422) against the White Sox. Yes, payback is a bitch, isn’t it?
Raburn was drafted in the 5th round of the 2001 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers and made his major league debut as a September call-up in 2004. He bounced around the Tigers system, splitting his time between the Tigers and the AAA Toledo Mud Hens (the only season he didn’t spend time in the minors was 2011). He was released by the Tigers at the end of the 2012 season. A 31-year-old utility player might not seem attractive to some, but the increasingly prescient Indians picked him up for a song. He’s produced and produced for us. Raburn is arbitration eligible at the end of the 2013 season. Today wasn’t the first time he got to be the hero, and I doubt it’ll be the last.
The other big hero of the game was, of course, the inimitable Justin Masterson. At this point, writing about how well Masterson is pitching starts feeling repetitive–how many different ways can you say the guy was on his game? Today’s line: 6.2 innings, 1 earned run, 7 strikeouts, 3 walks. He’s now 13-7. Only Max Scherzer (15), Bartolo Colon (14), and Matt Moore (14) have more wins. (Adam Wainwright and Chris Tillman also have 13 wins.) He’s not in the top 20 for ERA, WHIP, or WAR, but by golly, he gets the job done. (Those 160 strikeouts, 5th in the majors, probably have something to do with it.)
The Indians have now won 8 in a row. They’ll spend the weekend in Miami playing the Marlins, then they’re back home next week with a four-game series against the Tigers. This is the last time this season the Tigers will be in town (we have one more three-game series in Detroit at the very end of August/beginning of September). If you’ve been thinking all summer that you really need to get to a game, that series might be a good place to start.