Watching the Cleveland Indians is nothing if not an adventure. Today’s victory over the Colorado Rockies was their third win in a row and earned them the sweep in this series. Before this they had lost four in a row, and five of six games. Before that they had one four in a row after losing the previous four. Team Streak is definitely an appropriate name for this year’s Tribe.
Today’s game had all of the essentials of a typical Indians game in 2014. There was an early lead after the Tribe scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Michael Bourne walked and then scored from second on a Michael Brantley single. Later in the first, Jason Giambi drew a bases loaded walk from Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin to make it 2-0. A David Murphy sacrifice fly then scored Brantley to make it 3-0 Tribe after just one inning.
Of course the Indians do not seem comfortable playing with any sort of lead this year, and proceeded to give much of today’s early lead right back. Justin Morneau reached first on an error (56th of the season for the team) by Mike Aviles on a grounder to third base. Corey Dickerson then smacked a two-run home run to trim the Indians’ lead to 3-2 before starter Josh Tomlin got out of the inning.
The Indians came back quickly. (2014 All-Star?) Michael Brantley led off the bottom of the third inning with a double to right center, and then scored on a pair of sacrifice flies by Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. Tomlin had settled down at this point, and wound up striking out eight in five and two-thirds innings pitched. Of course, the Indians like to keep things interesting, and Brandon Barnes scored on a play at the plate on a sacrifice fly by Charlie Blackmon as the Rockies tied the game at four apiece, once again making late game heroics necessary if the Tribe was going to pull off the win. Of course that has been a strength for the Indians, at least in this series. Mike Aviles led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and advanced to second on a bunt by George Kottaras. Michael Bourne then sent everyone home happy with a two-run walk-off home run to right center to give the Indians a 6-4 win and the series sweep.
So now the Tribe sits at 27-30 on the season, three games behind either wild card spot. If they win their next three games, they will be sitting at 30-30 after sixty games, exactly where they were one year ago. While the pessimist in me doesn’t see how this team can stay in the race with such poor fielding and so many players hitting below career norms, the optimist says that these things tend to even out and the Indians are due for a hot streak in which they finally play at or above their ability level. There’s a lot of season left to be played and it’s way too early to count out the Tribe.