The Tribe aims to extend their five-game winning streak and complete a sweep of the Miami Marlins on Sunday at Progressive Field. The Indians’ latest win, combined with a Tiger loss on Saturday, bumped up the Tribe’s division lead to 5.5 games with 28 contests remaining in the regular season.
Like all Cleveland fans, I’m happy to see the Indians increase their pace over the division rivals. And I’m particularly joyful when the next closest competitor is those pesky Tigers. Although I grew up about 12 miles from Cleveland Municipal Stadium, I’ve lived in the suburbs of Toledo since 1983. Detroit is about 50 miles north of my home. Toledo is a Tigers town, for the most part. Especially since the Mud Hens are the AAA franchise for the boys up north.
Most of my friends here are Tigers fans. And even though they grudgingly admire the tenacity of this year’s Tribe, they’ve been telling me since the all-star break that the Indians would fold faster than the Flash on laundry day come September.
Well, here we are. And the Indians remain steadfastly in first place. Today, they send Danny Salazar (11-6, 3.88 ERA) to the mound. After several shaky starts following a stint on the DL, Salazar looked like his earlier-season self in his last outing against the Rangers. Danny had his good stuff working and threw strikes, chalking up 10 Ks in only 5.1 innings. He also gave up two runs, which isn’t bad, except the Tribe scored only one run and Salazar took the L.
The Marlins counter with righty Tom Koehler (9-10, 4.02 ERA), who has lost his last two starts. I’m always a little nervous when the Tribe faces a pitcher they’re not familiar with. But that didn’t stop them from pounding the usually impressive Jose Fernandez for 12 hits and 6 earned runs on Saturday.
Here’s to the Tribe earning the sweep. And hopefully gaining another game on the Tigers. (Sorry, not sorry, my Toledo-area friends who love the Tigers as much as I love the Indians.)