As I turned on tonight’s series opener against the Angels, I had a certain feeling of nostalgia.  Last season, the Tribe had fans feeling good going into July when they were playing favorable baseball.  They were playing solid enough to stay within reach of the Tigers in the AL Central race.  Considering the roster they had, it was impressive that they had even gotten that far.  Although, for the rest of the season, they started to flirt with mediocrity, then took a turn for the worst by free-falling in August.  The Tigers, on the other hand, did the exact opposite, playing themselves into the playoffs.  This season has had the same feel.  The Indians have played some streaky baseball, but have played well enough to warrant some postseason consideration.  Lately, however, it seems as though they have began the same free-fall that they plunged into last year.  After some long consideration, I was wrong in thinking this.  Even though the Tribe took a nosedive late last season, they are still playing much better now than during that same timespan.  Sure, they aren’t going to win the division, but they are within reach of a wildcard spot.  Last year, Cleveland was 16-39 in July and August.  In July, and so far in August of 2013, they are 22-20 going into tonight’s game.  Like I said, that type of play is not good enough to win the division, but a wildcard spot is not out of the question.  In order to get that wildcard spot, they’re going to have to start beating the teams that they are better than.  The Angels are one of those teams.

Taking the mound for the Indians was Zach McAllister.  Scheduled to pitch was Danny Salazar, but they flip-flopped him with McAllister.  The reasoning for that move is still unclear.  Is Salazar on a limited innings count?  If that’s the case, is Daisuke Matsuzaka going to take his place?  Those could all be meaningless questions, and it really is just a move to get Salazar some extra rest.  In the meantime, McAllister pitched well tonight.  He went 6.1 innings, giving up one run while striking out 5.  Chris Perez couldn’t hold the Angels to one run, giving up a Trumbo home run in the 9th inning.

On the offensive side, the Tribe stayed quiet until the 4th inning.  Getting things started in the RBI category was Carlos Santana.  The new cleanup hitter roped a single to right center, driving in Jason Kipnis, who singled and then stole second.  After a double from Asdrubal Cabrera, Jason Giambi hit a sacrifice fly to score Carlos Santana.  For how poor of an average Giambi has, the guy has came up with key hits when the Indians have needed him.  23 of his 29 RBIs have come with runners in scoring position.  That is exactly the kind of performance that is expected of him, along with his incredible club house presence.  Next up to join the party was Lonnie Chisenhall, blasting a two-run bomb.  Chisenhall finished the night 2-3 at the plate.  The Angels only run came from an RBI single from Mark Trumbo.  Nick Swisher stopped the bleeding in that inning with a slick catch and throw home to gun down Trumbo at the plate.  Swisher complemented his impressive defensive play with a solo home run to begin the 9th inning.

Looking ahead, the Tribe will continue their 3 game series against the Angels, with Danny Salazar (supposedly) taking the mound.


  • Gvl Steve says:

    The lineup looks so much better with Swisher 2nd, Kipnis 3rd, Santana 4th, Brantley 5th and Cabrera 6th. Santana is by far the most credible cleanup hitter on the team.

  • Jon says:

    You mention Matsuzaka… Is there any chance he gets a call up? He’s been pretty solid in Columbus all year. I’d like to see him in an Indians uniform before the year’s over

  • Rip Van Winkle says:

    The collapse last year was somewhat predictable. As of June 30th last season, the Tribe were only 2.5 games back of the White Sox and 1.5 ahead of the Tigers but their Run Differential was a sickly -41. It just looked like a team that had a great run of luck and won a lot of close, coin-flip games but was bound to fall back to earth.

    But on June 30th this season they were tied for first with Detroit and +28 in Run Differential and today they’re +33. I’d say they have a much better shot of making a run for the postseason this year but it’ll take a healthy dose of luck too. Unfortunately, Detroit is +155, on a tear, and ripped our hearts out for 4 tough games at home. But that’s expected when they outspend Cleveland by $60+ million a year. All in all, this season is a step in the right direction for our beloved Tribe.

  • shaun says:

    99.999% salazar is on an innings count..the tommy john surgery is still relatively recent

  • Swift says:

    I heard a report on the radio this morning (I think it was WTAM) that it was supposed to be McAllister all along, but that there was a miscommunication between the baseball staff and the communications staff.

    Yeah… I don’t quite believe that either, but I’m not sure it matters.

  • Aaron says:

    Why did they release dice k? Too much pitching depth? Haha.

    • Sean Porter says:

      I believe he asked for his release and the Tribe granted it. He’s probably hoping to land somewhere where he can pitch at the big league level.

  • Tribe Fan in San Diego says:

    This game is exactly why Chis needs to keep playing. Yes he struggles with offspeed pitches at times, but the only way he will get better is by playing. He won’t learn that on the bench.