Just as one big loss isn’t the end of the world, one big win isn’t the beginning of the world, but it sure as hell feels good. And it got what is arguably the toughest stretch of the season off to a fine start. Over the next three weeks, the Indians’ schedule looks like this:

Tuesday, Aug 2  @BOS
Wednesday, Aug 3 @BOS
Thursday, Aug 4 @BOS
Friday, Aug 5  @TEX
Saturday, Aug 6 @TEX
Sunday, Aug 7  @TEX
Tuesday, Aug 9 DET @home
Wednesday, Aug 10 DET @home
Thursday, Aug 11 DET @home
Friday, Aug 12   MIN  @home
Saturday, Aug 13 MIN @home
Sunday, Aug 14  MIN  @home
Tuesday, Aug 16 @CHW
Wednesday, Aug 17 @CHW
Thursday, Aug 18 @CHW
Friday, Aug 19  @DET
Saturday, Aug 20 @DET
Sunday, Aug 21  @DET

That’s a lot of tough competition. Right now, we’re only two games out with 55 games to go. We’ll face the Tigers and the White Sox two more times each before the end of the season, but if this next stretch goes poorly, we could fall too far behind to win the division. We needed to win last night, and we needed the right kind of win. It’s as though the team collectively remembered that it knew how to swing a bat.

I think last night’s game was significant because the offense carried the starting pitching for the first time in a while. Tomlin didn’t have a good night, giving up 5 earned runs on 10 hits in 6 innings, but the offense made up for it, scoring 9 runs on 13 hits, including 4 home runs. Cabrera (hey, we don’t have to use first names anymore because now he’s the only Cabrera on the team) had two home runs (for only the second time in his career); Hafner made it back-to-back homers after Cabrera’s first; and Kipnis had a solo shot in the 9th just for good measure. I was especially glad to see Kipnis hit his second home run. He was brought up primarily because of his bat and went 3-5 last night (and homered on Sunday too), which makes me think he’s starting to find his sea legs.

Offensively, hope abounds If Cabrera, Brantley, and Hafner are all on, we can win easily. If two of the three have a good night, we have a chance. Obviously one or two guys can’t carry a team, and they don’t have to. The Indians traded for Fukudome and his bat. While he seems to be having a period of adjustment in getting used to the AL pitchers, he’s a proven major league hitter. Carlos Santana is kind of a streaky hitter, running hot and cold. If we could somehow coordinate his hot streaks with Brantley and Hafner’s cold streaks, we’d be on to something.  The rookies are also starting to blossom. Kipnis is starting to show he can make an impact. Ezequiel Carrera went 2-4 last night and is hitting .286. I’m a little concerned that Lonnie Chisenhall hasn’t had a hit in his last four games. At the same time, he’s had some really great at-bats, taking his time, fouling off pitch after pitch, and really making the pitchers work.  That shows a lot of confidence and poise for a 22-year-old who’s only played 23 games in the majors.

And that doesn’t even take into account the eventual return of Shin-Soo Choo or Grady Sizemore. Choo will likely take batting practice sometime this week, although it will be a few weeks before he’s back in the lineup. Sizemore isn’t due back until September. Even without those two, the pieces are there for a strong if very young team that is still in contention.


  • Ben says:

    Hope springs eternal after a quality win, on the road, against a division-leading opponent! I was most impressed by our two-out offense, and the fact that we went 3-7 w/RISP and only left 2 on the entire night. Regardless of the outcomes of the remaining games in this series, these guys should be able to look at this game and take a lot of positives with them to Texas.

  • SeattleStu says:

    loved the win….the head scratcher is how this team could not hit to save their life against kansas-city (kansas city!!), but they go on the road to play the best team in the AL and put up 9 runs w/ 4 dingers….huh?

  • Mike H says:

    Hoping that just maybe (and ignoring the fact we beat up on Boston’s worst pitcher – we couldn’t hit KC’s bad pitching either) this was the team getting together, saying “They traded for Jimenez, the front office is playing to win, let’s get together and do this thing.” Whether that happens or not obviously remains to be seen, but as a Cleveland fan, lord knows we tap into the samellest thing for the deepest drinks of optimism.

  • Joe says:

    Is anyone not happy with a Brantley, Choo and Fukudome outfield? I love Sizemore, but I just don’t feel like he can be relied on anymore.

  • Mark says:

    I was also happy to see the hits and runs, but let’s not forget that Fenway Park is the 3rd most favorable to hitters in the majors. Not sure all of those homers go out at Progressive Field. By the way the most favorable hitters venue is Ranger Ballpark in Arlington. Coors Field is second.

    Can anyone tell me why Ubaldo Jiminez is not pitching on Thursday since he last pitched on Saturday? Doesn’t he pitch every 5th day? Perhaps it is due to not wanting to mess up our current rotation?

  • Susan Petrone says:

    @Ben, @Stu, @Mike: Yes, it’s one win against the weakest pitcher in an otherwise formidable team, but it’s still a win, and a damn solid one. The 2011 Indians occasionally seem to defy logic–they couldn’t get a hit against KC, can’t win to save their lives against the sub-.500 White Sox, yet are 5-2 this season against Boston. All it tells me is that they are a better team than they’re given credit for being. Their biggest problem seems to be consistency.

    As far as Sizemore, I hate to say it, but I’m starting to have my doubts as to his durability. A Brantley, Choo, Fukedome outfield wouldn’t be bad. And I still like Carrera. He’s young, fast as all get out, and still learning.

    @Mark: MLB trade rules state that a traded player has up to 72 hours to report to his new team. The trade wasn’t finalized until Jimenez had a physical with the Indians doctors in Arizona. It took several hours (included some MRI’s). I believe it was late on Monday when the trade was actually finalized. . I don’t know why the Rockies even let him start on Saturday, since apparently everybody knew the trade was happening/going to happen.

  • Ben says:

    Starting him in that game was indefensible. There is no reason the Rockies should have ever started him, even if he didn’t land with us. Even if he doesn’t get moved, it’s not like that game was a season-breaker for them.

    I like the idea of the Choo, Brantley, Carrera outfield. Speed City, matched with what could be a combined batting average between .275-.300 in a year or so (ha! ha?) and you have my vote.