I didn't expect the Mavericks to just get through this series by being the hottest team. It was a close game (106-100) but the Thunder pulled it out in the end. The key player? It was not Westbrook or Durant, it was James Harden.
The Thunder have quite a few guys who can go on a tear at any given moment and Harden is one of them. Harden is hot right now, averaging 16.5 points over the last 4 games. If the Thunder want to have any hope at stopping the red hot Mavericks, they will have to continue to spread it out and beat them in many ways. Outside of Dirk, Dallas was pretty bad. They go as far these days as Jason Terry (and JJ Barea). Kidd is inconsistent, and Marion is clanking shots, so they have to rely on their shooters. Unfortunately for them, Terry and Barea are streaky players and are averaging 6 less points (combined) per game in losses. Dallas is suffering from a lack of options after Dirk and the lack of any consistency from the supporting cast and they need to step it up.
The Indians have played twice since I last wrote about them, a win and a loss.
There is something about the White Sox that makes Carmona regress. He has had 2 awful starts out of 10 this year with the rest being pretty solid. Both of those starts have come against the Sox. Of all the teams he has played at least once in his career, he has the worst career ERA against the White Sox posting a 6.08. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising then he was bad (but surprising it was as awful as it was: 8 earned runs in 5 innings). What was more shocking was the fact that Gavin Floyd only gave up 5 hits in 7 innings. He is a solid pitcher, but not spectacular and this lineup has been great.
Fortunately the Indians rebounded in a big way on Friday. They started it off bad-Alex White was injured and could only finish 3 innings, multiple errors led to a 4-0 deficit- but they were able to recover. There was timely hitting and a bullpen that only gave up 1 earned run in 6 innings. This team never seems to be out of it and always seems to find a new way to win it. This time, it was a player taking his first pitch in the Majors and laying down a beautiful drag bunt to bring in the go-ahead run. Sometimes, I can't believe some of the late game heroics are real because its so unbelievable. You just can't make up the stuff the Indians are doing.
Sadly, Alex White isn't the only one going on the DL. Sizemore was hurt recently and Hafner shortly after. While I am definitely worried that the Indians' 2 best hitters are hurt, the rest of the team has been surprisingly good. The Indians now have seven players (through 42 games) with at least 4 HRs and 20 RBIs. Over the course of the season, thats seven players with at least 16 HRs and 75 RBIs. While those aren't world-beating numbers, the Indians have a top to bottom solid batting order. While no player is on pace for 30 HRs and only one is on pace for 100 RBIs, they have 5 players on pace for a 20/80 season. While this may not keep up, its good to ride this hot streak, especially since this is a down year across Baseball for hitting (and considering their 2010 All-Star in Choo is not yet out of his slump, there is reason to be optimistic).