Saturday, July 9, 2011

Indians Back in First Place!

After a tiny slump where the Indians slid to 2nd place, they are back in first.  The slide was understandable, considering the injuries that plagued the Indians and the fact that the schedule was tough.  However, they have been able to rebound with timely hitting and stellar young pitching.  The Indians have found their groove again and have won 7 out of their last 11.

That 7 of the last 11 included winning series' against the in-state rival Reds and the Yankee Empire (and they have a chance to win a 4th straight series if they win on Saturday against the Blue Jays).  Everything is clicking on all cylinders and they seem to always find a way to win or at least compete.  Tonight, Talbot did not pitch well, but the offense was able to keep it competitive.  The Indians only scored 3 runs in the game where Fausto went down, but they also managed to only give up 1 run.  The offense is definitely playing better, with the linchpin being Hafner (who hit the walk-off grand slam on Thursday).  Its sad, because he is having an All-Star season but he won't be an All-Star because he missed time due to injury.

This is a team to really get excited about for quite a few reasons.

-First of all, this team is a great team to go out on a summer's day to watch.  Not only are they an excellent home team (the best winning % at home in the American League), but this is a team that wins in style.  Walk-off Grand Slam's are not very common and only a few happen per year.  It is shocking whenever a team gets one a year, let alone 2 before the all star break

-This team is very young and can make fans hopeful for the future.  Their top 3 starters (Carrasco, masterson, and Tomlin) are all 26 and under, and 4 of their 9 everyday hitters (Laporta, Brantley, Asdrubal, Santana) are  26 and under while most of the rest are under 30.

-They are good, plain and simple.  They are winning games and playing well and in the end, that matters more to many fans than the age of the players or how they win.  

In many ways, this team reminds me a little of the '95 Indians except even younger.  That team had a lot of youth (Baerga, Thome, Ramirez, Nagy, etc...) but had a bit more of a veteran presence than the Indians have now.  That was also a team that won in dramatic fashion.  

The Browns are starting to show signs that the future may be bright for them.  As covered before, Colt has organized 3 offensive mini-camps and was organizing a 4th.  This 4th one has been replaced with a "full-squad" mini-camp (both offense and defense are showing up, but there are only 40 players that will be there). When it comes to these sort of unofficial workouts, the Browns have been one of the most active teams while the lockout is still going on.  

OSU News:  The Buckeyes have voluntarily vacated wins in the 2010 season, including the Sugar Bowl.  This was a smart move on their part and now they just have to wait for an NCAA decision.  They shouldn't get much more than what they gave themselves.  Of teams who have committed similar violations, most just had to vacate wins and go on probation.  While some are trying to compare this to USC, they are very dissimilar. This was a case of a coach knowing of players selling memorabilia and not reporting it (and they terminated said coach).  In the USC case, there was a complete "lack of institutional control" which included agents swarming on campus, Reggie Bush accepting gifts from said agents, USC stonewalled the investigations at every turn, and they replaced Carroll (after he resigned) with another coach in hot water.  OSU has definitely handled it better than USC.  

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