The Indians are starting to look like the dominating Indians of a year ago. There were a few notable happenings in the series with the Royals, and in the first game of the Yankees' series, that hinted that the tribe's slow start is coming to an end. The bats started to come alive in the Royals' series, especially in the 15-1 game on April 22nd, and the pitching has looked much better as well.
Casey Blake is starting to swing a hot bat, driving in 12 runs in his last 7 games, and raising his batting average to .239 during this time period. Granted, .239 isn’t all that great, but that is much better than the .152 he was hitting before the last 7 games.
Victor Martinez has been the only consistent hitter all season, hitting safely in nine of the last 10 games and batting .365, but still waiting for his first home run. Jhonny Peralta has been turning up the heat as well, raising his average to .256 in the last four games. He leads the Tribe in home runs with five.
Jason Michaels needs to start picking it up against the lefties, otherwise David Dellucci will pick up starts against lefties since he is swinging a hot bat. Dellucci homered in each of his last two games. If Travis Hafner can pick it up anytime soon, then the Indians will start to turn some heads again.
C.C. Sabathia was off to a slow start, but looked extremely dominating against the Royals in his last start. He went six innings, striking out 11, and only walking two while earning his first win of the young season. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with Sabathia, so hopefully his slow start has come to an end, and his last start is a sign of things to come.
The biggest surprise so far for the Indians has been Cliff Lee. Lee, who had to earn his spot in the rotation during spring training, is one of the biggest surprises in all of baseball. He leads the league in ERA at 0.28, and has been very dominating all year, only allowing one earned run and two total runs. Obviously, he can’t continue to produce numbers like this all year, but if he continues to pitch well, he could possibly win “comeback player of the year”, or even be a Cy Young candidate.
If the Indians' hitting stays hot like it has been, C.C. pitches like he did in his last start, and Lee continues to pitch like he has been so far this year, then the AL Central will belong the Indians.