Let me get this straight.
After enduring one of the worst losing streaks in the 107-year history of the organization...
After trading away the best pitcher the franchise has had in 30 years...
After cutting last year's AL saves leader and turning the closer role over to the former hot-dog eating champion of the world...
After trotting out a pitcher over the weekend that hadn’t won in the big leagues in four years, and another whom Indians fans felt hadn’t won in four years...
The Indians, last place in the AL Central, swept a four-game series from the team that had the best record in baseball.
Sure, it was the Rays, an upstart in the big-market, big-payroll landscape of modern-day baseball. But it still makes you wonder, What in the name of Rocky Colavito is going on around here!?!?
Just like that, a 10-game losing skid, gone. CC Sabathia, God bless, but you’re gone, too.
Matt Ginter, with as many major-league victories as yours truly since 2004, throws five shutout innings. Jeremy Sowers, who still looks like he’s 14-years old and has pitched like he belongs in the Pony League, not the major league, for the past two summers, somehow managed to survive issuing seven free passes in four innings.
Overall, what does this mean for the rest of the season?
Well, absolutely nothing, of course—for God’s sake, we’re still 12 games under .500 and staring up at Kansas City in the Central standings. And oh, by the way, the four-game winning streak comes as we head into the All-Star break, likely killing any momentum that this streak might have generated.
(If it’s any consolation, Tribe fans, according to baseball-reference.com’s “Pythagorean Won-Loss” formula, we should be a game over .500 right now. The same formula said the 2006 Indians squad, which finished 78-84, should have gone 89-73. I was never one much for the Pythagorean Theory in high school, and I don’t know if this has any relation, but I still don’t understand it.)
(Random side note: With the Cleveland Gladiators getting throttled 70-35 in the AFL conference championship Saturday, I have to pretend to care about the Indians season again. At least until Browns training camp starts on the 23rd. The easy joke about the Gladiators is that no one in Cleveland is surprised that a Bernie Kosar-led team failed to win the conference championship game, but I’ll take the high road in this one.)
Good news though, Tribe fans. Fausto Carmona is making a rehab start Monday at my old haunt, Classic Park, with the Lake County Captains. Grady Sizemore’s power surge has him in the Home-Run Derby, where hopefully he won’t injure himself or damage his swing.
Andy Marte, whom I propose should be nicknamed “Paralyzer” for what he’s done to the organization—plus it solves the question of walk-up music too, thanks to Finger Eleven—hit a home run today, his first since... (Ah Christ, I can’t find it, to hell with it!)
Down on the farm, Matt LaPorta continues to tear up AA pitching in Akron, begging the question: What the heck is he still doing down there?
A slew of Aeros, particularly highly-touted prospects Trevor Crowe and Wes Hodges, are playing great as well. While in AAA, Asdrubal Cabrera (.326 BA, 4 HR) seems to have ironed out his swing and David Huff continues to impress in the rotation.
I’ve grown numb to this Indians ballclub, and the only thing to get excited about now is how quickly Mark Shapiro can unload Paul Byrd and when Spring Training starts in 2009. While the four-game streak is nice, it’s more of an aberration, a blip on the radar, than a sign of good fortune for the rest of the summer.