The game puts the Tribe at 4-2 on the season, having won their last four ballgames. The Red Sox drop to 0-6, their worst start since 1945! America had not even celebrated their victory over Nazi Germany at that time.
Back to the Tribe, who have no doubt shocked the baseball world. After a terrible start in which the pitching staff gave up 23 runs in the first two games, they have responded by only allowing six runs over the last four games, including only five runs to the vaunted Red Sox lineup.
Needless to say, the keys to the Indians' sweep of the Red Sox was great pitching, particularly in the bullpen, timely hitting, and just some plain old luck.
After the aforementioned start to the season, the Indians' pitching has settled down immensely. Justin Masterson righted the ship with a great start in the third game against Chicago. Josh Tomlin followed with the best start of his young career (only one run over seven innings) in the first game of the Red Sox series.
While Mitch Talbot was chased out in the fifth inning during the second game, he still punched out seven hitters and the bullpen carried the rest of load. Fausto Carmona took to the hill for the third game and delivered seven innings of two-hit shutout baseball.
The bullpen (with one exception) was nothing short of spectacular. Chris Perez picked up two saves, Rafael Perez has earned the win the past two games, Chad Durbin is making key one-out appearances, and Tony Sipp and Vinnie Pestano have not yielded a run.
Perhaps the lone exception would be Frank Herrmann giving up a borderline meaningless two-run home run in the second game.
I cannot start the timely hitting aspect without first mentioning the suicide squeeze bunt that Asdrubal Cabrera pulled off in the third game for the Indians to take a 1-0 lead. The bunt, perfectly executed and completely unexpected, scored Adam Everett and was the deciding factor of the game.
Or how about Jack Hannahan's two-out RBI single that put the Tribe up 2-1, retaining the lead for good in the second game? The Indians seemed to have adopted the clutch hit thus far this season in a big way.
How about good old-fashioned luck? In the sixth inning of the second Red Sox game, with the bases loaded, Michael Brantley laced a shot right at third basemen Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis dropped the liner, but stepped on third getting the force out and threw it home where catcher Jason Varitek stepped on home plate, where this was no force out. Travis Buck scored and increased the Indians lead to 4-2.
Next hitter? Asdrubal Cabrera took a Dan Wheeler pitch 353 feet to the seats in right field for a three-run homer which essentially put the game out of reach at 7-2.
The Indians also benefited from Lady Luck for the last out of the third game of the series. Chris Perez was trying to shut the door on the Sox with two outs and a runner on first.
J.D. Drew hit a shot right back to Perez, which deflected towards third basemen Adam Everett. There was no play at first. However, pinch runner Darnell McDonald had over-run second base and was tagged out on a beauty of a defensive play by Orlando Cabrera.
Game over, Tribe sweeps Red Sox.
Through six games, the Cleveland Indians have shown they posses something that is not necessarily seen on paper: scrappiness. This group has won four in a row against formidable opponents despite the fact that the best player on the team, Shin-Soo Choo, is batting a measly .083 with only two hits on the season.
The young arms of the bullpen and the complete mix (veterans, youngsters, journeymen, alleged wash-outs) that is the batting order have found ways to win ball games.
It's hard to get too ramped up about the first six games of the season, but in 18 years (that I can remember anyway) of being an Indians fan, this has been the most memorable start.
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