Cleveland Indians' Fast Start Fueled by Bullpen

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIApril 12, 2011

CLEVELAND - APRIL 06:  Rafael Perez #53 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game on April 6, 2011 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There have been story lines aplenty to start the 2011 baseball season.

The Boston Red Sox's hot mess of a start, the Los Angeles Dodger fans who left a San Francisco Giant fan in a coma, the Texas Rangers beating teams into submission and Manny Ramirez's retirement are just some of those headlines that have taken precedent to start the season.

One story that hasn’t really made national headlines is the fast start by the Cleveland Indians. Going into their series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Indians have started the season a surprising 7-2.

Their record is another example of how what happens on Opening Day in baseball is beyond overrated. The Indians got their doors blown off them, losing 14-7 to the Chicago White Sox. That seems like a long time ago.

The Indians recovered nicely from their Opening Day debacle by sweeping the Boston Red Sox and then outscoring the Seattle Mariners 20-8 in sweeping them over the weekend. There are a lot of reasons why the Indians are winning right now.

They are getting unexpected offense from Orlando Cabrera (.375/.417/.500) and Asdrubal Cabrera (.316/.341/.605 with three HRs), and Travis Hafner is hitting like it’s 2006 all over again (.370/.433/.630). The offense is certainly clicking.

But I want to talk about three other guys who are bringing it. Those guys are Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez and Chris Perez. All three have appeared in five games, and in those five games, they have a combined 0.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP and are averaging 7.2 K’s/9.

C. Perez is the story here for me. Since he has come over from the St. Louis Cardinals, he has really stabilized the ninth inning for the Indians. Having someone who can lock down the ninth allows the rest of the bullpen to fall into place. That is what has happened with Sipp and R. Perez.

Sipp and R. Perez’s job is to get lefties out, and that’s exactly what they have done. The have combined to face 13 lefties this season, and those lefties have exactly one hit and have struck out four times against the pair of southpaws.

These three aren’t going to stay perfect throughout the season, but right now they are a big reason why the Indians have gotten off to a fast start.

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