Grady Sizemore Sterling in First Start as Tribe Sweeps Orioles

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Grady Sizemore Sterling in First Start as Tribe Sweeps Orioles
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

I suppose just four words come to mind: Welcome back, Grady Sizemore.

Injured for the better part of the last two seasons, Sizemore went two-for-four at the plate, including a solo home run in only his second at-bat and a double in his third, in a better-than-expected debut for the stalwart center fielder.

The Indians rode solo home runs by Sizemore, Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner, as well as another quality start from Fausto Carmona to beat the Orioles 4-2.

The game clinched the sweep of the Orioles and allowed the Indians to maintain sole possession of first place in the American League Central after 15 games with a record of 11-4.

Last season, the Indians posted a 7-8 record after 15 contests. In 2009, they were only 5-10.

But Sizemore is the real story here, making his first start in almost 11 months to the day, returned to much fanfare and standing ovations from the hometown crowd.

They had no doubt missed the player who enjoyed nothing short of brilliant years in Cleveland from 2005-2008. 

After Santana's solo home run in the second inning, the three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner stepped up the plate in the third inning with an out. He grounded out to second base his first at-bat.

The response? A towering shot to right-center field that left the ball park and sent a message to the Cleveland Indians faithful; Grady Sizemore is indeed back.

His next at-bat in the bottom of the fifth, he laced a Brian Bergesen slider down the right field line for a stand-up double.

So the question is how good can this lineup be with a healthy and productive Grady Sizemore be?

In short, very good. With Sizemore reclaiming the center field spot, this will move Michael Brantley over to left field, making to Tribe outfield among the best in the league. Brantley is hitting at a solid .302 clip.

With the six walks he has drawn thus far, his OBP raises to .367. While Shin-Soo Choo has not caught his stride as of yet, he has notched 10 hits in the last nine ball games, and his batting average will continue to rise.

Designated Hitter Travis Hafner has looked like a vintage form of himself with yet another home run today. It was his fourth of the season.

Last season, it took him 36 games last season to belt No. 4. He is hitting the cover off the baseball, with a .354 average and nine RBI.

After the two disastrous opening games of the season, the starting rotation is boasting an ERA of 1.91.

The bullpen has been smothering for the most part; Tony Sipp, Rafael Perez and Chris Perez have yet to give up a run, with Chris Perez converting his first five save attempts and batters only hitting well under .100 off him.

Hang onto your hats, folks. The Indians will begin a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals starting Monday at 8:10.

The Royals have also started the season hot, and are currently one game behind the Indians in the AL Central standings, holding down second place.

Although it may seem a backwards beginning to the season, I cannot help but absolutely love it.

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