Cleveland Indians: 5 Reasons This Hot Start Isn't a Fluke
The Cleveland Indians continue their hot streak to begin the 2011 season, and their success does not seem to be stopping any time soon.
After a disappointing 69-93 record last season, the Indians already have 31 wins through 50 games this season. They have a six game lead in the AL Central and trail only the Philadelphia Phillies in winning percentage.
As the season progresses, the Indians will need to continue their hot start to stay atop their division and make a run into the playoffs.
Strength of Schedule
The Indians rank second in ESPN's list of Relative Power Index, which determines the top teams based on winning percentage and their opponents' winning percentage.
The Indians have played 15 games against the majors' best division, the AL East, and it has yet to hurt the team's standing in their division. They have instead thrived against good competition.
The AL Central, however, has been surprisingly disappointing.
The Indians defense has been more consistent than their pitching, and the team sits in the top 10 in team defense during the new season.
The team has committed only 27 errors through 50 games and has a .986 fielding percentage.
Most consistent in the field has been catcher Carlos Santana and first baseman Matt LaPorta, who both have more than 300 put outs and each have a fielding percentage of .990 or more.
Most surprisingly for the Indians may be the team's offense in the beginning of the season.
The Indians have a top-10 offense without players such as Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo contributing the way they were expected to.
With major contributions from Orlando Cabrera, Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta, and a lack of contribution from star players Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, the Indians should continue their offensive prowess throughout the rest of the season.
Asdrubal Cabrera has been MVP worthy to begin the season. He leads the team in almost every offensive category including RBI and batting average, and has been the most consistent contributor in the team's surprising offense.
He has been one of the best shortstops in the league throughout the first 50 games, and has been a rock in the Indians' lineup.
There is no reason to doubt Cabrera's continuing success, and with that, could come an All Star game for Cabrera and playoffs for the Indians.