Without a doubt, the Cleveland Indians are the surprise of the 2011 baseball season. Most of us expected them to fade once the hot weather got here, and they still might but for now, they have a 45-38 record. That is good enough for first place in the American League Central. I don’t know how they stay in first as they have a 10-12 record against the other four teams in their division, and an 11-7 record in interleague play. This mostly young team has spent 73 days in first place.
The Indians offense has scored 362 runs, and as a team just .249. That is just 10th best among the 14 AL clubs. Only DH Travis Hafner is hitting better than .300, and they have three of their regular nine starters closer to batting .200. They have collected 694 hits, which is the fourth worst hit total in this league, and Indians batters struck out an AL high 625 times.
The Indians staff has given up 343 runs, and the staff ERA is 3.80. That is right in the middle of their league, and they have struck out 508 runners and issued 228 walks. Both of those numbers threaten to be the smallest and largest numbers in the AL respectively. Only Josh Tomlin has secured double-digit wins, and the rest of the staff looks weak on paper. Beyond Chad Durbin, the bullpen looks to be doing great work, and that may be the key to this team success. Let us not gloss over the fact they have 45 wins, 4th most in their league. On top of that, they have hardly spent the kind of money on payroll the Yankees and Red Sox of the world have.
To use a tired sports cliché they have caught lightning in a bottle, and are riding out a great season. None of us expect it to last, but it just might.
- Cleveland Indians news and notes
- Joshua Lobdell.com