First I'd like to quote The Diesel from yesterday's "In the Dugout" show on Detroit's AM-1130 WDFN: "Remember when Shaq rapped to Kobe "tell me how my ass tastes?" We'll I'd like to say to Mr. Illitch, Dave Dombrowski, and the $130 million Detroit Tigers a question; How you likin' fourth place?"
Seriously, our beloved Wahoos, losers of 10 in a row at the end of May, a team that traded its #1 starter (CC Sabathia); lost its #3 starter to Tommy John Surgery after just 5 starts (Jake Westbrook); lost its #3 and #4 hitters for more than three months each (Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez); traded it's third basemen during a career year (Casey Fake); and traded it's #5 starter in the midst of his best stretch of the year (Paul Byrd); have rattled off 10 straight wins while putting themselves just two games below .500. They have jumped 1.5 games ahead of the Motor City Quitties.
Remember those days in April and May where it seemed every game was lost 3-1 or 2-0? They seem like they happened in a different season. Rick Manning on last night's STO telecast pointed out that in the offense was ranked last in the AL through the all-star break, yet in the last 42 games, is averaging over six runs per. Remember when we all said this team had no power? In the three game sweep of the Tigers, the Indians hit nine homers.
Kelly Shoppach has 17! That would be the same number of pizzas as David Ortiz has in 34 less at-bats. Or Ken Griffey Jr has in 142 less at bats. What about Magglio Ordonez having 16 HR's in 173 more AB's tan the Shop Vack? Or Bobby Abreu's 16 dingers in 225 more at-bats? I could go on and on.
More numbers to chew on came in Paul Hoynes' PD game story:
-They've won 16 of 19 to climb from last to third in the AL Central.
-They are 28-16 since trading Sabathia
-It's the closest they've been to .500 since May 21st when they were 22-24
-The 10-game winning streak is the first of it's kind since April of 2002
You can say it's much easier to perform when there is no pressure. You can say that the Indians have caught bad teams on the downslide during this run (Royals, Texas, and Detroit), but 10 straight is impressive, no matter who is on the field against you. Six of these 10 wins were on the road. Zach Attack Jackson started two of these games. David Dellucci was in the lineup for six games, Andy Marte for seven.
Need we say more? We've said this before and we will say it again, where was this in May and June?