A Royal Flush
I certainly didn't expect that. Just when you think the team has been deep-sixed, they sweep a series or two.
Was I the only one who wondered if Shapiro took Paul Assenmacher aside this weekend and asked him if he could still pitch?
Anyway, the Indians still reside in baseball Purgatory, and judging by comments by Shapiro over the weekend, he really doesn't know what to do, either. There's really only a couple of teams ready and willing to deal their proven and expensive veterens before the week is out, and judging by what they're trading and what they want for them, you're better off just sticking with what you have. In a couple years, the Indians may just overpay for a Kris Benson or Eddie Guradado. But I just don't think the Indians are at that point yet. You can produce "what-ifs", mostly concerning the bullpen (or lack of one), all you want, but frankly, a lot has gone unexpectedly right with this team that you have to temper your enthusiasm a bit. Until Matt Lawton tweaked his hammy, not one of the main cogs in the lineup have missed any appeciable time. Of the pitchers, only Jason Stanford and Bob Wickman have been hurt. Compared to last year's MASH unit, that's peanuts.
With the Twins trying deserately to get out of their own way, and the White Sox losing Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez within a week, winning the division doesn't really seem that far-fetched. There. I said it. I've tried to make excuses as to reasons why the Indians aren't good enough to at least make a run at the AL Central, and the team has obliterated them one by one. Horrific bullpen? No problem - we'll just win in extra innings! Scott Elarton's the 5th starter? No problem - We'll just bring up Chad Durbin, and he'll pitch a complete game! Weak bench? No problem - Lou Merloni will be a more productive first baseman than Jason Giambi!
At some point, you have to throw up your hands and join the keg party. There's still real issues with this club that Mark Shapiro has to address after the season, but when you're chugging, you don't really care how bad the hangover is.
Oh yeah...Grady Sizemore is pretty good. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a jello shot calling my name....