During a weekend where the Indians dropped two of three to White Sox, a weekend where FOX gave us the wit and wisdom of Darrin Jackson during Saturday's national telecast, and a weekend where Eddie Murray was fired, there are some good things going on with this team. CC Sabathia pitched well again, and although he doesn't have the requisite win percentage to give him the well-worn monicker of "ace," he's been the team's best and most consistent pitcher. But of course, he's a slob and he wears his hat sideways....
Grady Sizemore, who avoids walks like the plague, had a very good series, raising his average from .257 to .274. But the center fielder has taken only 10 walks thus far, not exactly what you're looking for in your leadoff hitter. His high strikeout-to-walk percentage is a red flag, especially given his propensity to swing at a lot of pitches. But otherwise, Sizemore has been as advertised; he's a good defender in center, has pretty good speed, and shows the potential to hit for power.
Speaking of hitting for power, Coco Crisp has boosted his OPS to a respectable .828, higher (for the moment) than Manny Ramirez. He's shown a surprising ability to hit home runs, something you wouldn't believe seeing him for the first time. His cutoff of Paul Konerko's single in the eighth inning was a fantastic play. He's growing on me.
Although Alex Cora was brought in to provide some insurance for Jhonny Peralta, it doesn't really appear that he's needed. Peralta, who has been pretty decent in the field, ranks highly in most offensive categories among AL shortstops. Given that he's up against guys like Miguel Tejada, Carlos Guillen, and Michael Young, that's pretty impressive. Hopefully the Wayne Kirby treatment goes away quickly.
Aaron Boone showed a pulse today. He was hitting singles the other way on Saturday and Sunday, a first step towards getting some semblance of an idea at the plate. Now Casey Blake looks worse, although this type of competition isn't one you want to see. Whoever had either on his or her HACKING MASS club has to be downright giddy right about now.
Offense hasn't exactly been a problem for Buffalo, who lost on Sunday despite scoring twelve (12) runs. Jake Gautreau had five hits, including two doubles. Brandon Phillips has gotten his average up to .261 after a dreadful start, and Ernie Young is now hitting .328. Fernando Cabrera, the one Bison pitcher not to give up a run, lowered his ERA to 0.84; he's ready.
In the upcoming series against the Padres, the Indians get to face the best pitcher you've never heard of: Jake Peavy. He's allowed only 57 hits in his 76 innings, and may be one of the early frontrunners in the NL Cy Young race. The only thing that's really missing from his resume is his win total; as Randy Johnson found out last year, voters like a large number of wins, no matter what your ERA says.