Another strong outing from Paul Byrd backed up by superb bullpen support from Aaron Fultz, Rafael Betancourt and Joe Borowski keyed a 5-3 win for the Indians as the took yet another series, 2-1, this time against their interleague "rival" Cincinnati Reds.
Jhonny Peratla and Josh Barfield continue to heat up as both delivered clutch hits and it was an overall team effort to secure the series win. Fultz and Betancourt worked out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the eighth inning by giving up only one run.
Peralta, Sizemore and Garko led Friday night's barrage as Sizemore continues to be hot. As Clif Lee was solid yet unspectacular. Hafner seemed to get on track a bit but I do still wonder when he will "explode" this year and go on a tear of 2006 Pronk-like proportions.
The only major causes for concern are young Jeremy Sowers whose ERA swell to 7.13 for the campaign after his 7 run, 6 inning performance on Saturday, and Fernando Carbera who gave up another 3 runs (1 earned) in 1/3 of an inning in the same game. Sowers is going to make the Fausto Carmona decision an easy one in a few weeks when Jake Westbrook is slated to come of the DL. Jeremy Sowers will be headed to Buffalo if he doesn't start to get in gear.
Andy Marte was activated off of the DL and Franklin Gutierrez was optioned to AAA Buffalo. But in a smart move it was announce he will split time at 3B with Casey Blake who has been hot since moving back to third base and into the #2 hole in the batting order. Marte will start against lefties with Blake moving to RF allowing Ryan Garko (with a sprinkling of Pronk and Vic) to man 1B full-time. If it ain't broke don't fix it. And for a change Eric Wedge has decided to follow that philosophy.
Tomorrow: Make up game #1 of the Snow Series from April against the Mariners before heading off to Kansas City for the start of a 9 game road trip against the Royals, Tiger and Red Sox. A true test of just how good the Indians are.