Thursday, August 23, 2007

Signs of Life?

The Indians managed to take 2 of 3 from the Detroit Tigers and, in the process, push their lead in the AL Central to 2 1/2 games, the largest lead they have had since they led by 3 games on July 3rd. The Indians have won 5 0f 7 games while the Tigers have lost 6 of their last 8.

I think the more important thing is that after the debacle on Tuesday night, they showed some signs of life on Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday, after taking a 1-0 lead after the top of the 1st, the Paul Byrd and the Tribe managed to turn it into a 3-1 deficit and in seemed as if the plot of the Indians August story was going to continue.

But then something happened. The Indians actually battled back, with two outs no less. Asdrubal Cabrera continued to contribute since taking over for Josh Barfield. Casey Blake and Grady Sizemore followed that up with hits to turn that 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead. Frankie Gutierrez followed with a 3 run jack in the next inning that makes many Indians fans wonder why Trot Nixon continues to get significant playing time. The Tribe even got insurance runs courtesy of slumping Travis Hafner and Kelly Shoppach to seal the deal.

Thursday after another stellar outing by Jake Westbrook and brilliant bullpen work by Raffy Betancourt and Raffy Perez the Tribe managed to poke out 3 runs in the 10th, thanks to RBI machines Kenny Lofton and Chris Gomez, to break a scoreless tie and eventually win 3-1. Once again, the game seemed like a broken record this August: incredible pitching, no clutch hitting, letting a team hang around but this time it ended in a victory. It was one of those games that the Indians have lost, very painfully throughout August, but they managed to win today.

By no means are they out of the woods. Their schedule in September is brutal. Very few home games, two West Coast Trips, the Seattle Snow Day make-ups and a ton of games against the AL Central foes who would love to spoil the Indians season. Despite scoring 11 runs on Wednesday they still left 23 men on base. The looked completely inept versus Jair Jurrgens, who hasn't pitched above AA Ball this year and lost to the Akron Aeros... twice. Travis Hafner still hasn't gotten in gear and Victor Martinez has not found his second wind.

The Tribe heads to Kansas City for 3 with the lowly Royals while the Tigers greet the red hot Yankees in Detroit. I hear a heartbeat, whether or not the Indians can get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing over the last 36 games is yet to be seen.

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