Wahoo Baseball Excites

By Michael Reghi

You’ve heard my Indians mantra for 2011 many times over the past two months…. “I am cautiously, guardedly optimistic that this edition of the Tribe will show marked improvement over the 69-93 version of 2010”.  Meant it when I said it, for many reasons. Now, a 7-2 start and on a seven game win run?! Wow! Growing up in a hurry are the Wahoos!

Let’s look at the main reasons for the April spurt.

** 1. You pitch… you give yourself a shot! Tribe starters have been superb following the first two games of the year. Quality starts in abundance! Justin Masterson has been lights out, masterful, in his two wins, while Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco rebounded from their poor first outings with strong efforts. 19th round draft choice Josh Tomlin has given quality performances as the ‘4’, while Mitch Talbot looks to stabilize the rotation as the ‘5’. Toss in the back end of the bully, with Tony Sipp getting the baseball to Chris Perez, and the formula has been ultra successful.

** 2. Manager Manny Acta has pushed all the right buttons, with an aggressive, execution strong offense that will need to play ‘little’ ball many nights to win. That they have done! Moving runners over, being aggressive on the bases, delivering runners from third base with less then 2 outs. It all adds up to playing winning baseball that puts a defense on notice. The eighth inning in the win over Boston to sweep the vaunted ‘Sawwwx’ was textbook! A lead off walk to the number 9 hitter, (A no-no Josh Bard!!), and bang!!! Stolen base, sac bunt to move to third, and then the outstanding daring of Acta, along with superb execution of the suicide squeeze from Asdrubal Cabrera, and the Tribe pocketed a 1-0 win. Now, I ask you, how unlikely has that been in years gone by? Very!!!! Great to see Acta prod and demand his Indians play the game in a manner that does pressure the opposition! Keep ’em guessing Manny!!!

** 3. You pick up the baseball… you keep your pitching staff happy!! How many times in the past two 90 plus loss seasons, have infield defensive lapses spelled disaster? Too frequently! Say what you will, yet GM Chris Antonetti should get plenty of ‘atta boys’ for the acquisitions of both Orlando Cabrera and Jack Hannahan. Add utility infielder Adam Everett to the mix, and while many of you Tribe fans ho-hummed it, Antonetti greatly stabilized his infield defense behind a pitching staff that needed that injection of protection from their gloves. The boys are ‘pickin it’!

** 4. Balance the order, boys!!! With Grady Sizemore not involved yet, many felt there would be some obvious holes in the Tribe’s offensive attack. Not so! Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera have been table setters, with Asdrubal showing pop with the 3 home run bombs. Shin Soo Choo, after the tough first week, has shown signs in Seattle of staying on the ball better, and the base hits have followed. Carlos Santana is a flat out professional hitter, while Travis Hafner has shown the ability to turn on pitches and drive the baseball! Can Pronk give this club 90 RBI plus in 2011? Needs to shed the thought that he’s turned into an opposite field singles hitter without any power, He has produced right on time to this point. Over the long haul is the Hafner, and thereby the Indians, determinant to that question. All Indians fans spirits would be buoyed by a season long Hafner sighting in the middle of the order.

Bottom line? Even the most ardent dissenters must take a closer look. The schedule shows just one home series in the next four, as Baltimore comes calling next weekend. Trips to Kansas City and Minnesota follow. Keep an eye on how the Tribe plays in the division in April and May. If they conquer the first two months, and make many of you want a closer look, suddenly the summer months set up as reminiscent of the days when the yard in downtown Cleveland was rockin’!

Yep, I’m still cautiously and guardedly optimistic about this edition of the Tribe. And doesn’t that beat the hell out of the alternative? Enjoy the daily ride! Guarantee it’s one you’ll enjoy with a baseball team that desperately wants to get you on board!

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3 Comments

  1. Laporta still the righty key (?). Raffy Perez’s rebound has been huge. It is more fun following the dwindling ERA’s on the staff rather than batting stats. Masterson may be a Dave Stewart type who went like 2-17 one year for Oakland and develops into a CY candidate shortly after. Funny how he had no K’s in the first game and 9 in the second outing…yes, screw the “social media” crap Reg !

  2. The team is a joy to watch right now. Solid pitching in all aspects: starting, middle relief and a closer that gets it done and can tweet out quotes from Lou Brown (the gruff speaking manager of Major League movie fame) , good fundamental baseball and multiple guys stepping up with timely hitting.

    What is hard to listen to is a long winded radio host with a chiming magpie from Pittsburgh that decide that us listeners want to hear them both verbally rip up a listener named the Bostonian, a guy in his late 60’s that Roda likes to talk over and hang up on and then cackle about it. Well played Roda – NOT! Aaron must be paying attention to you, the way he typically handles callers. Speaking of Aaron, I am NOT going to subject myself to listening to him EVERY show like he was yesterday saying “the Tribe is going to lose tonight”…for no good reason.

    How about we decide to enjoy a much improved Tribe team that got so many guys back from injuries, executed a few solid fill in free agent signings, had some younger guys mature and get better and are playing hard for a manager that in my opinion can amnage circles around Wedgie!

  3. Can’t blame Roda for hanging up on the “blowhard” Bostonian ! Agree with your Hammer take though.


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