Sunday marked the first game in an Indians uniform for Grady Sizemore in nearly a year. He quickly reminded everyone why he was a fan favorite. In his second at bat, he hit a home run to right field. He ended the game with a double, a home run, and an RBI.
It was a great start for Grady, as he hit in the leadoff spot. He replaced Michael Brantley in the lineup, but Brantley was only getting the day off. He will surely be in the lineup on Monday in Kansas City. The ones who will lose their playing time are Travis Buck and Austin Kearns. With Grady’s return, they will be bumped in the lineup because of Brantley shifting to left field.
Grady’s return was thought to result in either Buck or Shelley Duncan being sent to the minors. This was not the case as Mitch Talbot was sent to the DL with an elbow strain. He will be replaced in the rotation by Jeanmar Gomez until he returns.
The game itself had more excitement than just Grady’s return. The Indians got on the board early with a Carlos Santana home run in the second. It broke his 0-23 slump, and should give him confidence going into the series with the Royals. Grady hit his home run in the third to put the score at 2-0.
Fausto Carmona allowed 5 hits in the game with 2 runs, only 1 being earned. In the fourth, he allowed a run off of a double play groundout by Derek Lee. He would not allow another run until the seventh inning. This was unearned because Choo made an error in right, which allowed the runner to go to third. A sac fly was hit and the runner, Derek Lee, went on to score.
Carmona has been impressive ever since his opening day debacle. He has only allowed 3 ER in his last 3 starts, and picked up his first win of the season on Sunday.
The Indians scored their last two runs off of a Travis Buck single in the fourth, and a Travis Hafner home run in the sixth. Home runs by both Grady and Pronk in the same game are a great sign for Indians fans. This brings back memories of the good ol’ days back in 2007.
Chris Perez picked up his fifth save of the season, which puts him one behind the leauge lead of 6 held by Mariano Rivera and Huston Street.
The Indians are currently 11-4 and up 1 game on the Royals in the AL Central. They head into Kansas City for a four game series starting Monday. The season is still young, but this series will determine who leads the AL Central early on. An early season division lead can set the tone for the rest of the season.