Don’t look now, but suddenly the Indians are the hottest team in baseball and look like a team on a mission. After a month of ups and mostly downs, the Tribe has now won six in a row, pushed their record above .500 for the first time since April 3, and finally have their offense running on all cylinders. Oh, and the pitching. Talk about a turn around.
Over the course of the past six games, the Indians have had tremendous performances from their starting pitching. Yesterday afternoon was no different thanks to Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir, looking to bounce back after two less than spectacular performances, looked like the pitcher we saw during Spring Training. Over the course of 6 innings of work he allowed only 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 7 and walking only 1 batter. It was a vintage performance from a pitcher who was once regarded as one of the most dominant strikeout pitchers in the game. The Twins never really built up much of a threat, allowing Kazmir to coast with relative ease.
The offense of the Indians, much maligned in the early part of the season, continued a torrid stretch that has seen them not only score runs in bunches, but also hit the ball out of the yard at a prodigious rate. The Indians’ 37 home runs put them in fourth place in all of baseball.
Things got going in the bottom of the first when Jason Kipnis, who suddenly appears to be out of his hitting slump, homered to right center. Then, in his return to the lineup, Nick Swisher swatted a solo homer to right field. It was his third homer of the year and was a no doubter to put the Tribe up 2-0.
In the top of the sixth, the Twins scored their second run of the game when Aaron Hicks homered to left center to make it a 4-2 game. It was the closest the game would get because in the bottom of the seventh the Indians struck again. This time, Asdrubal Cabrera double home Jason Kipnis to make it a 5-2 ballgame and then Mark Reynolds singled to center to chase home Cabrera. Ezequiel Carrera added a seventh run with an RBI single in the eighth after the Twins scored their third and final run in the top half of the frame.
As previously mentioned, the win was the Tribe’s sixth in a row and pushed their overall record to 14-13. They also find themselves sitting in third place, just 3 games back of the first place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. They’ll go for the sweep this afternoon when Corey Kluber takes the mound against Mike Pelfrey.
The Good: Scott Kazmir and his 6 innings of work helped served as reassurance that he might be back to where he was before all the injuries and loss of confidence ruined his career. If he can pitch like he did Saturday on a more consistent basis, the Indians could be that much better.
Also, the resurgence of both Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera is a big reason why the Tribe offense has come back to life.
And Nick Swisher’s home run? Loved it.
The Bad: Nothing. Solid game all around by the Tribe,
The “Huh?”: This might not apply to everyone, but I was completely unaware that the Indians had reacquired Ezequiel Carrera until I saw his name in the lineup today. I definitely caught myself saying, “Huh?” on that one.