In 2007, the Cleveland Indians were one game away from the World Series, as they held a commanding three games to one lead over the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. Well three games later, it was the Red Sox who were on their way to the World Series and a world championship, while the Indians were left heading back to mediocrity.
That off-season, Cleveland had to dump several of their big name players, like Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia, or risk losing them to free agency the following year and getting NOTHING at all in return.
This year, a lot of the prospects they acquired back then are finally starting to come into their own.
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A look at Cleveland's roster makes me think back to the movie Major League, and a question asked early on in spring training by an Indian's fan. "Who are these guys?"
Well "these guys" are a team built on un-established youngsters and has-beens. So how are they off to such a good start? In a word: Pitching. The Indians have given up an average of just over two runs per game in their last eight. Justin Masterson has come in as the number three starter and provided two great performances, holding a solid White Sox lineup to one run in seven innings, and holding the Mariners to one run in six and a third innings. Not to be outdone, the number four starter in the rotation, Josh Tomlin, has given Cleveland two wins of his own and posted a very respectable 2.63 ERA along the way.
It's not just the starters leading the way for the Indians either. The bullpen has also been red-hot to start the season. Chris Perez, who took over as the closer last year when Kerry Wood was traded to the Yankees, has been perfect coming in and shutting the door, notching four saves without allowing a run. In addition to Perez, set-up men Rafael Perez and Tony Sipp are a combined 2-0 and have yet to give up a run.
Now I know there's still a whole lot of baseball yet to be played, but at least early on, this bunch is giving the city of Cleveland something it hasn't had since a certain basketball player bolted last year. HOPE.
And who knows, if these guys somehow manage to pull off the impossible, maybe someday someone will make a movie about the Cleveland Indians!
Ohhh wait. That's already been done.
Well, at least we know Charlie Sheen is currently available.
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