The Glass is Half Something—Random Thoughts from the Month of September
Steve Eby | On 28, Sep 2013
“It’s hard to win a pennant, but it’s harder to lose one.” —Chuck Tanner
Wow. This has certainly been a fun ride.
No matter what happens, this is a team to be proud of. Hang your hat on the Indians, Cleveland…they deserve it.
The Indians are the second most improved team in baseball behind only the Boston Red Sox and have proven to be the best show in town. Hopefully this fun ride isn’t going to end any time soon, but even if it does Cleveland has something to be extremely happy about.
SCREW YOU, GQ
Not everybody feels the same way, evidently.
In its October issue, the magazine GQ listed its idea of the worst franchises in all of sports. The top three included (3) the Chicago Cubs, (2) The Detroit Lions and (1) every Cleveland sports franchise.
Having this article (which is not worth linking to…don’t give GQ any internet traffic) pop up on my homepage feed, it got me wondering what in the world GQ magazine was actually about. According to Wikipedia, it is “an American monthly men’s magazine focusing on fashion, style, and culture for men.”
Let me just ease Cleveland sports’ fans pain a little…if the magazine is one that focuses on fashion, style and culture for men, then it’s not reliable on any topic that real men care about anyways.
The Tribe certainly has had a flair for the dramatic all season, being dramatically awesome at times and dramatically horrible at others. This is the streakiest team that I can remember and luckily for Cleveland fans they have never been hotter than they currently are.
Yes, the Indians have beaten up on weaker opponents like the Mets, White Sox, Astros and Twins—but they have only done exactly what they needed to do. The Indians have baseball’s best record against sub-.500 ballclubs and may drive into the postseason because of it.
The Indians have double-digit walk-off victories this season as well, getting the biggest one down the stretch in Tuesday’s victory against the White Sox. Jason Giambi’s big fly punched his ticket as an all-time Cleveland favorite, guaranteeing himself a standing ovation every time he walks into Progressive Field for the rest of his life.
The ballgame itself was also perhaps the most exciting regular season game since the turn of the century. The only other regular season contest that can even rival it in my mind was the 12-run comeback against the Seattle Mariners in 2001. It was THAT good.
THANKS, I GUESS
The only reason that Tuesday’s ballgame was so good (and not just another boring victory) was because Chris Perez was kind enough to give up two homeruns in the top of the ninth inning to blow the Indians’ advantage and give the White Sox the lead. Perez allowed the fans to get their money’s worth and see perhaps the most dramatic homerun of the decade because of him generously raising his ERA.
Talk about a team player.
In all seriousness, though, Perez should never throw a pitch for the Cleveland Indians again. Perez struggled again two nights later, allowing Minnesota to get right back into the ballgame on Thursday night. Terry Francona removed Perez as his closer the following day, all but ending his time on the lakefront. Perez is arbitration eligible this offseason and is a perfect candidate to be non-tendered. Don’t even waste your time thinking about a trade, as 29 other franchises have seen how Perez is a cancer, a headache and a terrible pitcher in crunch time as well.
I hope that the Detroit Tigers give him a serious look for next season, but I doubt that they will.
REALLY GOOD THINGS
The best part about the Indians September success—besides all of the wins and the potential playoff spot—is the fact that they are getting production from spots in the lineup that had been major disappointments all season long. Nick Swisher and Asdrubal Cabrera have officially broken spring training and joined the team this month. Cabrera has batted .277 with five homeruns since September 7, while Swisher has hit .296 with six bombs over the same stretch.
All season, fans have been screaming that the Tribe would be a contender and a winning team if these two underachieving stars would shine as bright as expected. Now, in the season’s final month, they have and so has the team.
In addition, Michael Brantley is the hottest hitter on planet Earth, compiling a batting average around .400 for the month. That seems to have helped a little as well.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Saturday’s and Sunday’s contests for the Indians are scheduled to feature Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez (who has also been phenomenal lately). They will oppose Twins starters Cole De Vries (0-1, 11.70) and Scott Diamond (6-12, 5.54), respectively. The two Minnesota/Cleveland contests are not the only games that matter, however, as Tribe fans will have to keep their eyes on the Rays and Rangers as well.
Pitching matchups for these games are as follows:
Go Tribe, go Jays, and go Angels.
Matt Albers, Mike Aviles, Brantley, Cabrera, Matt Carson, Giambi, Yan Gomes, Jimenez, Jason Kipnis, Corey Kluber, Ryan Raburn, Carlos Santana, Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith and Swisher. I really thought about putting the entire team on here.
Perez. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
SEPTEMBER MVP: Brantley
SEPTEMBER CY YOUNG: Jimenez
Photo: Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer