Browns’ Taylor Still Likes Tribe for Pennant
Mike B. | On 16, Feb 2014
Despite being three and a half games back and in third place with just 18 games to play, St. Louis Browns’ manager Zack Taylor thinks the Cleveland Indians have little to worry about.
“I just wish we were in the spot they’re in. I wouldn’t be doing too much worrying.”
The Tribe took two games from St. Louis yesterday in commanding fashion. After 4-1 and 9-1 victories over the Browns, Taylor thinks the Indians still are in control of their pennant pursuit because the Boston Red Sox do not play well at home.
“The Red Sox aren’t such a tough ball club away from Fenway Park and they have a road trip coming up,” Taylor said. “Cleveland looks like a different team than the one that was in St. Louis a week ago. They certainly seem to be over whatever was ailing them.”
After today’s game with Philadelphia at Fenway Park, the Red Sox head west to begin a 13-game road trip. Boston will head to Chicago before visiting St. Louis next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. After stopping in Detroit, the Red Sox will visit Cleveland for a game before concluding with three in New York.
Taylor thinks the Red Sox offense does not play nearly as well on the road as it does at home with the aid of the Green Monster. However, Taylor thinks the Indians can beat the Red Sox at their own game in regards to right-handed power. Cleveland is the team leader in batting average and home runs this season. The Tribe has already set a team record for home runs in a season.
“A lot of people talk about Boston’s right-handed power but I think the Indians would bounce more balls off that left field wall than the Sox do if it was their home park,” Taylor said. “A the beginning of the season I called the Indians a big inning club and they’ve been that against us.”
“We just weren’t in that second game at all,” Taylor continued. “Couldn’t even get started against Bob Lemon, but we haven’t had much success against him all season.”
Yesterday Lemon won his 20th game of the season, joining the likes of Bob Feller, Mel Harder and Johnny Allen to turn the trick in last dozen years. Excluding that recent group, no other Indian has won 20-games since Wes Ferrell did it in 1932. Lemon’s win yesterday gave him a victory against every team in the league, including three against Boston.
“Another thing that has impressed me is the way Cleveland’s replacements have come through.”
Thurman Tucker has been filling in for Larry Doby in center field since Friday. Doby is battling an injured right hand. Tucker has cracked six hits in 13 at bats in the last two days, including a triple and two doubles. He’s driven in five runs, scored four more and made 10 plays in center field.
Wally Judnich has played first base in place of Eddie Robinson the last few days. In replacing him, Judnich has come through in the clutch, including driving in two runs in the first inning of Lemon’s victory yesterday.
With just three weeks remaining in the season, we’ll see if Taylor’s prediction proves right.