Baseball is a game of unexpected results and outcomes, and Sunday afternoon was full of unexpected moments.
After losing the first game of the doubleheader 6-5, due in large part to a poor outing by Bob Feller, three home runs by Joe Dimaggio and leaving the tying and winning run in scoring position to end the game, Cleveland came back to win the second game 5-1. The Indians used Don Black’s best start of the season and four double plays to defeat nemesis, southpaw Ed Lopat.
The day didn’t go as originally planned, but earning their first win of the season against the Yankees and a split on the day in front of 78,431 fans was good enough for manager Lou Boudreau.
May 9, 1948
The Indians endured yet another sour start, but used a fine effort from the bullpen and a late rally to steal the second game of the Sunday doubleheader, 9-5. Cleveland used three more home runs to ignite the rally.
The two victories match the two wins posted by the Philadelphia Athletics today, leaving the Tribe in a virtual tie in the standings. Cleveland is a half-game behind in the standings, yet because of playing three fewer games, the Tribe has a .714 winning percentage to Philly’s .706.
April 27, 1948
Entering the season, the Cleveland Indians were aware that their major question mark was their starting pitching. After five victories, the questions remain and even might have grown.
At the top of the rotation, Bob Feller and Bob Lemon have combined for three quality starts. Feller shutout the St. Louis Browns last Tuesday in the home opener and beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Saturday. Lemon threw a complete game of his own in the Indians’ first game in Detroit, a 8-2 victory.
April 26, 1948
Finding a hero is difficult for the Cleveland Indians after Monday’s 12-11 come from behind victory at Comiskey Park.
Finding a hero is difficult because they had so many deserving candidates, including Lou Boudreau’s five hits, Eddie Robinson’s 14th inning home run, Russ Christopher’s five scoreless innings in relief, Ed Klieman’s three scoreless before Christopher and Bob Feller coming out of the bullpen to end Chicago’s rally in the final inning.
April 22, 1948
On Tuesday, the Indians rode always-reliable ace Bob Feller to a two-hit shutout and 4-0 victory in the home opener over the St. Louis Browns. Feller’s domination over the always lowly Browns was no surprise.
The question for the Tribe and its rotation is what remains behind Feller.
Cleveland will send Bob Lemon to the mound Friday afternoon in Detroit at Briggs Stadium against the Tigers in their home opener. Lemon is hoping to make considerable strides as a pitcher this season and emerge as a strong second pitcher behind Feller.
When the Indians take the field this afternoon, the likely largest opening day crowd ever will see a team with many changes from the 1947 season. Even this morning, manager Lou Boudreau still is uncertain of his starting lineup.
The new look Cleveland Indians have 14 new members on the team from a season ago. The Indians will look to improve upon their 80-74 record from a year ago that landed them in fourth place in the American League, 25 games behind the World Series Champion New York Yankees. With rumor of Boudreau possibly being traded last offseason, the Indians have higher expectations than a mediocre finish.
April 19, 1948
When the Indians take the field tomorrow afternoon to open the 1948 season, Mel Harder will begin the season in the same place he has every year since 1937 — on the bench. However, this year it likely will be a different feeling than he’s ever felt before, yet one he has demonstrated comfort in for years.
If No. 18 strides to the mound tomorrow, it won’t be in relief of Indians ace Bob Feller, it will be to offer advice or talk strategy. After 20 seasons in an Indians uniform, this year Harder no longer is on the active roster; he is in his first year as the Tribe’s pitching coach.