The Cleveland Indians have not gotten off to the great start that was expected to this season. The Indians currently hold a sub-par 35-41 record, which somehow still puts them in playoff contention in 3rd place in the American League Central division. The Cleveland Indians are led offensively, at the plate, by third-baseman Casey Blake and left-fielder David Dellucci's seven home runs apiece. Blake is a 34-year old veteran star on this team adding his experience and solid performance to this line-up with a solid 45 RBI's early in this season. Current American League strikeout leader thus far this season, C.C. Sabathia, leads at the mound for the Indians. In addition to his league-leading 107 strikeouts, Sabathia is a 3-time All-Star selection and last year's Cy Young award winner. The Indians look to carry this star-studded lineup into the playoffs if they can just pull off a mid-season turnaround to this slow start. Tickets are selling slow until Cleveland fans truly believe the Indians have what it takes to go all the way.
The Cleveland Indians started playing in Major
League Baseball in 1901, during the days of greats like Cy Young
and Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson. Since then they’ve
won 5 American League Pennants and have won two World Series
trophies. The last time the Indians were in the World Series
in 1997, they faced off against the Florida Marlins and lost
in seven games. The last time the Tribe found themselves in the
playoff was in 2001 where they lost to the Seattle Mariners 3-2
in the ALDS. Last year the Indians weren’t quite as successful
as they had been in recent years. They finished 4th in the AL
Central with a 68-94 record, 22 games out of first place.
This off-season proved to be a slow one for the Cleveland
Indians. They only made a few moves during before the start
of the season. The team picked up pitchers Jose Jimenez and
Jeff D’Amico off the free agent market. The second of
the two moves came a day before the season started. The Indians shipped troubled
outfielder Milton Bradley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Franklin
Gutierrez and a player to be named later.
Last season the “baseball gods” weren’t with the Indians’ bats.
The team only pushed across 699 runs which was second to last in the AL and 5th
to last in the majors. They also only managed to get a hit .254 of the time which
was also second to last in the AL. The guys setting the table this year, left
fielder Matt Lawton and short stop Omar Vizquel, are out to do better than their
.246 combined batting average last year. In the heart of the lineup is where
one would find center fielder Jody Gerut, catcher Victor Martinez and designated
hitter Travis Hafner. The three combined for 37 home runs and 131 runs batted
in. Finishing out the rest of the lineup are second baseman Ronnie Belliard,
first baseman Ben Broussard, third baseman Casey Blake and center fielder Coco
Even though they weren’t getting much help from the bats, the Cleveland
Indians pitching staff was pretty solid. The staff had a 4.21 ERA which was 5th
best in the American League and was 6th in the AL in hits allowed with 1477.
The starting rotation is anchored by staff ace C.C. Sabathia (13-9, 3.60 ERA
in 2003) who is only entering his 4th season. Sabathia is joined by Cliff Lee
(3-3, 3.61ERA), Jason Davis (8-11, 4.68), Jeff D’Amico (9-16, 4.77 ERA),
and Jake Westbrook (7-10, 4.33 ERA). The bullpen is lead by closer Rafael Betancourt
who accumulated a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings of relief pitching.
Jacobs Field has played host to all the Tribe’s home games since 1994.
This 43,000 seat stadium has been the setting for two World Series and an All-Star
game. What makes the stadium unique is the picnic areas in straight away center
field. From there a fan can sit and enjoy their food and beverages and also fight
for a home run ball.
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