Monday, September 12, 2005

Why the Indians have a chance

I like baseball. I've been following the Cleveland Indians for ten years, practically since I've lived in NE Ohio. This is a young and exciting team that as of this post has the lead in the AL wild card. I've been fortunate to go to several games this season, both in Cleveland and in Chicago, Seattle, and New York. It's fun to follow the team at the away games!

With three weeks left in the season, the precarious one game lead over the Yankees and one and a half game lead over the Athletics could disappear in a hurry. But here's why this scrappy team has a chance. They are only number one in one major pitching category (see below) but rank in the top six of several other important offensive and pitching categories. For example, they are number 4 in the league in runs scored, number 5 in home runs, and number 6 in batting average.

Rafael Betancourt, one of the Indian's relievers, retires the last batter of the game Sunday night.

The pitching has done really well this season as well, with the starters' ERA at 4.10, putting them at number 5 over all among AL starting pitchers. The bullpen, however, is the best in the league. A fantastic 2.87 ERA puts them at the top, anchored by Bob Wickman with a league-leading 39 saves.

The Indians swept a three game series with the Twins Sunday night, pushing them 8.5 games back in the wild card race, and practically ending their playoff hopes.

So, when you take a team with stats like the Indians, not number one in everything, not dominant in slugging percentage with big boppers like Boston, or four amazing starters like the White Sox, but very good in almost every category, it adds up to a team with a lot of wins. Right now, they are 20 games over .500, and they're giving the AL big-budget teams a run for their money!