By Proloy Bhattacharyya
September 10, 2005
I lived in Cleveland for two summers not too long ago. My second year there was when they had their fire sale. Jim Thome was one of the last to go. Their argument to him was that it would take a long time before they start to contend again so that it was best to part ways.
Well, the Indians are contending in a hurry and are atop the Wild Card by 1.5 games. There is no question in my mind that these Indians are title contenders. With the questionable starting pitching of the Boston Red Sox, inconsistent hitting of the Angels and White Sox, the Indians prove to be the only team with a great balance of hitting and pitching.
Whats better news is that these Indians are lethal on the road. Their road record of 45-29 is the third best in baseball. The Indians can play small ball and they can also play long ball which makes them great in any ballpark on the road. They can run the bases and move people over in pitching friendly ballparks. They can also hit home runs in hitting friendly ballparks.
Their pitching staff is headed by lefty C.C. Sabathia and is supported by one of the best bullpens in baseball. There is no doubt these Indians are playing the best baseball. The Indians are on a 70% run spanning more than 40 games and are hitting both lefties and righties extremely well.
The one glitch to the Indians season is that they are a combined 8-18 against AL playoff teams Red Sox, Angels, White Sox. If they are going to advance to the World Series, these are the teams they are going to have to beat.