September 28, 2007

It's The Yanks

VMartinez2

By the middle of next week we'll all be sick to death of hearing that the Yankees are 6-0 against the Indians this season, and that they're the hottest team in baseball, and the trendy favorite to win it all...and we'll get down to playing the games. For four days between now and then, Indians fans will take and hold a collective breath, painfully aware that the season could go up in flames in the first playoff round. Their prize for having the best record in the league is a matchup with the hottest team, and the media darling.

But in my personal battle with my predisposition to expect the worst, I still come out liking where the Indians sit. Opening at home, and predictably still under the radar in terms of national media attention, they are playing with a deliberate, focused confidence these days. Travis Hafner's offense is coming around at exactly the right time, and the bullpen has been tough, to go along with our dueling 19-game winning starters.

That bullpen does include the occasionally flammable closer, Joe Borowski, however. He is certainly one reason Tribe fans are more than a little nervous. We remember April 19th, for one thing. Then Borowski gave up game-tying home runs on consecutive nights this week, reminding us as playoff time approaches that we've had some memorable postseason problems with that "closing" thing.

And even though the Indians got swept by the Yanks in that August series at home, it kick-started them on a 30-12 run since that day. The addition of Asdrubal Cabrera has solidified the team on offense and on defense, and may be the biggest single factor in the late-season run.

I wish it were a seven-game series instead of five, because I think Cleveland's pitching would hold up better over the long haul. I just hope we've got a little bit more of that Jacobs Field magic left that we've seen so much of again this year. There have been several times this season when it seemed we were watching a team that was getting most of the breaks for a change. We notice that kind of stuff around here.

Posted by dan at September 28, 2007 10:38 PM