Cleveland (WOIO) - Can't say that I didn't see this coming, because I did. I've blogged repeatedly about how solid this Indians team is...how the clubhouse energy is contagious...and how Terry Francona just adds a special element to a ball club.
32 games in, the Indians are a season-best four games over .500. Nobody's setting up a parade route on Euclid yet, but the differences between this season and years past is glaring. Last year, and the year before, they started out hot, but you had the feeling it just wasn't sustainable. Last year, they were waiting on stars who just couldn't stay healthy. Last year, you looked at the lineup and saw Lopez and Hannahan and Cunningham and Lillibridge. Last year, they just didn't have enough.
This year, the additions of Swisher and Reynolds and Bourn and Giambi stole the spotlight, and why not? They're already paying dividends. But it's the bench that'll help the Tribe stay in the race long term. Ryan Raburn and Mike Aviles have already made significant contributions. Not to mention Yan Gomes, who looks like he could be the starting catcher for half the teams in the league, but obviously can't beat out Carlos Santana, and may end up back in Columbus just so he can see the field and continuing developing.
It's early May. The Tigers are on deck, and they, too, are different from a year ago, in that they've actually busted out of the gate. But I predicted 91 wins for this team back in March, and I'm not budging. It's going to be a fun summer at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.