Earl Weaver believed the best way to win a baseball game was the three-run homer. The Cleveland Indians and Grady Sizemore took that strategy to heart in beating the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Thursday night. It was the Indians first series win of 2009.
Sizemore came to bat in the eighth inning after the Indians had struggled all night against Kansas City Starter Gil Meche. The Indians started hitting Meche in the eighth, but it took an error by second baseman Alberto Callaspo to allow a run to score to finally chase Meche. Enter Ron Mahay, who faced off against Sizemore in his first at bat.
Grady made him pay, and surely made Earl Weaver smile in the great baseball beyond.
Sizemore launched a slider into the right field stands, scoring Travis Hafner and Asdrubal Cabrera, to give the Indians the 5-3 victory.
Jensen Lewis and Kerry Wood rolled in and actually kept Royals from scoring. No, it's certainly not time to jump up and down and proclaim the Tribe bullpen fixed, but it's certainly a good sign. With Tony Sipp ready to claim an important role, and Lewis starting to find his zone, and the Indians may have their set-up men for the foreseeable future. Lewis got the win tonight, and Wood was sizzling, striking out two in a perfect inning to claim his third save of the season. If he stays healthy, there is no doubt that Wood is the guy this club has been looking for over the past several years. If Betancourt can somehow manage to regain form, and Perez can be fixed, and the Indians have a solid five relievers. Toss in Joe Smith and perhaps John Meloan at some point, and there could be a downright scary bullpen down the road. Of course, part of me wonders if the term "scary" pertains to good...or bad.
I've read some articles proclaiming Reyes' start as a good one. He went six innings, giving up four hits, two runs, four walks and five strikeouts. While watching the game, I can't help to feel a bit frustrated. It does appear that Reyes could be even better than those stats. I still cringe watching him throw pitches. He needs to learn to throw, and not try to overpower everyone. If he could locate instead of trying to Nolan Ryan everyone, he could become a solid #3. Until then, the Reyes Arm Implosion watch continues at the Diatribe.
The Indians welcome the Minnesota Twins into Cleveland for the weekend series. Two struggling pitchers take the hill in game one, with Fausto Carmona facing off against Nick Blackburn. I have to wonder to myself how long it's going to be for Carmona's 2007 sparkle to wear off. Hopefully, he will regain it soon, but right now, he seems to be a liability on this staff. This team could become dominant if Lee continues to roll out games like last night, and Carmona can regain form. If he doesn't, this staff just isn't good enough to go deep in the playoffs.