Cleveland Indians (17-8)
The Cleveland Indians come in winners of four straight and ten of their last eleven. The starting pitching has been solid. The hitting has been opportune. And the bullpen has been fantastic, with a member of the pen picking up the W in five of their last ten wins. The team has been riding good starting pitching to keep them in games, allowing their solid yet unspectacular lineup a chance to finish teams off. The offense is still not clicking on all cylinders, but they are doing a terrific job of working counts, drawing walks and getting into the bullpens of the other teams.
Josh Barfield, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta have led the Indians over the last seven days.
Barfield is 9-22 (.409), with 3 runs scored and 3 RBI in the last week. He has also been spectacular with the glove, showing up on the highlight reels nightly with defensive gems.
Victor is also hitting .409 over the last 7 days, with an identical 9-22 streak going. Three of Victor’s hits have been doubles, and he has driven in seven runs while scoring five during the hot stretch.
Jhonny Peralta has been a slugging machine lately. While he has one less hit than the other two over the week, three of his hits have left the yard and another was a double, allowing him to slug .818 for the week. He has 11 RBI and five runs scored in his last six games.
There are two names that I do not expect to see on this list very often, as well as one I do. Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore have been held in check over the last week, but should be starting to turn it on as both got game winning hits in the last two games played. The third member of the cold list is Casey Blake. Guess which one I expect to see here most often.
Travis Hafner has only been able to record four hits in his last 19 official at bats with one home run and 3 RBI. Pronk has done a good job of accepting the fact that teams do not want to pitch to him, as he has drawn eight walks over the last six games. On a positive note for Travis, the game winning double to beat the shift was a beautiful thing Wednesday night ... and could help snap him out of this mini-slump.
Grady Sizemore struggled to a 5-23 (.217) week at the top of the Indians order. He did draw five walks and stole three bases for the Tribe as well as hitting the game winning ground-rule double on Thursday night against the Blue Jays.
Casey Blake has just four hits in his 19 at bats (.210). He scored one run and drove in two over his last five games.
Baltimore Orioles (12-16)
The Orioles are in a downward spiral, losing nine of their last 10. Their offense has been struggling, as they have only managed 3.2 runs per game during this tough stretch. Manager Sam Perlozzo mixed up his lineup, with only lead off man Brian Roberts remaining in his normal spot in the order for Wednesday’s game at Detroit.
The usual suspects, that's who. Over the last seven days, only two regulars have managed to hit at over a .300 clip. Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada.
Miguel Tejada is 10 for his last 23, for a .435 average. He has not homered in the last week and has only managed to score two runs and drive in five.
Brian Roberts went 8-23 (.348) over the last six games, scoring five runs and swiping four bases.
Game 1 – Paul Byrd (2-1, 3.50 ERA) vs. Erik Bedard (3-2, 6.09 ERA)
Game 2 – Jeremy Sowers (0-1, 4.40 ERA) vs. Daniel Cabrera (1-3, 4.50 ERA)
Game 3 – C.C. Sabathia (4-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Adam Loewen (2-0, 3.56 ERA)
Game 4 – Fausto Carmona (2-1, 3.76 ERA) vs. Steve Trachsel (1-3, 4.08 ERA)