Monday, August 25, 2008

Who are these guys?

The Tribe completed an impressive series in Texas by taking all three games over the weekend. And that was on the heels of a sweep of the Royals at home last week. Overall the Tribe has now won 7 straight and is 15-7 in the month of August. They have also swept two consecutive road series, something the team hasn't done since the 2005 season. And they were 20-38 on the road prior to those two sweeps. All of this leads me to a couple of questions: 1) Who are these guys? and 2) Where have they been all season?

"This means a great deal to us," Wedge said. "We want to finish with the best record and as high in the standings as we can. It's about pride. It's about competitiveness."

Friday's 7-5 win featured a strong start by Fausto Carmona to earn his sixth win of the year. And Saturday's 8-7 win included a comeback from a 7-1 deficit. Then last night's 4-3 win had some more clutch hitting from Franklin Gutierrez (.328 BA, .955 OPS, 3 HR, and 12 RBI in August), a great start by Anthony Reyes (7 innings, 1 ER, 4K), and even some nice bullpen work from beleaguered reliever Rafael Betancourt.

A sight for sore eyes - Raffy Righty nailing down a save

So what does all this mean for the Tribe? Who knows. Maybe it's just the ebb and flow of a long season. Maybe it's the fact that all the pressure is off now and they are finally relaxing. But their recent hot streak is impressive when you consider all the changes to the line-up and pitching staff. Who knows how long the good play will last, but they have gotten themselves in position now to finish at least .500 if they can go 19-14 down the stretch. And considering where they were a month ago, any Tribe fan should be happy with where they are now. They move on to Detroit for a three-game series where they will look to leapfrog another team in the Central (only 1.5 behind the Tigers now!). Zach Jackson will get the start for the good guys tonight.

Other Tribe Notes: Sheldon Ocker says the Tribe's recent winning is a group effort. And Kelly Shoppach's play behind the plate is giving the Indians some options for the future.

Cavs Update: Call him 'Le-Bronze' no more. LeBron was able to shed that ridiculous moniker yesterday and now it's time to "witness gold" as he said in his post-game interview. LBJ led Team USA to the gold medal in Beijing with a 118-107 victory over Spain.
The moment he received his medal, James reached down, grabbed it and stared at it. He held it inches from his eyes and just gazed at it, transfixed. And when they handed him a bouquet of red roses, he held them to his nose and inhaled two huge breaths, the sweet smell of victory filling his nostrils and lungs.

And hopefully everyone noticed that the King was the one that started the nice gesture by being the first one to hang his gold medal around Coach K's neck and encouraging his teammates to follow suit. I have a feeling this isn't the first championship that LBJ will be winning, and I think this experience will only help to propel him in his NBA future.

Browns Update: I won't go too much into the Browns' lackluster preseason loss in Detroit on Saturday. In fact, I didn't even see one snap of their "dress rehearsal" for the season since we had a family commitment that day. I know there are a lot of worried Browns fans out there, and I'd be lying if I said I was comfortable with us opening up against the Cowboys in less than two weeks. But the fact remains that the Browns have been very shorthanded the last couple weeks, and the injuries are certainly hurting their preparation for the opener. The good news is that maybe we will be seeing a shorter preseason soon. I know I'm getting tired of shelling out $45/ticket for two games I don't even bother to attend.

Don't forget about Tony Grossi's Monday podcast at noon. You will likely be able to hear a lot of Browns fans being talked off the ledge today.