The Cleveland Indians picked up a win to start the week and were placed in the top ten of ESPN’s most recent MLB power rankings.
The Cleveland Indians have entered what should be a relatively easy stretch of baseball. In simple terms, they are set to play their AL Central foes a lot this month.
The Indians are now six games over .500 at 35-29 and currently own a 5.5-game lead over the Tigers. The Twins are six games back.
After losing three straight to the Twins to start June, the Indians are 5-1 since then. That was good enough for the Indians to show up at No. 9 overall in the most recent edition of ESPN’s MLB power rankings.
From the article:
"Corey Kluber has taken his control to a new level. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, with his eight shutout innings Sunday he joined Paul Byrd as the only Indians in the past 100 years to have six consecutive games with at least six innings pitched and zero walks (Byrd did so from May 4-30, 2007). His active streak of 168 batters faced without a walk is the third-longest of any MLB pitcher in the past three season (trailing just Bartolo Colon‘s 204 in 2015 and Phil Hughes‘ 178 in 2014). — Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com"
Corey Kluber’s dominance has stood out as nearly unbelievable all year long, but Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger are also all pitching at elite levels. Add in some competent bullpen pitching from Neil Ramirez and Oliver Perez, and this entire staff becomes just that more dominant as the summer approaches.
The bullpen has been the one thing holding the Indians back so of course it is two cast-offs, albeit with solid experience, who end up being the ones to help the team get back on track.
Indians fans will cheer on anyone reliever who doesn’t give up runs so Perez and Ramirez are set to become saviors if they keep up the great work. And with some easy opponents on the upcoming schedule, the rest of the bullpen could gain some confidence too.
The Indians have three more games against the White Sox this week, followed by a three-game set against the Twins. I’ll be bold and predict that the team will make a significant rise in the power rankings next week. Just hoping that doesn’t serve as a jinx.