The Tribe finally comes home tomorrow afternoon. After starting spring training in the middle of February, having players come and go during the WBC and then starting their regular season on the road our Tribe roll in to Progressive Field at 3-3. Some fans may be disappointed in that record (scored 8 and lost in Toronto; didn’t score against TB’s 4 and 5 starter) and may be worried about some of the individual performances (Myers, Kipnis, Cabrera) but all in all this first week was wildly successful. Here are some quick hits on the positives of the week.
1. Santana’s carried over his WBC experience to the regular season. (.500AVG, 2HR, 5RBI and only 1 K) Obviously he won’t hit .500 all year but this is the Santana we were looking for last season that never really got going. He looks like he is figuring some things out at the plate. He is driving the ball with authority from both sides of the plate. Having him in the 6 hole should keep rallies rolling and help this team score a ton of runs.
2. Ubaldo’s 1st start (6IP, 3H, 1ER, 2BB, 6K) is only one start. It was talked about a lot during the start that he has quickened the pace of his delivery and it proved successful for one day. Now this might go out the window tomorrow afternoon but if we get that Ubaldo 30 times I’m willing to put my deposit down on a Central Division championship T-shirt.
3. Masterson matched up with the Cy Young winners from last year and beat them both. He struggled with command in Toronto but his stuff was dominant today especially his slider which he was able to throw for strikes. He had his 2-seamer under control and was able to shut down a great Toronto line-up and take care of an opportunistic Tampa Bay line-up.
4. Mark Reynolds has already provided the scary power bat this team has been missing since Travis Hafner started battling his injuries. 4 homers in 6 games including the go-ahead homer in Toronto and the bomb today in Tampa. Yes, he has struck out 6 times and a couple of times in the clutch but I think he has made up for it. If Santana continues to hit behind him he will get even more fastballs and will provide protection for Swisher.
The marathon is just beginning but even though we stumbled a little early there is still a lot of good things to take in.