Fans of any team, no matter what, when, or where, should never be satisfied with a fourth-place finish. But due to a second-half surge of five wins in a row, the Tribe seem destined for better things then the bottom-feeding position of last place in the American League Central Division. With Asdrubal Cabrera back in the lineup on Tuesday, and fellow outfielder Shin Soo Choo set to return on Friday, the Tribe will get the assistance they need to at least be competitive for the rest of the year. Perhaps the rough portion of their season is past us.
Clutch pitching from the normally overworked bullpen has got the Tribe going. Timely hitting has got them the runs they need. Right now, the Indians are arguably playing their best baseball of the year, and perhaps the All-Star break benefited them more then any other team in the league. When a team such as the young Indians can take their mind off of loosing for a few days, the end results can be stunning. A four game sweep of the second-place Detroit Tigers could be just the beginning of what is to come.
We don't need to explain that Shin Soo Choo is the Tribe's best player. He would have been their All-Star representative if not for the sprained right thumb injury he suffered. He has been on the disabled list since only July 3, and was said to be out for six to eight weeks. Once he returns to the lineup, everyone else will be bumped down a spot in the lineup. This is a luxury for manager Manny Acta.
Also, the Tribe will have Asdrubal Cabrera back not only at shortstop, but at the top of the order. It seems that the days of Trevor Crowe and Anderson Hernandez leading off innings for the Indians are gone. Caberea and Choo, followed by Carlos Santana makes for a legitimate threat in the first inning.
Two of the Indians' first three batters can switch hit. Anytime that a manager can insert something such as this into his lineup, it is a luxury that not many coaches are blessed with. The Tribe's pitching has been decent lately, with Fausto Carmona going to the All-Star Game, and Kerry Wood actually being able to nail down the ninth inning like he did previously in Chicago.
The Tribe is only a half-game out of fourth place, so the Tribe are certainly in the Kansas City Royals' rear view mirror. The Royals have lost seven of their last ten games when the Indians have won seven of 10. The tide is turning. The Indians are no longer the bottom of the AL Central!