The Indians, even with their difficulties in the first two games of the season before breaking through with a win on Sunday against Chicago, are actually in a better "place" right now then their next opponent, the Boston Red Sox.
Boston went to Texas to start the season and were swept by the Rangers in three games and already find themselves three-and-a-half games behind the surprising East-leading Orioles, and perhaps more importantly, already two-and-a-half behind their ancient rivals, the Yankees. The Red Sox are tied for fourth -- and last -- with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Game one of this three-game series will be a battle of the Josh's. The Red Sox will send their ex-ace, Josh Beckett, while Cleveland will counter with Josh Tomlin.
Tomlin, in twelve appearances last year, went 6-4 with an ERA of 4.56 in his first season in the majors. Tomlin was named the Indians' fifth starter late in training camp but will jump ahead of Mitch Talbot this turn around. Talbot will pitch tomorrow night, becoming the fifth starter "for a minute", at least.
The Sox' Josh Beckett was the ace of the Boston staff before having an injury-hampered 2010. Beckett, who has a career mark of 112-74 and an ERA of 3.96, struggled last year with a bad back and went 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA in only 127.2 innings.
Boston was outscored by Texas 26-11 in their series in Arlington, while the Indians were outscored 24-20 by Chicago. But for those who expect that the Indians have an advantage over a winless team -- many (including me) still feel as if the Red Sox will represent the American League in the World Series this season.
These three games will be a good test for the Indians. It would be wonderful to get all three, but I would be happy with two and a .500 record before heading to the west coast starting Friday.