Six weeks after reaching that mark, the Indians have made it back to ten games above .500. And it's a good thing that they picked the past two weeks to get hot, as they've needed every win to keep pace with the surging Oakland A's (and for the moment, the Angels).
Tonight the Indians didn't need any comebacks in order to get the victory, but they did need a couple of stellar defensive plays to keep the game out of reach. Coco Crisp's diving grab in the 5th prevented the Royals from making a four-run lead a two-run lead.
Crisp might be the best defensive left fielder in the AL, and he's hitting well to boot. In my forthcoming WARP report, he ranks second in the AL among qualified left fielders (caveats do apply though, since Hideki Matsui didn't qualify). Having Crisp and Sizemore in the same outfield has been an unsung advantage for the Indians, and especially for the flyball pitchers.
Sabathia didn't look that impressive, but he did work himself out of a couple jams (with help from the aforementioned outfielders). His numbers with runners on are horrible, so maybe he's having problems with his delivery out of the stretch. As always, CC's stuff looks great, but his mechanics have been inconsistent.
And color me confused as to what's happening with Ben Broussard and Jeff Liefer. Liefer started the game at first, and was pulled for Broussard in the eighth. I guess this is some weird offense/defense platoon, but is Liefer really much of an upgrade, especially since both are left-handed? First base seems to be the weak link right now, as Boone and now Blake are hitting better, but I can live with a Broussard/Hernandez platoon for the rest of the season. I'd much rather have a right-handed outfielder on the team.