Cleveland at Toronto, 1:07 PM (STO)
Cleveland: C.C. Sabathia (10-8, 3.22 ERA)
Texas: Shaun Marcum (2-3, 5.69 ERA)
Here we have two starters who each made six starts in the month of August. One guy gave up 20 earned runs in 31 innings, with 19 strikeouts and 17 walks. The other guy gave up 10 earned runs in 48 innings, with 43 strikeouts and 7 walks. So I'm looking at something of a mismatch this afternoon, and I'm thinking about how the Indians have won 18 of their last 24 games, and I'm thinking about all these hot-hitting, energetic, loosey-goosey rookies.
And I have to say, I don't like it one damned bit.
Oh, sure, it's nice to see that what some of us were saying all along is being proven out just a little bit -- namely, that given even a halfway-decent bullpen, these Indians can be one of the best teams in the game. (And don't be taken in by all the nonsense about "new blood." As a group, the new guys aren't playing any better than the old guys, though they are a hell of a lot more fun to watch.)
But all this winning at a .750 clip ... it's just no good. It's going to raise expectations for the team in 2007 -- and we know what the Indians have done with raised expectations the last couple of years. That's right, a whole lot of nothing. Not to mention, all this winning is going to screw up our shot at a Top 15 draft pick, which is hard to get if you finish above .500. (Top 15 picks are protected from the compensation system -- even if you sign the best free agent available, you still don't lose your first-round pick.) After an incomparably disappointing season, don't we deserve a first-round pick and a nice free agent? Hell yes we do!
So speaking only for myself, here's hoping these rejuvenated Indians still have one more nice little losing streak in them before the season's out. Maybe they'll save it for the last week of the season -- just like last year. Keep those draft picks high, keep those expectations low. It sure worked for the Tigers.