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Indians Friday news and notes: What's the deal with the pitching staff?

The Indians have been getting some stellar starts later, but is there more than meets the eye behind their recent success?

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians are on a bit of a winning streak (if you can remember what those are). That makes gathering MLB news all the more pleasant. Here's what's going on in the sport that most of America is ignoring in favor of some other dog-and-pony show:

Last night's game: Indians 9, Twins 4

Asdrubal Cabrera had a big day as the Tribe finished out its series with the Twins having taken three of four games. The Indians went 5-2 on the recent homestand, but could have been 7-0 if John Axford didn't poop the bed twice.

Other Indians news

The Indians paradoxical pitching staff | Fangraphs - The Tribe's pitching staff appears to be unlucky. They lead the league in strikeouts, but look bad by many other traditional pitching stats. The gulf between team ERA and FIP makes it clear that the defense is to blame, right? In fact, much can be explained by the hard contact the starting five have allowed.

Indians starters deserve more from the rest of the team | Did The Tribe Win Last Night? - Other writers see the pitching staff differently, albeit less analytically. As we've all noticed, the rotation has been pitching very well lately, but Laurel Wilder at DTTWLN thinks the rest of the team is still holding them back.

Aviles knows his role, and shuts his mouth | - Mike Aviles hits game winners, plays wherever the team needs him, and grinds like no other. Also, interestingly, his Wednesday walkoff was exactly three years after his first career walkoff against the Royals on May 7, 2011.

Santana's bat is cold, but defense at hot corner is impressive | - Carlos Santana has gotten so good over at 3B that even Mike Aviles is impressed. Nick Swisher loves his play, too. And speaking of Swish, he's got a new nickname for Danny Salazar: Sala-star.

Should The Chiz get some starts against lefties? | Wahoo's On First - Ed Carroll and Steve Kinsella debate whether or not Lonnie Chisenhall deserves to get some starts against lefty pitchers. I don't know about you all, but the case against him starting against lefties is pretty weak.

Around the league

Baseball's best new rivalries | Sports On Earth - Everyone is tired of Red Sox/Yankees. So which are the most exciting new rivalries to look out for? And did the Dodgers really pee in the Diamondbacks' pool?

The end of V-Mart's streak | Fangraphs - Victor Martinez went 641 plate appearances without striking out looking. His last looking K before the streak came at the hands of Matt Albers.

Samardzija tells off Cubs FO re: pitch counts | Chicago Sun-Times - Jeff Samardzija got a little huffy when the Cubs front office raised some reds flags about his 126-pitch performance on Monday.

Foul Odor afoot at 2B for Rangers | Hardball Talk - With an infield bit by the injury bug, the Rangers have turned to 20 year-old prospect Rougned Odor to take over at 2B.

Yankees to retire Torre's #6 | CBS Sports - And after the Captain retires, no future Yankees will be able to wear a single-digit number.

Why the knuckle-curve has become so popular | Fox Sports - Over 25% of the curveballs thrown in 2013 were thrown with a knuckle-curve grip.