Thursday, August 16, 2007

Someone's knocking at the door

The Tribe heads to Tampa Bay for the weekend, finding itself – somehow – tied for first place.

Opportunity appears to be along for the ride as the Indians make their way to the tropics, although some would say it has been banging at the door knocker for a month now with no one bothering to answer.

The Tribe’s Central Division rivals, the Tigers, find themselves in the early phase of a 13-game stretch which will see them play Cleveland and New York exclusively, first on the road then in Detroit.

As we well know, they find themselves 1-1 so far in this rough stretch. Plus, they picked a really bad time to have a team-wide outbreak of the flu.

Meanwhile, the Yankees have a similarly tough fortnight ahead. They begin a block of 14 games against Detroit (home and away), the Angels and the Red Sox.

After pounding the daylights out of the ball for more than a month, the Yanks were shutout by Baltimore Tuesday and came damn close again Wednesday until Shelley Duncan’s three-run, ninth-inning blast that temporarily tied the game.

During their next nine games, the Tribe, in addition to three games in Detroit, will be playing Tampa Bay and Kansas City on the road. They then come home to Minnesota and the White Sox, with one game against Seattle thrown in.

While Tampa can put up the runs, and Kay Cee seems to be able to as well against the Tribe, the pitching staffs on those last-place clubs – particularly the Rays’ staff – may be just the salve needed to heal the Tribe’s wounded offense.

Of course, the Indians are not without their own worries beyond the general punchlessness of their bats. They seem to be shooting craps with Travis Hafner and his wounded knee (and hamstring). And Ryan Garko came out of last night’s game with what appears to be a minor leg injury as well.

The Indians have blown a chance to put daylight between themselves and the Tigers over the past few weeks, and squandered the lead they had over the Yankees for a wild card spot.

The schedule makers have given them an opportunity for a do-over. Let’s hope they get it right this time around.

Someone's knockin' at the door,
Somebody's ringing the bell,

Do my a favor,
Open the door and let 'em in -- Paul McCartney

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