CLEVELAND — It’s good to be up at Progressive Field reporting on the Indians, baseball’s most surprising team this season, even if it did take a 1-hour, 35-minute rain delay until the game against the Tampa Bay Rays started here Tuesday night.
The Tribe’s AL-best 22-11 record to start this homestand has been unexpected for just about everyone. To get where Cleveland is at, it’s taken many amazing individual efforts.
There are lots of players doing better than most thought they would, but here are my top five surprises for the Indians to start 2011:
5. Orlando Cabrera – Hold off the retirement part for the 36-year-old baseball vagabond. He’s all about getting clutch hits and knocking in runs, hitting .276 and ranking second on the team with 20 RBI.
4. Jack Hannahan – I doubt if most baseball fans had even heard of Hannahan, a .228 career hitter, when the Tribe inked him as an offseason free agent. However, the free agent has been rock solid at third, hitting .263 with four HRs and playing solid defense.
3. Travis Hafner – I admit it, I’ve been counting down the days until “Half a Hafner” had his huge contract off the Tribe’s payroll as his production had bottomed out in recent years. However, now he’s more like a whole Hafner again, leading the team with a .347 batting average and ripping the ball once again.
2. Josh Tomlin – Was 6-4 as rookie, already 4-1 with 2.43 ERA this year. Who saw that coming? Not I.
1. Justin Masterson – Improved from 6-13 last year to 5-0 with a 2.11 ERA. Didn’t see that one coming either. Wow!
Those are my biggest Tribe surprises, what are yours?
Category: Cleveland Indians