Here & There; This & That
It was nice to wake up this morning and see the Cleveland Indians sitting atop the standings in the American League Central after beating Kansas City in the opening game of a six-game home stand.
OK, the Tribe is tied with Chicago and Detroit, but first place is first place.
Much like last year, the Indians have overcome a slow start and built a solid winning streak to move to the top of the division. After starting the season at 1-4, the Tribe has won eight-of-10 with a combination of solid pitching and clutch hitting.
The biggest surprise has been third baseman Jack Hannahan, who is hitting .364 so far this season. He also leads the team in RBI with 13, is currently on a seven-game hitting streak and is seven-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
“Jack doesn’t try to hit home runs; he’s thinking middle of the field,” Indians manager Manny Acta said in published reports. “He gives himself a chance and stays within himself instead of striking out. He gives us a professional at-bat. He’s been around and has the experience. He’s already been huge for us.”
Not bad for a guy who some believed would lose his starting job to Lonnie Chisenhall in spring training.
As for the clutch hitting, the Indians have now scored exactly have their runs (39 of 78) with two outs.
The only real negative, if you want to call it that, to the start of the season has been the attendance. After the typical 43,000+ on Opening Day, the Indians have averaged just a little more than 11,000 fans a game and the last three home games have all seen less than 10,000 in the stands.
But that has to come with a caveat: other than opening weekend, the Indians have not played a weekend game and the abbreviated two-game series with the White Sox was plagued by bad weather.
If the Indians keep playing the way they have, the fans will come back.
A few thoughts on the eve of the NFL Draft.
If the Browns take LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne with their first pick on Thursday, they will be the first team since Baltimore to select two cornerbacks in the Top 10 within three years.
The Ravens selected Duane Starks in 1998 and Chris McAlister in 1999. In 2000, the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
We’ve been on the Claiborne train since the end of the season in January (even if we did originally confuse him with Tyrann Mathieu; what can we say, the Christmas Ale was flowing freely that day). Pairing Claiborne with Joe Haden seems like a good way to deal with having to face Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton twice a year.
Supposedly, the Jets like Alabama running back Trent Richardson but won’t (or can’t) trade up for him.
Supposedly, the Dolphins like Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill but won’t trade up for him.
Supposedly, North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been taken off “a number” of draft boards. If the Browns felt the need to select a pothead, we’d still rather they take a chance on Jenkins than waste a pick on Ohio State’s Mike Adams.
Finally, unbelievable that both Real Madrid and Barcelona are out of the Champions League.
(Photo by The Plain Dealer)