In the last 28 days the Cleveland Indians team ERA is 3.33. In those 25 games the Indians have gone 15 and 10. Included in those 28 days, at the start of them, is a 3 game sweep at Atlanta and losing 2 out of 3 to the Detroit Tigers in the final series between the division rivals. The Indians enter today’s series against the Chicago White Sox up 1 game on the Texas Rangers for the second Wild Card spot and 1 game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the 1st Wild Card spot, and home field in the Wild Card game.
The Indians have rode great pitching in the month of September to a overtake the falling Rangers. The Indians have given up an average of 5.8 runs a game in their 6 losses this month and only 1.9 in their 15 wins. Ace Justin Masterson has been out of action since the second day of the month and will return to the team for this series. He will start out of the bullpen, and remain their for the remainder of the regular season to build his arm up. If/when the Indians make the playoffs Masterson will rejoin the rotation, a rotation that has been dominate in their wins since he went down. Adding a ace like Masterson to Ubaldo Jiminez gives the Tribe a strong 1-2 punch that is needed in the playoffs.
While the Indians still have to go through division rival White Sox and Minnesota Twins, they have given their team hope through their staff. One of the lessons the Indians, and their fans, learned through their run in the 90s is that pitching beats hitting in the post-season. The Indians have the ability to go with a solid 4 man rotation, however they work that out, with a bullpen that has figure it out once they all got slotted into their positions. The key will be the offense. Can Nick Swisher, Carlos Santana, Michael Bourne and Jason Kipnis put it together now that the pitching has them on the precipice of the playoffs? Time will tell but we can only look forward because of the pitching performances look back.