Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 27, 2006

If there's a #1 reason to be skeptical about the Indians this year, it's that in 2005 they had three seriously subpar offensive players at positions that should have produced a lot of runs - Ben Broussard at first base, Casey Blake in right field, and Aaron Boone at third base - and haven't replaced any of them. I noted this in my AL Central preview.

Through tonight's 8-RBI rampage by Broussard, however, the two of the three who had hit well in 2004 - Broussard and Blake - were off to a torrid start, .407/.661/.444 for Broussard, .351/.527/.429 for Blake. That could be a good sign - these guys aren't old, so they do still have the possibility of running off a year like 2004 again, and if they do that, the Cleveland lineup gets pretty scary. Plus, if one of them had to struggle out of the gate, best it be Boone, since in Andy Marte they already have an upgrade waiting in the wings. Of course, not everyone else in the Indians lineup is killing the ball yet - Ronnie Belliard's been mediocre, and Jhonny Peralta and Jason Michaels are way off their previous paces. And it's early yet; those hot starts could become a millstone if Broussard and Blake sink back to last year's level in slow stages until it's too late to do anything about them. But for now, it's an encouraging start.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 10:24 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

I agree with you. As I was watching the game tonight, I thought how I'd hate to face that lineup in late September or October with even a few of them hot. If Hafner gets any protection, he could easily have a better year than last year, which is scary.

Posted by: jinnmabe at April 28, 2006 1:59 AM

Yeah, it was pretty scary watching the Red Sox get tattooed like that last night. Cleveland and Toronto both have scary offensive production right now.

The Sox seemed to downgrade the offense a bit in the offseason in pursuit of more pitching and defense, but one of those pitching acquisitions is getting lit up right now to the tune of 6 home runs in his last two starts. Ugh.

Still, a hot April start will level off - many have hit .400 in April; none have done it for the year since Ted.

Posted by: Giacomo at April 28, 2006 7:29 PM
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