Second Thoughts Game #141: Indians 9, Mets 4
Tribe wins their fourth straight as offense explodes again over New York
Player of the Game: Ryan Raburn (1-for-2 with a three-run double)
Meet the Mets, meet the Mets, step right up and BEAT the Mets!
It was another offensive explosion for the Tribe on Saturday, as the team took down the struggling New York Mets for the second straight night, 9-4.
Offensively, Cleveland continues to put up big numbers scoring 17 runs over the first two games of the three-game weekend series. Scoring 27 runs over their last four games, it took the Indians their previous 10 games to match that run total.
Winners of four straight and five of their last six ballgames, they open September with a 5-1 record.
Rockin' Raburn stays rollin'
What is there not to like about 32-year old Ryan Raburn?
Going 1-for-2 with a three-run double Saturday, the outfielder continues to be the Tribe’s most productive player offensively. Driving in a run every 4.3 at-bats, Raburn trails only Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis for the least amount of at-bats per RBI in all of baseball.
That certainly tells me that come next season, Raburn certainly deserves the opportunity to be the everday right fielder over Drew Stubbs. Yes, he has thrived in his role with the rest of the Goon Squad that come off the bench, but on a team in desperate need of right-handed power, Raburn needs to be in the lineup at least five out of seven days going forward.
Personally, I’m just excited the Tribe can finally say they stole a player from Detroit.
Kluber cruises in return
It was just over a month ago right-hander Corey Kluber (8-5, 3.54 ERA) made his last start with the Tribe.
On Saturday, it looked as though he never missed a beat, earning his eighth victory with five innings of work over the Mets. Tossing 45 of his 64 pitches for strikes, Kluber surrendered just two runs on five hits in his return from the disabled list, walking one and striking out five.
He touched as high as 96 MPH on the radar gun and looked sharp even on a strict pitch count. Starting pitching continues to be the backbone of the team, even with the Indians battling injuries for vitually all of the second half.
With no timetable on the return of ace Justin Masterson (14-10, 3.52 ERA), Kluber is someone the Tribe desperately needs to remain healthy and not only step up, but continue to deliver in his place.
Maybe it’s a New York thing, but Nick Swisher has looked like a true offensive leader ever since the Mets rolled into town.
With another long ball and RBI double Saturday, the Tribe first baseman is now 4-for-9 in the series with two homers, six RBI and three runs scored. Swisher has stepped up big of late offensively, hitting a respectable .263 (21-for-80) with four doubles, five homers, 15 RBI and 11 runs scored.
He is also just three home runs away from collecting his ninth consecutive 20 homer season. One can only hope this is the sign of good things to come from the switch-hitting slugger down the stretch with the team pushing toward October.
Cabby not too shabby
I don't think there is a single fan out there who hasn't ripped on struggling shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera this season.
Prior to his three-run homer, Cabrera was hitting only .178 (23-for-129) with one home run and 10 RBI over his last 36 games. I think he surprised both fans and himself belting a clutch two out, three-run shot in the seventh inning that just stayed fair inside the right field foul pole.
Belting 25 home runs in 590 at-bats back in 2011, it took the Indians shortstop 400 more ABs to surpass that total, as he's now collected 26 homers in 990 ABs over the last two years.
With the two-time All-Star entering the final year of his contract in 2014, he needs to find a way to be more consistent if he wants to cash in and stay in Cleveland.
With another victory, Cleveland (76-65) move to just one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the final American League wild card spot. The team also gains a game against their Central Division rivals as they now sit 5.5 games in back of the first place Detroit Tigers.
Up next for the Indians: The Tribe will look to break out their brooms for the sweep on Sunday as rookie Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00 ERA) squares off against former Indians farmhand Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 10.95 ERA). Salazar owns a 1.76 ERA over his last three starts, striking out 15 in 15 1/3 innings. Dice-K has given up at least four runs in each of his first three starts of the season, serving up three home runs.
It was 18 years ago Sunday on Sept. 8, 1995 that the Indians clinched their first playoff berth in 41 years, as they defeated the Baltimore Orioles to win their first A.L. Central Division title.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.