So the Indians can occasionally look like a good team.
In actuality, Cleveland's been getting good starting pitching the last couple of weeks. CC Sabathia had been the only starter struggling in the month of June, and he pitched one of his better performances last night. The problem has been the offense, more specifically the players subbing for Jason Michaels and Casey Blake. The Big Four (Sizemore, Peralta, Hafner, and Martinez) have been excellent in the month of June...
But the Indians' run production has fallen off in June. They now rank fourth in the AL in runs scored, and sixth in average. Chalk it up to losing Casey Blake and Jason Michaels, or the ultra-deep American League, but scoring runs was how the Indians won in April and May, and now they're relying more and more on their starters to shoulder the load. Which, in theory, should have worked. Heck, even the defense has gotten better; the Indians now rank 21st in baseball in Defensive Efficiency.
It is nice that they're becoming a more well-rounded team, and in a lot of divisions, they'd have a chance to make a second-half run. But consider this: the Minnesota Twins won their fourteenth in sixteen tries last night, and have gained a total of one-half game on the division-leading Tigers. Since division play began in 1969, no two teams in a division have won 50 out of their first 75 game. Until this year. In other words, the AL Central is baseball's best division, and it isn't particularly close.
The Aaron Boone Era is rapidly drawing to a close. Andy Marte is now hitting .316/.373/.711 in the month of June with nine home runs, and with the trading deadline approaching (and Andy Marte's first arbitration year looking more like 2010 than 2009), Boone is probably the next veteren to go, whether via trade or the waiver wire. There's other possibilities, like Ronnie Belliard, Bob Wickman, Ben Broussard, and even Jason Michaels, but the Indians have a replacement at third base that's just about ready.