Tag: Fausto Carmona

Roberto Hernandez: Will Complete Game Keep Him in Tampa Bay Rays Rotation?

Roberto Hernandez earned his pitchers’ leap with his complete-game victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday night. The Tampa Bay Rays pitcher’s last complete game came in 2010.

The performance comes amidst rumblings about the Rays moving to a four-man rotation, as per Michael Periatt of MLB.com, since the way that the remaining schedule is laid out provides four days off in 12 days. The team could go all the way through the month of August needing a fifth starter as little as twice.

In that scenario, Hernandez is likely the odd man out.

With this in mind, Tuesday night looked like, and could very well still be, Hernandez’s last start for the Rays for a while. His outstanding performance, though, could make the Rays at least temporarily reconsider any adjustments to the rotation.

While an optimist can see the value that a top-performing Hernandez can contribute to the rotation, it would come down to either he or Chris Archer being bumped from the rotation. Right now, Archer has the edge.

Sending the rookie pitcher back down to AAA-Durham is not highly likely, due to his recent high performance including two complete-game shutouts in his last three starts. Archer’s other start was a seven-inning outing where he only surrendered one earned run against the New York Yankees.

The team could decide, following Tuesday night’s game, to continue with a regular schedule and allow the rotation to get extra rest heading into the final stretch of the season. With David Price coming off the disabled list recently and the youth of Archer and Matt Moore, rest could be beneficial for the team if the productivity can remain.

Even if the team ultimately does not go with a four-man rotation, the return of Alex Cobb places another challenge to Hernandez’s spot in the rotation. Cobb is currently in the process of pitching in rehab games as he works towards returning from the concussion he suffered when he took a ball to the head against the Kansas City Royals on June 15.

It is a very likely scenario that Hernandez, Cobb and Archer will be fighting for two spots in the rotation at some point in the next four-to-six weeks.

Hope he enjoyed Tuesday night.

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Cleveland Indians: Two Straight Losses Cause Fans to Hit Panic Button

The Indians dropped their second game in a row today in Minnesota, losing 10-3 to the Twins.  While two losses in a row may not seem like a big deal to most, many Indians fans are starting to worry.  Immediately after the game was over, numerous comments on the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s website were blasting the Indians.  One person predicted over 90 losses while another called for a players only meeting.

Let’s calm down here Tribe fans.  I know we don’t handle success very well.  And I know most of us have just been waiting for the extended losing streak to bring the Indians 2011 record back to what we thought it would be.  Yet, I really don’t take too much stock in these last two losses. 

The loss Thursday night in Kansas City may have been painful, but it was also understandable.  The Indians had a 2-run lead going into the 8th. It was raining and cold in Kansas City.  Not exactly ideal pitching conditions.  Chris Perez blew the save in the 9th, giving up two runs on a single by Melky Cabrera.  The two earned runs off Perez were the first runs of the year for him in over seven innings of work.  I am far from worried about him.

Today, the Indians got lit up by the Twins in Minnesota.  Fausto Carmona looked off from the first inning.  It was Fausto’s third loss of the year in five starts.  But looking at those starts deeper makes them look a lot better.  His ERA is inflated because of his opening day blowup against the White Sox.  Today he also gave up a lot of runs.  However, in his other three starts he only gave three earned runs total. 

Carmona’s two terrible starts had a common theme: extremely cold temperatures.  It is well known that Fausto is a warm-weather pitcher, as are most sinker ball pitchers.  Today’s start wasn’t a sign that Carmona is lost again, it was just a product of the rain out yesterday and the weather today.  Nothing to get too worried about.

What we should take away from these last two losses is the positives.  Alright, I admit, there wasn’t many positives to see today, but at least Grady Sizemore homered again.  Thursday night, we saw Josh Tomlin throw an absolute gem.  He has looked fantastic so far in 2011.  Today, the Twins got a lot of perfectly placed hits.  They had some bloopers that fell in and some infield hits that were near impossible to field.  Those things are always inconsistent. 

The Tribe can still win tomorrow and go 3-3 on the road trip, a trip in which they should already have their three wins because of the rain-induced blown save in K.C. on Thursday.  Even if they do lose again tomorrow in Minnesota with Carlos Carrasco pitching against Carl Pavano, they will still be 13-8 coming home for six games against the Royals and Tigers.

The Indians have lost two games in a row, I realize that.  We, as Indians fans, tend to panic as soon as any little thing goes wrong.  If someone would have said back in March that the Indians would be five or six games over .500 after 21 games, many Clevelanders would be jumping for joy.  Let’s not panic yet.  Let’s go out, hope for a win tomorrow in Minnesota, then come home to Progressive field and win at least four of the six games against the division rivals K.C. and Detroit. 

If the Indians come home and lose more than four games out of the six to the Royals and Tigers, then it may be time to consider the first few weeks a fluke.  But, hey, look at the bright side, the Indians do avoid Justin Verlander next week in Cleveland, who always looks good against the Tribe,so maybe the luck is turning around already and the Indians can keep up the hot start and carry it into May.

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MLB Opening Day 2011: 10 Things We Learned About the Cleveland Indians

The Indians honored the memory of Bob Feller before their Opening Day game today.

If only they had honored it with their play as well.

It was a rough game for Tribe fans, as the Indians fell to the White Sox 15-10 on a frigid Opening Day. I was afraid for a while that I might actually get frostbite on my toes. The Indians came out cold, allowing 14 runs to the White Sox in the first four innings. Despite the late comeback, today’s game still counts as a loss in the standings and wasn’t the beginning any Tribe fans were hoping for. We watched the White Sox get encouraging signs (Buehrle’s effective work, Dunn fitting right in) while we watched our team get destroyed.

It may be just the first game, but there was plenty to draw from the game today. Here are 10 things we learned about the Indians today on Opening Day 2011.

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2011 Cleveland Indians Preview: Hope and Potential but Will the Tribe Contend?

It has been almost four years since the Indians last finished a season with record of .500 or better. The last time, in fact, was 2007, when the Indians won the AL Central with a record or 96-66. Since that time it has been all down hill for the Tribe,  81 victories in 2008, 65 in 2009, and 69 in 2010. Had it not been for a hot 7-3 finish the Tribe would have finished in the AL Central basement for the second consecutive season.

Bad news for Tribe fans: this season may not be much better than any of those.

Gone are the Cy Young Award winners and the sluggers of yesteryear. They have been replaced with the words; hope and potential.

The hope is that the potential will finally show this season.

Players like Matt LaPorta, Justin Masterson, Mitch Talbot, and Carlos Carrasco all have unlimited potential, but have only shown it in spurts.

LaPorta has been the most disappointing thus far in his short career. The key player in the CC Sabathia deal, LaPorta in 162 games as a pro (52 in 2009 and 110 in 2010), has hit 19 home runs with 62 RBI while hitting a lowly .232.

Masterson, who was the key to the Victor Martinez deal, is entering his second season as a full time starter, and has shown that he can be a very good starter at times though his 7-20 record with the Tribe would show otherwise.

Talbot and Carrasco will enter this season with a chance to prove that they belong as they will be full time members of the rotation.

There is hope though as players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana, and especially closer Chris Perez have shown the ability to be all-star caliber cornerstones.

With that here is a look at the way this 2011 campaign may go for our Tribe.

Projected Rotation

1. Fausto Carmona (2011 projection 14-15, 3.89 ERA)

2. Justin Masterson (12-15, 4.60 ERA)

3. Mitch Talbot ( 11-12, 4.01 ERA)

4. Carlos Carrasco (9-12, 4.55 ERA)

5. Josh Tomlin (10-12,  4.20 ERA)

Overview: The starting rotation may be the weakest part of the club. Carmona, the veteran of the group, may also be the most speratic of the bunch. After having a great 2007, where he went 19-8, he followed with 13 wins in the next two seasons combined. Last year, the 6’4” righty bounced back having a very good season, despite finishing with a 13-14 record. Masterson, as I stated earlier, is a wild card. He is very capable of establishing himself as a quality starter in this league, he just hasn’t quite figure out how to do it consistently, yet. Talbot began last season strong with a 3.99 ERA in the first half of the season, but was much less effective the second time around, with a 5.29 ERA in the second half. Carrasco, who was acquired from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee deal, will be given his first opportunity to be a part of the rotation for a full season, along with fellow righty Josh Tomlin who looked impressive at times with the big league club last season.

It seems that the key to improving the weakest part of the club is maturity, and with maturity, let’s hope consistency isn’t very far behind.

Closer: Chris Perez (2011 projection 4-1, 1.89 ERA 35 Saves)

Overview: Perez was lights out last season finishing with a 1.71 ERA. To put that into perspective, The Sandman, Yankee closer Mariano Rivera finished with 1.80 ERA. Perez has the ability to be a dominating closer in this league for years to come. He has the moxy, the make up, the insanity, and the arm to be a great closer in C-Town, and I project this will be a huge breakout year for the big righty out of The U.

As for the rest of the bullpen, Vinnie Pestano will be given his first chance to be a quality contributor to a major league squad, and will join Frank Herrman, Rafael Perez, and Tony Sipp in what could be a very good bullpen for the short and long term.

Projected Lineup

1. Grady Sizemore, CF (2011 projection .270 12 HR 50 RBI)

2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS (.310 9 HR 44 RBI)

3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF (.320 26 HR 95 RBI)

4. Carlos Santana, C (.299 27 HR 93 RBI)

5. Travis Hafner, DH (.266 19 HR 63 RBI)

6. Orlando Cabrera, 2B (.289 8 HR 45 RBI)

7. Matt LaPorta, 1B (.240 20 HR 60 RBI)

8. Jason Donald, 3B (.273 12 HR 59 RBI)

9. Michael Brantley, LF (.287 9 HR 41 RBI)

Overview: The lineup has many spots that, if potential is filled, can give the Tribe a formidable lineup for years to come (or until there is a good time to trade them). Sizemore and Donald will begin the season on the DL, and when they come off will immediately make the team better. In Sizemore’s absence Brantley will play CF, and hit lead off which will mean Austin Kearns will begin the season most likely in RF. Donald was well on his way to being the Indians opening day 3rd baseman (though prospect Lonnie Chisenhall outplayed him) during spring training only to have a hand injury shut him down for the immediate future, in his spot journeyman Jack Hannahan will get the reps at the hot corner. The 2-3-4 hitters, Cabrera, Choo, and Santana are the heart of the lineup with each player showing that he is highly capable of hitting over .300, while Choo and Santana have shown the power to hit 25 homers or more. The wildcard’s in the lineup are Hafner and LaPorta. Hafner who in 2006 hit 42 homers and had 117 RBI, has not come close to those numbers in the past few seasons, due to injuries and loss of bat speed. LaPorta, as I stated earlier, could break out this season, and the Indians are hoping that is the case, but he just has not shown the consistency to make me believe that will happen. The more I see LaPorta the more I believe he is AAAA player. The type you see who kill AAA pitching but struggle in the big show.

Season Projections:

  • Carlos Santana will pick up where he left off and have a very productive season
  • Santana and closer Chris Perez will be All-Stars
  • Hafner will start slow but then show improvement down the stretch
  • Prospect Lonnie Chisenhall will start at 3rd for Tribe by August
  • Sizemore will look like the Grady of old, but not until late in the season
  • The team will finish 76-86, fourth in the AL Central

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Breaking Down the Starting Five: Did Acta Make the Right Rotation Choices?

Manny Acta named Josh Tomlin the final starter for the Cleveland Indians on Friday, March 25th as the Tribe optioned Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff, Tomlin’s competition, to Triple-A Columbus. 

Much has been made about who the starting five should be in 2011, with Cleveland being loaded with lots of young talented arms. Rumors also circulated linking Cleveland to free agent pitchers such as Jeremy Bonderman and Kevin Millwood.

Ultimately General Manager Chris Antonetti decided against it and the Tribe stuck with their in-house candidates. 

The result is Fausto Carmona taking the ball on opening day, with Carlos Carrasco, Justin Masterson, Tomlin and Mitch Talbot following him.

The one issue is that all five pitchers are right-handed, so did Acta get it right?

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Ricky Vaughn to Come out of Retirement, Pitch for Cleveland Indians


The Indians got a bit of surprising news this morning when former Indians ace Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn announced that he was planning a comeback to Major League Baseball.

Vaughn was quoted as saying the come back is all about “winning and bi-winning.”

It was welcome news to a pitching staff that was a combined 69-93 with a 4.30 ERA in 2010.

The 45 year-old pitcher broke into baseball in 1989 with a terrific rookie year. Discovered in the California Penal League, Vaughn’s raw talent earned him a spot on the Indians spring training roster.

He had some control issues early, but once corrected, he anchored the rotation that also featured Cy Young award winner Eddie Harris. 

On why he decided to come back: “It’s always kind of bothered me that I retired a year before the Indians made their run in the 1990s.  When Lou [Former Indians Manager Lou Brown] died, I had to take a serious look at my life,” Vaughn said. “I called Jake [Taylor] and we got together over the offseason and started working on some stuff. You know, getting back into shape.”

He has also been working out with former Indians Gold Glove Award winner Willie Mays Hayes.

The workouts have been intense, but that has not deterred Vaughn: “I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man.” Hopefully that Tiger Blood will translate into victories for the Tribe.

With an inconsistent Fausto Carmona as the opening day starter, there are a lot of questions heading into 2011. There is some promise with the likes of Justin Masterson, Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot, all under 28 years old. None of them are proven starters.

Ricky Vaughn has said he’d like to compete for a job as a starter, refusing to entertain the notion that he would be relegated to bullpen duty.

When asked about the Indians pitchers, Vaughn clarified by saying, “They’re the best at what they do and I’m the best at what I do. And together it’s like, it’s on. Sorry, Middle America [American League Central].” That kind of positive thinking will be a welcomed addition to current skipper Manny Acta.

Slow starts have plagued the Indians in recent years. If Ricky’s aging arm can stand up to the rigor of a full MLB season, this might be the year they get it turned around. Wild Thing was not ashamed when he talked about what he expects from the upcoming 2011.

He said “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.”

Not everybody is drinking the kool-aid. The groundskeepers at Progressive Field in Cleveland were quoted as saying “They’re still sh**** [crappy].”

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MLB Trade Rumors: Seven Pitchers the Yankees Should Acquire Instead of Liriano

With the recent trade talk involving the Yankees going after the Twins’ Francisco Liriano, who should the Yankees be going after instead?  

While I think the Yankees acquiring Francisco Liriano would be a great benefit to the starting rotation, it is bound to come at a high price (Jesus Montero and several of the young Yankees pitching prospects) for a pitcher who will be either the number two or number three pitcher. 

Even though Liriano is the best pitcher currently available in the trade market, there are others who are available that would cost less (in terms of money or prospects).

Why are the Yankees even bothering to get another pitcher? Don’t they have a bunch of young prospects and former Major Leaguers they signed this offseason? Yes, but the Yankees always want to win and in order to do that you need a solid pitching rotation, not one with a solid number one pitcher followed by four question marks.

If they can shore up just one more rotation spot before the season starts, they’ll feel better overall about their chances.

I came up with a list of seven players, some are targets the Yankees stand a better chance of acquiring, others are long shots that will have to wait till at least June to see if they’re even available and two are still free agents.  

Let’s start with the free agents available because they wouldn’t cost the Yankees any prospects and thus would cost the Yankees the least. 

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MLB Preview 2011: Ranking the AL Central’s Starting Rotations

A good starting rotation can cure many ills, and with the AL Central up for grabs like it normally is, whoever assembles the strongest rotation could easily take the division come September. There is some real pitching talent in the division, but we’ve also lost three of the last four AL Cy Young Award winners (CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Zack Greinke).

At the end of the year, whichever rotation fares best will probably get a chance to strut their stuff in the postseason. With that, let’s take a look at how the AL Central’s rotations stand up to each other.

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2011 MLB Exclusive Interview: Cleveland Indians’ Chris "Pure Rage" Perez

Cleveland Indians fans have had, to say the least, a rough few years. The Tribe haven’t been able to win more than 69 games the last two seasons and 2008 only saw a .500 winning percentage. Trades and injuries have changed the vibe in Cleveland from when they won the AL Central in 2007. But even with this fall from grace, Indians fans can look to a brighter future, starting with their closer, Chris Perez.

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with TheFantasyFix.com. I know our readers would love to know a little bit more about yourself.

TFF: Did you play other sports growing up? 

CP: I played soccer, basketball, football, volleyball and pretty much anything else that involved competing. When I was about 13, I concentrated solely on baseball.

TFF: While growing up, were there any professional baseball players you tried to emulate?

CP: Yes, Frank Thomas when he was with the Chicago White Sox. He was one of the most dangerous hitters during that period and his spring training was in nearby Sarasota, so I got to see him quite a bit. I was also a catcher most of my life and I really liked watching Pudge Rodriguez (he’s still playing!) because he had the best arm I’ve ever seen.

TFF: Being a catcher must really help you understand the Pitcher/Catcher relationship.

TFF: What did you major in at “The U?” Ideally, what would you like to do after baseball?

CP: My major was criminology with a minor in anthropology. Ideally I wanted to be an FBI profiler. If you ever watched the TV show Criminal Minds, that is exactly what I wanted to do.

TFF: On a side note, as a former Hurricane, how do you feel about the Al Golden hire for the football team?

CP: I have a little mixed feelings with the Al Golden hire. On one hand, he won at Temple which is hard to do. On the other, he really doesn’t have a very long coaching track record at the D-1 level. So I really hope he is the guy, because he’s young enough to be there for a very long time. I guess I’m a optimistic pessimist.  

TFF: Well being an optimistic pessimist is definitely the best kind. 

TFF: Early in your career you represented Team USA Baseball. Can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

CP: I’ve had the enjoyable experience of playing for Team USA twice; once on their collegiate National Team in ’05, and on the World Cup team in ’07. Both experiences are something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Playing in the MLB is awesome and very special in it’s own right, but to play for Team USA and have the Stars and Stripes across your chest…there’s nothing like it. To be part of two select teams is pretty humbling. The time in ’05 was really fun because everyone was in college and we got to travel to Japan and Taiwan. We were pretty much on vacation with a little baseball thrown in. The time in ’07 was more business-like. We were a mixture of older and younger professionals, some with major league time, there to win the gold medal. We also went to Taiwan and participated in the IBAF World Cup of baseball. We ended up winning the whole tournament for the first time since the ’70’s.

TFF: What was it like being a first round pick? Did you have to deal with lots of pressures? People treating you differently? Asking you to borrow a few bucks?

CP: I have a really strong family and was fortunate that no one came to ask to borrow a few dollars. I don’t think I personally had any more pressure on me because I was a high pick. There was more pressure on me because I was always the youngest player on my team. I also had pretty good seasons so I kind of let my play do the talking.

TFF: How did it feel getting traded so early in your career? Did you feel betrayed by the Cardinals or did you know that it was just part of the game?

CP: I knew it was part of the game, but I was totally shocked that I was traded because I was so young. When I first was told of the trade my initial reaction was happiness and excitement. But as the day went on I started to realize that I was leaving behind a great organization in terms of fan support and tradition, but more importantly I was leaving behind a lot of friends that I had made coming up through the minors. It was also a great feeling that a team thought so highly of me and I knew I would have a tremendous opportunity with Cleveland.

TFF: Which guys on the team have you become the closest with since coming over from St. Louis? Any noteworthy jokesters in the Indians clubhouse?

CP: I’m pretty close to the whole bullpen, we are a family within a family. We all have similar interests and likes and really pull for each other during the season. We have a couple of funny guys on the team, Shelley Duncan and Frank Herrmann come to mind.

TFF: Kerry Wood really gave you a roller coaster ride in 2010. It must have been hard having a veteran breathing down your neck. Tell us about that.

CP: It would have been a lot more stressful if Kerry wasn’t such a good guy/teammate. Woody was great for all of us; we really looked up to him and tried to learn all we could from him. I told him a couple of times that I vividly remember the game when he struck out 20 Astros. I watched the entire game on WGN. So there was definitely respect there. I really didn’t have a problem wondering when he was coming back, or if he was going to be traded. I concentrated on myself and pitching as best as I could so that if something did happen I would get first crack at the closers’ role.

TFF: In your first full season in the AL you improved in virtually all possible statistical categories. What will you do differently in 2011 to continue improving and not let hitters get a read on you?

CP: I’m going to try and do the same things I did last year because I didn’t trick anyone; I went out there and got ahead of hitters and made tough pitches when I needed to. I also had a little luck, which never hurts. The way I approach hitters, I pitch to my strengths and adjust to what they do. I throw a lot of fastballs and read how the hitter is adjusting to my speed/location to see if I need to throw a slider or change locations. If I go out there and hit every spot all season long, I will have a great season. That’s the challenge of the game—you are challenging the hitter and your own self with trying to hit all of your spots.

TFF: How differently do you prepare now that you’re a closer, than when you were in middle relief? Different pitches, different mindset, etc?

CP: You probably won’t believe me, but as the closer, hitters are a little more patient, except in one-run games. So I try and throw the first pitch of an appearance right down the middle to get ahead. Other than that I really try to pitch the same in any role…dominate, be aggressive and attack the hitter. Now when guys get on base, it’s totally different trying to protect a lead as the closer vs middle relief. As the closer you sometimes have to navigate a lineup and pick out your best option to attack to protect a lead.

TFF: Have you embraced your nickname “Pure Rage”? It’s kind of like the modern day “Wild Thing” for the Indians.

CP: I’m cool with it. I think if you asked anyone that is close to me, the nickname definitely doesn’t fit me. Off the field, I’m pretty laid-back and easy going. On the field I’m more serious, quiet and focused. When I’m pitching that’s really the only time I have “Pure Rage.” I like to compete, but I love to win. Actually I hate to lose more. That’s what keeps me coming back, to compete and win at the highest level.

TFF: Have you ever played Fantasy Baseball? If so, how did you do?

CP: I’ve played twice, once in high school and once in college. Honestly it took too much time to do, so I never really enjoyed it. I would always forget to change my pitchers, or someone I started would get a day off, so I would always lose. I appreciate it though, because it really does bring in more fans and helps keep fans close to the game.  

TFF: Well, we and your fans appreciate that you appreciate us. 

TFF: What are your goals for this season? How about some stats projections…

CP: My main goal is to stay healthy. If I’m healthy I know I will have a successful year. Stats-wise I can’t really predict how many saves I’ll have because it really isn’t up to me. I’ll try to predict my blown saves at 3—2 in the first half and 1 in the second half. I think I will also be able to get a few more strikeouts this year by making better two-strike pitches and by mixing in a few more change-ups.

TFF: We so figured you would say zero blown saves! 

TFF: Other than Fausto Carmona, which Indians starter should we expect the most out of in 2011?

CP: I’m going to say with the four that are guarantee spots: Carlos Carrasco. He has the ability to throw four pitches for strikes and three of them are plus. He looked totally different last September than he did in ’09. As a dark horse look out for Anthony Reyes. He’s totally healthy now and has good velocity. He has a nice break to his slider and always has that change-up. I’ve played catch with him a few times and he looks/feels totally different. 

Thanks again Chris. You were a great interview and we at The Fantasy Fix wish you good luck in 2011. One request—try to take it easy on our buddy Will Rhymes over in Detroit, other than that…strike em all out!


Written by Alan Harrison exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com.


Follow The Fantasy Fix on Twitter @thefantasyfix, or for Free Fantasy Sports Advice, use our Quick Fix to get help with your team!

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2011 Cleveland Indians Preview: 5 Reasons for Fans To Believe

In the rotation, they have (blank) and who else?

Where is Sizemore playing?

How long will Hafner be on the DL this season?

All of these questions have been asked in one form or another this offseason. That’s not what makes them interesting.

What makes them interesting is that they were actual questions raised on veteranpresence.com in the spring of 2007. Tribe fans everywhere remember that 2007 was the last year the Indians were relevant, and that was coming off a 78-84 campaign.

Yes, this was a different team in a different year. But there are parallels. Cliff Lee was not yet Cliff Lee. Who’s on third was a common refrain. In short, the expectations were low…and it turned out the Indians, and the rest of the division, weren’t who the experts thought they were.

Could it happen again? Here are five reasons why you can argue that stranger things have happened.

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