Getting long balls from Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Santana, Grady Sizemore and Shelley Duncan, the Indians beat the Royals 8-2 on Thursday to finish a three-game sweep and win their 10th straight at home.
Cleveland is now an American League-best 16-8 overall.
What’s incredible is that the Indians have done it with Fausto Carmona and Carlos Carrasco struggling. Carmona pitched well tonight, but he has a 5.15 ERA after five starts. Carrasco just joined Mitch Talbot on the DL, but Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin have stepped up in a big way and the offense has been far better than anyone would have guessed.
With the eight runs tonight, the Indians have moved into a tie with the Rangers for first place in the AL in that category. And they’ve played 24 games to the Rangers’ 25. Last year, the Indians ranked 12th of the 14th AL teams in runs scored, a full 213 runs behind the first-place Yankees.
It’s been a team effort, too. No one on the club has more than four homers or 15 RBI. However, they have seven players with at least 11 RBI and Sizemore has nine in 10 games since coming off the DL.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.
Reds reliever Raisel Iglesias hasn’t appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 14 and now we know why. He injured his right elbow and both hips falling in the shower three weeks ago, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. He has had anti-inflammatory shots applied in both areas and he’ll be be shut down from pitching for a few more days.
Iglesias might not be ready for Opening Day, according to manager Bryan Price. Iglesias, however, thinks otherwise. He said, “I’m going to be OK. I’m probably going to throw one bullpen, and after that, mentally and physically, I’ll be ready to join the season and compete.”
Price said throughout the offseason that he intended to pick his closer according to the matchups rather than naming one official closer. As a result, this injury likely doesn’t change much except that Michael Lorenzen, Drew Storen, and Tony Cingrani may get a few more early season save chances if Iglesias doesn’t start the season on time.
Iglesias, 27, finished last season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings across five starts and 32 relief appearances.