By Matt Loede @MattLoede on June 4, 2014
The Indians have been on a tear with eight straight wins at Progressive Field, and here are eight reasons why the Wahoos have been so good at home.
The Indians' defense still ranks as one of the worst in baseball, but instead of seeing as many as two, three errors per game, the team finally seems to be playing better in that regard. While they are far from perfect, their historical pace for errors seems to have slowed down.
Both Indians workhorses in the pen have been outstanding, and while Shaw sat Tuesday, Allen was back to work, and has earned the save in each of his last four appearances. Seven of Allen's last eight outings have been scoreless to lower his season ERA from 3.71 to 2.81. Shaw has been equally good, which gives the Tribe two pen studs to turn to.
The 2013 All-Star second baseman has given the Indians a boost. He is a player who is not only solid on defense, but also is a huge spark on offense. It was this time last season that he started to get red-hot on his way to his first All-Star game. He's hitting just .237, but slowly is starting to make an impact again.
Two key players who have been in the lineup nearly everyday with the injuries to starters Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher are Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Aviles. Both have delivered, as Chisenhall is batting a very healthy .364 and Aviles a .276. Both will be tough to take out of the lineup when Santana and Swisher are back.
Dismiss it if you want, but baseball players are only human, and in Cleveland there's a huge difference playing when it's 40-50 degrees at night than 60-70 degrees. Michael Bourn and Jason Giambi both said Tuesday that the ball carries much better when the weather is better, and it's shown as the Indians' offense has started to get hot as the temps have climbed at home.
Progressive Field has been known as a place for big Indians walk-off wins. The team has had a few on this win streak, with a big one on Sunday when Michael Bourn went deep in the ninth to beat Colorado. The key hits are suddenly coming in bunches again.
The Indians are such a different team when Bourn is healthy and hitting at the top of the lineup, and he's hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games dating back to May 17th. He had the game-winner with a HR on Sunday, and another game-winner with a double that scored two in the seventh Monday night. He's finally playing like the player the Indians thought they were getting when they signed him in 2013.
It's taken awhile, but the team is seeing their starting rotation finally get the team deep into games, and it's paying off. While the rotation has been changed and tweaked, Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Josh Tomlin have all thrown very well, with Kluber looking more and more like he deserves to be headed for the All-Star game next month.
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