When I started “Around the Beat” at the beginning of the season, I knew I’d eventually have to discuss a team more than once. That’s the way the schedule plays out.
I assumed, however, that it would be a team in the American League East since the Orioles play their division rivals so much.
But I threw you a curve. I went back to the Cleveland Indians’ well this week as the Tribe plays the Orioles at Camden Yards this week.
Because the Indians are one of the best – and most interesting – teams in the majors right now. And because when we did the podcast in late May with the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, the Indians were 25-20 and a half game behind the Chicago White Sox. Hoynes said at the time that he thought the team he covered was lying in the weeds, ready to pounce.
They’re 31-18 since then – the second best record in the AL during that time (behind only Houston) – and, really, a different club. A 14-game winning streak will certainly do that for you.
Jordan Bastian, MLB.com’s Indians’ excellent beatwriter, joined me to talk about these new and improved Indians. We discussed the tremendous rotation, a surprisingly formidable offense and a bullpen that likely needs reinforcements at the trade deadline.
Bastian believes the Indians will make necessary moves in the next two weeks to get this club ready for the pennant push. He could see the Indians adding bullpen help as well as maybe another position player or two to help fill voids created by injuries to outfielder Michael Brantley and catcher Yan Gomes.
He also offers a scouting report on outfielder Tyler Naquin, who has emerged as a legitimate Rookie of the Year candidate. His combination of defense, speed and surprising power reminds Bastian of a pre-injury Grady Sizemore – that’s some pretty good company.
So the Orioles, coming off a rough trip to the Bronx, will have their hands full this weekend at Camden Yards. Bastian explains why – it’s worth giving a listen.