Congratulations to Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore on becoming only the second 30 home runs/30 stolen bases man in team history. Grady led off last night’s game with his 30th home run of the season. He followed that with his 31st homer in the 3rd inning. Combine that with his 34 stolen bases to date and we have our second 30/30 man since Joe Carter back in 1987.
Grady is the kind of player and talent that is coveted by MLB teams. Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has nicknamed him “Superman” based on first hand experience. Grady is an outstanding talent, has a great attitude, has quickly developed as a leader, and comes to play hard every minute of everyday. Grady resists sitting out any part of a game. He had the longest active consecutive game streak in the majors until he twisted his ankle earlier this season going for an extra base. On the rare occasion when he is forced to rest, he settles for being the DH for a “break.”
Once the Indians find a lead off hitter, they plan to better utilize Grady’s power in the 3rd spot in the lineup.
In this disappointing season for the Indians, there have been bright spots that hold much hope for the near future. Grady is having an excellent season. Cliff Lee has emerged from last season’s “re-tooling” to winning 18 games and a leading shot at the American League Cy Young award. Ben Francisco, once he was promoted from AAA, has played very well both offensively and defensively. Jhonny Peralta, although he started out slowly, has put together a very solid season. Others that began with disappointing seasons have recently begun to put it together; Ryan Garko, Franklin Gutierrez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jensen Lewis, Rafael Perez, and Rafael Betancourt.
So, it is time to take consolation in this team as they begin to gel into a contender once again. The nucleus of the team is reforming, but they still have some needs that must be addressed before Spring Training 2009.