Gammons gives Shapiro props

ESPN’s Peter Gammons details how Mark Shapiro’s patience during the Indians’ early season struggles has really paid off. After 30 games, the Tribe was 12-18 and the offense was invisible. Five weeks later, the Indians are now seven games above .500 and right in the thick of the playoff race, if not in the Central, then in the wild-card standings. As Gammons points out, Cleveland’s recent hot streak may have actually put the franchise ahead of schedule since Shapiro and Eric Wedge had 2006 targeted as the year the Indians would be serious contenders.

Their recent hot streak can be attributed to many different factors: a starting staff that keeps the team in just about every game, a bullpen that owns the lowest ERA in all of baseball by almost a full half a run (2.51), and an offense that, as Gammons details, is led by two of the AL’s most promising youngsters: Grady Sizemore and Jhonny Peralta. Plus, Aaron Boone and Casey Blake finally have their averages above .200, Coco Crisp is proving to be a lethal #2 hitter and Travis Hafner is driving the ball just like he did last year. This team is dangerous now that everything is clicking, and kudos to Mark Shapiro for having the patience to let it happen.

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