A pretty good to very good weekend in Cleveland sports. Hell, we’ll call it a great weekend. The Tribe has won three in a row over the Devil Rays and opened a 1 1/2 game lead over the Tigers in the AL central, three Indians made the All-Star team and LeCharles Bentley said he will be ready for training camp at the end of the month.
Bentley proclaiming he will be participating in training camp is just amazing. Here’s a guy who had four knee operations, staph infections and a virus that ate away at his ligaments. At one point, he was in such bad shape doctors considered amputating his leg and feared he might even die from the infection. Now he’s talking about playing football again when all his doctors said he probably never would be able to.
If nothing else, it’s very encouraging and sets the tone for training camp and the season. How could the team not be geared up to play hard every day when they see Bentley on the field? Hopefully he inspires the Browns, gives them some life and make football in Cleveland mean more than just an excuse to drink on Sunday morning.
Bentley still has a long road back to being the player he was before his injury. Chances are he won’t ever return to that form but even 80 percent of his old self is good enough. And 50 percent would still be an upgrade to our line. If Bentley can come back strong, Joe Thomas plays up to his potential, Ryan Tucker returns to old self, the Browns will have a pretty strong offensive line. That could mean big things for the offense and especially Jamal Lewis.
The Indians will have their most representatives at the mid-Summer classic since 2004 when they had five players in the game — Martinez, Sabathia, Jake Westbrook, Ronnie Belliard and Matt Lawton. C.C. and Martinez were pretty much a given. Sizemore was a little bit of a surprise. When he was named to the team I was kind of shocked. He’s had a solid season but nothing to overwhelm you. It says a lot about how respected he is in the game since he was picked by the players. Even though he leads the league in strikeouts, they notice that he does the little things to help the Indians win. And for course, makes speculator catches on a weekly basis.
If C.C. shuts down the Tigers on Thursday, he’ll start the game. It’s his chance to show Jim Leyland first hand he deserves the honor. If he does, that’s great for him but he deserves it. But if Leyland names another guy, it’s hard to argue since three or four pitchers but up good cases. If C.C. doesn’t start, then I hope he gets to pitch to Victor at least for one inning.
You could make a case that Jhonny Peralta, Rafael Bentancourt and Joe Borowski could have made the team too. Peralta wasn’t going to make it over Carlos Guillen and Michael Young was needed to represent the Texas Rangers. Borowski probably didn’t make it because of his ERA even though he leads the league in saves and only blown 2 all year. Bentancourt falls into the gray area of being a pitcher who isn’t a starter or closer and not too many set-up men make the team.
Oh well. Can’t argue with three reps.
Starting tomorrow they have a big series with the Tigers. The Indians have to take 2-of-3 there to secure their lead in the division. They have won five of the seven games played between the two teams this year and let’s hope it continues. It was a great weekend filled with good news for Cleveland sports teams. Let’s hope it continues in Detroit the next three days.