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Commentary: Cleveland Indians began strong, but can they keep it up?

Courtesy of MCT

On May 3, the Cleveland Indians beat the Oakland Athletics, 4-1, to become the first Major League team to reach 20 wins in its 2011 campaign.

Although we are only a shade more than a month into the season, this is increasingly exciting for Cleveland fans. The team’s success so far is coming without acquiring any new free-agent acquisitions or conducting any deadline blockbuster trades.

Through 36 games, the Tribe is an astounding 23-13, and before an 8-2 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night, held the best winning percentage in the majors. The Philadelphia Phillies (24-12) now hold that honor.

After winning its 20th game last week, Cleveland was one of two remaining teams with single-digit losses in 2011 — the other being Philadelphia. This is all with essentially the same members of the 2010 version that lost 93 games, finishing fourth in the American League Central, 25 games behind division champ Minnesota.

Cleveland fans on Ohio State’s campus are excited about, and a little surprised by, the team’s recent success.

“To be honest, I’m surprised because of their lack of success in recent years and for the fact that they didn’t really make any new acquisitions from (the end of) last season,” said Abe Mangan, a second-year in mechanical engineering.

The Indians are fourth in batting average, fifth in slugging percentage and seventh in runs scored, and their pitching staff has the eighth-lowest ERA.

Students on OSU’s campus have been showing their love for the Tribe by wearing Indians garb including hats, shirts, jackets and jerseys. Although they have been enjoying how things have gone so far, students are aware that the season is still very young.

“I think they are the favorites to win the AL Central as of right now, but I think they are going to hit a slump because our starting pitching talent isn’t that great and they are pitching out of their minds,” said Ethan Lange, a second-year in engineering.

“It is too early to tell as far as winning the division goes, but honestly, good for Cleveland, because recently they’ve experienced a lot of drama regarding sports,” said Ben Osheroff, a first-year Orioles fan from Maryland in international studies.

Sports fans from Cleveland as well as Cavaliers fans everywhere have dealt with LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach last offseason, a move that, without a doubt, ripped the hearts out of those from the city he used to call home. The Indians’ triumphs so far this year have helped to numb the pain of his departure a little bit.

“I have really enjoyed a Cleveland city team winning,” Lange said. “It definitely helps to forget about LeBron James a little bit.”

The question still remains whether Cleveland can win consistently and stay atop its division to advance to the postseason.

“With over 130 games left, anything can happen,” Mangan said. “It is difficult to consistently win over that long of a season, but I am enjoying it while I can.”

I think all the members from Believeland would agree.

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