CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – It’s for the taking for the Indians, something most never felt could possibly happen when the 2013 started.
The Indians simply have to keep winning to get to the postseason, and this week they will wrap up their regular season against the White Sox and Twins, two teams that own the second and third worst records in the American League.
The second half, for once, has been fun, but as the postseason gets near with the Indians involved, there are two key players on the roster that will have a huge impact if the Indians go far or not.
Pitchers Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez.
They started the season as the two aces of the staff, the bottom line is the team needs both to step up.
Jimenez has turned his career around in the last three months, from a pitcher the team couldn’t get rid of fast enough, to the guy that manager Terry Francona said is ‘carrying the staff.’
All Jimenez has done is since the All-Star break is have the best ERA in the American League at 1.83. He also has three double-digit strikeout games in his last six starts.
Right now with Masterson coming back off an oblique injury, Jimenez is the ace of the staff, and he could make two more starts for the team before the regular season ends, or could be held back for the possible wild card playoff game.
This season Jimenez is 12-9 with a now 3.39 ERA. If this team winds up in Boston in the divisional round, he will need to have his best stuff to counter the very good Red Sox.
Masterson is on tap to come back this week, and if he has a good simulated game today or tomorrow, he will be cleared to go, and will go to the pen to get stretched out.
This season Masterson has been an All-Star, has won 14 games, and has three complete game shutouts.
With every game being a must win, Masterson coming out of the pen could mean the Indians have another ace that could come in at anytime and get some outs.
Masterson threw out of the pen in 2008 for a Red Sox team that won a title, and was very effective in those relief outings for Francona and the Sox.
Pitching wins in the postseason, and while all the Indians starters have at one point or another showed signs of being very good, if this team is going to get anywhere, it will be on the backs of Jimenez and Masterson.
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