August Fagerstrom's final thoughts following the Clevleand Indians 7-4 victory at home in a series opener against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.
1) Early in the season, it seemed like every time the Indians would score a run in the early goings of a game they would come right back out and allow the opposition to match or trump whatever run total they just put up. Tonight, they were on the other side of that equation, answering Chicago in all three innings in which the White Sox scored.
"That was important tonight," said Tribe manager Terry Francona. "Kluber didn’t have his sharpest stuff tonight with his command. They had a lot of hits early but we kept answering. If you’re going to be down, coming right back is important."
2) We're dealing with small samples here, but Nick Swisher now has a seven-game hitting streak after tonight's performance, including three homers in his last five games. It's too early to say that Swisher has turned a corner, but given his track record, you had to expect him to start doing something soon. His .207 batting average, while still low, is the highest it's been since June 15.
"I think he's certainly doing much better," said Francona. "Maybe his batting average won't be what it is career-wise, but it wouldn’t shock me if you look up and see the home runs and the RBIs. I think guys have a way of doing that."
3) Corey Kluber didn't have his best stuff, allowing two rare walks to go along with a rare homer. No reason to worry, though. Unless you're Clayton Kershaw, even the best of the best have off nights.
"You go through 30-something starts a year, there's going to be times where it’s a struggle to get through it," Kluber said. "You just have to try to fight through it and keep the team in the games those nights."
4) Chris Dickerson has done everything the team has asked him to do and more in his short stint with the club since being traded over from the Pirates. Dickerson earned his first RBI with the team on a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. That was just the 26th time this season a player has drawn a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk and the third time an Indian had done it (Santana, Giambi). In his following at-bat, he succesfully laid down a sacrifice bunt. In his next at-bat, he singled up the middle. It's nice when your replacement guys can give similar production to the guys they're filling in for.
5) The Tribe bullpen continues to absolutely dominate. John Axford, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen worked three perfect innings to close things out, striking out six of the nine batters they faced. Allen struck out the side for his 11th save. He has converted each of his last 10 opportunities.
6) It was nice to see David Murphy hit a homer in his first at-bat. Since getting off to a hot start, Murphy has been slumping as of late. The homer was his first since May 21 and his sixth of the season.
7) A guy on the jumbotron turned down $475 while playing Deal or No Deal, left with the options of $25 or $1000. Of course, he won the grand, because nothing could go wrong in Cleveland tonight.
8) LeBron is back. That is all.
August Fagerstrom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AugustF_ABJ.