After standing fifth a week ago in Sports Illustrated's Major League Baseball power rankings, the Indians climbed to first this week in the list compiled by Joe Lemire.
Here's what Lemire wrote on SI.com about the Tribe, "The Indians have the sixth-best team ERA in the majors (3.35), and they've compiled that number with the youngest staff in baseball with an average age of 26.3. Indeed, Fausto Carmona and Mitch Talbot -- both 27 -- are the old men of the starting rotation, and only reliever Chad Durbin has hit his 30th birthday. Each pitcher has so little service time, in fact, that only Durbin is not under team control and will be a free-agent at year's end. Cleveland holds a club option on Carmona for $7 million, and five pitchers, including closer Chris Perez, are set for arbitration after the season. Otherwise, the young pitchers who have impressed to date are set to come back for roughly the league minimum salary. ''
What's next? The Sports Illustrated cover? Sure Indians officials would love it, but for me that can wait. (Jinx, anyone?)
- The 0-2 starts by the Lakers and Celtics signal to me a changing of the guard in the NBA, which could greatly benefit the Heatles.
- Prayers go out to News Herald Browns beat writer Jeff Schudel, undergoing triple bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Schudel began covering the team in 1981. (Only reason I know that is that's the same year I started, except my bosses at the Dayton Daily News took me off the beat for 1 1/2 years in the 1980s.) Schudel suffered a heart attack while driving his son to Florida for Air Force duty.
- Thursday afternoon's Tribe victory at Oakland was just as excruiating as any 9th inning pitched by Bob Wickman, but closer Chris Perez gutted it out.
- This may be the most wide open Kentucky Derby I've seen in years. But I never bet the favorite, anyway. According to weather.com, chances are growing that it will be raining at post time, with perhaps even a thunderstorm hitting.
- While I haven't studied the Daily Racing Form's past performances, Louisiana Derby winner Pants on Fire had a good workout (breezing four furlongs in :47 4/5) on an off track at Churchill Downs Sunday. He also won a maiden race at Belmont Park on an off track.
- If Churchill Downs gets a reprieve of a few hours without rain, keep in mind that the surface can dry more quickly than some, especially with the long delay before Derby post-time.
- Remember that Northfield Park and Thistledown have advance Derby wagering, which means you can bet the Derby at any time during the day and go home to watch the race.