One of the beautiful things about April baseball is the unpredictability of early results. Every team has hot and cold streaks over 162 games, but if a surprising team goes on an early run, its fans can dream a little. This year’s Indians have the best record in the American League through 15 games. If I were an Indians fan, I might be envisioning something like this:
Grady Sizemore comes back strong with another 20/20 season and a .400 OBP. Carlos Santana breaks out with 35 homers and some plate discipline. Shin-Soo Choo continues his ascent to the forefront of the AL MVP discussion. Fausto Carmona relives 2007, Justin Masterson grows on the promise of 2009, and Josh Tomlin and Mitch Talbot expand on their impressive starts.
At the trade deadline, the Indians lead the White Sox by three games in the Central and decide to go all in, plugging their gaping hole at first base. Meanwhile, the Tigers are ten games out and decide it’s time to cut some payroll and reload their farm system, so they trade Miguel Cabrera for the Tribe’s three best prospects. With Cabrera, the Indians win 89 games and the division, then take out the Rangers and A’s in the playoffs, never having to face an AL East team.
In the NL, the Padres get a healthy and effective Mat Latos back, Aaron Harang capitalizes on his move to Petco Park. They grab the Wild Card spot and, like last year’s Giants, ride stellar pitching through the playoffs, beating the Phillies and Rockies.
In Game Seven of the World Series, Carmona is sharp, Choo and Travis Hafner hit home runs, and Rafael Perez hands the ball to Chris Perez with a 3-2 lead in the ninth. After striking out Ryan Ludwick, Perez gives up singles to Chase Headley and Nick Hundley. With runners on first and third, Everth Cabrera steps up with a chance to win the series. He hits a grounder to the shortstop, who flips to second for one and onto first…
And so the Indians win their first title in 63 years when Cabrera hits into a double play, Cabrera to Cabrera to Cabrera.