04/28/11 10:37 PM ET
Indians thriving at Progressive Field early on
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
"It's early to be calling it dominant," Acta said. "But we have played very good at home."
Whether Acta wants to call his team's performance dominant or not, that is precisely what it has been up to this point. With their win over the Royals on Thursday, Cleveland improved to 10-2 at home with a 10-game winning streak in front of the local fans.
The early showing at home has definitely played a part in the Indians' hot start, which includes a 16-8 record and a spot atop the American League Central standings. Acta believes success at home is also integral to success over an entire season.
"You have to do that," Acta said. "You have to do that, because the majority of the baseball teams -- unless you're a big-time club that is going to win close to 100 games -- usually on the road things get tougher for you.
"You must play well at home, and that's what we're doing."
The Indians are hitting right around .300 with 22 home runs and 76 runs scored in 12 home games. On the road, the Tribe has a .248 average with seven homers and 53 runs over 12 games.
The Tribe's pitching staff, particularly the rotation, has thrived at Progressive Field of late. Over the 10-game home winning streak, Indians starters combined to go 8-0.
"I think it's huge for us," Indians starter Josh Tomlin said. "It's just momentum. You try to win the series on the road, obviously, but when we get back home, we feel like we can win here."
Tomlin making his mark on Indians history
CLEVELAND -- Josh Tomlin is in a class of his own when it comes to consistency to begin a career in Cleveland.
Over the course of the Indians' 111-year history, Tomlin is the lone pitcher to log at least five innings in each of his first 17 career appearances. The young right-hander actually set the record at 13 outings.
"That's just how I pitch," Tomlin said. "That's my job. I'm supposed to go out there and give six, seven innings every time and have a quality start, give my team a chance to win."
Easy to say, but not as easy to do for a youngster.
From Paul Abbott to George Zuverink, there have been 805 pitchers who have put on an Indians uniform in club history. There have been some great ones mixed between -- from a pair of famous Bobs (Feller and Lemon) to Early Wynn, among others -- but Tomlin is the lone man to open his career with such a feat.
This season, Tomlin is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA through five starts. Since joining the club's rotation last season, the 26-year-old right-hander -- a 19th-round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft -- has compiled a 10-4 record through his 17 trips up the hill.
"He's had the right development," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Not being ever considered a top prospect coming up, he had to go from level to level and earn everything. He's had enough innings, enough experience.
"He's a guy who keeps it simple. He throws strikes, changes speeds and goes from there."
Hafner to have MRI on right ankle Friday
CLEVELAND -- Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner was a late scratch from Thursday's starting lineup due to right ankle inflammation. Hafner will undergo an MRI exam on his foot on Friday.
"They'll take some pictures of it and we'll see," Indians manager Manny Acta said after Cleveland's 8-2 win over the Royals on Thursday. "We didn't want to take any chances of having him running out there without knowing the extent of it."
Acta noted that Hafner mentioned feeling soreness in his foot during Wednesday's game, in which the DH went 1-for-4 with an RBI single. On Thursday, Hafner took part in batting practice with no issues, but he still felt discomfort when running.
With Hafner moved to the bench for the finale of a three-game series against the Royals, Shelley Duncan moved into the lineup's fifth spot and served as the DH for the Indians. Duncan went 1-for-4 with a home run.
Hafner is hitting .342 with four home runs, five doubles and 11 RBIs in 21 games. He was ranked fifth in the American League in average and eighth in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.959) entering Thursday.
The last time Cleveland won at least 10 games in a row at home was between April and May in 1996, when it pieced together a 13-game home streak.
The Indians matched the club record for wins in April with Thursday's victory. Cleveland won 16 April games in 1988, 1996 and 1999.
Dating back to last season, Indians reliever Rafael Perez has not allowed an earned run in 20 straight appearances. Over that span, he has scattered 11 hits, struck out eight, walked nine and given up one unearned over 15 2/3 innings.
Opposing teams are 14-for-14 in stolen-base attempts against the Indians. Cleveland was the lone team in the Majors without a caught stealing.