8/1/2013 2:54 P.M. ET
Indians thriving on home cooking
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- The Tribe's act at Progressive Field is among the best in the Majors.
With Thursday's 6-1 victory over the White Sox, the Indians won their 11th straight game in their own yard. Their 37-19 home record gives them the best mark in the American League. And since April 30, no team in baseball can match the .729 home winning percentage Cleveland has built with a 35-13 mark at Progressive Field.
"We play good at home," veteran Jason Giambi said simply. "We enjoy playing, having a good time. We're really believing in ourselves as a ballclub, especially when we play at home. We enjoy it."
The Indians' home winning streak is their best since they won 14 in a row at Progressive Field in early 2011. Their .661 home winning percentage on the season is the third-best in baseball. With Thursday's win, Cleveland equaled its home win total from 2012, when the Tribe went 37-44 in front of the local fans.
"That's what you always want to do," Giambi said. "You want to try to play very well at home and try to play .500 on the road and give yourself an opportunity. We just play really well together. We play really great as a ballclub here. We pitch well, our 'pen does a great job and our offense, giving us that last at-bat, has really helped us out this year."
Rzepczynski eager to begin new chapter with Indians
CLEVELAND -- Marc Rzepczynski has already found plenty to like about his new organization.
Rzepczynski, a left-handed reliever the Indians acquired from St. Louis on Tuesday, is excited to begin the Cleveland portion of his career with a fresh start, which must be made easier by the Tribe's easygoing roster.
"So far, the clubhouse has been great," Rzepczynski said. "It's a pretty relaxed group of guys, probably the most relaxed group I've ever played with."
Rzepczynski remembers visiting Cleveland once as a visiting player. In 2011, his Blue Jays played a series at Progressive Field shortly before the All-Star break. The time in town went quickly, though Rzepczynski recalls hurting his shoulder during the series.
Not long after, Toronto traded him to the Cardinals, whom he helped to a World Series title that year. This season, Rzepczynski was optioned to Triple-A Memphis in April after posting a 7.88 ERA over his first nine outings.
He assembled a 3.07 ERA and kept left-handed hitters to a .185 batting average across 32 Minor League appearances this year. The Cardinals recalled him on July 25, and in 2 1/3 innings over two outings, he gave up three hits and two runs, with a walk and a strikeout.
"He should help Cleveland," an American League scout said. "He knows how to get left-handed hitters out."
It's for that reason that Tribe general manager Chris Antonetti traded for Rzepczynski. Entering Thursday, the Indians' left-handed relievers had combined for a 6.47 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 65 1/3 innings.
"When I saw him earlier in St. Louis, it looked like his velocity was down a little bit. His out pitch is his slider, and he really wasn't getting to it ... he was behind a lot," the scout said. "To me, it looks like he's back a little bit. It looked like the slider was sharper. He had more command with his pitches."
In 155 Major League games, Rzepczynski has held left-handed hitters to a .224/.298/.310 line with 94 strikeouts and 30 walks. The Indians haven't seen him in action yet, but his time will likely come soon.
"I'm just hoping," Rzepczynski said, "whenever that phone rings, to go out there and do my job that they brought me here to do."
Quote to note
"I think every one of our position players, and everybody in the bullpen, they know when they show up at the ballpark, whether they're starting or not, that they have a chance to help us win a game -- and I think that's good."
-- Indians manager Terry Francona
• In the previous 19 games, Cleveland's pitchers put together an AL-low 2.32 ERA while allowing just four home runs. The rotation went 8-2 with a 2.23 ERA during that span, holding opposing hitters to a .197 average.
• Entering play Thursday, the Indians led baseball with a .767 on-base-plus-slugging percentage during the ninth inning or later.
• During the homestand, the Indians outscored their opponents 40-20 in taking all seven games. The offense averaged 5.7 runs per game with 13 doubles and eight homers
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.