Somehow, someway, Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore isn't a superstar with national buzz surrounding. Maybe it's that commentators, so-called ESPN "analysts", and other writers simply don't know or aren't willing to deep dig into statistics to figure out this guy's amazing talent. After all, he did become the only player since Chuck Klein in 1930 to have 50 or more doubles, 10 or more triples, and 25 or more home runs last year. Those 53 doubles, 11 triples, and 28 home runs added up to a very impressive 92 extra-base hits.
Although his .284/.390/.479 doesn't seem quite as impressive as hitting .290/.375/.533, Sizemore has improved in two significant categories: OBP and stolen bases, as he's sixth in the AL with 28. Sizemore is not only a great overall hitter, but he's probably the best defensive center fielder around. Of course, many of you who read this blog probably already know that I'm a big fan of Sizemore, as I've lauded his talents before and I also (along with my fellow blogger Nick Nelson) predicted him to win the AL MVP this year, which would be a realistic possibility if Alex Rodriguez wasn't so good.
With that in mind, Sizemore only added another notch to his belt last night by essentially providing all the Indians offense, as Casey Blake was not credited with the fifth RBI of the game after a baserunning gaffe (not a Twin, but a former Twin -- interesting trend) caused an inning-ending double-play after the fifth run scored. Otherwise, Sizemore was a machine against Johan Santana, smacking a two-run home run to go along with two RBI singles, giving him three hits against the best pitcher in the league.
For Twins fans hoping for a good win to take their mind of recent events, it was probably unfortunate that the enigmatic Sizemore decided to show up at the park. It's also unfortunate that Santana -- known for his second-half magic -- is now 1-3 since the break and already has a career-high nine losses on the season. Santana's peripherals continue to look good and his 2.98 ERA is obviously nothing to scoff at, but he hasn't been quite the Santana we are used to in recent starts and that most assuredly has something to do with the Twins pathetic offense.
I'd love to rant more about the Twins offense, but the fact is that C.C. Sabathia is a good pitcher who was helped by Sizemore's bat and Alexi Casilla's inexperienced glove. However, Sabathia gave up eight hits in six innings with two walks for a total of 10 baserunners and only two runs scored, which means the Twins hitters obviously didn't do their jobs well. That's evidenced by the five runners left in scoring position, including two by the increasingly terrible Nick Punto. I hope Matt Garza doesn't get the same shaft, but if the offense isn't there and Sizemore is, he might run into some troubles today, even if he continues to be great on the mound.