The last time we saw Michael Bourn, he was in another red, navy blue, and white jersey pertaining to a Native-American - the Braves.
Bourn had one of the more interesting offseasons. Considered one of the top free-agents available, he had trouble finding a dance partner. Presumably, a high price tag turned some teams away, but the truth was that there were a number of center fielders available, with only B.J. Upton and Bourn requiring the loss of a draft pick. The rest, of course, would cost prospects, but players such as Denard Span and Ben Revere cost less in terms of money. Bourn would seem to find a match in the New York Mets, but when the Pirates failed to sign Mark Appel in last year's draft, the Mets' 10th overall pick became the 11th overall pick - the first unprotected pick in the draft. Told they would have to surrender it to acquire the former Braves center fielder, the Mets backed away. Eventually, the Cleveland Indians swept in and offered a 4-year, $48 million deal to hlp bolster their offense.
The Indians' offense has improved to middle-of-the-pack, but it's not really because of Michael Bourn. The speedster has only hit .269/.322/.358 and stolen only 19 bases. The real strength of the offense has been Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, and Nick Swisher (thought he hasn't been as good as in the past) with an occasional appearance by newly-extended Ryan Raburn. While the Indians haven't had too many stand-out performances, they haven't had too many just utterly terrible performances, either. Drew Stubbs, Michael Brantley, and Lonnie Chisenhall have all hit roughly league-average to this point in the season.
On the pitching side of things, the Indians are middle-of-the-pack, as well. Justin Masterson has rebounded from a tough 2012 to have a solid 2013. Corey Kluber has seemingly come out of nowhere to be an above-average starter. The rest of the staff, however, has been merely decent. The big contribution lately is Danny Salazar. The top prospect has brought his big fastball to the major league level and performed well, and he'll be a tough match-up in the first game of the series. The bullpen has been led by Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw but is otherwise meh.
As of this moment, the Indians are 71-59, 5.5 games back in the AL Central, and 2.0 games back in the Wild Card.
Tuesday, August 27th, 7:10 PM on Sports South
Wednesday, August 28th, 7:10 PM on Sports South
Thursday, August 29th, 7:10 PM on Sports South and MLB Network