Fan’s Take: Cleveland Indians Providing Reasons for Optimism

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Fan’s Take: Cleveland Indians Providing Reasons for Optimism
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Starter Derek Lowe looks to rebound from a 9-17 2011 with the Cleveland Indians.

During the season's opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cleveland Indians provided Clevelanders various reasons to remain optimistic about the 2012 baseball campaign.

The Indians entered the year seemingly with more questions than the AP history exams I remember taking in high school. Several of these questions involve whether certain players can enjoy bounce-back seasons, including starters Ubaldo Jimenez, Derek Lowe, and designated hitter Travis Hafner.

Ubaldo Jimenez

MLB.com columnist Anthony Castrovice recently describes Jimenez as "(someone) on the short list of guys whose performance this season will have a drastic, decisive impact on their club's ability to contend." The most critical fans already claim the 2011 trade that brought Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland a bust, writing in and calling up the Cleveland media to publicize their grievances. Such judgments remain premature on several levels.

On Saturday, April 7, Ubaldo Jimenez displayed exactly why Cleveland management proved willing to depart with so many talented prospects to acquire the former Colorado Rockies ace. Jimenez pitched seven dominant innings, carrying a perfect game all the way into the sixth. I believe the outing serves as an omen of things to come for the starter in 2012, especially at Progressive Field. During Sunday, April 8's pregame telecast, Channel 3 WKYC noted Jimenez holds a 2-2 record with a 2.79 ERA in six games at "The Prog." Not too shabby!

Derek Lowe

Previously in my article "The 2012 Cleveland Indians Starting Rotation: A Fan's Look" I commented, "If Lowe returns to this form, he could be considered Cleveland's most underrated offseason move." Five times in Lowe's career the starter has won at least 15 games in a single season, most recently winning 16 games in 2010.

Lowe could well be on his way to this accomplishment again, going seven strong innings April 8 without allowing an earned run. Cleveland Indians television broadcasters Matt Underwood and Rick Manning mentioned during the game April 8 a reason for Lowe's 9-17 2011 record stemmed from lacking run support, bringing us to…

Travis Hafner

If the Cleveland Indians wish to piece together their best offense possible, the man known to the city as "Pronk" will need to step up his production from the past few seasons. Now, I'm not simply referring to increasing home run numbers. I'll settle for good at-bats, something Hafner already demonstrated during the opening series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In addition to two hits in 10 plate appearances, Pronk drew three walks. That meager 2-for-10 could look a lot better if a bad foul call doesn't rob Hafner of a probable double. Anyhow, complaining won't do any good, so let's move on and prepare for more baseball.

Zachary Fenell fell in love with the Cleveland Indians during the 1995 season when the Tribe powered their way to the organization's first World Series appearance since 1954. While the Indians lost some allure since the 1990s you will still find Zachary watching the games on TV, listening to them on the radio, or best yet taking in a game from the stands at Progressive Field.

More from This Contributor:

The Fan Experience: Cleveland Indians' 2012 Opening Day

Fan's Take: How Significant is Travis Hafner to 2012 Cleveland Indians?

Cleveland Indians Reach Two-Year Deal with Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera: A Fan's Reaction

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