DETROIT -- As they embark upon a four-game set with the rival Tigers, the Indians are about to decipher just what happened in Texas the last few days. Is the offense really that hot? Is the pitching really that cold? "Offensively, we're going to keep it rolling," manager Eric Wedge said with a smile. "And pitching-wise, it was all because of [Rangers Ballpark]."
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. The bats certainly can't keep up their pace of averaging 9.75 runs per game, as they did against the Rangers. And the pitching, which put up a 9.79 ERA in the series, is probably not quite so dour. The heat that pervaded the four games in Arlington followed the Indians north to Motown, but the high winds and the fast infield that escalated the offense did not. Still, Wedge believes his team has begun to turn a corner after a two-month offensive abyss that severely threatened the Tribe's contention hopes this season. "There's no reason we shouldn't be able to have some consistent at-bats," Wedge said. What makes Wedge feel that way? "It's what I saw leading into [the Rangers series, in Kansas City]," he said, "and what I saw after that. We saw some good at-bats, a good approach and guys squaring up the baseball. That translates." The Indians are batting .323 in their first five games in June, raising their season average from .234 to .243. They've collected nine or more hits in nine of their last 13 games. These four games at Comerica Park -- a much more pitching-friendly facility -- should provide a measuring stick, of sorts, for not only the offense, but the team, as a whole. The Indians entered this series 6 1/2 games back of the first-place White Sox, with the Tigers nine games back. This is certainly not where these two clubs -- or anyone in the business of baseball prognostication -- expected things to be at this stage of the season, and this is an important juncture for both clubs to turn things around. "It's been an interesting couple of months," Wedge said with a laugh. "We'll see how the next four play out."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.