You know the drill, I sent off questions to Ryan from SB Nation's Cleveland Indians' blog, Let's Go Tribe. Thanks Ryan.
The Indians are off to a great start this year. Is this something Indian fan figured would happen or is it a surprise to you guys too? Is there confidence that they will continue to do well and win the AL Central?
No, I don't think even the most optimistic Tribe fan figured on the Indians having the best record in the AL at the end of the May. What's even better is that they have a 5.5-game lead in the division, and that's after a 2-4 week. So though I don't think anyone's reserving playoff tickets yet, they should be in contention all season long.
Who is your early season MVP?
Could we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we will see this series?
Tuesday: Mitch Talbot. This is Mitch's second start after coming off the DL. In his first start, he got lit up by Boston for eight runs in three innings. I'm hoping the Indians score a lot of runs, because I'm expecting another short start from Talbot.
Wednesday: Josh Tomlin. Very pedestrian stuff, but he hits corners with four pitches. He'll give up home runs because he's so aggressive in the strike zone, but he'll get through six or even seven innings with a low pitch count.
Shin-Soo Choo always seems to club the Jays (.344/.443/.556 lifetime). How is he doing this year? Any hope he could sit out the series?
No chance; Choo rarely sits out, and he already sat on Friday. Choo hasn't really gotten locked in yet; he's been sitting in the .700-.750 OPS range most of the season.
Who is closing for the Indians? Do you have confidence in him?
Chris Perez is the closer. Although he's had trouble throwing his fastball of late (5.3 BB/9), he's still converting his save opportunities. I think the walks are going to burn him sooner or later, but he could also figure out his fastball release point.
What would you say are the strengths and weaknesses of manger Manny Acta?
Acta will use everyone on the roster, though he's not quick to bench a starter. He takes chances in late-game situations, whether they be squeezes and hit-and-run plays, and thus far just about every one of his gambles has paid off.
Anything else us Jays' fans should know about the Indians?
The Indians are a vastly improved defensive club. Asdrubal Cabrera is a much better defender than he was in 2010, and the addition of Jack Hannahan, while he's not much of a hitter, has been a huge improvement over the Peralta/Nix/Valbuena revolving door last season. Grady Sizemore will mostly DH during the series, as he's just come off the DL with a knee injury and the Indians don't want him playing much on artificial turf.