I was faced with quite a conundrum tonight – I wanted to watch the Indians/Royals game, but I had a ton of work I need to finish by Monday. Since I have tickets to Saturday and Sunday’s games, I decided to hide out in a coffee shop for the night, free from distractions and more able to knock a few things off my “to-do” list. Essentially, I sat alone on a Friday night, working for hours after I already worked all day. And somehow, I’m still pretty certain that my night was more enjoyable than it would’ve been if I’d chosen to watch the game.
Don’t get me wrong – like an addict with their drug of choice, I still subjected myself to almost regular checks of the score. And as you may expect, there were more Royals runs every time I looked. As far as I could determine from the ESPN Game Cast, the Indians’ at-bats were over in a blink of an eye. For the first couple of innings, I tried to convince myself that something was screwed up with the Game Cast program (although it seemed to lack any noticeable glitches when the Royals were at-bat)…even though I knew better. The Indians only got five hits (2 of which came from Orlando Cabrera) against a pitcher that came into the game with a 4.65 ERA (he lowered it to 4.38). Kansas City’s Sunday pitcher, Kyle Davies, has a 6-something ERA; that means that the Indians may actually score a run! (Although I won’t hold my breath).
Where do they even go from here? This slump stopped being a rut in the road a few weeks ago – now it’s a sinkhole that just swallowed a house and a few cars. The Tribe is still mentioned in reports of potential trades (Ubaldo Jimenez, Ryan Ludwick, Hiroki Kuroda, Jason Marquis, Jeremy Guthrie to name a few), but is it even worth it at this point? I feel like any minor additions will just be sucked into the vortex at this point, unfortunately. Outside of bringing Tris Speaker and Cy Young back to Cleveland (either via time machine, or bringing them back from the dead), I’m not sure a minor move will help.
One thing that should be done immediately, regardless of a trade – Carlos Carrasco should be removed from the rotation and sent to Columbus. He’s been extremely inconsistent this season, and downright lousy in the month of July. While Kansas City has a respectable offense, I heard that most of his pitches were right out over the center of the plate tonight. Why would you throw at someone’s head (like he did with Billy Butler) when you’re all but placing the ball on a batting tee in front of them? I think he needs to go away to work on his mechanics and to cool off a little.
A final thought – my father (in a great moment of extremely wishful thinking) suggested that maybe the Indians are all keyed-up because of the trade deadline and that once July 31 passed, things would improve. Once he mentioned that, I seemed to remember something similar used as an excuse in the past (I want to say last season?) The Indians were uptight because of the trade deadline, and that was the reason for their poor play (only last year it was due to subtractions from the roster, not additions). I decided to look at the week of July 24-31 for the past few years, as well as the post-deadline week (July 31-August 7) to see if there were any connections. It was pretty inconclusive, but there was a distinct difference last year:
2010 (season record 69-93)
July 24-31: 2-6
July 31-August 7: 5-3
2009 (season record 65-97)
July 24-31: 5-2
July 31-August 7: 5-2
2008 (season record 81-81)
July 24-31: 3-4
July 31-August 7: 3-4
2007 (season record 96-66)
July 24-31: 2-5
July 31-August 7: 4-4
As for this year, the Indians are at 52-51 (now just one measly game above .500) and are 1-4 so far this week. In 2010 and 2007 they did do poorly before the trade deadline and better after, but their record was exactly the same in 2008 and 2009. Even if there was some kind of bizarre July 24-31 choke, it’s still no excuse for the way they’ve played lately.