Nothing like Opening Weak to get the season started in Cleveland. After 7 days and five games (one mercifully postponed) the Tribe stands at 1-4, good for last place in the Central Division after a Twins win today.
How did the Indians find the basement so fast? Despite great to decent starting pitching (collective 2.81 ERA in 32 IP) the culprits are very, very poor hitting and some struggling bullpen parts.
Team Avg. .176 (last in MLB)
Avg. RISP .156
In 2011 terms, this is comparable to a lineup filled by the ilk’s of Carrera, Buck, Valbuena, Kearns, Marson and OCabrera. Bad ilk’s. Individual numbers mirror the collective futility:
Indians batting over .250: Hannahan .313
Indians batting over .200: Cabrera .217
Indians below Mendoza: Choo .167 (3 for 18)
Double Mendoza: Kipnis .095 (2 for 22)
Kotchman .095 (2 for 22)
Brantley .059 (1 for 17)
Tribe leadoff hitters (Brantley and Donald) are 1 for 21 (.048). But fear not, based on official rules Kipnis, Kotchman and Brantley remain eligible for the batting title.
Meanwhile, down in Columbus the Banished Three rake and rake and rake some more, at least for now (Crowe .389/2/4; Chisenhall .313/3/5; LaPorta .303/4/7).
The perceived strength of the team, the bullpen is already 0-2 with 1 blown save and a 6.65 ERA. In fairness, two extra innings games and the Chris Perez implosion taxed the group but the Dan Wheeler Experience and Tony Take A Sipp already present unsettling signs. After 3 appearances Wheeler sports a 13.50 ERA, 3.50 WHIP and .400 average against and begs the question why Acta wanted him on the roster. Sipp, always inconsistent, is even sturdier at 21.60 ERA, 3.60 WHIP and .444 average against.
Meanwhile, down in Columbus the Banished Two have yielded only a single unearned run (Hagadone 4 IP, 1 H, 4K; Accardo 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 6K, 2 Sv).
— An optimist says in the world of theater and movies some productions bomb at opening but become classics over time (think Shawshank Redemption). A realist notes when the production truly stinks management often pulls the plug to avoid further jeers and embarrassment (think John Carter). Maybe the Indians should sign Morgan Freeman or Tim Robbins, not just Johnny Damon.
— An optimist says it’s only 5 games and a “small sample”. A realist notes it’s the only sample we have and it’s dark, cloudy and smells bad. Games now count as much as games later in the season.
— An optimist says the offense had chances to win both Toronto losses. A realist notes the Tribe lost both games due to woeful, unprofessional at bats and a horribly blown save.
— An optimist says the Indians started last year 0-2 then won 8 straight, including 4 on the road. A realist notes the Tribe wasted strong starting pitching performances against Toronto and such rare gifts from Jimenez and Lowe must be seized, not squandered.
— An optimist says the Tribe has already clobbered 8 home runs. A realist notes only 7 of the team’s 20 runs have scored without benefit of the long ball (1.4 runs per game), a dangerous sign of an inability to string hits together.
— An optimist says Brantley has 4 walks, good for 9th in the American League. A realist notes he’s slugging .118 and has not yet scored or produced a run.
— An optimist thinks 9 upcoming games against KC (12-6 last year), Seattle (4-3) and Oakland (5-2) is all good. A realist notes last year is over.
— An optimist looks longingly at the Banished Three in Columbus, happy help is on the horizon. A realist notes 2 of the 3 are not the answer.
— An optimist says Otter and Boone from Animal House knew the cure for the Opening Weak Blues: “Road trip.” A realist notes the subsequent sad, battered fate of Flounder’s brother’s Lincoln.
What is the Tribe’s overall record in 10 days?