From “Drew”: “6-1 this week. I’m sure you’ll be pleased.”
Why, yes, Drew. On two fronts. One: That the Tribe have a pretty good time, as well as a shot to win, against anybody not named “Jose Fernandez.” Two: I’m pleased that someone pays attention! Here’s a cookie!
It comes with one frustrating caveat, though. The Tigers, mostly without Miguel Cabrera, still refused to roll over and play with their kitty yarn. While the Tribe is in their best stretch of the season, so are they. Tribe wins ten of eleven, so, of course, Tigers sweep their homestand. But we should know by this point of the season that you can’t pin our hopes on the Phillies, Nationals, or White Sox to do the work for us; they’ve checked out mentally weeks ago.
So, naturally, the swing series of the season starts Monday. Yeah, they’ve won nine of twelve against the Tribe, but there’s nothing that can be done there. Split or win the series and the Indians are still right in the thick of things for a divisional championship. Lose three of four or worse? Then it’s time to start thinking Wild Card. And the Seattle Wedgies helped us in that pursuit by knocking off Baltimore out of the final spot.
While I’m at it, here’s hoping that Eric makes a full recovery.
I’ve got to say, though, I think we are all pretty pleased with the pitching that the Indians have assembled. I wanted new Ranger Matt Garza a few weeks ago (I’m recanting completely), simply because I wasn’t sure there was enough here. Lately, the pitching staff has answered the bell. We knew that Justin Masterson would be steady as our horse and that guys like Zach McAllister and Corey Kluber had the potential to be solid, and they have been just that. The under-the-radar addition of Marc Rzepczynski can only help a guy like Rich Hill, who probably benefits from not being the only guy opposing teams can count on facing in late spots. It keeps Nick Hagadone out of my sights, as well. That’s always a plus.
But what can you say about Scott Kazmir lately? He was pure excellence yesterday and even got a hit to boot. I’d venture to say that he’s been the second biggest reason for why the pitching staff is clicking. He’s in a real groove right now. It’s exciting to see him down the line if he can sustain it.
No complaints here about Ubaldo Jimenez is being pushed back on Wednesday, he’s okay. Really, being “just okay” is pretty much all that is required of him at this point. He was snakebitten on Friday. If that double-play gets turned by Asdrubal Cabrera, you have to wonder how differently that game turns out. Though, the way that the new Nolan Ryan was making our guys look completely foolish for most of the evening, even a 2-0 deficit would’ve been insurmountable. He is what he is at this point, so I’m not concerned about him. So, wunderkind Danny Salazar takes the Wednesday spot-start against Doug Fister. No pressure, kid.
Now the real push for the second season begins in earnest. Should be fun. Read Adam’s breakdown. Because he actually cares about numbers and stuff. I’ll be happy if the Indians just get more runs than the other guys. Bring it on.
And now a word about the elephant in the room. Because everybody has something to say about it.
I live in Toronto now, so it’s not my place to complain about the attendance woes. I can’t be there, so it would be hypocritical of me to spend other people’s money.
Having said all of that, I also know that Cleveland is “A Browns Town.” It just is and it always will be. Seeing 455 again is not going to happen, and it took the Browns being non-existent in the city for it to happen in the first place.
The Cavs were a similar case: Having the greatest player on the planet for seven years who was from our own back yard really excited the region and fanbase. And nothing came of that, either. And then…yeah…
The Indians have been teases. I firmly believe that there are many families who are still in wait-and-see mode who are still voting against coming with their wallets. The harsh reality is this: NOBODY outside of the hardcore fanbase believes the Indians are going to make the playoffs. Heck, even ESPN has a front-page feature right now on the Royals, sitting in third place right now, which champions their hot streak with barely an acknowledgement of the Indians, and much less a word bout the Indians’ current run and potential.
The simple fact is this: The Mothership drives a lot of the hype in what is going on in our sporting universe. And if they don’t buy into the hype, then it’s pretty hard to convince the casual fan to come in and see what the fuss is about.
I truly believe that it will take a decent showing in the playoffs before we see consistent sellouts. It takes a lot to change the culture of the town, but for a city totally starved for a consistent contender, somebody has to prove it is real first. That could very well be this Indians team. But it’s up to them to prove it isn’t a façade yet again.
Otherwise, it will always be a Browns town, leaving the Indians (and Cavs) to fight for the scraps. It’s up to them to capture the imagination and hopes. Whether they can, or if they will, unfortunately, remains to be seen.