Where we stand: 71-64 (.526); second place in the AL Central, 8.5 games out of 1st place and 4.5 games back in the wildcard race
Most pleasant surprise this month: Danny Salazar, without a doubt. He made his first start at the end of July and has been a regular part of the rotation since then. His 1-2 record doesn’t show how effective he’s been. During the month of August, Salazar pitched 21 innings with 25 strikeouts, including 10 against the Tigers on August 7th. Am I high on Danny Salazar? Yes, I am.
Biggest disappointment this month: Our inability to move runners around the bases. I don’t even want to count how many runners we’ve stranded in scoring position. The Indians scored only 92 runs during the entire month, while allowing 117. Oddly enough, that’s almost the exact opposite of July–scored 117 and allowed 94. You’ll note that the Indians were 15-10 in July. We were 12-16 (.429) in the month of August. We’re supposed to be contenders, but how can you contend when you can’t even win half of your games?
Biggest challenge for the upcoming month: Use the September call-ups wisely and stop wasting very good starting pitching. For the past several years, by this time we’ve been so far back that the games didn’t really matter and September has more less been a time to give some of the younger guys a little taste of the majors. The Indians are still playing meaningful baseball, but not if they keep losing games. The strongest months this season were May and July, when they went .600. If that pattern holds, we should go .600 in September. Let the breath holding commence.