The Indians are so close, they can taste it. But for every two steps forward, they have one of their annoying “two-steps-back” games.
But as long as they continue to win series down the stretch, there isn’t a whole lot to complain about. With the emergence of the Indians’ young rotation, it has been made it easier to dream about a 163rd game at the very least.
The big question is how that same young rotation manages the very real possibility of Justin Masterson’s injury is a season-ending issue. While Corey Kluber returned from the DL on Saturday to excellent results, Zach McAllister being steady as usual, and Danny Salazar electrifies with every start, the onus to keep the Indians within the two-game Wild Card deficit may hinge on the chancy arms of Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir leading the way.
This is a far cry from where things were in April and May. And the success of the pitching has been vital to the team’s success, because as Boss Liscio notes…
Since the All-Star break, Asdrubal Cabrera is hitting just .201/.247/.317 and Michael Bourn is hitting .219/.295/.309. In September, Cabrera is hitting .056, Bourn .174, and Drew Stubbs .176.
Yeesh. I knew it’s been bad. But not that bad. But you didn’t have to look back far to see the glaring proof, as the Indians scored 17 runs in the first two games against the Mets, only to totally fall asleep at the wheel on Sunday. To top it off, Chris Perez capped his ignominious week by serving up the game-winner yesterday.
Suffice to say, I would not be surprised to find out if we are witnessing the last few weeks of the Chris Perez era with the Tribe. It just feels like the best course of action. We shall see.
But it is what it is. The Indians are breathing down the Rays’ necks, who had a west-coast swing to forget, which allowed the Indians to really apply the pressure. And that leads us to the Royals, who actually were chummy in taking two of three from Detroit over the weekend (if you’re still dreaming big).
So the “soft September” thing may actually be a thing, with the guys winning five of seven, leading to a pivotal series stating tonight. Win the series, and the pendulum swings in our favor the rest of the way.
October is so close they can taste it.