The Indians have converted nine of 18 save opportunities in the second half of the season.
That stat pretty much sums up why this team won’t make the playoffs.
If Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen had simply converted their last two blown saves against the Tigers, the Tribe would be 78-69 – three games out in the AL Central. But after Shaw cost the Tribe this game with an 8th-inning home run to Alex Avila, the Indians are 5.5 games out in the Central and five games behind in the Wild Card race (with three teams ahead of them).
Crazier things have happened in baseball, but considering the number of teams alive in the race, it’s almost impossible to envision a realistic scenario in which the Tribe plays into October.
What makes this particularly frustrating is that the pitching and offense have somehow put it all together in the second half, only to be let down by the bullpen – the only piece of the puzzle that looked like a strength during the first half of the season.
Jensen Lewis did a nice job summing up the Tribe’s current situation:
15 games remain: DET (1), HOU (4), MIN (3), KC (3.1), TB (3).. Need to go 12-3 w/ no help, 11-4 w/ lots of help to get in now
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) September 14, 2014
It’s doable, but it’s not a promising situation.
Other notes and thoughts on the game…
- Ryan Raburn left the game with a hyperextended knee. I don’t wish injury on anyone, but I hope he’s played his last game in Cleveland – or at least for this season. There’s no excuse for Terry Francona continuing to put a defensive liability with a sub-.200 average in the lineup. J.B. Shuck and Tyler Holt are both far better options based solely on their defensive contributions.
- Jesus Aguilar has 10 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances this season. He’s been forced into playing time this year and played well in Columbus, so hopefully this is simply a case of a guy not being ready for the big leagues. We’ll see more of Aguilar next year.
- The Tribe went 0-2 in games started by Kyle Lobstein this year. Against this Tigers rotation, you can’t afford to lose against the back of their rotation.