Honestly, it’s kind of fitting that the Indians are finishing their season against the Central Division this way. With the Indians falling in a crucial, winnable game to a bad division rival, largely due to a tired and faltering bullpen. It is the same brutal story we’ve seen play out over the last few weeks, and yet it seems so appropriate. As the Twins walked off with this victory in 10 innings on Friday night, they probably took any insane hope the Indians had of the postseason with them.
The team has played like a .500 team all year (with small peaks and valleys, like any other team), and after the gut punch loss to the Twins on Friday night, they sit 36-35 on the season against the Central Division.
The Indians relied heavily on Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw early in the season, and many people were wringing their hands about the workload (me, particularly, when I’d see Allen come into a 7-run game for no reason), and now both Allen and Shaw look gassed as they give up crucial runs on a regular basis.
Josh Tomlin convinced exactly zero people that he was a viable major league starter (or even major league player) at any point this season – even his gem in Seattle felt like the fluke that it was. Sure enough, who else would be standing on the mound as the last gasp of the postseason dream slipped away?
I would say that it’s been a fun ride this 2014 season, but it honestly really hasn’t. The offense has been the most frustrating “above average” offense in the history of baseball, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Should the offense have scored more? Maybe. Should Mike Aviles have 100 or 200 fewer at-bats on the season? Absolutely. Is Nick Swisher‘s Contract a bigger albatross than Travis Hafner‘s Contract was? Quite possibly.
So as the last week or so of the season rolls on, let’s focus on the good things:
–Corey Kluber may not be 100% human, but he’s absolutely the most fun thing to watch on this team.
–Carlos Carrasco was at risk of being non-tendered next season and now I can’t imagine the 2015 rotation without him being a major part of it. It’s been an amazing turnaround.
–Yan Gomes – best catcher in the AL. Believe the hype.
-Cody Allen is easily the best closer we’ve had in this town since the 90s. Forget the bumpy ride here at the end, he’s a shutdown closer and we haven’t had one of those (for so cheap, too!) in sooooo long.
–Kyle Crockett is the best pitcher we have never really talked about. He’s a legit arm out of that bullpen, too, and will be a huge part of things in 2015.
–Michael Bourn still isn’t stealing bases, but he’s looked as healthy as he’s looked in an Indians uniform ever. I expect one last big year out of the Tribe CF next year.
-Lindor Mania is coming.
–Michael Brantley. Just everything about Michael Brantley. Except his defense — I know he plays balls off the wall well, but he just doesn’t pass the eye test out there and the defensive metrics hate him.
-The Indians have a lot of cheap pitching next year, and that means they should be able to spend some money on the offense for next year. Maybe that will put some butts in the seats (but who knows what will put butts in the seats, though).
Don’t sweat the losses, Cleveland. The numbers don’t really matter right now – just enjoy some good September baseball, have a cold beer, and watch as the leaves start to turn.
I know I said this was going to stop posting for IPL for this season, but darn it I just couldn’t help myself. I apologize this recap is so late – it’s 11pm on Saturday night here, and I was trapped in Seoul all day for work (ugh!). I may sneak in another recap or article before the season closes, and I’d love to talk about the Cleveland Indians shirts and hats I’ve seen around Jeonju-si (my new city) – the legacy of Choo Shin-Soo is still strong in the Republic of Korea.
Until next time.