A few weeks ago, we discussed the concept of time. In the wondrous pastime known as Major League Baseball, the 162 game season means that there is always time. Time to gain momentum, time to turn the season around, and time to, for better or worse, change the narrative of the entire season. In the case of the Cleveland Indians, their narrative after the first month of the season was one of disappointment after entering the season with high expectations. As the Tribe has begun to turn their season around in May and June, that narrative has changed, and become one of growing confidence and hope for the future.
Despite the end result, today’s game didn’t start off with much hope. After stranding two base runners in the first inning, the Indians loaded the bases against former Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez with just one out in the second inning. In what seemed like typical Cleveland luck (The Kyrie Irving situation is killing me), Jimenez proceeded to strike out Michael Bourn and Jose Ramirez looking, and the fans at Progressive Field were quick to share their displeasure. This was followed up by a Manny Machado home run in the top of the third inning which gave Baltimore a 1-0 lead.
The down times didn’t last long though. In the bottom of the third inning, Nick Swisher hit a two-out RBI single which scored Carlos Santana and tied the game at one apiece. The Indians were also able to chase Jimenez from the game after just five innings, as he pitched effectively but inefficiently, something Tribe fans are more than familiar with from his time here.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Santana doubled to right field to score Jason Kipnis and give the Indians a 2-1 lead. This timely hitting combined with outstanding pitching from Salazar, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen to give the Indians their seventh victory in their last ten games, and bring them back to within one game of .500 at 27-28.
As well as the Tribe has played lately, they still have a long way to go. Even when (if?) they get over .500 they will still likely be in fourth place in a five team division, behind the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and the surprising Minnesota Twins. There’s a reason many people think the A.L. Central is the toughest division in Major League Baseball, because it is. That being said, the Indians have made great use of their time over the last six weeks, and there’s no reason to believe that they can’t continue to do so. The starting rotation has stabilized, the bullpen has settled down, and the offense has picked up just enough. There are still plenty of reasons to hope the Indians can reach the potential so many saw in them before the season began, and the greatest reason of all is time.