“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. This iconic line, song by Roger Daltry in the Who’s classic hit “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is one of the most quoted lines in rock n’ roll history. It’s applicable to many situations, but possibly none quite so much as the play off the Cleveland Indians, who fell back to .500 today courtesy of a 5-1 loss to the 10-26 Minnesota Twins.
There’s nothing about this game that distinguishes it from any other loss this season, or really any other loss over the last three seasons. There was the usual poor run support, as the Indians managed eight hits, but left nine men on base. Their only run came courtesy of a solo shot by Jason Kipnis in the top of the eighth inning, after the game had basically been decided.
There was also another commanding performance by a relatively anonymous opposing pitcher. Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey earned his first win of the season by pitching seven scoreless innings. Duffey allowed six hits, but only one walk as the Indians just couldn’t get anything going against him.
There was even an example of the poor fielding that has plagued the Indians so often over the last few years. After Jeff Manship gave up a pair of singles to Byung-Ho Park and Jorge Polanco in the top of the ninth inning, Eddie Rosario sent a rocket to center field that Tyler Naquin seemed ready to catch at the wall. Somehow, the ball hit off the heel of Naquin’s glove, allowing Park and Polanco to score two more insurance runs and push the lead to 5-1.
Finally, the Indians weren’t able to take advantage of a solid start by Trevor Bauer. Bauer allowed three runs in six and two-thirds innings to give the Indians a chance for the win. The Twins got to Bauer in the bottom of second, when Park doubled, and scored on a single by Rosario. Juan Centeno then doubled to center field to score Rosario and give the Twins a 2-0 lead. Bauer then settled down until the seventh, when Polanco chased him from the game with a home run to right center. Bauer has been solid, if not spectacular, in place of the injured Carlos Carrasco, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Carrasco take Cody Anderson’s spot in the rotation when Carrasco returns.
Coming into the season, there was a feeling that the Indians were going to have a surprising year, at least when compared to the expectations most fans have of them. There’s still plenty of time left, and it’s far too early to be sure of what kind of season your team will have, there’s really been no indication that they are any different than they have been the last two years, a decent, average team, who isn’t quite good enough to really contend for a postseason berth. That’s much better than the terrible teams of the Manny Acta era, or certainly the dumpster fires of the 1980’s, but does it really matter? Is mediocre baseball really enough in a town where the Indians will always be second to the Browns, and third as long as LeBron James is playing across the street? While the television and radio ratings, along with this blogger say yes, the attendance numbers show otherwise.
Despite the rough weekend for the Tribe, the best thing about baseball in May is that there’s always time. The Indians come back home to begin a series with the Cincinnati Reds tomorrow, a series that always brings out a lot of trash talk between this blogger and his college buddies. The Reds are terrible, and this is the kind of series that could get the Indians going on a winning streak. Then again, you might have said the same thing about the Twins. \