Despite all we learned in the offseason and in Spring Training, despite the plethora of prognostication by humans and machines, we are only beginning to know what kind of team the Indians will be this season.
After another close one before a huge crowd at Progressive Field, I think it is fair to make these conclusions:
The pitching is about as good as we might have expected. It just isn’t coming from the personnel we might have predicted. As Trevor Bauer demonstrated Friday night, the quality is deep. Before the season, we might have expected Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco to be top performers. However, Kluber has been inconsistent and probably is beyond his best years. He can give you a great performance or he can falter, as he did in Kansas City Wednesday. Carrasco has not been the same since his leg injury. Bauer came out of the bullpen and is challenging Danny Salazar as the best Cleveland starter.
With superior pitching comes a lot of close games. It will seem like the Indians are always in games, even when they struggle at the plate, as they did Friday night. Defensive lapses will seem more important, as did Lonnie Chisenhall‘s play on Adam Eaton‘s triple.
Tremendous stress will be applied to the bullpen. Cody Allen gave up a clutch hit in a ninth-inning save situation and went to the dugout looking like a failure. Of course, it was only his second blown save, hardly the trait of a failure. Redemption came in the bottom of the inning and Allen left as a winner.
Late innings will be cathartic. Carlos Santana proved that with his game-winner in the ninth inning.
In summary, it all seems pretty simple with just five runs scored. You won’t need much time describing the games to friends the next morning. But the details of every inning, the gathering tension as each inning passes, the disappointment of every loss and the joy of every win should keep you coming back. It’s looking like more fun on the way.