Much was made late in the 2016 season that the Indians never lost more than three games in a row. The gist was that a good team, in addition to winning lots of games, must avoid losing lots of games, even for short periods.
This principle worked well until the last three games of the World Series when a three-game loss streak did them in.
So here we are in April, the Tribe not having played a single home game, and the prospect of a four-game loss streak is real.
Patrick Corbin was the main culprit Sunday, shutting the Indians out over six innings on four hits. Chris Owings, normally a light-hitting shortstop, delivered the most significant blow, a homer to left field off Corey Kluber in the sixth inning.
It all added up to a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Plenty of teams have survived streaks like this but, like most negative trends, it is more than just a symptom of a major problem, it is THE problem. (Don’t you love negative factoids that are presented as insight — “Teams that allow four runs in the first inning have a losing record” — or similar drivel? It is not particularly articulate but we all should shout, “NO DUH!)
So should we run into the street with our hair on fire, terrorized by the prospect of a long losing season?
No. As the great American philosopher, Aaron Rodgers said: Relax.
Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood in northern Wisconsin was upset a while back when their Packers had lost more games than they could tolerate. Their quarterback assured them good things were coming and then made good on the promise. (However, he did not produce a Super Bowl.)
The difference between the fans and Rodgers was that the quarterback knew what needed to be fixed and took care of it. Mostly, he started throwing more accurately.
Terry Francona is unlikely to be so blunt as to tell us to relax but he does have a chance to fix what needs to be fixed and avoid changing what needs time to be productive. He’ll find a place for Lonnie Chisenhall in the lineup — the outfielder was 4-for-4 Saturday in Columbus. He’ll continue to show faith in the bullpen that was so productive last season and he might even remind us that he warned us about the starters, unsurprisingly, not being in midseason form when the season started.
It also might be possible that the Diamondbacks are a better team than anyone anticipated.
So take Monday off and leave work early Tuesday afternoon so you can be comfy and relaxed when the opener begins.