I’m sitting here thinking about the team’s post-break roadie, shaking my head at the idea where the Indians could easily be if only they brought their heads on the plane with them. They probably could have swept that trip. As a result, there ain’t much to say off of the top because I still wince thinking about Lonnie Chisenhall’s shovel-pass or whatever it was.

Execution, or the lack thereof, can impact pennant races. Those annoying little “coulda, shoulda, woulda” situations always seem come back to haunt a team somehow, more often than not. The Benny Hill theme played in my head way too frequently in Minneapolis and Seattle and on Friday night. It’s not a surprise that defense hasn’t been their strong suit, but they were doing a fairly good job of not making it too obvious.

Instead, they’re holding serve by rebounding and capping their week with a nice sweep of the slumping Rangers, while the Phillies laid down like rugs even after the Tigers lost Miguel Cabrera for arguing balls and strikes yesterday.

So much for a little help from friends. Just goes to show you that if you want something done right, do it yourself. And with The White Sox and Marlins coming up, you’d have to think that anything less than a 5-2 swing would be considered a disappointment. Here’s a good chance to really put some real heat on the Tigers, as well as in the Wild Card chase, where they stand just a game out of the second berth. (Check back here next week to find out if I’m pleased or POed.)

Good news: Mark Reynolds has had his behind glued to the bench. The grace period appears to have ended. No more eight-man lineups. For a couple days, anyway. Yay.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the superb work of the guys on the bump.  “The Ones in the Know” have been saying that the Indians need pitching. The Indians are doing everything they can to show that those guys are already here. Scott Kazmir is having a career rebirth. So is Ubaldo Jimenez, who was as equally as impressive yesterday, and is finally showing steady signs of being the pitcher the Indians thought they were acquiring a few years ago. Justin Masterson does what he usually does; putting the team on his broad shoulders with minimal run support. Zach McAllister was rusty on his first start back from the DL, but that’s usually expected so no one’s concerned about him. Ditto for Corey Kluber, who has proven to be a good bet on most nights.

Add Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco (trade bait?) who are all waiting for their next opportunities with the big club, it looks like starting pitching depth isn’t a glaring issue.

With that in mind, I don’t expect the Indians to make much noise at the trade deadline on Wednesday. I think we have enough to get the job done, but a new, quality lefty matchup guy would be wonderful. My eyes bleed from watching both Nick Hagadone and Rich Hill hemorrhage runs out of the whazoo. This must end. And it shouldn’t be too expensive

But despite the problems in middle-relief, they’ve made it this far and it appears that are not going away quietly. If that’s the most pressing need, that’s a pretty big plus. They might just as well decide to dance with the ones who brought ‘em here.

And hopefully they wash the butter off of their fingers. That makes life much easier.

 

12 Comments

  • Jeremy says:

    After last night’s game, I can’t help but think of Happy Gilmore mocking Shooter McGavin during that final tournament: “Somebody’s closer!!” That’s right, the Tribe have closed within one game of a wild card birth, and while I wasn’t too happy about the lackluster performance v. the Mariners or Twins, what a turnaround against the Rangers!?! I think Tito summed up it perfectly when he said we got the Rangers at the right time and took advantage.

    The pitching once again stepped up, and while you mentioned the starters up above, just how dominant has CP #54 looked since coming back from injury? Vinnie even looked solid yesterday. Middle relief still remains a problem and I think everyone knows if we make a move, it will be to beef up that part of the ‘pen. With the addition of the 2nd wildcard, it makes me wish they would push the trade deadline back about 3 wks.

    And I’ll second the Mark Reynolds comment. Those last couple of at-bats, he just looked absolutely befuddled; almost as if he’d never seen major league pitching. Couple that with some errors and that’s the end of the line in my book.

  • Sean Porter says:

    1. This is such a strange team. Coming out of the break, the Indians were scheduled to play Minnesota, Seattle, Texas, Chicago, and Miami. On paper, a great chance to make up ground – with the one exception of the Rangers – who might as well be the New York Yankees of the South for the Tribe. The Tribe then decides to kick the ball around enough to go 2-4 on the road vs the Twins and Mariners, then sweep the Rangers. That’s why they play the games on the field, I suppose.

    2. Totally agree with you Chris, the Indians need to go 5-2 minimum over the next two series – especially considering the Tigers have gotten hot.

    3. The thing is, though, the Indians can’t hope that the Tigers stumble and leave the proverbial door open for them. They need to start winning the head-to-head series vs the Motor City (currently filing bankruptcy) Kitties. While so far the season series has looked like the ’27 Yankees vs the ’91 Indians (57-105 juggernaught), remember, the Tribe last year actually won the season series. I’m not suggesting the Tribe sweep the Tigers the rest of the way, they just need to win the series and pick up a game here, a game there.

    4. The starting pitching for the Fightin’ Wahoos is why I think they will stick around for the last two months. Masterson is a horse, of course (apologies if the theme from ‘Mr. Ed’ is now in your head), Kluber has been a god-send. McAllister with any luck will get back in the groove, and Ubaldo and Kazmir have been getting better as the season progresses. This is not the 1954 Indians rotation, but 1-5 it might be as good as we’ve seen in quite awhile.

    5. Starting to get the feeling that Michael Bourn is feeling more comfortable with the A.L., which is scary, considering he was already hitting .290 for most of the year. Hopefully the stolen bases start coming next, as he gets a feel for A.L. pitchers.

    6. I know this has been said over and over, but I really hope to see decent crowds from this point at Jaco… Progressive Field. This team deserves to be supported by an enthusiastic home crowd.

    • Swift says:

      “6. I know this has been said over and over, but I really hope to see decent crowds from this point at Jaco… Progressive Field. This team deserves to be supported by an enthusiastic home crowd.”

      Especially considering that they have one of the better home winning percentages in the AL.

      • medfest says:

        I’m about done complaining about the lousy attendance.(71,000+ for the Rangers three games and in beautiful weather?)

        I’ve accepted that Cleveland is a lousy sports town with fans more interested in seeing “events” than a good ball game.

        I’ll just keep getting a nice cheap parking spot close to the ballpark for nearly every game and thank the bandwagoneers for it!

        • Chris Burnham says:

          It’s not a lousy sports town. It’s a Browns town. There IS a difference.

          • Jami says:

            agreed Chris. Also, you have to understand the city somewhat. This team has disappointed time and time again and ticket prices fluctuate as much as this team’s record does. Looking at tickets for the upcoming Angel’s series and the Upper Deck prices are what I used to pay for solid lower level seating. I am an avid follower as well, but I do understand the hesitancy the city displays towards this team. That being said, I would not be surprised to see a sell out in the LAA series at home. The Friday/Saturday night game with fireworks duo should draw large crowds.

          • Weston says:

            I whole-heartedly agree there Jami. Prices are too damn high. The bleachers fill up and then what? You’re left with shelling out $25 for upper deck nosebleeds. I can’t expect families to be paying that, especially with these economic times. And I just don’t think alot of fans are ready to “buy in” to the team this year–to put it almost literally. Burned by the ownership, who could blame em? This team is going to have to slowly prove they are for real, and slowly gain the trust again. Having said that, I bought my tickets awhile back for the upcoming series against the Angels, as well as that last game against Detroit right before the Angels. It seems those are really selling. I’ve been hoping we’d still be relevant by then. Looks like we will. Go Tribe.

          • Jeremy says:

            Which is crazy considering that the Browns are perpetual losers. We must just love football.

  • Paul says:

    What are the chances of Grady resigning for charity and the lack of production for the past four years??? He would beat the heck out of mark reynolds as DH and he also wouldn’t be as injury prone.

  • Drew says:

    6-1 this week. I am sure you will be pleased.