This team is so positively…frustrating.

There are things to like about the current state and future Tribe: They are scrappy on most days or nights. They put up a good fight more often than not, which bodes well for the core on down the line. Danny Salazar (SMALL SAMPLE ALERT!) looks like he’s to be the eventual true top-of-the-rotation starter that the Indians have been searching for since CC. Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley are likely anchors to a line-up for the next several years. Francisco Lindor’s in the pipeline. And while the early returns from Trevor Bauer haven’t been anything to write home about, his potential is still intoxicating.

The fact of the matter is that the Indians are probably ahead of schedule in their quest to be contenders. This is good news.

The bad news is that I’m starting to come around to the possible realization that this year’s ceiling has just about been reached. And I think they know it as well.

There are good soldiers on this team. Guys like Scott Kazmir who are willing to answer the bell in the team’s time of need, to Jason Giambi, who has had a season’s worth already of clutchness despite sitting on the interstate all year.

But if we’re looking for proof that the Indians might just be a notch below where they want to be, just look at what happened in Oakland; where a series win was just a bloop away, or four inches away from a glove.

And then they were completely victimized by the Chris Young yesterday. That was just about enough to make me wave the white flag.

The Indians sit 4.5 games back of the second Wild Card. It’s doable, but the margin for error is pretty snug. Series wins are imperative at this point on. The Indians need their big guns to get rolling. This teetering on the outskirts of contention is wearing thin.

Time to roll, boys. Playtime is over.

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