On May 30, I wrote…
The Indians start an 11-game road trip today in Kansas City (followed by Texas and Detroit). This trip could be the key to the season. Lose 9-of-11 like they have in the past 11 games and it could very well mean trades to build for next year, i.e. bye-bye C.C. Go 7-4 on the trip and they could be right back in the Central Division race. The Indians aren’t really this bad of a hitting team are they? Trades need to take place and the Tribe has pieces to put together a big trade, but just what kind of trade may be determined after this trip.
The 11-game road trip is over. The Indians did neither get back in the AL Central race nor take themselves out of it. They went 5-6 on the trip. On May 30, they were 6 games out of first. Today, after the trip they are 8.5 games back of the White Sox. Yes, they lost 2.5 games on Chicago but Chicago is playing really well right now and you can’t expect that to happen all season. The White Sox coming back to earth and playing no better than .500 ball is as likely as a Ozzie Guillen cursing in a post game interview following a loss.
All season, the pitching has carried this team. Well, maybe not carried but at least they were kept them a float. And the offense has been so bad, it wasn’t even a good float. The pitchers were like water wings. They keep a toddler above water, barely. Imagine how bad the Indians would be if they didn’t have a good, deep pitching staff?
During the 11-game road trip, the pitching hasn’t been that good. The offense, much better. They scored 67 runs, just over six a game. Looking at the number as a whole looks pretty good. But they still had three games scoring two or fewer runs. Averaging six runs a game with this staff should be enough to win the majority of the ballgames.
Yet it wasn’t on this trip. The still finished the 11 games under .500. Where does this leave Indians? Are they a struggling playoff quality team that will come out of this and start playing the way everyone thought they would this year? Are they one big trade away from making that happen? Are they the most disappointing team in the league? Do they need to trade away players and get ready for 2009? Do they trade C.C., Byrd and other soon to be free agents?
The road trip was suppose to clarify some of these questions. All it did was make it a more difficult decision. They’ve called up about everyone you can possibly call up from Triple-A Buffalo. BENNY has been great since he got to Cleveland. Shin-Shoo Choo arguably better. They have helped the offense but you can’t count on a couple of rookies to lead your team to the playoffs. Josh Barfield is back and picked up right were Asdlkj;adbul Cabrera left off, going 0-for-4 yesterday. Barfield won’t be any worse but again, he won’t be the key to turning this season around.
As good as the starting pitching has been, the bullpen has been that bad. If the Indians are going to get back to the playoffs, it has to start in the pen. Someone give Betancourt his steroids. I’ll take the risk of him cheating and getting suspended if he means he can record an out before giving up a grand slam. Never thought I’d be happy to have JoeBlow back as the closer but maybe he can put some order into the bullpen. (He’s 3-for-3 in saves since coming back.)
Trades are probably going to happen this year. We just don’t know if will be to help the team this year or next. However, probably no trades will take place until after the Fourth of July. That’s right after they play a series in Chicago. The rest of June, the Indians don’t play a team with a winning record. They got Minnesota, San Diego, San Francisco and Cincinnati at home and Colorado and LA Dodgers on the road. If there ever was a time to turn things around, it’s now. If the Indians really are a playoff team, this is the time to show it. You have to beat the teams you are suppose to beat. If the Tribe can’t march through this schedule, then come on football season.
A few quick notes:
Got to say congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. Finally getting to 600 home runs. It could have been 700 if not for injuries but still an amazing player. Seeing him at this press conference he still looked like the care free kids who worn his hat backwards during home run derby and just had fun. Good to see.
Winslow’s in camp so don’t worry about him (like I said). But let’s hope to get some good news about LaCharles Bentley today as the Browns doctors will hopefully clear him to practice. As soon as I wrote that, I checked ESPN and it says Bentley has been cleared to play. Nice. The curse of Devin Holly is broken.