Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Tribe Talk 9.1.15: Not So Fast… Indians Season is Far From Done #Indians

By @DaSportsGenius7

Tom Hamilton calls it the, "6 Month Journey, that is Baseball's season" for a reason.  It seems like only yesterday the Indians were starting the season with such high hopes and ended up getting swept by the Tigers in their first Home series.  It's led to a season of change.  The Indians have gone from change from the leadership in the clubhouse (Swisher and Bourn to Kipnis, Brantley and Kluber) and now leadership change in the Front Office with Mark Shapiro leaving.  The Indians headed into Monday's series with the red hot Toronto Blue Jays at 63-66, only 5 GB of the Wild Card.  A month ago I think almost all the fans would've quit on this team, suddenly the Indians sweep their home stand against Milwaukee and the Angels.  Now suddenly the season has taken a turn nobody saw coming.  The 2nd Wild Card now doesn't seem that much of a farfetched possibility.

Now as an Indians fan you're probably thinking that it's a long shot and you're probably right, but I think it's fair to examine, what kind of a chance do the Indians really have?  In my personal opinion, there isn't a team that's currently ahead of us that I'm particularly scared of.  In the last month of the year, after the Blue Jays series, the Indians will have ONE non-in division series until the final series of the year against the Red Sox.  The Indians will have 7 games vs. Detroit, 6 vs. Chicago, 7, 7 vs. Kansas City, and 7 vs. Minnesota.  As crucial as the Blue Jays series could be for establishing momentum, from a schedule standpoint, as long as the Indians can start September on the right note, the Tigers series from the 10th-13th will define the season.  The Indians biggest obstacle has been winning big series at home, especially vs. Detroit.  If the Indians can start off well and win that series, I think the Tribe can seriously make a run for the 2nd Wild Card spot.  The reason why?  Think about it, the teams in front of the Tribe really don't have the pitching staff that the Indians have and for the most part, the critical parts of the offense haven't been hitting like they should and some are coming around at the right time.  So let's examine the other teams the Indians will be watching the scoreboard for in September.

Baltimore Orioles- Lets be honest the Orioles offense really has the potential to score at will whenever it wants.  With Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and young budding star Manny Machado, the Orioles can score with any team.  As for their pitching staff...well that's the problem.  When you are lead by Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, and Ubaldo Jimenez, you know you have serious problems long term wise.  While they have the bullpen to back it up, in September it's crucial for teams to have your starters last in games to rest up that bullpen.  I think their hopes are over and compared to the Indians, I'd give the Indians an edge.

Tampa Bay Rays- This one doesn't need a lot of explanation in my opinion.  The Rays have done nothing short of a masterful job rebuilding their team and are still in the hunt with 1st year manager Kevin Cash.  With Chris Archer leading the way, the Rays have an ace that can carry them.  My problem is with the bullpen and offense.  I see way too many holes all around compared to where the Indians struggles in offense lay in players having down seasons and not getting hot.  That's why I'm not afraid of Tampa.

Los Angeles Angels- Indians swept them...do I really need to explain why?  Mike Trout alone only gets you so far.  The money wasted on a mediocre rotation has really made the Angels suffer.  Doesn't help their farm system is so bad they can't trade for an ace.  But at least they got some young arms to build around for 2016.

Minnesota Twins- This is the only one I'm still blown away by that they're still in it.  Their offense is really average, and their rotation has veteran arms, but no ace.  I'll give them this, they got one hell of a closer.  But the Twins I thought would fall apart at this point, but they've stayed on track to be in it.  Something has to give and those 7 games the Twins will face with the Indians will decide who takes the 2nd place spot in the division behind the Royals.  I think the way the Indians have played them recently gives me hope they'll do fine against them and take care of business.

Texas Rangers- This is the another team that perplexes me.  Without a doubt they have enough offense to gives teams a headache to deal with and do have an ace with Cole Hamels.  With an offense lead by Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre and a rejuvenated Josh Hamilton.  The big plus with Texas down the stretch is that although they mostly play their division, they have a good amount of games with the Mariners and A's left.  They have 7 vs. the Astros and funny enough right at the perfect moment for the Indians to strike.  As said earlier I'm focusing on the 4 game home series vs. Detroit, the Rangers series vs. Astros begins that next Monday.  If the Indians can continue to scratch and claw their way up the Wild Card, that will be the moment the Indians can strike.

All I ask of fans is to look at the teams ahead of you...you can't tell me that the Indians aren't better that much worse than these teams?  Hell I'd argue the Tribe might be better than these teams.  This is a team that for the past 2 years have shown, they know how to play in September, it's time to show it guys.  A lot of Indians fans threw in the towel, I admit I was extremely close to doing it.  But in the words of Lee Corso, "NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!"  This season a FAR from over.  So Tribe fans, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times because the Roller Coaster we're going on is going to be one wild ride!

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