The panic is starting. The Cleveland Indians have lost four in a row at home, and nine of twelve overall.
Still, they lead the AL Central at 2-1/2 games over Detroit, and also are tied with the Yankees for the best record in the league.
Everyone would have signed up for that when the season began in April.
With a three game series against the Twins coming up, followed by big series on the road versus New York and Detroit, it is definitely time to turn it around.
Do well in this stretch of games, and many critics will forget all about this weekend.
Remember, in 1996 the Tribe was a dominant team at home and the Yankees came in and swept a four game series at Jacobs Field (June 21-23). Stuff like that happens in the baseball season.
The starting pitching wasn’t the problem either for the most part. Outside of Carlos Carrasco’s outing in the series opener, the Indians’ starter held the Texas’ bats in check.
In fact, the last three games of the series, Texas entered the seventh inning with just two runs in each game.
Unfortunately, the bats weren’t working at all, scoring just two runs in the last three games, and none in the last two contests.
Right now, the Tribe has too many holes in their batting order, particularly with Shin-Soo Choo not hitting.
Orlando Cabrera’s problems have been well documented here. Manny Acta is also getting no offense from third base, no matter who is playing there, either Jack Hannahan or Adam Everett.
Everett, by the way, is having a Mark Grudzielanek (2010 version) type of season, with no extra base hits on the season.
When Austin Kearns is in the lineup as well, and add Choo’s struggles to the mix, that is four holes in the batting order.
The only way you can win with this lineup is if the other five guys are red-hot, and they aren’t.
The Indians have to do something to help their hitting as soon as they can. And forget about the ridiculous talk about getting guys like Michael Young or David Wright. The reason those guys are on the market is their contracts are incredibly bloated.
So, the Tribe has to go to the farm system for help. The question is can guys like Cord Phelps provide help to the offense.
When making that decision, people should go to the “can he do any worse” question.
That is to say, would Phelps do any worse offensively than O. Cabrera or Hannahan have done since the first of May?
Based on his minor league track record, the answer would appear to be no. And not to be mean, but at this point, anyone who would not be an automatic out would be an upgrade.
That’s where the Indians will have to get improvement, from the farm system. They are not going to give up their prime prospects for a rental player, nor should they.
And no other team is going to give you a good player for a marginal prospect until near the trading deadline. The players who will be available will likely be guys who will be free agents at the end of the season.
Look at the standings. There are not a lot of team out of the race for a playoff spot right now, so it’s very difficult to make moves right now.
That shouldn’t stop GM Chris Antonetti from trying to improve his roster immediately. He can’t make a major upgrade, but there are players at Columbus who can help the Indians right now.
With a big trip on the horizon, there may not be a better time to get some help.