Settle Down, Tribe Has Better Record than Red Sox

Because Cleveland is by and large a football town, the early part of the baseball season gets fans going crazy one way or another.

When the Indians lost the first two games of the 2012 campaign in extra innings, fans were quickly jumping off any bandwagon that may have existed. 

People were blasting Manny Acta, Chris Perez, Asdrubal Cabrera, Vinnie Pestano, and virtually anyone else who wore a Cleveland uniform over the weekend.

It’s really silly because there are still 159 games left in the season.  Of course, we all know that baseball is a marathon not a sprint, and the Tribe has just barely taken the first few steps of the journey.

Heck, the Indians have a better record that the vaunted Yankees, Red Sox, and Atlanta Braves, who have all started out 0-3. 

We predicted a fourth place finish for Cleveland this year, so a good season isn’t expected, but three games shouldn’t make anyone start to panic or be concerned.

We don’t think Michael Brantley will hit .077, nor will Shin-Soo Choo bat .154 for the season.  As anemic as the Tribe offense has looked, they will be better than they showed in the three game set against Toronto.

However, it is a bit concerning right now that the offense has been far too dependent on the home run, considering no one considers Cleveland a power based team.

Right now, if there aren’t any long balls, there aren’t any runs being scored. 

That’s a big reason the Indians have batted in 36 innings so far this season and scored in only six of them. That doesn’t bode well for things to come.

Right now, you would have to look at the Tribe as a team with little power and little speed.  That isn’t a good mix if you want to score runs. 

Cleveland baserunners were thrown out on the basepaths all weekend. 

On Opening Day, Choo was thrown out at home and at second base.  Brantley was caught stealing after drawing a no out walk, and Cabrera was gunned down trying to advance on the pitch in the dirt.

Yes, they did go from first to third on the balls hit to right field, but only Jason Donald, pinch-running for Travis Hafner was able to steal a base.

On the flip side, it is doubtful the starting pitching will be as good as it has been in the first three games. 

Justin Masterson was magnificent in the opener, throwing eight innings, allowing just two hits, striking out ten.  The big right-hander is good, but he’s not going to do that in every start.

Nor is Ubaldo Jimenez going to pitch six hitless innings on a regular basis.  Derek Lowe is a veteran who will soak up innings, but he also was outstanding in his first start in a Cleveland uniform.

The point is you cannot make any judgments on a baseball team after three games.  Last year, the Indians lost their first two games, and then won 30 of the next 43 contests.

Baseball executive say you have to wait until 40 games are played before making any decisions.  That may be a little too patient, but don’t really look at records until a sixth of the season has been played (27 games).

That gives everyday players about 100 at bats, and starting pitchers will have five starts under their belt. 

So relax, and enjoy that baseball is back and being played on a daily basis. 

Have fun second guessing too, but realize it’s just a sliver on the entire picture that is the regular season.

KM

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