It has been well documented that the Cleveland Indians have had issues stringing together wins. When they emerged victorious both Friday and Saturday in Texas, it marked the first time the Tribe has won two in a row since the first week of the season.
The biggest problem? Consistency.
Terry Francona’s club simply can’t put anything together on a day-to-day basis.
For example, in their last seven games, the Indians have had games where they are tallied eight runs twice, and another where they scored ten times. In the other four games? Cleveland scored one run twice, two runs once, and three runs once.
Since it is difficult to win games where you score three runs or less (although the Tribe did win 2-0 on Corey Kluber’s gem on Wednesday night), this team can’t put together any kind of streak.
The pitching isn’t any better. In the same seven games, Cleveland hurlers had contests where they had a shutout, allowed two runs twice, and three runs once. That’s good, right?
Except that in the other three games, the pitching staff allowed eight runs twice and five runs on another occasion.
Even individual players have had the same ups and downs. Now, we realize that not everybody can be like Michael Brantley, but some of the Indians players have been woefully inconsistent.
While the starting pitching looked to be a strength coming into the year, the main starters have yet to reach a point where they are good most times they take the hill.
Kluber has had four of eight starts where he has thrown six or more frames allowing two runs of less. The other four appearances? 23 innings pitched allowing 19 earned runs.
Carlos Carrasco has been about the same. In four of his eight starts (we threw out the game he was hit by the line drive), he has pitched 24-1/3 innings and allowed eight runs, for an ERA of under 3.00. In his other starts, he has pitched 19 innings, allowing 14 earned runs.
To be fair, Trevor Bauer has been good in five of his seven starts and Danny Salazar in five of his six opportunities.
The fifth spot has been an out-and-out disaster, with southpaws T.J. House and Bruce Chen combining to allow 38 hits in 19 innings of work.
The bullpen has been most up and down as well, with only Zack McAllister and lately Bryan Shaw showing solid efforts on most nights. Long man Ryan Webb has done his job well also.
That’s not good enough if you want to put together a winning streak.
The hitters aren’t immune either. Brandon Moss was counted on to be a power presence in the middle of the order, and he does lead the club in home runs (5) and RBI’s (23). That’s great until you see three of those dingers and 13 of the runs he has knocked in have come in THREE GAMES!
In the other 32 games, he’s hit 2 homers and knocked in 10, which is about what David Murphy has done in part-time duty.
We will leave Jason Kipnis out of this because he’s been torrid for about a two-week stretch, it hasn’t been a select few games.
We know Nick Swisher is battling back from surgery on both knees. He came into today at 9 for 35 on the year. He was 7 for 8 in two games, and in the other eight games he appeared in, he was 2 for 27.
Until the Tribe starts getting good performances on an almost nightly basis from their hitters and pitchers, they are going to keep scuffling.
What makes players good is consistency. Many guys can have a good night every once in a while, and right now, that’s what’s happening here.
It has to change soon, because the other teams in the AL Central are all playing pretty well.