After getting swept in a day-night doubleheader by the Baltimore Orioles yesterday, and being shutout in both contests, the Cleveland Indians seems to have reached rock bottom.
They sit 12 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central Division, and are now 7 behind the New York Yankees for the second wild card spot in the league.
That wild card spot would mean the one game crap shoot to get into a best-of-five series, so the division title should be the goal, but at this point, you’ll take the one game playoff.
Right now, the Tribe is a mess.
They can’t score runs, they have dropped to 11th in the AL in runs per game, and the vaunted pitching staff also ranks 11th in ERA. The defense is poor, so poor in fact that using defensive metrics, Francisco Lindor is by far the team’s best defensive player on the season, and he’s been in the big leagues all of two weeks.
Cleveland has players who can get on base, they just can’t drive them in, having a woeful batting average with runners on base.
We agree that there is still plenty of time left in the season, but based on the performance of the team for the first half of the season, the guys currently on the roster aren’t capable of getting it done.
The time is now for bold moves with this roster.
Michael Bourn’s production has declined to the point where he can no longer play for this team even in a platoon role.
The Tribe has a 26-year-old OF who can play CF at Columbus, and is hitting .306 with a 764 OPS. He’s actually been with the Indians last year and has three at bats with the big club this year.
Why Tyler Holt isn’t on this roster right now is a complete mystery.
And he plays with an edge, something even veterans Jason Kipnis and Brandon Moss have said is lacking with the Indians right now.
What should be done with Bourn? Well, we would release him.
Yes, yes, we understand the Indians owe him $14 million for 2016, and another $6.75 million for the rest of this season, but what’s done is done. They will owe him no matter what he does, and right now they are paying him to not produce.
Why aren’t we complaining about Nick Swisher? Because he’s on the disabled list, so he’s not hurting the squad right now. If Swisher is activated and produces the same as he did before he went on the DL, then he should get the same fate.
It’s not fair for the rest of the roster to play shorthanded because the organization’s high-priced signings didn’t work out.
We’ve had people asking to wait and see if Bourn can be traded, but by the time that happens, even the slim hopes of a playoff spot the Indians have now will be extinguished.
The starting pitching is showing the strain of non-support from the offense and the woes of an ineffective bullpen.
The four starters who have been here all year have ERAs under 4.16, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t great either.
However, the relief corps has been inconsistent.
Cody Allen has been fine since a rough April, and Bryan Shaw has done the same.
Zack McAllister’s been fine, but seems to give up big hits at the most inopportune times. Marc Rzepczynski has been prone to the same thing lately, such as Friday night, when he entered in a tie game and promptly gave up three straight hits on three consecutive pitches.
Over the last 14 days, Nick Hagadone has pitched 1-2/3 innings and allowed five hits. Over the last 28 days, he’s gone 6-2/3 frames, allowing nine hits. Take out last season, and he’s never had an ERA under 4.09 in his career.
Ryan Webb’s numbers look good (24 IP, 20 H, 8 BB, 18 Ks), but he doesn’t pitch often enough to evaluate him fully.
The other bullpen spots, usually two (for some ridiculous reason at the expense of an extra position player), have been revolving doors with the since released Scott Atchison, Austin Adams, Jeff Manship, and Kyle Crockett holding down the spot.
It might be time to change some roles up there as well.
Regardless, action is needed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be a strength of the front office.
The season is slipping away. Maybe the administration could throw Tito and the boys a rope.