With last night’s loss to the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians are now 2/3rd of the way through the 2017 season.
Here is a breakdown in 27 game (1/6th of the year) increments–
Games 1-27: 15-12
Games 28-54: 13-14
Games 55-81: 16-11
Games 82-108: 15-12
If anything, it is surprising that the Tribe’s splits are so similar in this regard.
The reason for Cleveland being 10 games over the .500 mark, is they have lost more than three in a row just once, and that was a four game losing streak, and they’ve had winning streaks of five, six, and nine games this year.
Think about this last 27 game stretch. The Indians started winning four of six, then lost five of six, followed by a nine game winning streak. In that losing skid, they looked horrible. They didn’t hit and couldn’t field.
Such is the 2017 Cleveland Indians. Just when you think you have them figured out, they surprise you yet again.
We also saw injuries creep in. Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall missed significant time over the last month. Giovanny Urshela and Erik Gonzalez filled in for Kipnis and our thinking there is if Urshela could hit just a little bit, he can have a role on a big league roster.
His defense is that good.
Gonzalez can’t control the strike zone yet. His offense has dropped with increased playing time, mostly due to a strikeout to walk ratio of 28:1. That’s insane.
In the outfield, Chisenhall’s absence was quieted by Austin Jackson’s sensational season. Jackson is hitting .321 in part time duty, almost 50 points higher than his career mark.
Oh, and he made the catch of the year last Tuesday night in Boston.
The biggest injury was to Andrew Miller who was put on the disabled list with tendonitis in his knee. We have complained about Terry Francona’s overuse of the lefty all year, and it appears it may have caught up to him.
Cleveland needs him back for the stretch, so hopefully the ten days will take care of the problem.
Boone Logan was another of the injured Tribesmen, suffering a tear in his lat. Tyler Olson will replace him, and so far, he’s been fine, but no doubt the organization will look for a veteran.
Danny Salazar returned from the disabled list, and has been dominant in three starts, pitching 20 innings and allowing three runs. If he is right, it just makes the starting rotation stronger and hopefully, limits the bullpen innings.
The front office made a move to bolster that ‘pen at the trade deadline, picking up Joe Smith from the Blue Jays for two minor leaguers. Smith should be able to help Bryan Shaw in the 7th inning, as he is another who may have been overused this year.
Overall, the offense has perked up, jumping from around eighth or ninth in runs scored to fourth in the American League. And with an ERA than ranks second in the AL, the Tribe’s run differential is behind only Houston in the junior circuit.
They’ve also started to play better at home.
August is a brutal month schedule wise, with the Indians having to play the Rockies, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees, and big games against the Royals coming up to.
A winning record would put them well on their way to a second consecutive division title, something that hasn’t happened since 1998-99.
The key is still the starting rotation. If Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Salazar, and even Trevor Bauer, the way he has pitched recently, can continue to do their job, the Tribe will be set up well for the rest of the season.