Why is the cause of the Cleveland Indians slow start? Could it be that the Indians are feeling the woes of back-to-back postseason appearances? Or could it be that while this roster appears to be enough on paper, it just isn’t built for sustained success?
Never fear! There are over 100 more games to be played this season to figure out their issues and get back to contending form. One of the greatest things about baseball is that with so many games in a season, teams can experiment with combinations and rotations to their heart’s content until the All-Star break. This is both one of the great positives and negatives of the MLB season. The length gives teams to figure out their optimal configuration without sacrificing their season. At least the Indians have this luxury being in the weak American League Central division.
If the Indians were in the American League East they should hit the panic button. However, facing the weaker and rebuilding Central division the Indians can get out the Legos and experiment with the building blocks without cause for alarm. The length of the season and the absence of a Central division contender provide breathing room for the Indians to both insert players coming up from Columbus and allow players with injury concerns to re-establish themselves and heal.
So far this season the only consistent variable about the Indians has been their inconsistency. Their pitching has been harder to predict than finding low-carb snack options in the stadium and their offense has looked at times to be dependent upon home runs and at other times to be the scrappy on-base style that propelled them to the World Series in 2016. They just can’t figure out who they are on both sides of the ball.
The Indians have been able to play mediocre baseball and still hold a lead in the American Central division. If I were to tell you that an MLB team has gone 5-5 in its last 10 games and you would think I am talking about the abysmal Reds or the outgunned Orioles (as of press time both aforementioned teams have gone 5-5 in the last 10), but we are talking about the division-leading Cleveland Indians.
Basically, folks, that’s baseball. Be mediocre enough long enough to become really good by September/October and you may be looking at the next World Series champion. Hopefully, for the Tribe these are merely growing pains and in 4 months we will be planning a parade. But if not, we can be sure that the will be able to compete against a sub-par division and be glad that they are not the Reds. It could always be worse, right?