Cory Kluber takes the mound tonight as the Cleveland Indians open the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. 2016 has been a bizarre years in so many ways, including a crazy election that’s driving most people to drink, but this year will always be cherished by Cleveland sports fans as the Cavs broke a 52-year championship drought for the city. Now, with the Cavs ready to open their new season tonight by raising their championship banner, we have the Indians trying to complete their improbable run to a Word Series title. Can you imagine two championship parades in one year?
This Indians-Cubs series could be epic, with both clubs trying to end long championship droughts. In any other year, the Indians would probably have the whole country behind them, but with the Cavs ending the city’s title drought and then drawing the Cubs as their opponent, the Indians find themselves as the underdog in the eyes of baseball experts and fans across the country.
But this Indians team doesn’t care about those things. They rolled through the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays despite losing two of their best starting pitchers and another starter to a freak drone accident, and now they’ll at least have Danny Salazar back to possibly start a game or provide help from the pen.
Still, the team isn’t at full strength, so tonight’s opening game with Cory Kluber on the mound will likely be critical. If Kluber can win his starts, the Indians have a great shot at shocking the world and extending the misery of Cubs fans. If Kluber loses, then the Indians will have to rely on Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin to rise to the occasion again and get to Andrew Miller and the rest of the bullpen.
This Cubs team is excellent, but the Indians can definitely win this series. Go Tribe!!
The Indians haven’t lost yet in the postseason after taking a 2-0 game lead on the Blue Jays and sweeping the Boston Red Sox. Needless to say this has been an incredible ride.
Few of us could have predicted what we’re seeing after Carlos Carrasco was lost for the season with Danny Salazar already injured. Of course we all know how that led to Paul Hoynes writing off the Indians, only to get ripped not once but twice by Trevor Bauer on Twitter, with Hoynes finally admitting he was wrong after the Tribe swept the Red Sox.
The Indians are doing this with great pitching despite those injuries, with Cory Kluber living up to his role as staff ace and Andrew Miller redefining dominance out of the bullpen. They’re also getting timely hits from Francisco Lindor even as the offense has been held mostly in check by Toronto’s pitching staff.
This series is far from over, but this 2-0 start has been fun to watch.
It’s no secret that the Cleveland Indians had a pretty rough time last season, plummeting toward the latter half after a strong beginning. There’s still a lot of hope for the 2013 season, however, since the Indians had a very productive winter making a lot of progress in (hopefully) the right direction. Let’s look at the changes the Indians have implements that just might get them into the playoffs, and maybe even the World Series.
The first thing the Cleveland Indians did this winter was grab some new baseball gloves for the many new members they’ve welcomed onto their team. Having traded a lot of players and signing a couple of free agents, the Indians have revamped their lineup in hopes of bringing stronger players to their team. Matt Albers, Brett Myers, Nick Swisher, and Bryan Shaw have all been added to the Cleveland Indians, giving the proud city of Cleveland hope for this season.
When they began signing their new players, the Indians forewent trying to save money on their payroll by obtaining young players and instead put their money into getting well-known talent. This makes their budget for the upcoming season pretty tight, but it should also assist in helping them regain the immense losses that they incurred last season. It’s definitely a step in the right direction for the team.
Ubaldo Jimenez was the height of discussion last season as his performance continued to decline since the Cleveland Indians brought him onboard in 2010. A very talented pitcher in the past, he was called a disappointment by a lot of Indians fans for his 5.25 ERA (the second worst for the entire year). He plans to step it up in this upcoming season though. Throughout winter, Jimenez spent a lot of time with the Indians’ pitching coach to better his performance and solidify his techniques, admitting that last year was really bad for him. If he takes the training to heart, the boost in Jimenez’s ERA will be a huge advantage for the Cleveland Indians this season.
Carlos Carrasco should also be returning to the Indians this year after having undergone surgery in his elbow. Always a promising player for the team, the return of Carrasco will also benefit the Cleveland Indians immensely and will definitely help them in their upward mobility toward the playoffs. Scott Kazmir, who pitched during the winter league, will also be joining the team this year after being gone from the majors since 2011.
What the Cleveland Indians need is consistency and a strong lineup of fresh, talented players will provide that. If they can continue to scout out the best players and train the ones they already have, they will definitely be on mark to potentially make the playoffs, even if they aren’t quite ready to get back into the World Series.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Anaheim, California September 6, 2010. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
Carlos Carrasco has been one of the nice surprises of this 2011 season for the Indians as they appear to be building an excellent, young pitching staff. I was pissed about the Cliff Lee trade several years ago as the Indians gave up on Lee a year early in a pathetic salary dump. I usually applaud the Tribe brass for their trades, as they know how to find young talent, but they gave up Lee too early and they should have insisted on more in return.
That said, they certainly got talent back with Carrasco. He’s been dominant at times this year, though he also goes through growing pains at times. This account from the KC papers from last night’s game is interesting.
The Royals clubbed four homers Friday night, including three in the first four innings, in a 12-0 bludgeoning of Cleveland, but it was the response to those homers by Indians starter Carlos Carrasco that lit the fuse.
Carrasco followed a grand slam by Melky Cabrera, which pushed the Royals’ lead to 7-0 in the fourth, by throwing a pitch at Billy Butler’s head. That prompted an immediate ejection for Carrasco that likely prevented an on-field brawl.
“I barely got out of the way,” Butler said. “It was right at my head, and there was no way around it. I usually don’t react that way. If I get hit, I get hit. I don’t have anything to say. But in that situation, I’m going to open my mouth.”
The Royals were already coming out of the dugout and the bullpen when home-plate umpire Scott Barry threw Carrasco out of the game.
Carrasco insisted he didn’t go head-hunting.
“I didn’t throw at anybody,” he said. “The baseball just ran away. I know it looked bad after a home run, but there is nothing I can do right there. I was upset at myself, and Melky, too.”
It was hard to find anybody in either clubhouse who bought Carrasco’s version.
“He’s a young guy,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He’s immature at times and shows his frustration the wrong way. He was talked to.”
The near bean ball came in apparent retaliation for Cabrera’s elongated admiration of his slam before circling the bases. Even the Royals acknowledged that hitting the next hitter, Butler, was within the game’s unwritten rules.
Just not in the head.
“Be a man,” left fielder Alex Gordon said. “Throw at his back. Not his head.”
Cleveland reliever Chad Durbin, who replaced Carrasco, buzzed Cabrera in his next at-bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. That brought no reaction from the Royals or the umpires.
Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cliff Lee pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts July 17, 2010. REUTERS/Adam Hunger (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)
The trading of Cliff Lee is an embarrassment for the Dolan family and the Cleveland Indians, because they are giving up on 2010 along with this season for purely financial reasons. That’s the only explanation for this trade, and it feeds the long-standing criticisms of the Dolan family – that they don’t have the financial means to be playing in the big leagues.
The Dolans will counter that they have stepped up in the past and that the current payroll was substantial. In that respect they have a point, and Mark Shapiro and Eric Wedge need to answer for the team’s performance. But that criticism will be left for another day. The point here is that they are not willing to spend money when the inevitable adversity faces a franchise. Even good front office people make mistakes, and teams need to adjust a retool. In that respect the Sabathia trade last season was much more defensible. The season was lost, and there wwas no way they were going to be able to sign C.C., who despite his bullshit expressions of love for Cleveland and Milwaukee ended up taking the highest offer on the market from the Yankees.
That deal makes sense, but this deal makes no sense. The Indians do have a solid core group of players, and they could contend if they had Cliff Lee at the front of their rotation if they made some key moves on the pitching staff and got rid of Wedge. But now we’ll never know because the Dolans cried “uncle.”
Trading Cliff Lee, a Cy Young Award winner, for a bunch of prospects when you have another FULL SEASON left on his contract is a disgrace. No amount of spinning from Shapiro can save this one. Sure, Shapiro might strike gold again with this deal, he does fairly well evaluating other teams’ prospects, but that doesn’t really matter. The Indians are giving up for now.
I’ve shared a season-ticket package with friends for 15 years. I will not be joining the group next season.