The Indians have hit the halfway point of the 2014 season. At the 81 game mark they are (39-42). Last year at this time they were (43-38). So that’s a four game differential on the negative side from a year ago when they finished (92-70) and in second place in the A.L. Central, but claimed the A.L.’s top Wild Card spot.
I’ve claimed all along that I didn’t think they’d be as good as they were last year mainly because of the starting pitching, or lack thereof. But also there is still no legitimate clean-up hitter with power, poor defense, they’re going to wear out their bullpen and two of their biggest bats Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana are hitting (.193) and (.207) respectively.
Having said all that, thanks to the two Wild Card spots in the A.L. and a Tigers team that is still the favorite in the division, but also not as good as they were last year, the Indians are far from out of it in the American League playoff picture. The Wahoo Warriors trail first place Detroit by 6 ½ games as of today, and are just 4 ½ games out in the Wild Card race with a lot of baseball yet to play.
A big power bat and a legit number #2 or #3 starter would go a long way of bettering their chances of getting to the post-season for the second straight year and they have until July 31st to make a trade, however don’t hold your breath on those. But as I’ve learned over the years in sports, never say never. Let’s hope that Chris Antonetti and Mark Shapiro address at least one of those two big needs.
MVP – Michael Brantley – This one was easy. Dr. Smooth is on pace to hit .318 with 25 homeruns and drive in 108 runs. He is the most complete and consistent player on the team and it’s not even close.
MDP (Most Disappointing Players) – Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana – This one was easy too. Your two so-called power bats are not only struggling average wise at the plate, they aren’t hitting for power either. Yes Santana is tied for the team lead in HR’s with 12, but that’s not saying much and Mr. Brohio has only hit 5 balls to “Souvenir City”.
MSP (Most Surprising Player) – Lonnie Chisenhall – Another easy choice. Where would the Indians be without the offense that “Lonnie Baseball” has provided? He’s hitting .350 with 8 homers and 36 RBI’s. Cody Allen is the runner-up here with 7 saves and a 2.67era as your closer.
Player Least Likely To Be Here After The Trading Deadline – Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s only hitting .248 with 8 homers and 36 runs batted in. Plus he leads the team with 14 errors and he’s a free agent at the end of the year. Trade him and get something in return for him because you sure as hell aren’t going to pay him what he’ll be asking once he hits the market. You have Mike Aviles to play short on an everyday basis for the rest of this year and until Francisco Lindor is ready for the big leagues.
Pitching Rotation – My rotation for the 2nd half of the season would be – Corey Kluber, Justin Masterson, Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer and whoever gets hot, but leave Carlos Carrasco in the bullpen. He has found a home for now and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.