Series Preview: Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians

bheise1983
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Latest Tailspin Threatens Indians’ Season

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

That seems to be the general theme of the 2015 season for the Indians – show a little bit of progress and start turning the corner, fall into two weeks of crappy baseball, repeat. Fun times!

Or you know… not at all.

Following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the White Sox which served as the cherry on top of what was an ugly four-game sweep, the Indians held a closed doors team meeting where they hoped to address the things that are going wrong with the hope of doing a lot more things right. The last time this happened, a few weeks ago after a weekend series in Baltimore, the Indians went on to embarrass the Tampa Bay Rays and head into the all-star break as one of the hottest teams in baseball. Those were good times. Fun times, even.

Jul 12, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Can we go back to playing like that? Can we go back to scoring runs in bunches while piling up runs and playing spectacular defense? Please?

Well, if you’re looking for the Indians to right the ship, it may not be coming anytime soon. The Kansas City Royals, the best team in the American League and the odds on favorites to win the AL pennant again this season, are headed to Cleveland for a three game series set to begin tonight. Oh, and to add insult to injury, the Royals recently added Johnny Cueto to be their new ace following an all-in trade over the weekend.

The rich just keep getting richer. To that, I shake my fist at the economic imbalance of baseball that continues to hold the Indians back!

Wait a minute… the Royals aren’t a big spending large market team. What’s going on!?!? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

The Royals come into tonight’s game with the best record in the American League, 59-38, and winners in 13 of their last 18 games. They are the cream of the crop right now and have their eyes set on making a deep run into October for the second straight season. Even the loss of Alex Gordon to a strained groin hasn’t been enough to derail their season thanks largely in part to the sudden resurgence of Alex Rios. It’s almost as if everything the Royals touch right now turns to gold.

Now add in Cueto a true ace in every sense of the word and suddenly the Royals have everything the need to win the World Series:

  • Elite starter for games 1, 4, and 7: Check
  • Dominant back-end bullpen: Check
  • Potent lineup full of young, athletic talents: Check
  • Defense that is resetting the standard for excellence in the defensive runs saved category: Check

Things are going to well for the Royals that it is hard to imagine their one major weakness finding a way to screw this up. Of course, I’m talking about Ned Yost, the much maligned manager who has seen his last name become a verb (Yosted). If he simply follows the script of getting a solid start, score a few runs, and hand it over to the bullpen, the Royals may very well cruise to the World Series.

Meanwhile, the Indians are simply hoping to find their way out of their most recent rut. With four straight losses and six out of their last nine to begin the second half, the Indians are once again in the AL Central cellar. Everyone, including them continues to search for an explanation, but maybe it’s a lot simpler than they’re making it out to be.

Maybe this is just a bad team.

I know, it’s hard to fully grasp given the talent on the roster, but the fact remains that this talent is 45-52 and 14 games out of first head towards August. At what point do we accept the fact that this wasn’t the year and this current version isn’t what we thought they’d be? Is it time to move on? Is it time to make a semi-major overhaul as the trade deadline approaches? I’m not sure, but I’m just glad I’m not the one making that decision.

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