Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins

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Playoff Hopes Dwindling for New Look Indians

After a busy two weeks of wheeling and dealing, the current roster of Indians looks significantly different from the one that started the season as World Series title hopefuls.

Nick Swisher and Michel Bourn, gone. Macr Rzepczynski, gone. David Murphy, gone. Not only that, but Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez have both come and gone and then come again in differing roles. Along with them we have seen the emergence of Francisco Lindor and Giovanny Urshela. The sudden impact of Abraham Almonte. And, let’s not forget, a seemingly reinvigorated Chris Johnson.

Jul 29, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis (22) rubs the head of Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor following a home run by Lindor during the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

So like I said, while the core of the Indians roster has remained relatively untouched, there have been enough changes made to the surrounding pieces parts that this is far from the same team.

Oddly, I feel somewhat optimistic about this team. Not necessarily for this season, that ship has sailed at  games back with about  let to play, but rather for the future. With the moves the Indians have made, they have an intriguing center field option, a handful of young talented prospects making impacts, and new-found financial freedom to make some big time moves to really improve this team.

Of course, that assumes the Indians won’t find a way to screw it up, which can be fully ruled out of this equation. However, while the downfalls of both Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn were problematic, no one could have predicted they would be so sudden and so extreme. So for that, I don’t believe all fault can lie with the Indians. It just can’t.

As the season winds down and the once promising playoff hopes flicker and die, there still remain several intriguing things to watch for. So keep watching this team. Don’t let what has been a disappointing season keep you from trying to enjoy a team that still has a lot of great baseball to play, not just this year, but for years to come.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins come into tonight’s game in a slightly different, albeit not any less disappointing situation. After spending much of the season attempting to thwart the efforts of the Royals in the AL Central, that ship has all but sailed. The Royals have fully asserted their dominance and appear to be well on their way to a division title with an 11-game lead over the Twins.

Now, their hopes rest on the wild card. And in all honesty, those hopes look fleeting as well. Sure, they’re only 3 games out of the second wild card slot, but they have been struggling mightily of late. Things have gotten so bad, they’re 8-17 in their last 25 games, that a 3-game deficit may seem insurmountable.

If anything, this stretch to end the season will serve as a valuable learning experience for their talented young core. Nothing can help a player more than getting meaningful at bats towards the end of the season – to feel the stress of a pennant chase. For the Twins, regardless of how this plays out, they will be better for having gone through it.

That of course is a scary proposition given the young talent the Twins have at their disposal. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, and on and on it goes. The Twins, if they can continue on the right path and continue to develop promising young talent (Sano already looks like a power hitting beast), will be a serious contender in the years to come. But for now, that have to take the next month and a half in stride while learning what it takes to get to that next level.

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