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Cleveland Indians: A chance to make a statement in primetime

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians are taking on the defending World Series champions on national television with a chance to make a big statement.

Saturday was quite the day for Cleveland sports fans.

The Cleveland Indians pulled off a nail-biter win as the bullpen was just able to hold on for a 5-4 win, while the Cavaliers cruised to an easy victory in a must-win game. Is that enough stress for one day?

Cleveland continues to be in the spotlight tonight as the Indians and Astros are squaring off on Sunday Night Baseball. Carlos Carrasco is on the mound for the Tribe.

I constantly preach about how fans shouldn’t get too up or down after one game. But I’m about to go back on that philosophy and declare tonight’s game to be arguably the most important one of the first half of the season. As for the second half, every game is important if the Indians don’t put away the division early.

The Indians enter play tonight with a record of 22-22 and are the only division leader with a winning percentage below .556.

All the national talk in the American League surrounds the Astros, Yankees, Red Sox and even the Angels. Fans in Cleveland are obviously talking about the Indians, but it is easy on the outside to see the team as part of the weak AL Central instead of the clear leader of the pack.

Tonight is a great opportunity for the Indians to showcase the team they really are, and not the team we have seen up to this point blowing leads and sometimes being nonexistent on offense. Unless that is indeed the team they are, but I’ll refuse to believe that for now even if it is naive.

Indians fans don’t and shouldn’t care about what other people think about the team. The dumb Cleveland jokes will flow until the end of time, but the Indians still have the chance to show they are a real contender once again and that the current 22-22 record is just another usual slow start.

Even if people try to demean the Indians for leading a weak division, all that matters in October is that you get there. It doesn’t matter how.

Next: 3 takeaways from the 5-4 win over the Astros

So not to single out one game of 162 as the most important, but tonight is one of the most important games of the season. If the Indians fall flat, which I don’t think they will, fans may be expecting some changes soon.