The Cleveland Indians have another chance to pull away in the American League Central division this weekend against the Detroit Tigers.
June has been an odd month for the Cleveland Indians.
The team is 10-8 in June and 8-8 against the lowly AL Central. All eight of those losses have been frustrating given the competition, but the Indians enter today winners of four straight. Is this finally the time when they pull away from the likes of the Twins and the Tigers?
I’m scared to answer that question. All month I have said “this series is the one where the Indians finally bury the division,” only to be proven wrong each time. The sweep over the White Sox was nice, but it will take some sustained success to really believe that the team will cruise to another division title.
The Tigers shouldn’t be a tough matchup for the Indians. The Indians are already 7-3 against the Tigers this season, and that record could easily be better. The problem is that the Tigers are still lurking in the standings. Even with a record of 36-39, the Tigers are only five games back. A sweep over the Indians this weekend could quickly change the team’s fortunes.
That seems to be the story so far this season. The Indians go on nice small streaks, but the division lead is always within striking distance for the Tigers or the Twins. And the Twins have owned the Indians this season, which is a whole other concern.
But I am not here to provide an outlook of doom and gloom. I am firmly in the camp of those that believe the Indians are fine. In fact, better than fine. Super fine!
I don’t believe the Indians will have quite the second half they did a year ago and win 102 games, but the horrific bullpen problems plaguing the team earlier this season seem to be getting better slowly. Who knew it would take the arrival of Neil Ramirez to get some sense of stability?
So even if the Indians don’t get a sweep this weekend, there is no reason to panic. We will all still be waiting for the team to pull away and that is fine. What the Indians have more of than any other team in the division is talent. And talent is enough to overcome some teams that are bottoming out bad.
All this said, I will still be livid if the Indians get swept this weekend.