As the All-Star festivities come to a close we take a look ahead to some of the storylines and predictions for the second half of the Cleveland Indians Season.
The All-Star game has been played and we now eagerly await the second half of the 2018 MLB season. For the Cleveland Indians, this second half is a chance to not only seal the division, but catch up to some of the leaders in the American League.
The Indians have played some spectacular baseball so far, but they’ve been known as a “second-half team” since Terry Francona took over. While you would prefer a consistent team all year, it’s important to build momentum as you draw closer to the playoffs.
The Cleveland Indians still have a lot of work to do if they want to make it deep into October once again. That push will start once again tomorrow. Let’s take a look at what some of the stories of this second half will be.
What moves will the Indians make at the deadline?
It’s known that the Indians will have to make a deadline move. The first question on this list is the one that will be answered first. The Indians have a huge bullpen issue that has plagued the Tribe for the entirety of this season. Who will the Indians pursue to put them on par with the other powerhouse teams in baseball?
When you think about the Yankees and Red Sox they have some formidable bullpens. The Astros will likely be in the hunt for a reliever as well. The Indians need to add another bullpen arm or two to complement the return of Andrew Miller.
There is also a chance the Indians could go after an outfielder. With the injury to Lonnie Chisenhall and the questioned return of Bradley Zimmer, the Indians are in the market for an outfield bat. All of this could add up to a big trade for the Tribe.
Will another team in the AL Central make a push?
One of the biggest stories of the 2018 season is just how bad the AL Central has been. The Indians are the only team above .500 with a positive run differential. The Detroit Tigers floundered around the Indians for a bit but have since dropped to 12.5 games behind the Tribe.
The Twins are just 7.5 games behind but it is still the largest division lead for any team in baseball. As of the standings right now, the Indians would be a third base team at best in any other division in baseball. They are still letting their division rivals stay around.
It’s unlikely that any other team in the Central will add many players at the deadline. But it’s crucial that the Indians build upon their division lead if they want to contend with some of the other division leaders.
Will the Indians catch up to the other AL powerhouses?
The Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros are all considered powerhouse teams right now. Even the Mariners are a force right now. So the Indians are leaders in their division that they will likely win. That means they will play the top seed in the ALDS if nothing changes.
If the Indians finish with the fourth or fifth overall best record in the AL, we will surely hear all about how they don’t deserve their seeding or that they should change the playoff format. If the Indians want to avoid those questions or storylines, they’ll have to turn into that aforementioned “second-half team.”
They have perennial All-Stars like Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor leading the charge offensively. They have a star-studded rotation. There’s no reason the Indians should flounder behind the division leaders for long.
There is a lot of baseball to be played, and the Indians have made it know that they are a team to be reckoned with down the stretch. But it starts tomorrow, and the Indians have a lot of work to do.