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Cleveland Indians: 2018 season falling short of expectations

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

When the 2018 season began, expectations for the Cleveland Indians were extremely high. Midway through September it seems they’ve fallen short.

The 2018 Cleveland Indians had fans setting the bar high. A return to the World Series was a very real expectation for the club.

The Indians had signed slugging 1B Yonder Alonso to replace Carlos Santana and were getting Lonnie Chisenhall, Bradley Zimmer and Michael Brantley back healthy.

Jason Kipnis tore it up in spring and looked poised to get back to his old self from the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The rotation looked healthy and poised for another dominant season atop the AL standings.

Come September and many of these situations have soured on Indians fans. Alonso and Santana have similar numbers at this point with Santana having slightly better numbers.

The Indians have seen Michael Brantley, of all the possible players, remain the healthiest outfielder on the team. Chisenhall’s season is in doubt and Bradley Zimmer is out for the year. A once promising outfield has turned back into a weak link.

Kipnis’ hot spring did not leak over into the regular season as he is in the midst of his worst career year when he has been healthy. This was evidently noticed by the team brass when they traded for Josh Donaldson on August 31.

The bullpen was the least of everyone’s worries heading into 2018 but that quickly fell apart. Andrew Miller fell apart and has been on the disabled list for much of this season.

Cody Allen fell out of the bad pitching tree and hit every branch on the way down. The two best pitchers in the pen have been largely ineffective all season which is the most surprising thing this year.

What was once a great asset is now the biggest weakness on the team. The Indians have seen the bullpen lose wins time and time again this season and it is wearing on the fans as I’m sure it is on the rest of the team.

The starting staff is one thing that fans can feel good about heading into October. The staff is near the top of the majors yet again thanks to Corey Kluber and company.

The offense has been very good but also inconsistent. While they rank in the top 10 in most offensive categories, they have gone silent for very long stretches more than once this season.

The hope is that Allen figures out this mishap of a season before October and Miller comes back and stays healthy. A bullpen of Allen, Miller and Hand playing at high levels bodes well for another World Series run.

The offense hopes to get a boost to catch a consistent fire for October with Josh Donaldson coming off the disabled list. The offense could be put over the top if he plays anywhere near his AL MVP production from 2015.

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The Indians have the rest of September to roll into a hot streak for October but so far this season has just been a very lackluster season compared to what my expectations once were. All of that can change in October and I still believe in this team but they absolutely have some work to do.