The Cleveland Indians defeated the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, avoiding their second four-game losing streak in 10 days and ending the first 33% of their 162-game schedule on a relatively high note.
For the Cleveland Indians, the key word at the end of that sentence is “relatively.”
As excited as we may be about a ninth-inning rally in the home park of the defending World Series champions, it will be some time before we know whether that rally catapulted the Indians toward a brighter future. We’ll know as soon as tonight, when the two teams play again, whether it accomplished anything except winning that one game.
That’s the reality facing the Indians–and facing me personally, as I write a column in which I attempt to summarize every 18-game stretch of their schedule. Cleveland has gone 7-11 since we last caught up, crumbling up and throwing away an 11-game home stand along the way.
I came into this third installment of my column fully ready to write a couple thousand words laying into upper management for putting the team in this position; for taking the American League Central for granted for the second year in a row; for not doing everything they possibly could to build around a historically great pitching staff and a shortstop with a chance to go down as the greatest player in franchise history; for ignoring the multiple outfield voids so egregiously it was almost as though they were conducting some ill-fated contrarian experiment.
But I’m not going to do that. For one thing, that’s just not who I am. For another, any true blue Indians fan already knows who is responsible for backing the team into this corner, as well as how they did it. You don’t need me throwing more insight and commentary into the sea of negativity. No, what you need–what I need, what we all need–is a way out of that sea.
This edition of my 18-game column won’t be about stats or trends from the last three weeks. There simply isn’t much there, unless you want me to be the millionth person to try to figure out what is wrong with Jose Ramirez or take a dive into Trevor Bauer’s up-and-down season.
So instead of weighing ourselves down with the question of why the Cleveland Indians are 10 games out of first place, let’s talk about how they can chip away at that deficit.