Small Story, Big Picture
Normally, there are a handful of things to pay attention to over the course of a series. But there is only one real factor to focus on this week: How do the Indians bounce back in the wake of the crippling injury to Jose Ramirez?
This will be the Tribe’s first full series without Ramirez, and thus the first prolonged chance to notice the impact of his absence. It stands to reason that Mike Freeman will start at third base for the first two games with righties on the mound for Detroit, then relinquish the spot to Yu Chang for the finale against Norris.
If one or both of them prove to be serviceable replacements, great. But how the rest of the lineup responds is more important. This type of news at this point in the season can be the deathblow to a team’s playoff hopes. Or it can galvanize them.
I’m inclined to believe a team managed by Terry Francona and led in the clubhouse by Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, and Jason Kipnis will choose the latter. A three-game road sweep, no matter the opposition, is a good place to start.