The Cleveland Indians have some tough opponents remaining on the schedule as the calendar turns from August to September and the postseason approaches.
The Cleveland Indians are just beginning an extremely important series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Indians open play today with a 1.5-game lead over the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card race, while the Rays are one-game behind the A’s for that second spot. That means a sweep of the Indians could put the Rays back on top.
This series is just one of the tough remaining ones for the Indians here in the final month of the season. Yet the team does have the luxury of taking on some weak AL Central opponents throughout September.
Matt Kelly over at MLB.com wrote a piece ranking the toughest remaining schedules for 16 teams who are still technically in the playoff hunt.
The good news is that the Indians came in at No. 11 overall. So not too difficult of a schedule. The bad news is that the Minnesota Twins came in at No. 16, with the easiest remaining schedule. That means the six remaining games between the Twins and the Indians will likely decide the division, and the Twins already have the advantage with a 3.5-game lead to start the day.
Winning the division remains the goal for the Indians and is still a possibility. The key, as I wrote yesterday, is to keep beating up on the bad teams and hope the Twins slip up once in awhile against the likes of the Tigers, Royals, and White Sox.
Oh, and the Indians need to go at least 5-1 in the head-to-head matchups. Nothing too lofty here, no sir.
In the Wild Card race, the Rays are tied for the fourth most difficult schedule and the A’s are one spot behind the Indians at No. 12.
The key for the Indians is just to focus on that day’s game and fight for a victory. Leave it to us fans to panic about the games in the near future.