Cleveland Indians: Is July the most important month of the regular season?
It’s been well documented that the Cleveland Indians have had a tough road this season, but despite that they are still above .500 and in contention. However, the month of July might end up being the club’s most important month of the regular season. Obviously, making the playoffs takes on a new weight, but the regular season’s most important month is panning out to be July.
There’s a lot of different off-the-field aspects that go into July that make it so important to the baseball season. However, in the case of the Cleveland Indians there’s an added layer that makes the month that much more important.
In the month of July the Tribe will have to endure what will most likely be the team’s most difficult month of the schedule. They’ve already been underway against the Houston Astros for the first of two series against the club and will also have to face other top American League teams in the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox before the month ends.
Cleveland entered the month in good position for the standings, but that could quickly change if the month goes south. Getting Franmil Reyes and Roberto Perez back will help, but it’s really the starting pitchers that need to get back and healthy for the Tribe to survive the month.
Beyond the schedule, the team will also have to navigate multiple different aspects of the season that aren’t always in the forefront of focus. The month of July will feature the MLB Draft, the All-Star Game and the trade deadline.
For the 2021 MLB Draft, the Cleveland Indians hold the 23rd pick in the first round with the draft taking place from July 11 until July 13. While the MLB Draft doesn’t carry the weight of the NFL, NBA or NHL drafts, it still plays a huge role in the future of the club.
For a small market team like the Cleveland Indians, the draft is where you plan for the future and lay the foundation for what’s to come. Look at the 2016 MLB Draft that netted the team’s three best starting pitchers. Sure, they maybe didn’t expect all three to make it to the majors, especially as fast as they did, but the team set the groundwork for this rotation in that draft.
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Most of the Tribe’s players end up being homegrown. The pitching trio was all in 2016, Perez was taken in the 33rd round of the 2008 MLB Draft and there’s plenty others on the roster that were drafted by the Cleveland Indians as well. With that being said, the focus of the club on the MLB Draft is heightened and will play a big role in the month of July.
While the front office won’t have to do much at the All-Star break, it’s still a big milestone in the season that signifies the halfway point of the year. This is oftentimes a reflection period for most teams to analyze the team and find weaknesses to address before the trade deadline, which is nearing as well.
Whether the Cleveland Indians are represented in multitude or just one player, the All-Star Game is still one of the bigger aspects of the season. Placing it in the middle of the busiest month of the season just adds another layer.
After all that, the month of July will cap off with the trade deadline on July 30. For a team like the Cleveland Indians, this might be the most important aspect of the month. Depending on how the aforementioned difficult schedule goes, the team could end up as buyers or sellers. Basically all options are still on the table.
If the bout of injuries over the last couple months has shown anything, it’s a lack of depth. That could prompt the team to make a smaller trade for a veteran to bring on. Cleveland did that with Kenny Lofton in 2007 and then Coco Crisp in 2016. A blockbuster deal won’t happen, but small improvements in under-the-radar trades seems to be a high possibility if the club decides to be buyers at the deadline.
In the grand scheme of things October, and sometimes November, are the most important months of the baseball season. However, the regular season draws focus to July. The MLB Draft, All-Star Game and trade deadline make it a huge month for any front office. Add on the Tribe’s schedule and July becomes the make-or-break month of the season for the club.