It was another case of dropping three in a row to one team. The universe simply does not want this baseball team to advance. It has been a rough and tumble year for the Indians’ fans, but even more so the Indians themselves.
Throughout April and May, it felt like this roster couldn’t hit a beach ball. When the bats started to come to life and the Tribe began to register more figures in the ‘W’ column, things started to steamroll and they were back on path to be potential division champs. Then news broke on Carrasco’s leukemia diagnosis, certainly the most serious thing to happen to the team all season, regardless of how they finish. The abundance of misfortune only continued from there.
When Brad Hand’s save streak came to a screeching halt against Kansas City, he never seemed to get back to his old ways, which proved evident on a national scale during his struggle in the All Star Game. Hand has been a mess ever since and the rest of the bullpen hasn’t exactly been a confidence builder either. Adam Cimber has been a bright red self-destruct button far too many times, practically giving away games. His sidearm method doesn’t exactly intimidate the opposition, nor does it really do anything functionally to try and instill such fear. These two guys are not the only ones to blame from the bullpen, but they certainly take a lot of the blame. If the team doesn’t have a seven-run cushion when they take the field, we should all be nervous.
Following yesterday’s Tampa victory over the Indians, it marks yet another sweep of the Tribe. This one only a week and a half after the Mets did the same to us. Just when you thought a rebound was in order for Cleveland following the All Star break, both engines have gone out and the tailspin has begun. Jose Ramirez broke his hand just when the second half of his season started to look a lot better than the first. Tyler Naquin tore his ACL in the Rays series and there went the second-best batting average on the team. These roster subtractions compound an already struggling team that continues to battle, but does so with shovels in hand as they continue to dig a deeper hole for themselves as fast as they can.
Call me a pessimist if you will, but I call it reality. When it comes to the 2019 season, this team is toast. The bullpen is in no way, shape or form of World Series caliber. We can’t keep having our starters reach 80+ pitches by the fifth inning, then expect the underwhelming bullpen to preserve a lead for the remaining four. Additionally, we do not have anywhere the offensive depth that an organization like the Yankees do. Talk about battling back, the pinstripes have registered more aches and pains this season than the team physician can keep track of. Yet, due to their extensive list of talent, they continue to lead the way out of the regular season.
Yes folks, this is the curtain call for the Indians, but you know what? I am far from broken-hearted over it. Disappointed, yes, but I have a lot of faith in the future of this starting rotation. Plus, that three-team trade the Indians made with San Diego and Cincinnati netted us a plethora of talent that will be under contract for years to come.
As a player, I would be fighting to the end. As a fan, however, I have written the year off and have an eager curiosity of what the future holds. There is a lot to happen this offseason. Injuries will heal. Kipnis’s contract will be addressed as he is due to be paid a whopping $16.5 million in 2020, but with a team option to buy him out at $2.5 million. Then there is the case of Kluber and if he can get back to something at least reminiscent of his glory days. Even before breaking his arm this year, his ability seemed to lack a bit. It remains to be seen what level he can return to. As the old adage goes for all of these aspects, time will tell. Expect some roster changes, but definitely not an overhaul.
Santana will be back.
Ramirez will be healed.
Cimber should be gone.
There is still some fog that rests upon the future, though. One thing is for certain, however. As fans, we will be hungry come next spring with a renewed enthusiasm.