The Tribe Are Hitting Their Stride

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Earlier this baseball season, as with most seasons, there was panic in the air about the Indians. I wrote an article at the end of May, and I said don’t worry, it’s a long season. I don’t like to brag, but, I was correct. Who am I kidding, I love being right. If I go back to that article, I wrote that the Indians were 34-35 on June 17, 2013. Today just happens to be June 17, 2014 and the Indians are 36-35. The difference today vs. the end of May, is that now the Indians are only 2.5 games back of the Detroit Tigers. I told you, no reason to panic. The Indians are right on pace with last year and in the last 2.5 weeks they have shifted their momentum, and they are about to hit their summer stride.

Pitching is going to be the key to success for this team as they play into the summer months. I know hitting is important, but that will come around. Hitting goes in cycles and the summer usually helps. More consistent weather, it’s warm, and the baseball travels very well in a warm breeze. For now, I think pitching is the crux of this team’s success. The Indians are going to need another solid arm that is major league ready. I would also not be surprised if the Indians dealt Masterson at the deadline.  Either way, with or without Masterson, the Indians need some help.

TJ House was just sent to the Minors and the Indians should be activating Zach McAllister, who is returning from the 15-day DL. McAllister’s ERA so for this year has been 5.34, which is up from the 3.75 that he posted last year. Hopefully this high ERA was related to his achy back. Zach looked good in the in his rehab starts and shows no lingering signs of pain. McAllister needs to come back strong and pitch like he did last season.

I don’t think Salazar will be ready to come back and be productive this season. He has a 1-4 record in the majors with a 5.53 ERA. Salazar has also been struggling in the minors, and that isn’t a good sign. He will need the rest of this season in AAA to figure out his game. TJ House had come around as of late. He looked good in his last 2 outings, but he will be up and down from the big leagues unless there is an injury or trade to the starting staff. The Indians bullpen continues to pitch well and Carlos Carrasco is going to be an essential part of long relief duties. If Carrasco is consistent, he can provide a great deal of relief if a starter gets rocked and needs to leave early. Keeping the bullpen fresh will be essential to a late summer run for first in the Division.

The starting staff will need to rely heavily on Kluber, Tomlin and Bauer. These guys are going to be the difference in a playoff run. Bauer has looked very sharp recently, and he seems to have his head in the right place. His last 2 starts were not great but he pitched deep into the 6th inning and he has kept his offense in the game. Tomlin is someone who is very consistent. He is going to give up runs and hits, but he pitches deep into games and he can usually keep it close for the offense. Last but not least is Corey Kluber. He will be the ace of this staff in the future and he will need to continue to dominate. As I have stated, pitching will be the key. Starters need to pitch deep into games in order to keep the bullpen fresh as the season progresses. It’s a long season and the Tribe is going to keep it interesting until the last out.

Written by Rick Giavonette

Follow me on Twitter – @CST_RickG

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