Are Cleveland Indians a Cinderella Story?
Are Cleveland Indians a Cinderella Story?
By Wayne Root:
For the most part, the expected contenders are sitting top their divisions to this point in the Major League Baseball season. There have been quite a few "bad" surprises amongst projected contenders (like the horrible starts for the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays, and disappointing start for the Washington Nationals). But, there's not much buzz about "good" surprises. The closest thing to a SHOCK THE WORLD season right now is coming from the Cleveland Indians, who lead the AL Central in a tight race with Detroit.
Can Cleveland be this year's Cinderella? They had that great run several years ago...becoming a true Cinderella story on the heels of the movie "Major League." Life didn't imitate art because Charlie Sheen's not really an ace reliever. But that was a great story when it happened. Could 2013 bring about a real-world sequel?
I'd love to tell you yes. There's certainly a lot to like about this team. The offense is top-notch thanks to some offseason acquisitions. And, there's great energy and enthusiasm that's been inspired by several dramatic victories. The Cleveland Indians as they're playing at the moment have created the atmosphere of a Cinderella story.
Unfortunately, winning a lot of baseball naibliters is often a sign of a team whose luck is about to run out.
- Cleveland is 5-0 in extra-inning games
- Cleveland is 11-3 in one-run games
That's eight games over .500 in one-run games, for a team that's only eight games over .500 for the full season at 27-19. Walk off finishes are dramatic and exciting. If you keep doing that at home against a mediocre team like Seattle, then you're probably not championship material!
Here's what Cleveland's done against other good teams this season:
- Cleveland is 1-2 vs. Tampa Bay
- Cleveland is 1-3 vs. the NY Yankees
- Cleveland is 1-3 vs. Boston (after beating them Thursday Night)
- Cleveland is 2-3 vs. Detroit
That doesn't inspire much confidence in terms of a playoff run. The Indians have been outclassed by quality across the board. An easy early schedule has helped hide that. This is big news because the schedule is about to get BRUTAL!
This weekend: at Boston
Monday-Thursday: vs. state rival Cincinnati
Next Weekend: vs Tampa Bay
June 3-5: at New York Yankees
June 7-9: at Detroit
June 10-12: at Texas
June 14-16: vs. Washington
No easy games in that mix! If the Tribe can hold their own through that gauntlet, THEN we can start talking about them as a Cinderella. Maybe the offense won't look so good in the math after that stretch. Or, maybe this team IS for real because that offense can score against anybody.
Can this starting pitching rotation WIN vs. anybody?
I'll say it this way...the first three names have to pitch near the very best of their abilities to keep Cleveland in contention this year....and the Tribe will need more than it's been getting at the back of the rotation. That's not a playoff caliber rotation at the moment. Maybe Masterson and McAllister can maintain something resembling their early pace. The staff as a whole doesn't have good numbers despite facing an easy schedule.
Maybe there won't be a Cinderella this year. Maybe the late May standings are already telling the story. The usual suspects in the AL East. Detroit and Texas from the AL Central and West. Atlanta, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and a couple of teams from the West over in the NL. That would be BORING. And, WAYNE ALLYN ROOT never settles for BORING!
I do believe that at least one off-the-radar team is going to make things very interesting in baseball the rest of the way. Maybe that's Cleveland. Maybe it's Pittsburgh. Maybe it's somebody who's treading water early but ready to explode in the very near future (and, maybe that explosion has already started!).
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A holiday weekend of winners from THE KING OF LAS VEGAS is about to begin. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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