Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beware of lurking Tigers

What are the Indians' chances of staying in the race in the AL Central? Pay attention to the Tigers, because how the Tigers play may have a bigger bearing on the Indians' chances than how the Indians play. Although the White Sox lead the division, and the Indians have been in second place for most of the last few weeks, I still have a suspicion that both teams are more worried about the Tigers than each other.

And they should be.

Let's not forget that the Tigers won the division by 15 games last year, and that on their roster they have the best pitcher (Justin Verlander) and the two best hitters (Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder) in the American League, if not in baseball.

Over the long haul of a major league season that's got to count for something, and my guess is that it's going to count for a lot. The Indians don't have a pitcher remotely close to Verlander, and they don't have a hitter that is remotely close to Cabrera or Fielder.

The Tigers still haven't put it all together this season. When they do, assuming they do, then the race in the AL Central will be better judged. For the Indians to remain in the race their pitching is going to have to dramatically improve. They have the second worst ERA in the league, and no American League team has ever made it to the postseason after finishing last or second last in team ERA.

The Indians also don't have a hitter such as Cabrera or Fielder, or like Paul Konerko of the White Sox. Those kind of hitters can carry their teams for weeks. All three of them are likely headed to the All-Star game. Indians officials continue to say they are encouraged by the fact that they are still hanging close in the AL Central race because, Tribe officials say, "We haven't yet played our best baseball."

That may be true, but the longer into the season Indians officials keep saying that, the more likely it is that they HAVE played their best baseball _ and it's actually the Tigers who haven't.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post has sure gained creedence over the last seven weeks. It is time for fans to quit blaming the players (who are playing to their full potential) and accept the fact that the ownership has let us down. We have a roster full of guys named Joe (99% lefties BTW) and a barren minor league system. The Jacobs/Hart days are distant memory. If this were an amusement park ride it would be called Dolan's Cleveland Indians 1970's Experience. Until the ownership changes we fans will need to adjust our attitudes. Go to the park, sit in the sunshine, enjoy a $10.00 beer, and watch real major league talent - on the visiting team.

August 6, 2012 at 6:44 AM 

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