The Cleveland Indians are finally facing adversity. The media loves narratives of teams facing tough times, and these newly-assembled Indians are hitting that spot.
The Indians have enjoyed early season success with their starting pitching overachieving, their bats producing and their newly acquired free agents successfully acclimating, putting them second in the AL Central. They have, however, lost four games in a row. They put closer Chris Perez on the disabled list, and struggling setup man Vinnie Pestano is the interim closer.
With their starting pitching due to regress to its expected mediocrity, they’ll need their bats to stay hot if they want to stay in the playoff hunt for the long haul.
The Indians will send Zach McAllister to the hill (4-3, 2.89 ERA) to face the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds, second in the NL Central, will send Mat Latos to the mound. Though this is the week for interleague “natural rivalries,” this matchup has historically little bad blood.
However, the Reds’ Aroldis Chapman threw two 100 mph fastballs high and in to the Indians’ Nick Swisher on Monday. Though things remain calm, the umpiring crew will surely be monitoring that situation closely.
With the Perez injury and the inevitable regression for Justin Masterson and McAllister, the Indians will need their offensive weapons like Jason Kipnis, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana to keep them afloat Tuesday and for the immediate future. With the American League Wild Card spots very accessible, the Indians need to grab this chance to get into the postseason.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.