There were a lot of teams that changed a great deal during the off-season. One of those teams was the Cleveland Indians. What happened there wasn’t drastic enough to be called rebuilding from the ground up but it was enough to cause a stir. Terry Francona was the biggest addition at manager and he then proceeded to turn the Indians into his type of team. No one really knew what to expect from the team but those who trust in Francona’s style knew that good things were on the way.
I doubt even those people figured that the first half would be as good as it was for the Tribe. They have actually been in first place though they weren’t able to hold it for long. Suffice it to say that they have made it clear to the Detroit Tigers that they have a fight on their hands. Most of the changes they made to the team had a positive effect overall and the first half even ended with a series sweep that left the Indians 1.5 games out of first in the American League Central.
All that is well and good but this team is better than that. In fact I would have expected them to continue their hot play and pull away when they grabbed first place from the then slumping Tigers. The fact that they gave the position away but have fought back once again speaks to their toughness and determination. Francona will need to continue doing his thing with this team and ensure that they do not settle for second place or more importantly settle for less than their best.
I think this team is the best team in the central division. They are good enough that with a player here or there having a much better second half, they could run away with the division by the end of August. Even if they do not do that, they should win the A.L. Central. Anything past that would be extra but they are too good for second place and should not settle for less.