Cleveland Indians: 5 Reasons They Will Not Win World Series in 2013
State of the Cleveland Indians Heading Into Postseason Play
Oh, what a year can do for an organization. During the 2012 season, the Cleveland Indians finished in fourth place in the AL Central, sporting an unsightly 69-94 record, but have made a dramatic turn for the best in 2013 by posting an 89-70 record and sitting a mere three games away from what is shaping up to be an epic one-game playoff against the Tampa Bay Rays to advance to the Division Series.
When one ponders just how the Indians have made this remarkable comeback from the 2012 season, the mind must always come back to the work of Terry Francona. He has taken a very similar roster from last season, with the main additions being Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, and got the best out of them by bringing his good-natured spirit to the clubhouse. More than just being a good-spirited man, though, Francona knows how to push his players buttons correctly to get the best out of them by keeping players calm and level headed.
Coming into the postseason, Francona will be relied upon to keep a calming yet effective persona once again, but this time it could prove to be more difficult than in the regular season. After all, he will not be able to rely on playing such walkover teams as the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox, but instead will be facing top of the line teams with big games each and every night. This will be a true test of just how far Francona has taken the Indians in six short months, and could also turn out to be a potentially rewarding month given the right results.
Unfortunately for Francona, the Indians organization and their fans, we do not believe that October will prove to be as enjoyable as the regular season. This is because we believe the Indians will be knocked out relatively early in the postseason, and will definitely not be winning the postseason. To back up this claim, we have compiled a list of the five biggest reasons why the Indians will not be winning the world series in 2013.
5.No Homefield Advantage
During the 2013 season, the Cleveland Indians have averaged a lowly 19,661 fans per game, good for the third-fewest in the MLB behind only the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays. To put that into perspective, one must consider that the Houston Astros, a team that has a 51-108 record, has drawn more fans to their home games during the 2013 season. This is an embarrassing low for the Indians organizational fan support, and after watching only 22,453 fans come to the last six games, it is unreasonable to expect Progressive Field to be full come October. In fact, it could be expected that the team will actually see more opposition fans come to the playoff games than home fans, which would make the difficulty of playing postseason baseball even more daunting.
4.Lack of Postseason Experience
The Cleveland Indians starting lineup can only boast one player that has won the World Series, Nick Swisher, and none of the team's five most effective batters in 2013 -- Yan Gomes,Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Ryan Raburn and Carlos Santana -- have ever played a postseason game. Come playoff time, this youth and inexperience will be exploited by veteran pitchers who will look for any sign of weakness. Given the fact that this group will have to get through a one-game playoff just to reach the playoffs, there will be no time to adjust to playoff baseball, and this will come back to bite the Indians.
3.The Indians Have No Shutdown Ace
None of the Cleveland Indians starting pitchers have an ERA better than 3.38 during the 2013 season, and the team as a whole ranked 27th in MLB in quality starts. While Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Masterson have the ability to take on any lineup in baseball, the fact is that they have been erratic throughout the 2013 season and cannot be considered a true ace in the way that a Jon Lester or Clayton Kershaw are.
2.Too Many Strikeout Hitters
The Cleveland Indians have six batters on their roster who have struck out over 100 times during the 2013 season, a very worrying trend. This is worrying because an inability to hit for contact prohibits a manager from being able to implement the type of small-ball strategy that can grind out a run in a close game. Instead, the Indians will be reliant on either stringing together hits, or relying on the long ball, with both strategies doomed for failure in playoff baseball.
1.The Rest of the Field Is Simply Too Strong
Finally, what will end up costing the Cleveland Indians a chance to win the World Series in 2013 is the fact that the rest of the playoff field is simply too strong for this team. Getting through the American League will require the Indians to overcome a Detroit Tigers team they went 4-15 against in 2013, a Boston Red Sox team that has the best record in baseball, a Tampa Bay Rays team that is one of the most fundamentally sound in all of baseball and a very well-rounded Oakland A's team. Getting through any of these teams looks to be nearly impossible given the Indians' faults, and will ultimately prevent the organization from even making it to the World Series in 2013.