…And that’s all the positives I can think of.
The Indians came into this four-game set with Chicago trying to scratch their way into the postseason via the somehow-still-achievable wild card berth. Just 4.5 games back as recently as Wednesday morning, Cleveland was remarkably in a good position after a season full of hitting woes fit for a little league team. What better way to make up some ground than taking on the White Sox – one of the few teams in the American League worse than the Indians – for four games, at home nonetheless?
If this was the team’s thinking coming into the series, it’s likely shifted to a much darker place now.
The Tribe followed up Thursday night’s 8-1 disaster with yet another episode of “Don’t Score When Corey Kluber’s on the Mound.” Once again, Kluber was sharp enough to give the Indians something to work with. Once again, the team said thanks, but no thanks.
Cleveland mustered up zero runs in support, helping Sox pitcher Jose Quintana get the first complete game shutout of his career. The hometown fans, who’ve heard nothing but complaints about attendance from the team for the past few years, watched the Indians’ home record drop to 19-28 on the season.
What’s left to say at this point? The Indians have had a handful of moments throughout the year in which you think they’re finally going to get their act together and start living up to their full potential. And then, nights like last night happen. Nights which prove they still can’t hit, nights where their run support for Kluber implies they have a grudge against him.
It’s to the point where the team might as well just not even bat when Kluber pitches. You’ll see the same result regardless.
Sure, there’s still a little over two months left in the season, so the team can play its “nobody’s been eliminated yet” card all it wants. At the same time, has anyone seen any indication the Indians have the slightest clue how to get out of their own way? Has the team done anything remotely inspiring this season?
Instead, we have a year full of pathetic attempts at offense. A year where outstanding starting pitching is rewarded with two-to-three runs of offense on a good night. A year full of excuses.
If anything, last night can at least convince the front office this team is indeed not one or two pieces away from being a contender. With the trade deadline looming, the fear was the team would see it was still in the hunt for a wild card spot and sell major pieces for one last ditch attempt to make the postseason.
I don’t think we’ll need to worry about that anymore.
Stay positive all you want, but just look at what’s ahead of the Indians. After getting slaughtered by a combined score of 14-1 in the first two games in this series, the Indians take the field today to face the near-unhittable Chris Sale. Once this weekend (mercifully) wraps up, Cleveland then welcomes the AL-best Kansas City Royals to town.
I’d be stunned if Cleveland is still standing after all that.
You can go ahead and scrap any hopes for the team catching up with the Royals in the Central. The Indians are now 8.5 games back in the wild card race. However, don’t kid yourself into thinking they can make up that ground, either.
You see, it actually takes effort to do something like this. Right now, the Indians can’t be bothered with any of that nonsense.