The Cleveland Indians have the biggest division lead in all of baseball, have 2 MVP candidates, and four starters ranging from really good to Cy Young caliber. Yet with all of this many media members and fans are all doom and gloom about the team’s postseason chances. The baseball playoffs typically are a crapshoot with the best regular season team’s rarely getting to the World Series. Last year, the Indians were cruising and expected by many to win the whole thing but got bounced in the first round. The year before that the Red Sox were the AL favorites and the Indians swept them in the opening series.
Flawed regular season teams can find ways to put together a couple series wins. If the Indians don’t win the World Series this year it won’t be because Jason Kipnis is batting .220. Every team has one or two weak links in their lineups. The Mighty Boston Red Sox have been starting a CF with a worse batting average than Kip and a platoon of catchers both hitting in the very low .200’s. The Indians saving grace is that Yan Gomes is one of the best hitting catchers in the game. He fills one hole that just about every other team has.
The one concern that I share with the naysayers is the whole bullpen situation. I trust in Terry Francona’s ability to manage the pitchers effectively in the postseason as he has for years, but the Tribe just doesn’t have a lot to work with this year. How many times can Andrew Miller and Brad Hand pitch in a 7 game series? I do like the fact that it sounds like Francona will make closing Hand’s job. It might be a little rough at first, but that is the best method of finishing in my opinion.