It has been a roller-coaster of a season so far for the Tribe and I'll give you 2 reasons as to why. Although the Tribe hold a game and a half lead over the Tigers with just 8 games left to play before the break, one can wonder how much longer we can hold this slim lead.
First I'll start off with injuries. With a healthy club at the start of the season (excluding Sizemore) the Tribe was fresh and energetic. Since then Mitch Talbot, Carlos Carrasco, Travis Hafner, Vinnie Pestano, Matt LaPorta, Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Buck, and Fausto Carmona have all spent time off the field with injuries. While those four pitchers listed above were missed (Fausto is out but if anything that was a blessing in disguise) our pitching staff has been excellent all season long. Without the run support from guys like Pronk, LaPorta and Choo, our pitchers have been wasting starts. For example; you have a guy like Justin Masterson who started the season with 5 wins in 5 tries. Since then he has started 11 games with only one win. In those 11 games he lost 5 and had no decisions in 5. He gave up a total of 22 earned runs in those 11 starts, which averages out to be 2 runs per game in that span. In only two of those starts he gave up more than 2 runs. If he would have gotten the run support from just those injured guys alone, he had the potential to have over 10 wins before the break. You would think a guy would have more than 6 wins through 22 starts that posts an ERA of 2.85.
Moving right along we'll go with the month of June. 17 loses in 27 games. The Indians were lucky to get off to a great start because not to many teams would be sitting atop first place in their division with a month like they had. 5 out of the 17 loses were shutouts and 10 out of those 17 we failed to score more than 4. In 4 of the 17 loses we were blown out but you'll have that. What is more frustrating is how many games we lost by one run (5). The blame game can be played to multiple sides with that last stat. Some of those close loses were due to blown saves, blown chances with RISP, or dumb management. Altogether you have to look at the general trend in that month which can be categorized by one word. SLUMP. The Indians went through a huge slump in the month of June in every category there is. While some of this was due to the aforementioned injuries, some was due to guys tapering off.
While July has gotten off to a better start (2-0) I can see these same problems popping up the rest of the season. As long as our guys are able to weather the storm and stay confident, playoffs are in the future for this young team. With Choo out Michael Brantly has stepped up and been a huge contributor and will continue to help during the time Choo is out.
Well that'll do it for today's post. Sorry for the lack of posts in the past couple months. Job and Girlfriend take up almost 100% of my time. I had almost forgotten how much fun writing was so it feels good to be back. Check back soon for more.
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