CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians lost a ballgame Friday night, and their postseason dreams were lost with it.
Write it down. On April 7, the Indians were eliminated from serious postseason advancement before they even got there.
They have 158 regular season games left, and they’ll eventually clinch their second AL Central title in a row. But that’s where it ends, because no team can withstand the loss the Indians have suffered over the last 24 hours.
Josh Tomlin went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on seven hits. New Indian Edward Encarnacion hit a double in the first, but struck out in two of his last three at-bats
“Once they got it rolling in the fifth, we just couldn’t finish the inning,” Indians manager Terry Francona said, referring to Arizona’s seven run fifth inning. The Indians took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth before Josh Tomlin fell apart and was replaced by Dan Otero, who faired no better.
Tomlin was a big part of the Indians’ World Series run last season, but last night he showed just why the Indians are in danger this year. Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco are the heart of this rotation, and none of them stepped up to pitch when last night when the team needed them most. There was no heart to be found.
The Indians do not possess the heart, the drive, or the passion to make a serious run.
The last two games of this series will be started by Trevor Bauer and Kluber. That’s reality and that means a quick exit in the postseason.
What fans saw Monday was a good game between two interleague rivals who don’t know each other too well. The Tribe fell to 3-1, on pace to break what would be the MLB record for wins if it weren’t for the Diamondbacks who improved to 4-1 and are pacing for 130 wins, triumphing over the Tribe once again.
It’s a long season, and losses happen. We always hear about how a team has to overcome adversity, but the Indians were unable to do so last night. The question remains whether or not they’ll be able to do it for an entire season
No one handles adversity better than Francona. Last year when this team was unfairly written off by Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes, Francona played a key role in his bullpen strategy helping the Indians reach their first World Series since 1997.
But Francona isn’t going to be able to cover 10 innings with eight relievers like he did in the post-season for 162 games. He’s not going to be able to call bullpen coach Jason Bere after a poor performance from a starter and say, “Tell those guys to put their seat belts on. Everybody is going to pitch and we’re going to win.”
Tomlin and/or Clevinger are going to have to cover some innings against the best of the best. Who knows what the postseason roster will look like?
Right now the Indians are operating day to day. Trevor Bauer on Saturday, Kluber Sunday, and Carrasco starts next week’s home opener.
If only the Indians could find the will to win in order to give the fans a reason to be excited about the postseason.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for the subsequent podcast, poll, slideshow, follow-up piece, follow-up-follow-up piece, even longer slideshow, misguided letter from the editor, and apology regarding this very topic.