Cleveland, birthplace of the Indians baseball. A team of our own; capable of great home runs and great strikeout pitchers. Fate rarely calls upon us at a moment of our choosing, but, in our quest to win a World Series, a deeper revelation dawns: our team has met obstacles before… obstacles that must be overcome. For if the Tribe shall rise… the other MLB teams must fall…1
Hey, you ever had a song stuck in your head. And, it’s the worst song ever, but you can’t help to sing it or hum it. It just repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself, repeats itself. Well, that about sums up the 2019 Cleveland Indians injury fortunes as roster turnover has been as much of a staple as 7:10 p.m. first pitch on Friday nights. Tyler Naquin’s knee injury sustained while making a spectacular catch running full speed into the Tropicana Field wall on Friday was the latest reminder.
To say the roster is a tad different than the one trotted out in March for Opening Day is a gross understatement as most of the players expected to be the most valuable and carry the Tribe to an AL Central division championship have spent significant time injured. Even more, Jefry Rodriguez, Carlos Gonzalez, Cody Anderson, Danny Salazar, A.J. Cole, and Bradley Zimmer are among the injuries that are not encapsulated by the chart above. Logan Allen, Bobby Bradley, and Eric Haase also made cameos to help fill gaps in the lineup during the season.
Of the 10 players whom were on both the Opening Day and August 31 25-man rosters, Mike Clevinger spent time on the 60-day Injured List (IL) with a back injury and Greg Allen was sent down to the Columbus Clippers on three separate occasions. Jake Bauers is back for Naquin, but only after he spent August in Triple-A. The remaining seven are the only players who were with the Tribe throughout the season; Roberto Perez, Carlos Santana, Kevin Plawecki, Brad Hand, Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez, and Shane Bieber.
Through it all, the Indians have survived even if barely. They have gotten to September with expanded rosters; capable of pushing through one month to help ensure a 2019 postseason berth. The AL Central division deficit of 5.5 games feels near impossible to overcome. The Wild Card is still a likelihood though either the Oakland Athletics or Tampa Bay Rays would await; teams whom the Tribe are a combined 2 wins against 10 losses in 2019. Yet, Because Baseball, hope lives on.
We are here. We are waiting. Our postseason aspirations with united fandom, a recent postseason history long forgotten, and a future we shall face, together. Let’s roll.