clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How damaging was this weekend for the Cleveland Indians?

New, 78 comments

How much damage did this weekend do?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

It can be hard not to read too much into the opening games of any season. You wait months and months for games that mean something, and when they finally arrive, there's a tendency to really want them to mean something.

The samples are so small right now, none of them have had enough time to approach having any predictive value, and so you're right now to get too excited about things that are going well, or too down about things that are going poorly, not unless those things match what you were seeing last year, in which they're more like the continuation of something, rather than the start of something new.

On the other hand, what's happened, happened, and it counts just as much as anything else that'll happen this year.

What good has happened?

Carlos Santana is off to a tremendous start, with a .333/.481/.524 batting line, including six walks in six games, and his first (of 30???) home run of the season.

Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer have all pitched really well, each of them among the top ten starters in baseball for strikeout rate through one or two (in Kluber's case) appearances.

Jerry Sands was called up and already has 4 hits in 2 games.

What bad has happened?

Of the nine player with at least a dozen plate appearances so far, seven of them have an OPS below .700. Brandon Moss, Ryan Raburn, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Yan Gomes are all at below .500.

Zach McAllister and T.J. House both got hammered by the Tigers.

The bullpen has been awful, with fifth worst ERA in MLB so far.

Oh yeah... Yan Gomes suffered a sprained MCL and is out for 6-8 weeks, and Michael Brantley has only played in two games because his back is bothering him.

What does it all mean?

(How do I know?!)

In terms of individual player performance, I wouldn't get too worked up about anything. Not enough time has passed to revise any of what you thought heading into Opening Day.

In terms of the team, the 2-4 record isn't a big deal, but being 4 games back of Detroit and Kansas City already (they both went 6-0 last week) kind of is. It's not that teams never come from 4 games back to win their division, but right now it's as though the season is starting a week late, and the Indians have been told they'll have to beat the Tigers and Royals by at least 4 games each. My guess is a fair number of people who picked the Indians to win the AL Central wouldn't have done so if they were told they'd have to win it by at least 4 games in order for it to count.

FanGraphs' projected standings had the Indians ahead of the Detroit by a game heading into the season, now they have the Indians finishing 4 games back. PECOTA had the Indians 2 games back before Opening Day, now it has them 6 games back.

Getting swept at home by the Tigers is literally the worst possible outcome a series can have for the Tribe. There are 156 games left, which is more than enough time for the Indians to dig themselves out of this hole, but that doesn't mean the hole isn't real.

Meanwhile, Yan Gomes missing 25-30% of the season probably costs the team a win or two (and that's if he's not out longer, or the impact of the injury doesn't linger and hurt his performance after he returns). If Brantley is hampered by a back back all year, that's likely another win or two.

The weekend could hardly have gone any worse, and things are not as bright as they were three days ago. The Indians need to put the disastrous weekend behind them, win some games, and avoid being bitten by the injury bug again. If they can do that, the bitter taste in your mouth might hardly be remembered come September.