From top to bottom, the Cleveland Indians are an absolute dumpster fire.
One winning streak and a couple bad games from the Twins and they are leading the American League Central, but that doesn’t change the fact that right now, on May 11, 2019, they are so off as a unit with no sense of recovery or leadership that it’s pathetic.
Today they lost to the Athletics 3-2. It should have been 2-1. It could have been 2-0 without an fortunate swing from Leonys Martin. Regardless of the final score, my hope is that Indians players — and more importantly the coaches who manage them — take this game and reflect on what has made such a horrendous streak of games like this possible for a team supposedly poised for the playoffs.
Instead of talking up the grittiness of bunting a runner into scoring position when you’re down by one (multiple times), I hope someone will finally acknowledge that consistently giving away outs on sacrifice bunts when you can’t hit for shit anyway is a bad.
I hope someone will acknowledge that pinch-hitting for your only good hitter over the last couple weeks — Roberto Pérez — is a bad idea.
I hope someone will finally acknowledge that there may be one or more players in the minors who could help this team win instead of more failing retreads like Carlos González and Mike Freeman.
I hope someone will finally acknowledge that Jake Bauers isn’t an everyday left fielder.
I hope someone will finally acknowledge that the Indians are going to lose the division and their window to a World Series if something doesn’t change.
I hope someone will finally acknowledge that the Indians have a stubborn manager and coaching staff holding them back and forcing them to hemorrhage valuable players and opportunities.
And for the love of Pete, someone please tell Jake Bauer to swing on that outside pitch that the umpire has been calling all day. It’s not going to magically turn into a ball. Swing the bat, man.
There is still plenty of time to change their fortunes, yes, but a change actually has to happen. We can rule out the weather being the catalyst for the offense to catch fire since Indians hitters have been equally terrible in the brisk 70-degree weather of Oakland in May. So what does that leave us? It could be a simple change of luck. Maybe it is just the baseball gods slowly punishing the Indians for their hubris in the offseason and a few balls are bouncing bad. Outside of that, maybe it’s a change in player personnel or a change in the coaching staff. The strategy, the voices guiding players, something clearly isn’t clicking.
Today showed that a pitcher holding his opponent to literally zero earned runs isn’t enough to get a win, as Trevor Bauer did just that and received a no-decision for his 7.0 innings of work that included 10 strikeouts, just two hits, and a pair of runs made possible by bone-headed errors. Prior to the Tribe’s brilliant ninth-inning plan to bunt over a runner, give up one of their three remaining outs, and tie the game in ultimate futility, Bauer was on the verge of becoming the first Indians starter since 1990 to be tagged with a loss with zero earned runs over seven or more innings.
He won’t have that badge of shame next to his name, at least, but he’ll always have the image of this absolute trash fire of a game burned into his mind. And so will I.