Let’s get this out of the way: The Indians lost to the A’s, 7-2, in a game that saw back-up catcher Nick Hundley fall a triple short of the cycle. I think that about sums it up.
Now what can I say that hasn’t already been said?
The Cleveland Indians are not a very good baseball team. I believe there is maybe even a case to be made that the Cleveland Indians are a bad baseball team.
Their rotation, touted as one of the best in baseball to start the season, is in bad shape. Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger are on the IL. The latter could be back next month, but there isn’t even a timetable for the former. Trevor Bauer is a far cry from his Cy Young aspirations amidst an abysmal month of May. Carlos Carrasco and Shane Bieber have been inconsistent. Today, Jefry Rodríguez, who had managed to hold serve for the most part in his starts since his initial call-up in April, continued to crack in his shortest outing of the season.
But the fact that Rodríguez allowed five runs— four of them earned — over four innings of work is ultimately moot considering the current state of the Indians’ offense.
Carlos González was designated for assignment prior to the game to open up a roster spot for Eric Haase, who will pitch in to help behind the plate while Roberto Pérez recovers from a concussion. That presumably means more plate appearances for Oscar Mercado, Jordan Luplow, and Jake Bauers, but today it meant Mike Freeman in left field for whatever reason. Bauers, Freeman, and Mercado were a combined 1-for-10 this afternoon, combining for five strikeouts.
The only reliable hitters in the lineup continue to be Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana. Lindor is hammering the baseball, ripping a pair singles against the A’s that clocked 110 and 112 mph, respectively, in exit velocity. Jason Kipnis, to his credit, has now reached base in 17 consecutive games. But José Ramírez is a shadow of his former self. Roberto Pérez was starting to heat up at the plate before his concussion, opening the door for more offensive woes from Kevin Plawecki.
The fact of the matter is that the Indians simply don’t have a formidable lineup. It’s a hodgepodge of Francisco Lindor, solid but unspectacular hitters, mediocre veterans, and youth with potential but not much to show for it at this point. Just looking at the construction of this roster, it’s difficult to laugh off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s, even if we’re only in May.
At a certain point, you are who you are. And I’m not sure what can be done between now and the trade deadline to change what this team is: a not very good, or maybe even bad, baseball team.