Cleveland Indians vs the AL Playoff Contenders

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Hello! I am an avid follower of my Cleveland Indians, sometimes much to my chagrin. I usually do a piece once or twice per season to ‘break down’ my team’s performance and spotlight where I see concerns heading into the Hunt for October Gold. Many, many years ago I swore a personal oath that I would get a tattoo to commemorate if/when the Indians would win a World Series title in my lifetime. As of this writing, I have no such tattoo…but I’m ever hopeful. And for the record, it will be a full color or black and white rendering of Chief Wahoo. Those people who are offended by a cartoon rendering of an Indian or think that the depiction is offensive…get a clue and a life. I will not apologize for my stance on this topic and you can Google my other pieces that I’ve written detailing why the cartoon image should be left alone.

Hoping down from the pulpit of righteousness, I will now share with you my findings thus far in 2018 concerning the baseball Indians of Cleveland. The Won-Loss record for my Indians sits at 81-62. That is the fifth best record in the American League but the overall best record (by 15.5 games) in the American League Central Division. That (final) position guarantees a playoff spot without a ‘play-in’ game unlike the predicament ahead of the two Wildcard teams. The top five teams in each league (three division winners and then the teams with the next best records regardless of division) advance to the respective playoff scenarios. Division winners are guaranteed a full playoff series (Best of Five) with the top Division winner by record getting paired against the survivor of the Wildcard teams playoff game. By process of elimination, the other two division winners play each other with that winner advancing to play the other series winner and so on and so forth to the World Series where that winner is crowned World Champion.

Right now the Indians would be the lowest ranking division winner behind the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. So with the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s (Athletics) set to do battle for the advancing Wildcard survivor to play the Boston Red Sox, the Indians would be set up to battle the Houston Astros unless unforeseeable circumstances should arise (very doubtful). As the team with the inferior record, the Indians would begin play on the road (in Houston) for the first two games and then the next two would be scheduled for play in Cleveland. If the series was not decided by the third or fourth game, a fifth and deciding game would be played back in Houston to advance to the next round.

With me so far? Hope so, because we are moving along anyway! Below is a breakdown of how the Indians fared (poorly) against the other four contenders in the American League. I’m not even going to get into how they fared against the National League contenders as that is a bit of a longer list and I feel that is getting a bit ahead of ourselves. First things first:

 

Team
Head-to-Head Record
Runs Scored-Allowed
Scoring Averages
Notes
Oakland A’s
2 Wins – 4 Losses
31 to 29
5.16 to 4.83
Shutout once
New York Yankees
2 Wins – 5 Losses
31 to 38
4.43 to 5.43
Zero road wins
Houston Astros
3 Wins – 4 Losses
29 to 45
4.14 to 6.43
Most runs allowed
Boston Red Sox
2 Wins – 2 Losses
15 to 24
3.75 to 6.00
Shutout once

Here are the rough numbers, the Indians were a combined 9-15 against these teams. That’s a .400 winning percentage (not good). Of the 24 games against these contenders (they still have a three game series this month against Boston to be played in Cleveland), there has only been one game where the Indians pitching staff held these teams to two or fewer runs (vs the Yankees by Carlos Carrasco 5-2 win). If you remove the 15-3 win against the A’s, the Indians were outscored in the other five games 16 to 26. Noteworthy in the above numbers is that all of these games, with the exception of the four game series with the Boston Red Sox, were played before the All-star break. How significant this is, I do not know. For the most part, in the second half my team has played teams with losing records or minimal chance to compete for the American League playoffs spots. Allegedly that this should be an advantage. During this stretch, the Indians have bettered themselves from a record of 52-43 to end the ‘first half’ by winning 29 of 48 games since then to all but cement their ticket to October playoff baseball.

Based on the stats above and the way the playoffs unfolded last year, logic would dictate that my team would need to pick up the scoring pace as their alleged dominant pitching staff has been less than dominant against the better competition. Hopefully the acquisition of Josh Donaldson (and tenuous physical health) will increase that likelihood. Otherwise, I fear a similar outcome to the Cleveland-New York series from last year. Here’s to hoping and eternal optimism! Go Tribe!

Have a splendid week! Cheers!

Peace.

<<<09-10-2018>>>

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