As we covered earlier MLB has suspended a number of players for 50 games and Alex Rodriguez through 2014. These suspensions will impact the playoff hunt, in which the Cleveland Indians are currently involved, in many facets. We will look at how these suspensions impact the following, click on the team name to skip to that article:
Texas lost Nelson Cruz to a 50 game suspension that will run near the end of the regular season. The Rangers currently sit .5 games back from the Indians for the second Wild Card spot. They also sit 2.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the AL West lead. Cruz was leading the Rangers in both HRs and RBIs for a team that has struggled offensively this year after losing Josh Hamilton in the off-season. The Rangers have some young players that may step in for Cruz both in the field and in the order, but none with skill set to replace Cruz, especially at the plate. The Rangers have Manny Ramirez in their minor leagues but does not currently look like they will bring him up but keep an eye on him if they struggle from the plate over the next few weeks.
The Rangers remaining schedule combined has a winning percentage of .463. The Rangers have 16 series remaining against only 5 teams with a winning record, with none of those series happening until September. Expect the Rangers to keep some level play throughout the month of August, but the schedule strengthens in September and players thrown into bigger roles may start to hit a wall with more ABs and time in the field. The Rangers also do not play the Tigers or Yankees who were also hit hard by suspension, so no easing up for them their either.
The Indians and Rangers do not have any games against each other left. The Tribe swept the Rangers last week in their final series. The Rangers have struggled over the past few weeks, especially on offense. At the trade deadline they made a move for Matt Garza, a #2 or 3 pitcher, but no moves for a bat. Expect the Rangers to continue to struggle down the stretch and not be a major competitor for the Wild Card spot with the Tribe.
Impact on Indians Playoff Hunt – Medium
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