The Indians entered a huge 3 game series against the Tigers with a chance to make the Central Division a race and force the Tigers to expend more energy down the stretch. Unfortunately the Indians lost the first 2 games before taking the finale between the two teams for the year, in the 9th inning on a Grand Slam from light hitting Mike Aviles. As of Labor Day the Indians are 7.5 games behind the Tigers, while not impossible its reasonable to say that the Central is now out of their grasps. The Tigers also now will be able to rest oft injured players and get their rotation in order going into the playoffs. If you are the type of fan that says “If my team can’t win I want someone from our division to win” then this is good news. Some are not that way.
Yet for all their struggles against the Tigers this year, and they have been many, the Indians have had a good season and still have a chance for a Wild Card spot. While the 2 Wild Card teams only are guaranteed a “play in” game, the Tribe could make the playoffs and are setup to do so with 26 games remaining. The Indians are only 3.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card spot, tied with the New York Yankees and a half game behind the Baltimore Orioles. The Indians have only 9 games against teams with a .500 or above record. The Tribe’s finishing schedule was a focus on Grantland’s ranking this week as well. Grantland noted that if the Indians didn’t play the Tigers they would have the 5th best winning percentage in the league. According to ESPN the Indians remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .452 while the A’s have .469, the Rays .506, and the Orioles .515. Hopefully the win against Detroit and the remaining schedule will provide the team with the confidence it needs to succeed. Over the past couple months the Tribe has struggled with Starting Pitching, Hitting, Bullpen and fielding, so not much has gone right. Turn around in a couple of those areas could be the lift the team needs to get into the playoffs.