The Cleveland Indians are 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers and 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Royals in the race for the division. The Tribe has turned it around after a struggling start to the season. Yet with all the turn around the Indians still struggled with their record away from home. Following the completion of their 10 game homestand the Tribe’s Away record still stands at 14-24. Somehow even with the difficulties away from home the Indians are only 2 games back of the Wild Card as well. Everything is still in play, which made this 10 game road trip so vitally important.
It could be seen as mere optimism but going 5 and 5 on a 10 game road trip in the American League, for a team that started the road trip 9 – 19 away from home, is something to be celebrated. For the Indians it was HUGE. A terrible road trip could of quelled the momentum gained by the 6 game win streak, all at home, that preceded the big road trip. 1 step forward, 2 steps back. Instead the Indians gain confidence even though the only games against a team currently over .500 were against the Royals, and they lost both. A split of the entire trip shows the team that they could do it. A hit here, a stop there and a winning mark was well within their reach.
Obviously so was a losing record, as the last two games against the Red Sox ended 3-2, was also within their grasp. Finishing the road trip 3-7 or 2-8 would of put the Tribe back 5 or more games of the Tigers. It could of felt like a rally wasted as only a few weeks after climbing out of a double digit hole, they were perilously close to falling back into that hole. The Indians shouldn’t puff their chests out as if they had solved their traveling woes but they can now honestly believe in their ability to win away from home.
The Indians now have 7 huge home games, including 3 against the hated Tigers in the #WarForTheDivision, that could set the tone for the second half of the season that is slowly approaching. Both the Tigers and Angels currently sit with winning records and have the talent to cause the Tribe problems. Yet after splitting the 10 game road trip, the team can return home to the friendly environment confident in their ability to compete. Whether or not that survive these 7 games at home before heading back out for an 8 game roadie is a different discussion.
How do you feel about the Tribe’s road struggles? Does the 5-5 record on this trip give you any more confidence?
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