IF–and it’s a big IF–the Cleveland Indians’ postseason hopes have any chance of becoming a reality, the club needs to start showing a relentless sense of urgency. The marathon season is down to sprint, and the Indians are 4.5 games out of the final Wild Card Spot, and 5.0 games behind the Royals in the Central. The team will be tested with 30 games coming over the next the 30 days.
The Indians begin a three-game series against the White Sox tonight, and it’s a must win series, just like every other series the team will play from here on out.
If Tribe wins CWS series, season basically comes down to 7 games w/ KC, DET over Labor Day wkend. Win those & they're in business
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) August 24, 2014
Former Tribe reliever Jensen Lewis‘ tweet (above) is spot on in his analysis of the Indians’ chances. The team can’t lose these series and has to win close games…just think about last Friday’s defensive disaster against Houston. Taking two of three from the Astros was nice, but it should’ve been a sweep.
If this team has one thing going its way, it’s that it hasn’t played really hot baseball, but It’d be overly ambitious to think the Tribe could rip off 10 in a row to end the season, or even go 21-6 in September as it did a season ago.
To come close to replicating last season’s finish, the starting pitching needs to be so great, we’ll be talking about their efforts 10 years from now. The rotation of Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and T.J. House has gone 9-4 with a 1.70 ERA since Aug. 9.
It’s imperative the sub-2.00 ERA be maintained (Sure, because that’s easy Nick) because the Indians just aren’t going to win games with their bats. The offense has produced three or fewer runs in 17 of their 35 games since the All-Star break.
Lewis, who also predicted how the Royals, Tigers and Tribe would finish, didn’t forecast the starts aligning over the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Predicting the final finish: DET: 18-15 rest of the way, 88-74 finish KC: 16-17, 88-74 CLE: 15-18, 81-81 DET wins in 1 game playoff vs. KC
— Jensen Lewis (@JLEWFifty) August 25, 2014
• Kyrie Irving will start for the United States tonight it’s final tuneup for the FIBA World Cup, but it may not permanently be his job. Coach K said Irving could rotate starts with Derrick Rose, who is battling an achy knee.
Yes questions surround the team’s defense, but this on the offensive side, this team is going to score more than Steve Garvey in his prime.
“With the new Big 3 in place, Cleveland will likely become one of the league’s most prolific interior scoring teams. Both James and Love have demonstrated they can blend volume and effectiveness down there at an elite level. However, it also stands to reason they’re going to be pretty good away from the basket as well.”
• Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes announced their captains, with linebacker Curtis Grant being the biggest surprise.
It was also great to see Miller named a captain. He may not suit up this year, but he’s still looked up to as a leader.
• Cleveland loves drafts more than any other city, but c’mon, the 2015 NFL Draft is nine months away. Let’s not start playing for next year before this year even starts. Many Browns fans feel this way, but that hasn’t stopped MMQB’s Peter King from speculating on what the Browns might do with their two first round picks, via Dawg Pound Daily.
• My fantasy football draft is this weekend, and my wife has to raise the bar after Darren Rovell posted this:
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 26, 2014
Factory Lines is a collection of tweets, quotes, and links covering you’re favorite Cleveland teams and runs Monday through Friday. Have something you think your fellow fan would like to see? Tweet me @DukeofNick.