Cleveland Indians: Fact Or Fiction After Nine Games

Apr 11, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fans wait to enter the field before the home opening game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 11, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Fans wait to enter the field before the home opening game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2017 Cleveland Indians’ season has not been what we expected. So, is overreacting justified?

The first three series have not been pretty for the Cleveland Indians. After dropping two of three to the Chicago White Sox, right after getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks, Tribe fans are a little uneasy. We took a look at where things stand to determine fact from fiction.

1. Francisco Lindor Will Lead The Team In Every Offensive Category.

Right now, according to, that’s how it looks! Lindor came into the year as a potential MVP candidate, but the offense has struggled around him at times. This team won’t go anywhere if Lindor has to carry the load on his own.

Per the same website, only outfielder Abraham Almonte and infielder Jose Ramirez are hitting over .250 among regular guys in the lineup.

Verdict: Fiction, as eventually other members of the roster will return and generate more power than Lindor is expected to provide. That said, he will continue to be among the leaders in the A.L. all year.

2. Edwin Encarnacion Will Be The Team’s Worst Hitter

More from Factory of Sadness

Speaking of players that will generate more power, Encarnacion is slumping terribly. Two inning ending double plays with the bases loaded won’t earn Encarnacion a lot of optimism.

According to, he is five for 32 on the season for a robust .156 average. Encarnacion also has 13 strikeouts in nine games, well ahead of his career trends. He just looks to be pressing with each swing to justify the hype and the contract to Indians fans.

Verdict: Fiction. He will snap out of it eventually, as his track record suggest that he cannot possibly be this bad all season. Encarnacion hasn’t hit below .263 since 2010 and last season was his first season over 100 strikeouts. He will figure it out.

3. Yandy Diaz Will be Good Defensively All Season

This is more a subjective statement than anything, but Diaz has surprised a lot of people with his glove at the hot corner. Not only has he looked competent, he has looked like there never should have been concerns in the first place.

We’ve already covered what might happen to him once second baseman Jason Kipnis comes back, but that decision gets harder every day, as long as Diaz gets the bat going.

Verdict: Fact. So far, there’s nothing to lead us to believe he won’t do this all year. Even off the hot corner, if Diaz can provide depth around the field, his skills can be used in Cleveland.

4. Josh Tomlin Is Done

Ugh. I love the story and the toughness Tomlin brings, but his chronic arm issues and 84 mile an hour fastball were bound to catch up. Thursday’s dud only compounds the problem.

Per, Tomlin has racked up 13 earned runs in 6.1 innings and that is just terrible, even for someone that is a fourth or fifth starter. Cleveland needs Tomlin to be better.

Verdict: Fact, but not as it stands today. Tomlin won’t be a starter by the end of the season, but he will stick around for now until the roster is healthy to keep manager Terry Francona from losing his mind entirely. Tomlin may be a good bullpen option as AAA doesn’t seem like the place for him to go.

5. The Salazar Strikeout Pace Will Keep Up

Salazar’s ERA isn’t pretty early, but he has looked great in each of his starts on the whole. He’s averaging 10 K’s per outing and a ridiculous 15.4 K/9. All of this comes while throwing over 100 pitches per start. If Salazar stays this strong all year, it’s a great sign.

Verdict: Fact. It might not be 10 K’s per outing, but Salazar will lead this time in punch outs in 2017 and will keep missing bats at a very high rate.

6. The Indians Won’t Have A Winning April

The Tribe is currently 4-5 and in fourth in the AL Central, which is not exactly hitting expectations. According to, their -13 run differential is second worst in the A.L. They’ve also allowed the third most runs in the A.L per Safe to say, things aren’t going according to plan.

Verdict: Fiction. This is just a rough start, and not an indication of things to come.

Next: Indians' Prospects Update

There are key players either not performing as they typically do (Encarnacion, ace Corey Kluber, and outfielder Michael Brantley), or just not in the lineup (Kipnis is still in rehab, and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has played one game). If as a fan you have hit the panic button, you should be disappointed in yourself.