The Cleveland Indians are in first place following their second win in St. Louis
The Cleveland Indians are in first place in the AL Central after their Saturday night win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Indians have been on a tear as of late, taking two of three from the former first-place Minnesota Twins before taking the first two against the Cardinals. This has been a new trend for the Indians, who just a week ago had to deal with people saying they couldn’t beat the best teams in the Majors.
The Indians now have the third-best record in the AL and fourth-best in the entire Major Leagues. They’ve only lost two series since their early August trip to the Minnesota Twins; a two-game set against the Chicago Cubs and a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Besides those two series the team has been on a tear and is currently on a four-game winning streak. The team is finally hitting and players like Tyler Naquin and Franmil Reyes have shouldered a bulk of the load since the turnaround.
While never a bad team, nor even one that wasn’t in the midst of the playoff race, the Indians offense had been truly terrible. Players like Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor were hitting under .200 and struggling to find their swing, and the outfield had no one of any consistency in it. While the outfield still needs a player or two, Naquin and Delino DeShields have played consistently well enough to be everyday players for the Tribe.
Outside of that, Reyes, Naquin, DeShields, Cesar Hernandez, Lindor, and Jose Ramirez have all gotten their averages above the .250 mark. Santana is still hanging around the .218 mark but he’s slowly coming along.
The hitting has been fantastic as of late but it’s been the pitching that is the most impressive. While the starting pitching has been good, lead by early Cy Young favorite Shane Bieber, it’s the bullpen that deserves so much of the credit. Thought by many to be a weak spot in the Indians’ arsenal, the bullpen has been nearly perfect for the season.
The Indians are the only team that hasn’t given up 100 runs yet through 30 games, the only team that can say that. They’re also second in the Majors with a 45 in their Run Differential, with only the Los Angeles Dodgers having a better DIFF.
The Indians bullpen and starting pitching have carried the team this far and the offense has finally come around to help out. With the trade deadline in a few days, there’s no telling what this Indians squad will look like and how much better it’ll be once Sept. 1 rolls around.
The Indians should be seen as the top AL contender to get to the World Series and with only 27 games left for the regular season have 97.8% of reaching the postseason. Let’s buckle up because it’s going to be one heck of a final month of action.