The Cleveland Indians had a shot to bury the Minnesota Twins this weekend.
A sweep could have had the Twins turning into sellers well before the trade deadline even nears.
But this was not the case and a 10-0 Indians loss Friday set the tone of what was still a back-and-forth series.
The bad loss was followed by an exciting walk-off win, only for the offense to strike out 15 times Sunday in an extra-inning loss.
This series should not define the Indians’ season.
However, concerns were raised.
Still Searching for Reliable Starters
First it was Logan Allen being demoted after starting the year in the rotation.
Now Triston McKenzie has followed him to Columbus after a disastrous start Friday.
The right-hander allowed six earned runs in only 3.1 innings of work.
But he only allowed two hits.
So what happened?
Triston McKenzie's final line: 3 1/3 IP, 6 ER on 2 H, 5 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR. He threw 72 pitches but just 37 for strikes.
Phil Maton provided no relief. Instead of a mop and bucket he brought kerosene – 4 ER on 4 H & a walk in 1/3 of an inning #Indians
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) May 22, 2021
McKenzie walked five batters as it became crystal clear he still needs more time to develop into a legitimate MLB starting pitcher.
And that reality is just fine.
Both McKenzie and Allen are still only 23 years old and all young guys had to deal with the bizarre 2020 season without minor league baseball or normal training.
So those two individuals still have a great shot to return at some point.
If it more about when rather than if in that scenario.
Yet the problem remains that the Indians are struggling to find reliable pieces behind Shane Bieber, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac.
A Major Loss in the Lineup
Not only did the Indians lose twice over the weekend, but they lost Franmil Reyes to an injury in the process.
Results on Franmil Reyes: He had an internal oblique strain and he'll be out for 5-7 weeks.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) May 23, 2021
This is a brutal blow for a player who was right behind Jose Ramirez in terms of production for the offense.
One positive from the entire situation is Owen Miller being called up to earn his shot in the big leagues.
Miller did go 0-for-5 on Sunday, however, so it is going to take more time for him.
Just like with McKenzie, this is not an organizational concern or one for Miller.
But the team is hurt in the present as they look to keep up with the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central race.
Reyes now heads to the IL with 11 home runs and a .893 OPS.
The hope is that someone like Miller can one day be a big power bat in the lineup.
But right now he just needs to adjust to MLB pitchers.
The Indians will now face a real tough test with Reyes out of the lineup.
Someone needs to step up and the good news is the front office appears willing to shuffle through a plethora of options.
The Indians are also 24-20 and only 1.5 games behind the White Sox.
It was not a pretty weekend for either team and a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers should hopefully help get Cleveland back on track.