The Cleveland Indians entered Friday night with a 30-24 record.
That is much better than most fans would have predicted after seeing how the team opened the season.
And if you told fans the team would be operating with only Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale as the regular starters in the rotation, such an outlook would have been hard to predict.
But here we are at the start of June and the Indians are just a few games back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central division.
That also qualifies the team for a Wild Card spot and now both races will be followed by fans throughout the next four months.
ESPN recently put out its first power rankings for June and the Indians showed up, as expected, right near the middle.
They came in at the No. 14 spot, which is right where they belong.
Here's your spicy fact of the day …
Emmanuel Clase has thrown 172 pitches 100 mph or faster this year, almost twice as many as the next guy on the list. ⛽️#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/KCdCu9injr
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 4, 2021
Still Figuring Out This Club
We have spent several months saying it is tough to figure out this team’s identity.
That led national power rankings to put this team right in the middle from the start.
Well, here we are in the first week of June and not much has changed.
If baseball were a symphony, then José Ramírez would be its greatest composer. 🎼#OurCLE | @Indians pic.twitter.com/0DmZ5f2jCW
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) June 4, 2021
It is just difficult to rank the team higher given all the issues.
While the 30-24 record is nice, the starting rotation is in a constant shuffle and the offense remains a concern.
The same conversations we were having about players like Jake Bauers and Amed Rosario have not faded since Opening Day.
The same is true for prospects like Nolan Jones and Bobby Bradley.
However, these conversations are fine to have as long as the wins keep coming more than the losses.
Other Notable Rankings
The Indians are looking up at the White Sox in the standings and in these power rankings.
The division rival came in at No. 4 overall.
Tampa Bay is the highest-ranked AL team at No. 2 overall, behind the San Diego Padres.
The Kansas City Royals show up at No. 18 overall as they have enjoyed some recent success after it appeared their hot start was a fluke.
It may still be a three-team race in the AL Central and the Indians have proved they can take down both the White Sox and Royals this year.
One factor hurting the White Sox is Tony La Russa, and it remains to be seen if he will have a negative impact on the team throughout the next four months.
Overall, the Indians are in good shape.
That is true for any team with a winning record at any point in the season.
All fans want is a winner and reaching the postseason with a two or three-man pitching staff won’t affect excitement.
It will be fascinating to check back in two months after the trade deadline and see if we are still talking about the Indians as contenders, or if a surprise sale took place.
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