The Cleveland Indians are hurting right now, both literally and figuratively.
Josh Naylor‘s injury last weekend was the worst one we have seen all year and the results on the field have been brutal since.
The Indians have lost four straight and the team’s last win came Monday against the Detroit Tigers.
Currently, the club is trying to piece together a proper lineup against the Houston Astros.
Through two games, Houston owns the run advantage by a total of 13-5.
Unfortunately, things are only getting tougher before the All-Star break.
A Bad Time To Not Be At Full Strength
The Indians are running with a rotation of rookies against one of the best teams in baseball.
That fact remains true next week when the team heads south to take on the Tampa Bay Rays.
What follows is a four-game stretch against the Kansas City Royals to end the first half of the season.
While the Royals have faded, the lack of proper starting pitching makes the series anything but an easy win.
The Indians have a rotation of Sam Hentges, Logan Allen, Eli Morgan, J.C. Mejia, and Cal Quantrill.
Zach Plesac is due back soon, given all goes well in his rehab, but it is hard to keep up a winning pace with five starters who are all so young and inexperienced.
The only hope is for the offense to pick up the slack.
Yet Jose Ramirez is banged up, Naylor is out for the year, Eddie Rosario is dealing with some problems, and Franmil Reyes just now returned from his own injury.
The bottom four in Friday night’s lineup went as follows: Ernie Clement, Bradley Zimmer, Austin Hedges, Oscar Mercado.
That is something you would expect to see at Triple-A Columbus, not for the Indians in the midst of a great start to the season.
The Indians have left the bases loaded three times tonight after doing the same two times yesterday.
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) July 3, 2021
Returns On The Horizon
As mentioned, Reyes has made his return and Plesac is making another rehab start this weekend.
Roberto Perez is also set to come back and bring his experience behind the plate to help the young pitching staff.
#Indians expected to activate catcher Roberto Pérez from the injured list for today's game. He's been out since undergoing surgery on his right ring finger in May.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) July 3, 2021
This may be the biggest return of all if he can somehow help this young rotation.
Yet it all comes down to the offense in the end.
The team now has a minus-14 run differential and five total runs in two games against the Astros just won’t cut it.
That is true against any team in MLB.
It feels like we have had this same conversation multiple times as of late.
The Indians go through a rough stretch and all hope seems lost, only for a few wins to be rattled off in a row.
The difference now is that the sample size is growing and it is hard for such a young, banged-up team to keep up a pace above the .500 mark.
A win against the Astros on Saturday could help bring back some confidence and hopefully spur a nice run before the break.
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