The Cleveland Indians were counted out by plenty of analysts and projections before the 2021 MLB season even began.
They were counted out again and again.
Now comes the injury to Aaron Civale, leaving the team with a bunch of rookies and inexperienced pitchers trying to steady the ship leading up to the All-Star break.
Aaron Civale has a middle finger sprain. He’s expected to miss 4-5 weeks.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) June 23, 2021
So what have they done?
Well, the team enters play Thursday with a 40-31 record, good enough to be 2.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central division.
With all the injuries, this should easily be one of the top stories in all MLB.
Those who do the ESPN power rankings seem to feel the same as the team just made the jump up to No. 11 overall from No. 13.
That is not bad at all as we approach the middle of the 2021 season.
Other Notable Rankings
National analysts continue to see the Chicago White Sox as serious contenders.
They came in at No. 4 overall after spending last week in the No. 2 spot.
So if the Indians overtake them this week in the standings, will that be reflected in the power rankings?
That is probably a no, as projections continue to knock the Indians after all the injuries.
Fans will not care about this reality at all as long as the team keeps winning.
And it does not have to be pretty either.
The offense just needs to keep doing what they are doing and the ultimate X-factor is the starting pitchers just getting through four or five innings without a major disaster.
The bullpen can take it from there.
The Remaining Schedule
The Indians are now trying to make it to the All-Star break and avoid any sort of major losing streak.
A four-game series begins tonight against the Minnesota Twins.
Up next is three games against Detroit, followed by four against a tough Houston team to begin July.
The Indians then wrap up the first half with another tough three-game set against Tampa, before what should hopefully be an easy four-game series against Kansas City.
The games against the Astros and Rays stand out as the toughest and should provide fans with a glimpse of how this young team can really hold up when faced with adversity.
Here's the book on Eli:
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) June 23, 2021
Hopefully, at least Plesac can return at the start of July.
That should provide the entire team with a much-needed boost
The front office could also make things easier by swinging a trade for a veteran pitcher.
That move should seem obvious, but the Indians still seem committed trying to win from within.