The Cleveland Indians enter play Saturday with a perfectly even record of 50-50.
They are without manager Terry Francona for the rest of the season and fell to nine games back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central division with Friday’s loss.
The team also just traded away Cesar Hernandez, who was a crucial piece in the lineup all year.
We are not saying the Indians punted on the season with the deadline trades, because the addition of outfielder Myles Straw was a great one in the long-term.
What we are saying is the organization was not exactly a top contender before the deadline and not much has changed after.
.@myles_straw makes his @Indians debut tonight, leading off and playing center field.
Pregame coverage with @AlPawlowski, @JLEWFifty, and @DreKnott begins now on Bally Sports Great Lakes!#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/bffCdDLT4s
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) July 31, 2021
A Perfectly Average Year
The Indians are still without top pitchers Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale.
That makes the current 50-50 record a minor miracle.
Indians fans just have high expectations every year and want the team to rebound no matter the obstacles in place.
Unfortunately, that is just not possible and the front office isn’t going to trade for someone like Max Scherzer in a season like this.
That would just be bad for the future of the team, as buying involves prospects or top talent in return.
The injuries truly changed the outlook of the year.
Somehow, the team jumped out to a 42-33 record.
But a nine-game losing streak followed and the team came back down to Earth.
All the injuries have just been too much to overcome, but there are still reasons to watch throughout August and September.
Wild Card Still Within Reach
The Indians are 6.5 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second and final Wild Card spot in the AL.
The good news is that the Indians are only four back in the loss column, so winning those makeup games would go a long way toward staying alive in the postseason hunt.
Not being totally out of the race is great for the young players on the team.
In the outfield alone, there are several players with major questions and that was even before the addition of Straw.
Now, it is hard to see both Oscar Mercado and Bradley Zimmer sticking around in 2022.
In the infield, players like Andres Gimenez, Owen Miller, and Yu Chang are now going to get meaningful playing time.
So basically the goal is to develop young players and dangle the goal of landing that second Wild Card berth as motivation not to lose all meaning.
Team president Chris Antonetti said Shane Bieber's recovery from shoulder issue has gone a little slower than #Indians had hoped.
Aaron Civale (finger) will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) July 25, 2021
There was hope recently that Bieber and Civale would return, signaling a playoff push.
Both have had major setbacks and now the question shows up of if they should even pitch at all if it is only for a few starts at the end of the year.
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