The Cleveland Indians enter the second half of the 2021 MLB season with a winning record.
That fact alone can be taken as a major surprise given all the injuries suffered up to this point alone.
Considering all that, a 45-42 record is nothing to be upset about.
The mighty New York Yankees, big payroll and all, are sitting at 46-43.
The Indians are still set to open the second half with some tough competition, so we identified some simple goals to strive for as play gets underway again.
3. Take Time And Get Healthy
Shane Bieber will throw weighted balls for the first time in his recovery from shoulder soreness.#Indians
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) July 9, 2021
But neither situation can be rushed at all.
The organization can’t speed up a recovery timeline just to try to steal a game or two.
And fans should know by now the front office is always thinking about the future.
So if setbacks arise, nothing can be rushed.
2. Develop At Least One Top Prospect
It sure would be nice to see Nolan Jones get some time at the MLB level.
The team can call him up without worrying about using a year of service time
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 10, 2021
At this point there are no excuses such as there not being a spot for him.
The outfield has two open spots, in fact, and Jones could easily slide into left field.
Maybe there is a fear about him showing up and not being ready.
He is the top prospect in the system and 2021 is a prime year to let him get some MLB action before the end of the season.
The Seattle Mariners promoted Jarred Kelenic, only to demote him after an awful stretch at the plate.
But he is on pace to return soon, so it’s not like his confidence was shattered.
Also, holding Jones down until 2022 when he will be 24 years old in May is simply waiting too long, if the organization does indeed view him as a star in waiting.
1. Stay In The Wild Card Race
The ideal second-half scenario would be the Indians catching the Chicago White Sox and taking home the American League Central division title.
But an eight-game deficit makes that a difficult reality, as it stands now.
Things could change, but in the meantime the Indians are still in the Wild Card mix.
They sit only 4.5 games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second spot, and just so happen to be headed to Oakland this weekend for a three-game series.
Even taking two of three would chip into that lead and be a great surge of momentum in general.
Fans must also remember the Indians have a five-game series against the White Sox near the end of September.
Those five games could end up determining their playoff fate, given there isn’t a total collapse before then.