Things starting to break (down) in Tribe's favor

Have a seat my friend, since I already know what's troubling you ...

You tell me that the Cleveland Indians are falling apart at the worst possible time – virtually as we speak – with the playoffs just over the horizon. Tough to argue with that, pal.

You say that Andrew Miller is hurt – again – and without him, our chances go from slim to less than none. Yeah, losing Miller hurts big time (although I'd like to see you explain how you arrived at that "less than none" figure, Einstein).

You maintain your dreary demeanor by mentioning the one significant addition we made to the outfield, Leonys Martín, was here for about 10 days before coming down with a season-ending viral infection. Great. Just the pick-me-up I was hoping to get: We traded for Typhoid Mary.

You complain that the remainder of the Tribe outfield is really, really bad. "How bad is it?" I query. "So bad," you reply, "that the dregs of Major League Baseball, the woeful Kansas City Royals, have a better outfield." Wow, that IS bad. Statistically speaking, you have a point.

You pontificate that Corey Kluber is no longer great; but merely good these days. Brother, the stats don't lie, do they?

You dejectedly articulate how Trevor Bauer – arguably the new pitching ace on the team – takes a shot to the shin, is down indefinitely, and unless he comes back very soon, he won't be in "game shape" enough to help in the playoffs. I'll tell you: If it's not a frickin' drone, it's a line drive right back atcha!

You despondently add how our next-best pitcher, Carlos Carrasco, takes a liner to the chest, and his pitching may well suffer as a result. Jeez dude, you're killing me here. Pass the Valium. In fact, make it a double.

You say that the Indians season is going about as smoothly as gargling peanut butter? Don't hog the jar, Skippy, 'cause I like it chunky. That's right, bring it on, because I see things a tad differently.

While acknowledging that you make some legitimate points, I would like to present the other side of the coin, as it were. Try to stay with me here ...

Do the names Jaret Wright and Chad Ogea mean anything to you? Jaret Wright had an injury-plagued career with the Indians, and Ogea was just another pitcher in an otherwise nondescript career. However, in the postseason of 1997 – when the Indians entered the playoffs as essentially an afterthought among the MLB prognosticators – Wright went 4-0, Ogea pitched like Tom Seaver, and the Tribe came within one victory (stop me if you've heard this one) of being World Series champs. An ordinary team that got hot at the right time.

On the other hand, last year, the Indians were everyone's favorite – especially on the tail of the 22-game winning streak – to win the 2017 World Series and the sad reality was they didn't even come close. The 2017 Tribe got cold at the wrong time.

Home field advantage? Doesn't matter.

Superior won/loss records? Doesn't mean squat.

Whoever is playing the best ball in October wins it, simple as that. Does it mean the Indians have any advantage this year?

Possibly. I say that only because you have a lot of new guys on the team this year. New guys; hungry guys. Maybe a guy like Greg Allen will have a storybook October. Maybe Brad Hand or Adam Cimber will have a Milleresque postseason. Maybe it's Yan Gomes' turn to shine. Who knows? What we do know is that when the playoffs start, it doesn't matter what you did in the regular season. Ask Corey Kluber about the Yankees series last fall.

Speaking of pitching, remember how a few months ago Indians fans (myself included) were fretting over the impending loss of ace relievers Cody Allen and Andrew Miller? Cody Allen has since gone Chris Perez, and Andrew Miller has broken down more times than my old Rambler.

The point is, a lot can happen over the course of a baseball season. The stars of April and May who are still going strong come October are a rarity. In baseball, the old adage "anything can happen" couldn't be more true.

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:12 AM, 09.05.2018