Just when we thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, the 2012 Cleveland Indians have gone and lowered the bar for expectations yet again. After losing 11 games in a row and looking completely inept in the process, the Indians now find themselves in the midst of another long losing streak. Entering play tonight it stands at eight games and counting, but buckle up because it’s about to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. That’s right, it’s time for the Yankees and their traveling caravan of fans to make their annual visit to Progressive Field.
The Indians are catching a break of sorts. The Yankees enter play tonight having lost three games in a row to the Chicago White Sox and are 5-5 in their last 10, so they aren’t exactly coming into the series on a hot streak. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Yankees are still tied with the Rangers for the most wins in the American League, 72, and welcome the return of CC Sabathia to the rotation tonight. If the Indians didn’t have bad luck they’d have no luck at all.
In all honesty, it might not have mattered if the Yankees had gotten Sabathia back or not. The Indians are playing such bad baseball at the moment that even the lowliest of opposing pitchers are shutting them down. It’s been a recurring theme of the past month and a half and has shown little signs of changing any time soon. Now they get the pleasure of facing not just Sabathia, but also Hiroki Kuroda and Freddy Garcia. Normally you’d have to like the Indians’ chances against the latter two pitchers, but now, who knows what to expect.
That’s not even the worst problem for the Tribe right now heading into this series. The more pressing concern: How are the Indians going to stop the Yankees offense? As is always the case, New York touts one of the most prolific offenses in the league having scored 607 runs so far, second only to the Rangers’ 627. A lot of that is thanks to the Yankees’ ability to hit the ball out of the park at a prolific rate. Their 193 home runs are far and away the most in all of baseball. As a team they’re hitting .266/.336/.460.
The Indians saw firsthand just how dominating the Yankees’ offensive attack could be back in June when they were swept in a three game series by a total score of 18-9. That’s when the they were playing well. What’s going to happen now that the Indians are playing some of the worst baseball we’ve seen since they were calling Municipal Stadium home? It’s not going to be pretty and to think otherwise would be foolish at this point.
Not only have the Indians lost their last eight games in a row, but they’ve been outscored 51-24 over those eight games. They’re batting .242/.289/.353 as a team, stranded 47 runners, and struck out 50 times against just 16 walks. That’s a recipe for disaster. Combine that with Manny Acta‘s unwillingness to do anything to spark this team to get them out of their funk and it’s no wonder the Indians have looked like the 1962 Mets.
But hey, look on the bright side. Larry Dolan came out and declared everyone from the front office on down’s jobs were safe. Because, whenever you go from contender to pretender, fall behind the Royals in the standings, and threaten to set the record for longest losing streaks in franchise history twice in the same season you almost always have to give a ringing endorsement of unwavering support to everyone involved. Who else is excited for the last 38 games of the season?