The 2012 MLB playoffs start today, and the Cleveland Indians are one of the 20 teams to have been eliminated after 162 games. But just because the Tribe is out of it doesn’t mean we won’t see some familiar faces on national TV this October nor that we shouldn’t care how the postseason unfolds.
Here’s a list of former Indians and players who have a connection to Cleveland who we could see in each of the first rounds of the playoffs, and my advice on who to root for through the divisional series.
- NL Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals
Jake Westbrook: Westbrook spent nine seasons with Cleveland from 2001-10, going 69-69 with a 4.29 ERA. The Indians traded him to the Cardinals in 2010 in a three-way trade that brought back Corey Kluber from the Padres. He’s 13-11 with a 3.97 ERA in 28 outings for St. Louis this year.
Carlos Beltran: The Indians pursued Beltran as a free agent last winter, but he wasn’t interested in coming to Cleveland. He hit .269/.346/.495 with 32 home runs.
Chad Durbin: Durbin spent parts of three seasons with the Indians: 2003-4 and 2011, combining to go 7-9 with a 6.10 ERA in 128.1 innings pitched. The Braves snatched him up as a free agent in April, and he’s rewarded them by notching a 3.10 ERA in 61 innings pitched.
Who to Root For: Cardinals. I’d love to see Westbrook get another ring. And besides, remember 1995?
- AL Wild Card: Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers
Jim Thome: I would hope no one reading this needs to be reminded of Jim Thome’s Indians résumé, but in case you do he hit .287/.414/.566 with 337 home runs in 13 seasons with Cleveland (1991-2002 and 2011). He hit .257/.348/.396 with 3 home runs in 28 games with Baltimore since being traded from the Phillies.
Mike Adams: Adams was in the Tribe’s farm system for all of 11 days in 2006 between when the Indians claimed him off waivers from the Mets and when they traded him to the Padres, throwing 4.2 innings for the then-Cleveland Triple-A affiliated Buffalo Bison. He’s posted a 3.27 ERA in 52.1 innings for Texas this year.
Who to Root For: Orioles, if only for Jim Thome.
- ALDS 1: Detroit Tigers vs. Oakland Athletics
Jhonny Peralta: Peralta spent parts of eight seasons in Cleveland, hitting .264/.329/.422 with 103 home runs. The Indians traded him to Detroit in 2010 for Giovanni Soto. He’s hitting .239/.305/.384 with 13 homers for the Tigers this year.
Coco Crisp: Crisp came to Cleveland in the 2002 Chuck Finley trade and stuck around through 2005, hitting .287/.332/.424 with 54 stolen bases in that span. He’s hitting .259/.325/.418 with 39 steals this year.
Jeremy Accardo: In case your memory is quite poor, Accardo spent much of the 2012 season in Cleveland, pitching 35.1 innings with a 4.58 ERA. He’s thrown two innings for Oakland since being released by the Tribe.
Who to Root For: A’s. I don’t think any Tribe fan would feel right cheering on the Tigers.
- NLDS 1: San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds
San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum: One of the most regrettable decisions in recent Indians history was that they failed to sign Lincecum when they drafted him in the 42nd round of the 2005 amateur draft. This has been a down year for “The Freak,” as he’s gone 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA.
Brandon Phillips: Phillips spent parts of four seasons in Cleveland from 2002-5 and had earned a reputation as a bust prospect by the time the Indians infamously sent him to Cincinnati in 2006. He’s hitting .281/.321/.429 with 18 home runs this year.
Ryan Ludwick: Ludwick saw some very limited playing time in parts of three seasons in Cleveland from 2003-5, hitting .247/.305/.467 with 13 home runs in 73 games. He’s hitting .275/.346/.531 with 26 home runs in his first year with the Reds.
Who to Root For: Do you see the Reds as rivals or do you have a soft spot for Ohio’s other team? That’s really the deciding factor here.
- ALDS 2: AL Wild Card vs. New York Yankees
New York Yankees
CC Sabathia: The onetime Indians ace went 106-71 with a 3.83 ERA in eight years with the Tribe and won the Cy Young in a Cleveland uniform before leaving for the greener (as in, more money) pastures of New York. He’s 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA in exactly 200 innings pitched this year.
Derek Lowe: For those of you may have repressed the memories, Lowe made 21 starts for the Indians this year, going 8-10 a 5.52 ERA, including an 8.80 ERA in his final 12 starts with Cleveland. The Yankees signed him to pitch out of the bullpen, and he’s got a 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings in the Bronx.
Who to Root For: The wild card team. Never, ever root for the Yankees.
- NLDS 2: NL Wild Card vs. Washington Nationals
Mark DeRosa: DeRosa spent a few months in Cleveland back in 2009, when he hit .270/.342/.457 with 13 runs before he was traded to St. Louis halfway through the season in the deal that netted the Indians Chris Perez. He’s hitting .188 in 101 plate appearances this year.
Who to Root For: The Nationals are one of the best stories in baseball this year, and I’d love to see them go deep into the postseason.
Topics: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Brandon Phillips, Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, Chad Durbin, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Coco Crisp, Derek Lowe, Detroit Tigers, Jake Westbrook, Jeremy Accardo, Jhonny Peralta, Jim Thome, Mark DeRosa, Mike Adams, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Ryan Ludwick, San Francisco Giants, St Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Tim Lincecum, Washington Nationals