Monday, May 13, 2019
Second Hand News
(I'm sorry, but...Brad Hand is just the easiest player to make post title puns of. It's astonishingly simple.)
My gosh...this Indians team is insanely okay.
I know that last year, that was a major criticism of the competing Tribe squad, even as they were miles ahead of any AL Central competition. Everything they had done during the 2016 and 2017 seasons felt distant, as if the team was beginning to move away from its own success. And now...a lot of the successful elements of the WS-qualifying team have felt less special, a bit older, a bit duller.
Which isn't to say that it's completely hopeless. Trevor Bauer has ascended to the ace spot in the rotation in Corey Kluber's injury-plagued absence. Carlos Santana is hitting miles ahead of his previous power-hitting numbers. Shane Bieber and Jefry Rodriguez have been strong, if smaller-name, replacements for injured starters. Nick Wittgren has been insanely clutch as a middle reliever.
But...you think of the heart of these teams, and you think of Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. And...only Lindor seems to be doing sort of well out of those four. Kluber is injured, Carrasco is a bit down, Ramirez is VERY DOWN with a sub-.199 average, and even Lindor took a bit to get back onto the lineup after being injured. The heart of these teams is...not helping this Indians team. I'm sad it took us only 3 years to really get to that point, but...here we are.
And I'm not saying we're done with these guys being elite. It's just...they're not reliable right now. For the first time, the Indians have major competition in the fire-breathing Twins, and they can't really do anything about it because their core is slumping.
Let's at least talk about Brad Hand briefly, because he's still a great closer. He has 11 saves, a 1.53 ERA, and 25 strikeouts. As closers go, that's pretty nice, even if he's not exactly at Shane Greene's league standard yet. It's also nice that he's on this team, because the Indians don't have a ton of power to make for blowouts.
Not sure how much of a force the Indians will continue to be vs. the Twins, but...I just hope the core improves. They need those guys.
Coming Tomorrow- One of my favorite social media posts by any of the 30 teams has been when this team went to a screening of Avengers: Endgame, and this guy showed up with an Infinity Gauntlet, as "Thamos". So cheesy it's wonderful. Anyway...him.