After a "gut-wrenching" 5-4 loss to Toronto on Wednesday, Cleveland stands at 10-17. Leading 4-2, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th and no one on, the Indians allowed a crushing double-error-homer sequence in about a minute and a half and lost. At 8.5 games behind the division leading Twins, we have officially reached the point where you can ignore the Indians for the rest of 2010.â†µ
The Tribe managed a 6-6 start, and even skipped along for another week. Their last moment as a contender was a 6-1 win at Oakland that pushed them to 8-9. The Indians lost 11-0 the next day against the A's, beginning the current 2-8 slide which has buried their season. When your roster is mediocre and you start 10-17, we're free to begin ignoring you except for fantasy purposes.â†µ
Cleveland wasn't exactly a favorite to contend in the Central, however a few projection systems suggested there wasn't much difference between the Indians and the White Sox or Tigers. The division had one clearly good team, the Twins, and one clearly bad one, with the other three teams somewhere undefined. This is how the Central has played out for most of this decade, with Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland all being highly variable.â†µ
Cleveland's path to contention was to have a promising lineup carry a pitching staff full of questions. Instead, the Indians have turned into the Mariners, only without Seattle's run prevention chops. No one outside of Shin-Soo Choo and Austin Kearns has hit especially well, and a number of key players have been virtually non-existent. The team is 12th in the AL in runs per game, and 13th in slugging. Particularly galling is the performance of Matt LaPorta, the centerpiece of the 2008 CC Sabathia trade, who has a .484 OPS. LaPorta symbolizes a number of still interesting pieces of the Indians' future that has yet to arrive.â†µ
They made it a month before entering the Royal-zone, but here they are, right beside the Orioles and the place we're saving for the Blue Jays. The White Sox are on notice.