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The Indians can’t get out of their own way

Saturday morning’s Say Hey, Baseball includes another ugly loss for Cleveland, Matt Harvey’s Reds debut, and Andrew McCutchen’s return to Pittsburgh

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

The divisional races this year were supposed to be a snoozefest, and heading into the year there was an NBA-esque feeling of superteams destined for a meeting in the playoffs. Those meetings are still on the table, but we know better than really thinking we know what’s going to happen in any given baseball season, and only one of the preseason division favorites are actually in first place in their division. It’s strange, but that’s baseball. What’s particularly strange, however, is that the team occupying first place is the Indians, and they may be in a worse spot than all but one of the six preseason favorites.

Although Cleveland is in first place as we speak, that’s more because nobody apparently wants to win the American League Central this year. After another bad loss on Friday, the team has fallen down to 18-19 on the season and they’ve lost seven of their last ten games. The offense is in the bottom half of the league when you look at wRC+, and the pitching is just barely in the top half. The starting pitching has been mostly fine for Cleveland, but their bullpen has been a disaster. Part of their struggles were due to them losing Andrew Miller, but the lefty returned for Friday’s game and ... well, here’s how Let’s Go Tribe recapped that game. That’s not great!

It’s not all bad news for the Indians. For one thing, they are not the Dodgers, who lost 6-2 to Matt Harvey and the Reds and fell to 16-22 and to fourth place in the division. Cleveland’s start has been a mess and it’s been shocking and they look really bad. They’ve given their division the best shot they’ll likely get all year long, and nobody has taken advantage to this point. That being said, Minnesota was always viewed as the only other team in this division who had a realistic chance of stealing this division, and they are heading in the right direction. The Twins have won seven of their last ten and have pulled within a half-game of the Central despite a terrible start of their own. It’s hard to pick against Cleveland even now due to all of their talent. Still, they are reaching a breaking point with how many games they’ve blown, because no matter how much better you seem to be than your opponents, no one is immune to blown games coming back to bite them.