Can Tribe Pitching Staff Hang on in Second Half?
Mike B. | On 10, Jan 2016
July 22, 1948
With 71 games remaining in the Cleveland Indians season, no one will accuse them of looking ahead past today’s game. But maybe they should start.
With about ten weeks remaining in the Tribe’s season, Indians manager Lou Boudreau has been working and overworking his pitching staff at quite a rigorous pace since the All-Star break. The last four days have produced nail-biting and extra inning games that have sent Boudreau’s pitching staff into a scurry to just survive the next inning.
Essentially, Boudreau has been using the same pitchers nearly every day. Gene Bearden and Sam Zoldak have pitched out of the bullpen, matching up with left-handed hitters. Bearden and Zoldak were used so much in Washington out of the bullpen that they could not start yesterday’s doubleheader against the Yankees. Instead, Bob Muncrief and Steve Gromek each turned in lackluster efforts.
Ed Klieman has pitched six days in a row, dating back to last Friday. Russ Christopher pitched the final seven outs yesterday to earn the win in the second game of the twin bill after hurling two innings in the first game. He pitched in both games on Sunday in Washington and again on Monday. Five appearances, totaling six innings in just four days, is a lot for the weak-hearted side-winder who admits his stamina and conditioning is what will end his career at the end of this season.
Even the newly-acquired and ageless Satchel Paige has appeared three times in the last four days. While his age might be in question, whether he is past his prime is not. How long can Paige and the remainder of the ten-man staff survive using between four and seven pitchers a game?
Tonight, Bob Feller takes the mound for the Tribe in Gotham looking to win his first game against New York this season. Not just do the Indians need a win to keep their lead over three teams in their close pursuit, but their staff needs a rest. Bob Lemon, who hasn’t finished his last two starts, will start tomorrow afternoon in the finale of the four-game set with the Yankees, before a huge weekend in Boston against the Red Sox.
The Tribe will take on the hottest team in the majors this weekend, without Lemon available to start. Feller will only take the hill if he is going on two day’s rest. Among media members in New York, many believe the pennant race will come down to the Indians and Red Sox, the best team this season versus the hottest team. Who the Indians have available to send to the mound this weekend remains a question.
Boudreau and the coaching staff may not have the answer, either. It appears they haven’t looked ahead to the weekend, or the rest of the season.