Posts By Bob Toth
Believe it or not, the final full month of the Major League Baseball season is upon us.
Take a moment to dry any tears you may have experienced from reading that statement.
For some Cleveland Indians fans, those tears shared may have been tears of sadness in knowing that the potential for a long and question-filled offseason is rapidly approaching, along with those brutal cold winter months in northeast Ohio that accompany it while having to rely on the Cleveland Browns for “entertainment”. For others, they may have been tears of happiness, knowing that the end of a disappointing season is on the horizon.
With sports, sometimes it is difficult to determine which angle of the story to tell. In regards to the Cleveland Indians, choose the one that you prefer to follow: the Indians are six games below the .500 mark, or the Indians are within five games of the American League Wild Card race with a little over a month left to play.
Regardless of which version of the story you prefer to gravitate to, there is plenty left to watch as the Tribe (60-66) trudges forward on a season full of missed opportunities, roster overhauls, and lingering questions for the future.
They were expected to contend. They haven’t. The offense was supposed to contribute. It has been lacking. The bullpen was supposed to be a strength. It has left fans wanting. The starting rotation was supposed to be good. It has, at times, been great, but is still not without fault or concern. Now, a young group of prospects and fringe players look to make their mark on the 2016 roster by clicking in with the core heading forward, all while still mathematically within range of a Wild Card run, for those hopeful readers in the crowd.
1983 – The Cleveland Indians trade starting pitcher Len Barker to the Atlanta Braves for players to be named later and $150,000.
The eighth-year pro Barker was in his fifth season with the Indians after spending his first three years …
No matter how well the Cleveland Indians’ starting pitchers have pitched at times this season, too often the team has come up just short.
The Indians (58-66) finally return to their home sweet home after the completion of their eleven-game, four-city tour of the United States to host the Milwaukee Brewers as the clubs meet for the second and final time this season. It will be the final interleague series of the year for both teams.
Cleveland wrapped up its roadie with a one-game swing through the Windy City as it made up its earlier June rainout against the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately, with an opportunity to come home with a winning road trip against Minnesota, Boston, New York, and Chicago, the Indians lost a tough pitchers’ duel, 2-1, as a walk-off home run from Kris Bryant spoiled Cleveland’s ninth inning rally and got Corey Kluber off the hook in yet another start that flirted with perfection while marred by nonexistent run support.
If only every series this season had turned out as favorable as the Cleveland Indians trip through the Bronx this season, the month of September would have a completely different level of interest from Tribe fans.
For those hopeful that the Indians (58-65) can make a run at the American League Wild Card race, they did gain some ground by taking three of four from the New York Yankees over the weekend to finish the season with five wins in seven opportunities against their one-time rivals. That stretch, combined with another good run from the Toronto Blue Jays, has given the AL two new leaders in the Wild Card spots, the Yankees and the Texas Rangers. The Indians now reside six games in back of the Rangers.
The Tribe messed up the Yankees plans by improving to 34-31 on the road this season and surprising the New York club that entered the series with a 35-21 record at home this year. The Indians held off a late push by the Yankees on Thursday night in a 3-2 win. A three-run ninth inning gave the Tribe some much needed insurance runs in a 7-3 victory Friday. Five runs in the first two innings were plenty for the Yankees on Saturday afternoon as they gave rookie starter Luis Severino his first MLB win in a 6-2 final. On Sunday, the Yankees scored two in the seventh to tie the game, but Francisco Lindor homered off of All-Star reliever Dellin Betances in the eighth to give the Indians a 4-3 win to take the series.
With the Cleveland Indians in town this weekend, the New York Yankees are eliminating two more numbers from the already long list of digits never to be worn again by the storied Major League franchise.
Saturday, the Yankees retired the number 20 worn by longtime catcher Jorge Posada in a ceremony prior to the game, a 6-2 win by the hometown team. On Sunday, left-handed pitcher Andy Pettitte will join him, with a large number of wins aiding his cause and admitted HGH use driving those against such an honor. In total, the Sunday addition of Pettitte’s 46 will make 22 numbers retired by the Yankee franchise, with the inevitable retirement of the number two of Derek Jeter removing each of the first ten numbers from use by future Bronx Bombers.
The Indians, meanwhile, have not retired the number of one of their own players since June 20th, 1998, when the number 21, worn by Bob Lemon, joined the short list on the walls at then Jacobs Field. Since then, only the number 455 has been retired, done so on April 22nd, 2001, to honor the consecutive sellout streak set by the franchise and their fans from June 12th, 1995, to April 2nd, 2001.
Are the Yankees too quick to honor their players of yesteryear with one of the ultimate forms of recognition? Or is there such a steep drop off between the caliber of players to sport pinstripes versus those who toiled in mediocrity for the majority of the history of the Indians franchise?