While the offseason has been historically slow and the winter has crawled along at an even slower pace, we at Did The Tribe Win Last Night look ahead to the warmer days of the 2018 season by remembering Tribe players past and present.
Countdown to Opening Day – 49 days
If you were a fan of the Cleveland Indians in the 1980s, chances are you were well aware of right-hander Tom Candiotti and his mastery of the elusive knuckleball. Candiotti’s name is forever tied to the pitch, just like his predecessors Phil Niekro, Joe Niekro, and Charlie Hough, and more recent successes like R.A. Dickey and Tim Wakefield.
While trying to compose a lineup of all-time Cleveland Indians players with names worthy of Halloween, I quickly realized that such a task was going to prove difficult.
While there were butchers (Hank Butcher, John Butcher) and doctors (Doc Edwards, Doc Gooden), Danny Graves, and even one Mysterious Walker, compiling a list left me far too short of completing a worthy lineup.
But it also reminded me of one important thing about Halloween – don’t forget Candy.
Join Did The Tribe Win Last Night as we count down to Opening Day!
Countdown to Opening Day – 49
If you were a fan of the Cleveland Indians in the 1980s, chances are you were well aware of right-hander Tom Candiotti and his mastery of the elusive knuckleball.
As Did The Tribe Win Last Night helps fans count down the days until the Indians retake the field in an official Major League game, we look back at some of the players who wore the Cleveland jersey with pride.
Countdown to Opening Day – 68 days
When looking at the Cleveland Indians current roster, one of the glaring concerns this offseason has been the outfield depth.
With Michael Brantley on the shelf to start the season after shoulder surgery, it leaves the Indians with plenty of question marks and concerns about the quality of the rest of their outfield. Abraham Almonte and Lonnie Chisenhall both performed nicely in the second half, but have been inconsistent throughout their careers. Free agent addition Rajai Davis is 35 years old and saw a stark decline in his base stealing last year, one of the qualities he brings to the table annually. Others around the club provide more questions than answers due to age, experience, or results.
The same could not be said of the club in the late 1980’s, when each of the first two players to wear the number 68 in franchise history were blocked behind a large number of other options available on the Indians roster.
So – elephant in the room – it would appear that the Indians aren’t going to win the World Series.
And it’s safe to assume that most of us blame this on Sports Illustrated.
Those voodoo-priest bastards just had to go and throw Michael Brantley and Corey Kluber on the cover and pick the Tribe to win the whole thing. But give SI credit – the juju they’ve got cooking in their black-curtained editorial offices works fast. Almost as fast as the last time they put the whammy on the Indians with an LSD-induced World Series prediction in 1987.
Sometimes one good pitch is really all a pitcher needs.
“I got to the Major Leagues as a conventional pitcher,” former Tribe starting pitcher Tom Candiotti said. “I had a very good curveball and very good control but I didn’t throw hard enough. I was the guy who was called up and sent down all of the time and I just couldn’t stick.”
Candiotti turned to what is commonly known as a “last resort” for pitchers trying to save a career—the knuckleball.
Monday night, there was a changing of the guard at the top of the American League Central Division. A Kansas City win combined with a Detroit Tigers loss moved the Royals into the driver’s seat, proving that nothing is settled in the Central. Now five and a half games in back of KC, the Cleveland Indians will look to stay relevant in both the divisional and AL Wild Card races as they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the club’s final interleague series of 2014.
Cleveland (59-59), despite struggling to stay afloat this season with ineffective starting pitching, horrendous defense, inconsistent offense, and injuries, still finds itself within striking distance for a playoff opportunity. They climbed back to .500 again this weekend after taking the final two games of their three-game series at Yankee Stadium. They dropped Friday’s opener by a 10-6 final, as five runs in the first and sixth innings were too much to overcome. They got the usual stellar outing from Corey Kluber on Saturday and his relief corps secured the 3-0 shutout. A successful spot start from Carlos Carrasco paced the club to a 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon.