6/7/11: Indians vs. Twins… Where the Titanic Begins Tearing in Two

Is this the beginning of the end?  Is this where it all begins falling apart and we come back to reality?  Has this two month joy ride been just that, a brief look into what it means to be a relevant member of Major League Baseball?

Whatever THIS is… I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.  I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the gift he has been waiting four months to finally open, only to have the cheap plastic parts break apart and crumble 15 minutes later.  I’m teetering on being crushed.  I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting close.  Stupid Chinese manufacturing…

The Indians lost again last night and in the process ran their current losing skid to five games in a row.  They are now 3-10 in their last 13 games and have lost 7 straight games at home.  They haven’t lost 8 games in a row at home in nearly 8 years.  This isn’t good.  It’s not just the fact that they’re losing.  Like I’ve said over the past few days, it’s the way in which they’re losing these games that’s most alarming.  It’s been the killer combo of mental mistakes and crap hitting.

It goes to show that youth can and might be the biggest problem with this team moving forward.  They’re playing tight, almost as if they don’t want to make a mistake.  As anyone who’s ever done anything sports related or otherwise, when you are simply playing not to screw up… you’re inevitably going to screw up.  You stop doing what comes natural and start thinking too much.

On top of of everything else, the human rally killers Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Santana are killing the Tribe right now.  Baseball is a funny game like that.  When you’re struggling in the field the ball has a strange way of finding you.  When you’re slumping at the plate rallies will find you.  That’s what’s happening with Choo and Santana.  They’re repeatedly finding themselves coming to the plate in key situations and continue to strike out or ground into double plays.  Again both are symptomatic of thinking too much and trying too hard.

My question of course is where is the veteran leadership on this team?  Where is Orlando Cabrera and why isn’t he doing a better job of righting the ship.  If anything, he seems to be helping feed the shit storm better than most right now.  What about Grady or Hafner?  This isn’t their first time at the rodeo.  They’ve been to the playoffs.  They know what it means to be in pressure packed situations.  Why aren’t they helping right the ship?

Keeping all of this in perspective, things could be a lot worse.  Despite their recent troubles, the Indians still find themselves in first place in the AL Central.  Yes, the Tigers have cut the lead to 1.5 games, but they’re still in first.  If they can weather this storm and survive a weekend trip to New York, they could very well rebuild their lead by playing well against the Tigers in Detroit next week.  There’s also a lot of baseball left to be played and a lot of time left to fix this.

In the meantime the Indians just need to stop the bleeding.  They need to take the field tonight against the Twins and play a solid 9 innings of baseball the way we know they can play it.  The exact same way they’ve played the first two months of the season.  Yes, they’ve essentially thrown away an 8 game cushion in a matter of 2 weeks, but they need to remember they won’t build it back up in one day.  The Indians need to take things one day, one game, and one pitch at a time.

And stop thinking so much…

Here are the lineups for tonight’s game against the Twins.

Indians:

  1. Michael Brantley, LF
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
  3. Grady Sizemore, CF
  4. Carlos Santana, 1B
  5. Shelley Duncan, DH
  6. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
  7. Orlando Cabrera, 2B
  8. Jack Hannahan, 3B
  9. Lou Marson, C
  • Carlos Carrasco, P

Twins:

  1. Ben Revere, CF
  2. Alexi Casilla, SS
  3. Michael Cuddyer, RF
  4. Justin Morneau, 1B
  5. Delmon Young, LF
  6. Luke Hughes, 3B
  7. Brian Dinkelman, DH
  8. Rene Rivera, C
  9. Matt Tolbert, 2B
  • Francisco Liriano
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