Roll Tribe, indeed.
The Indians are on a tear right now thanks in part to a 7-2 road trip that saw them have their way with the Royals, Mariners, and A’s. It was the kind of road trip that helps calm a fan base and ease any early season fears that had been building up.
For instance, the offense, which had so inept the first two series of the season exploded on the road trip. They got ahead early, they came from behind late, and they did everything in between that good teams do. In the process they went from being one of the worst offensive clubs in baseball to one of the best from a statistical point of view. Thankfully there should be no signs of slowing down as the Indians prepare to take on the Royals once again, this time at Progressive Field.
However, the quality of the Indians opponents should be something that tempers the jubilation of the past week. Yes, the Indians went 7-2 on the road, but then again, no one is going to mistake the Royals, Mariners, and A’s of being in the upper echelon of Major League Baseball’s elite. Had they gone 7-2 against the likes of the Yankees, Tigers, and Rangers in some type of strange road trip that would never ever happen, then I’d be far more impressed.
There’s also the issue with the starting pitching. While the bullpen seems to have come around after a couple of early hiccups, Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez have struggled. Thankfully, Josh Tomlin, Jenamar Gomez, and Derek Lowe have been able to pick up some of the slack, but if the Indians want to really contend in 2012 both Masterson and Jimenez will need to get their acts together.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is this. Before anyone gets their expectations too high for the 2012 Indians keep in mind who they’ve played. Yes, the sign of any good team is to beat up on the teams they should beat up on and the Indians did that on the first road trip of the year, but they haven’t done it against the heavy weights. Let’s wait and see what the Indians have in store the big boys before we print playoff tickets.
After all, we don’t have to look back much further than last season to see what I’m talking about. The Indians were world beaters the first month-month and a half of the season before the wheels fell off. After that it was a struggle to score runs and beat the teams they should have been beating. Fortunately that team has learned from the mistakes of last year and hopefully avoid repeating them.
If not, then I’m afraid we all better buckle up because things are sure to get bumpy over the next five months.