By Josh Kramer
It is no secret that things have not been great for the Cleveland Indians over the past couple of weeks. The Tribe heading into tonight had lost three straight games, including seven of ten, plus they sat 1.5 games out of first place. They had an overall record of 5-9 since the All Star Break heading into tonight’s game versus KC and definitely have not had the look of a playoff team.
Bye bye losing streak and hello Ubaldo Jimenez. Cleveland looked to be on their way to a 4th straight loss heading into the bottom of the 8th down 1-0. After tying the game in the 8th, Matt LaPorta gave the Indians a big home win with a monster three-run walk off homer. In addition to a much-needed victory tonight, the team also had a major victory in the trading market. The Indians were able to acquire the best pitcher on the market, Ubaldo Jimenez.
It is no secret that this Cleveland team has plenty of flaws. Sure they are young and exciting, but ever since a red-hot start to the year, the Indians have looked anything but invincible. Luckily for them, the AL Central is not the best division in baseball, which has let them hang in contention despite only being two games over 500.
Cleveland’s pitching this year has been mediocre at best. Currently they have the 9th ranked ERA in the AL and only have two complete game performances on the year (12th in the AL). The hitting also has been middle of the road ever since a scorching hot April/May, ranking 8th in the AL in runs. Well with the addition of the relatively young and very talented Jimenez, Cleveland may have solved some issues regarding their pitching staff. Outside of Justin Masterson, no Cleveland starting pitching has an ERA below 4. Sure Ubaldo does not have an ERA below 4, but his talent goes unquestioned, plus he has looked very sharp since the beginning of June, outside of a rough start against Arizona last Sunday.
This is a great pickup for Cleveland despite having to give up their top two pitching prospects. It appears that they will be able to hold onto Ubaldo for at least three more years, so this is not just a two month pickup. If Cleveland wants to make a playoff run though, they will have to add another bat. Apparently they have their eyes on San Diego left fielder Ryan Ludwick. The Indians outfield production at the plate this year has been abysmal. They must pick up another bat.
I do think they would be better suited to go after Upton, Crisp, or Bourn. Sadly though, I do not think they have the financial resources or the trade bait to grab any of these guys. So they should definitely go after Ludwick, in that he is an improvement and it appears to be feasible.
Since the All Star Break things have not been too good for the Indians. But tonight was a step in the right direction for the Tribe.
Tonight was a good night in Cleveland.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.