Rather than becoming Debbie Downer (which I was referred to on the drive home from the Jake last night) and touching on missed opportunities: playing the White Sox "B" team, lack of execution and clutch hitting, and conveying the general feeling of being nearly inconsolable after the game last night; I've decided to focus on the positive and what the Indians still can do.
Right now, it's time for this team to dig its heels into the ground and put up a fight. Most people forget that this team was given up for dead in late June, only to go on an epic tear through the second half of their schedule. They did so with stellar pitching (rotation and bullpen) and timely hitting. The pitching has been there all year, so now it's time for the hitters to go on a bit of a tear. It's time for these young players to take off the training wheels and go flying down the block for the first time, displaying that devil-may-care attitude that put them in this position. It's October, fellas, the month that you work so hard for all year long to see.
The Atomic Wedgie always talks about how this team is able to separate games very well and not dwell on past games, instead only focusing on the business at hand. Well, here's the business at hand:
- If the Indians win the last 2, they force (at least) a play-in game for the Wild Card. By virtue of the Yanks and Sawx playing each other today, one has to lose. An Indians victory today would make them tied with Saturday's loser. The Tribe could then go into Sunday's game and either win the Wild Card straight out (if either the Yankees of Red Sox lose two in a row) or go into a series of playoff games created by scenarios that Matthew Broderick from WarGames is still trying to figure out.
Bottom line: The Indians need to win their last two games to put some pressure on the AL East teams for the playoffs. If they split the last two, they'll need some help. But all is not lost.
Am I as upset as you about this team limping to the finish? Moreso, but it's not time to dwell on the mistakes and the missed opportunities of the past week. The Tribe is still in control of their playoff future, it's just that now they've painted themselves into a corner and are in need of some high-wire theatrics to get out.
I'll be at the Jake today - cheering on this exciting team, praying for the dice to roll in our favor, and trying not to throw up from the nervous pit that seems to have replaced my stomach.