In watching another gut-wrenching, bile-in-my-mouth loss last night, to run the losing streak to 10 games, I couldn’t help but sit and wonder, “How did we get here?” How, on July 10th, are the Indians 16 games out of the lead in the AL Central, in last place after dropping 10 straight DIVISIONAL games when the beginning of the year was full of such promise? Who would have thought, way back in Winter Haven, that The Crooked Cap that a certain LHP would be pulling on for a start on July 8th of THIS YEAR was that of the Milwaukee Brewers and not the one he’s worn since he was a young pup in 2001?
What happened here?
The reasons come flying faster than a Miggy Cabrera blast to LF:
“The bullpen has crumbled onto itself, throwing the season away by blowing winnable game after winnable game, essentially sabotaging the season.”
“The ineffectiveness and subsequent injuries to Hafner and Martinez took the teeth out of an Indians’ lineup that is too reliant on RBI from both to absorb the loss in production.”
“Shapiro’s off-season of inactivity, with the Indians on the doorstep, doomed the team as he stood pat instead of supplementing the talent on hand to make a run in what was, very obviously, Sabathia’s last year in Cleveland.”
“The injuries to Carmona, Westbrook, and Atom Miller destroyed the starting pitching depth, forcing the players who started the season as the #8 starter (or worse…hello, Matt Ginter) when the season dawned, turning what was thought to be the strength of the team into just another problem spot by the All-Star Break.”
“The maddening inconsistencies (Peralta) and severe regressions (Garko, Gutierrez, and Cabrera) of players thought to develop into complementary players around The Big 3, at the very least, on the club forced inexperienced (Francisco and Choo) or role (Blake and Carroll) players into spots that they are ill-equipped to handle, weakening the lineup from top to bottom.”
Obviously, one answer does not come forth as THE reason that the Indians stand at 37-53 today as there are kernels of truth to each of the above explanations. Quite a bit has gone wrong in this nightmarish 2008 season and we, as fans, don’t look to be waking up anytime soon to find out that it was just a nightmare.
Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll try to examine in-depth all of these problems that have presented themselves at the Indians’ doorstep and how each one could possibly be fixed for the team going forward so 2008 doesn’t become the wrong kind of jumping point…the one that leads to an organizational freefall. In the interest of reminding us that our summers are now relatively freed up to enrich ourselves in things not related to the Tribe, I’ve borrowed the title of the series from Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, which was once (long ago) on my “Summer Reading List” and could end up there again soon…assuming I can make some headway on “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Regardless of what I’m reading in my ever-expanding spare time, I’ll do my best to break it down while trying to limit the number of times I throw up in my mouth in the process.
There’s plenty to break down (and I’m sure the pieces will be interrupted by further moves that are obviously forthcoming prior to, and after, the July 31st Trading Deadline), so it will take some time to hit all of it…but time is unfortunately all we have these days.
Thursday, July 10, 2008