"The bus is out of control!"
It’s the first day of fall, but the Indians have been in a freefall for weeks.
An 0-7 road trip and a 3-16 record in September have left the Tribe a season-high 18 games out of first place and a season-high 27 games under .500. This team is on track to post its worst season since 1991 (57-105) and, incredibly, could lose 100 games for the first time since ’91, as well. That is, if it doesn’t achieve the monumental task of winning two out of its last 13.
The last-place Indians trail the fourth-place Royals by a half-game in the AL Central standings. That would be the same Royals team that was seven games behind the Tribe exactly two weeks ago.
So if you’re reading this, you’re a first-degree die-hard fan who is probably dying a little bit inside with each passing inning.
This note, then, is just to say I certainly appreciate the readership, however masochistic it might be for some of you.
Now, let’s hit the home stretch, shall we?
EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY…
- We’ve known Eric Wedge is on shaky ground for months, and, while nothing is confirmed from ownership or the front office, I’d have to imagine what’s transpired this month will serve as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Anyway, here’s the latest on Wedge.
- Earlier today, Joe Smith threw off the mound for the first time since Aug. 29. The Indians are still hopeful he’ll pitch again before the end of the season. He’ll throw another bullpen session Thursday.
- Jake Westbrook is also scheduled to throw Thursday. He’s been shut down the past six weeks after a setback in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. He’ll begin a long-toss program that will last three weeks, then head to Goodyear, Ariz., to begin three weeks of mound work. Head athletic trainer Lonnie Soloff said Westbrook might pitch in winter ball this offseason.
- Jason Knapp, meanwhile, is not expected to pitch in winter ball. Soloff said Knapp will likely spend the offseason recuperating from the arthroscopic surgery he had on his shoulder last week, with an eye on throwing again in Spring Training.
- Double-A Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh, fresh off the Aeros’ run to the Eastern League championship and his own recognition as the league’s Manager of the Year, has joined the Tribe’s coaching staff for the stretch run. Torey Lovullo has left the Tribe for his upcoming wedding in California.
- Wedge said it’s important to make sure Michael Brantley and Trevor Crowe see time in both center field and left.
- Have I mentioned there are 13 games left? What would Wedge like to see from this rookie-laden bunch down the stretch? “I want us to play clean baseball,” he said. “We’ve made some young mistakes, and we need to limit that.”
- This is a big series for the Tigers, whose lead in the Central standings has dwindled down to three games after losing two of three to the Twins over the weekend.
- Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp told the Detroit Free Press that there was word of Edwin Jackson tipping his pitches and that the problem has been addressed. Don’t tell that to the Indians, against whom Jackson has gone 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA this season.
- The Tribe’s 11-game road losing streak is the club’s longest since 1991.
- The Indians’ organization has been recognized by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County with the Casey Coleman Recovery Month Award. The Tribe was honored for its commitment to the community through its outreach programs, most notably the new “Fill the House for Charity” initiative that began this season. The Indians also participated today in a nationwide initiative known as “Batter Up! A Home Run for Recovery Month,” which is being held at ballparks all around the country. About 200 people will be at tonight’s game to show their support for recovery. This is the 20th straight year in which September has been designated as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.
- Don’t forget about the Rock ‘N Re-Blast fireworks extravaganza following Friday’s game.
- Wedge, Crowe and Chris Gimenez visited Avon Heritage South Elementary this morning to reward the students there for their academic excellence. The Avon school had one of the top three highest point totals and most students enrolled in the KeyBank High Achievers Kids Club.