CLEVELAND: Can it be done? The Indians have won five in a row going into tonight's game against the Athletics. What if they make it six, seven or even eight?
Is it too late to even fantasize about catching the division-leading Twins, who lead the last-place Tribe by 11 1/2 games. With 84 games to play, it would not be impossible to challenge for the Central Division title, but it would be the talk of SportsCenter in August and September.
Minnesota is on a pace to win 88 games. For Cleveland to win that many, it would have to compile a 57-27 record the rest of the way, a winning percentage of 68. Considering that the Tribe has won slightly less than 40 percent of its games to date, that seems like an almost impossible task. Improbable for certain.
But consider this: Until last Sunday, the Indians had won only 35.6 percent of their games, so the numbers can change quickly. Considering the club's performance over the first three months of the season, it is more likely there will be more losing than winning.
But even two or three personnel xhangeas xcan make a positgive difference. It isa no coincidenc that the team has been mjore efficient since trading Russell Branyan last Sunday and bringing up Matt LaPorta, who hit home runs in three consecutive games of the winning streak.
The addition of Frank Herrmann to the bullpen has been a steadying influence, and Asdrubal Cabrera probably will return to the lineup in two or three weeks, and the young pitching staff seems to be catching onto how its done, both the starters and relievers.
And what if the Twins are not the team to beat? What if the Tigers or White Sox overtake Minnesota? Does that make it easier or more difficult for the Indians? But back to reality. As of now, the Tribe is in the cellar. So let the next few weeks play and and maybe there will be something to re-evaluate. If not, you're not really expecting anything great to happen, anyway, right?