FanPost

The Indians are behind the playoff pace. Can they catch back up?

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not sure how to feel about the last set. The Tribe started out strong winning 9 of their first ten games. They finished winning 6 of their last 15. They swept the Rockies and the Red Sox, and got swept by the Tigers and the Royals (only a 2-game series). We saw some fantastic pitching performances from Josh Tomlin, Corey Kluber, and Trevor Bauer. We saw some terrible starts from Justin Masterson and Tomlin. Nick Swisher and David Murphy look listless, but Lonnie Chisenhall and Carlos Santana are on fire.

At the end of the day, most teams that are as Jekyll/Hyde as the Indians end up about .500. That looks to be about right for this team, as they are currently 3 games below that mark and are on pace to finish at about 81 wins. While that result would be disappointing, it would be line with most projections. In typical 2014 fashion, however, with every reason to doubt there remain reasons to be excited. First, the Tigers look about as night and day as the Tribe - and Kansas City is yet another incarnation of the good pitching nondescript hitting that could either eke out a division crown or finish third. So while 96 games might be lost for the Tribe (which I think it is), the division might not be. I think it was 2012 where I dared to believe that the AL Central could be won with 87 games. The 96 game mark was an arbitrary number of what would most likely win the division, but may be too many. The division might be won with 91 games, maybe less. Third, the schedule opens up to be considerably easier. In looking at the rest of the season, after the Dodger series, the only really tough teams we face are Kansas City and Detroit.

From the last set, the Indians went 15-12, which is what they need to do to win 90 games. This was pleasing, in both that I thought Set 3 was the hardest schedule and that they didn't lose any ground (which is what I wanted them to do). It feels frustrating because after winning their first 9, they were in prime position to gain some ground, and those little mistakes in the Arizona and Seattle series kept that from happening. Still, they are playing better and better baseball. I feel confident when Kluber, Bauer, and even House step on the mound. Kipnis seems to be getting started and the Carlos we all know and love has come back. Hopefully, they can keep this momentum and stay strong through the Set 4. I'll actually be asking more of them now.

Previously, 90-win pace was a 15-12 record in each set and 96-wins was 16-11. Halfway through, they sit 6 games off of 90-win pace and 9 wins off 96-win pace. We've run out of time to allow for the benefit of early course correction, and so the push begins now. For 90-wins, they've got to go 17-10 each set (making up 2 wins per set), and 18-9 for 96-wins (3 games). I don't really pay attention to the 96 win pace any more, but I'll keep doing it because why the hell not? While I feel confident that they could go 15-12 against this schedule, 17-10 is a challenge, but what's a playoff season without some challenge.

To win 17 games they've got to take 2-of-3 from the Royals twice, the White Sox, Twins, and Mariners. They can split the series with the Tigers, but have to win 3-of-4 against the Yankees (it's at home). Then they only need 1 win against the Dodgers and that first game against the Rangers. Like I said, it's easy to see how they could pick up 15 wins from these series, but 17 is going to take some good baseball. I'd like to see them start on pace, as the trade deadline will be right before the Rangers series, and will likely dictate whether we are buyers or sellers (I think we are barely buyers for now - probably need a starter and a righty bat. and a defense. and a clone of Lonnie).

As always, here's the grid, updated whenever:

90 Win Pace
Opponent Total Games Wins Needed Actual Wins Pace Season Pace
Dodgers 3 1 2 +1 -5
Royals 3 2 2 +1 -5
Yankees 4 3 2 -6
White Sox 3 2 2 -6
Tigers 4 2 3 +1 -5
Twins 3 2 1 -6
Royals 4 3 1 -2 -8
Mariners 3 2 - -
- -
96 Win Pace
Opponent Total Games Wins Needed Actual Wins Pace Season Pace
Dodgers 3 2 2 - -9
Royals 3 2 2 - -9
Yankees 4 3 2 -1 -10
White Sox 3 2 2 -1 -10
Tigers 4 2 3 + -9
Twins 3 2 1 -1 -10
Royals 4 3 1 -3 -12
Mariners 3 2 - -
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker