What the Cleveland Indians have been able to accomplish in the last two months has been simply amazing. By June 15, the Indians were trailing the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central by 11 full games, and there was significant talk in Cleveland about trading some of their stars for prospects and starting the rebuilding process.
However Cleveland management looks like geniuses now for keeping their nucleus of talent. Here are five reasons why the Indians have built so much ground on the Twins in such a short period of time.
5) Terry Francona. The Indians manager has displayed a remarkable degree of experience and calmness over the last two months. He also has his doctorate in generating comebacks. What Francona was able to accomplish with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 was simply miraculous. The Red Sox were trailing the New York Yankees 3-0 in the American League Championship Series when they became the first Major League Baseball team ever to comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. Oh, and yes. The Red Sox then won their first World Series in 86 years.
4) Healthy Francisco Lindor. The Indians leadoff hitter injured his calf in the offseason and ankle in the preseason. As a result, Francisco Lindor did not play his first game with the Cleveland Indians until April 20. It would take Lindor sometime to find his groove. He was only batting .214 by May 3. However, his batting average rose to .308 by August 2 and is currently at .300. The Indians have simply nothing to worry about their first man in the batting order at the present time.
3) Trevor Bauer is gone. There is no doubt that the connection between starting pitcher Trevor Bauer and manager Terry Francona was not positive for the Indians moving forward. When Bauer chucked the baseball into the stands on July 28 after being taken out and then Francona was irate with his pitcher afterwards, it was clear the Indians needed to move on and it was not going to be the skipper that was going to leave.
2) Jose Ramirez has a hot bat. In the first two and a half months of the season, Indians infielder Jose Ramirez’s bat was so cold, he was hitting below the Mendoza line at .198. However since June 7, Ramirez has seen his bating average increase 55 percentage points to a respectable .253. He also has been red hot in August as he is batting .406 with an eight game hitting streak. Nine of his 13 hits have gone for extra bases.
1)Zach Plesac. It was an easier decision for Indians management to say goodbye to Bauer, when Zach Plesac has been pitching so well. The nephew of former Major League Baseball great Dan Plesac has had a great rookie season and is found himself a major part of the Indians starting rotation. In 13 starts, Plesac has a record of six wins, three losses, an earned run average of 3.13 and a WHIP of 1.15.