Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the tag “Cleveland Indians”

Hang in there Tribe fans, there is still a long way to go

tribe opening weekend woesWell, that was one heck of an opening weekend to the 2015 season, wasn’t it Tribe fans?

Three consecutive losses to the Detroit Tigers. Twenty-five runs given up. Forty-three hits allowed. Miguel Cabrera (a .786 batting average, two home runs and six RBI) doing everything short of helping himself to the Tribe’s post-game buffet.

Michael Brantley battling a  “perplexing” injury to his back. Yan Gomes going down with a knee injury that will keep him out a couple of months.

We mean, even the Cleveland Browns managed to win their home opener. And the Browns didn’t lose their third home game until four months into the season. And Cleveland’s undisputed No. 1 team didn’t see attendance fall off by 35 percent from the first game of the season to the second.

Sure, it was downright ugly at times at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario over the weekend, but there is no need for anyone to go off the deep end for one important reason:

It was only three games and the season is just six games old. 

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5 Questions – Tribe Home Opener Edition

opening day 5 questionsThe Cleveland Indians enter the 2015 season carrying some heavy expectations for a club that was just 85-77 a year ago.

Several national experts have predicted the Tribe will claim a playoff spot this season and at least one – Sports Illustrated – has tapped the Tribe to capture the World Series for the first time since 1948.

That may seem like a tall order when you consider that the Tribe plays in the same division as Detroit – which has claimed the A.L. Central Division title four consecutive years — and Kansas City – the reigning American League pennant holders. But the Royals and San Francisco, last year’s champion, illustrate a new truth in baseball.

The Royals won 89 games last season and the Giants won 88, both making the playoffs through the Wild Card and then got hot. Baseball, like the NFL and NBA, is now all about making the playoffs and then seeing what happens. So if the Tribe can just add four wins to their total this season — just a little more than one every two months — that should be enough to compete for a playoff spot.

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Tribe needs a consistent Lonnie Chisenhall in 2015

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Detroit TigersFor the majority of our life as a Cleveland Indians fan, the franchise has been bad (or worse) far more than they have been good.

But there has generally been one position that has consistently been a bright sport the Tribe – third base.

Starting with Buddy Bell in 1973, who hit .274 and played Gold Glove-caliber defense (even he wasn’t recognized with an actual Gold Glove) for seven seasons, through Toby Harrah and Brook Jacoby, the position was solid, if unspectacular for the better part of 17 years.

The Tribe hit what could be described as the golden era of the position in 1994, when the team started a nine-year stretch where the hot corner was manned by Jim Thome, Matt Williams and Travis Fryman, During that time the Tribe made the playoffs six times and won two American League pennants.

Since Fryman’s retirement following the 2002 season things haven’t been as prosperous, but the likes of Casey Blake, Aaron Bone, Jhonny Peralta and Jack Hannahan had their moments.

Which brings us to the 2015 season and Lonnie Chisenhall.

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Five the hard way

fireworks

Today we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the launch of our site.

In some cultures the number 5 is considered a lucky number, but it is also one that comes with a bit of a price. People who believe that 5 is their lucky number often judge or enjoy things with their senses, rather than through deep thought, meaning that they often end up with a bad result.

Which pretty much sums up the day-to-day existence of your average Cleveland sports fan.

Sticking with the numbers theme, since we made our inaugural post:

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Are we in the golden age of Cleveland coaching?

david blatt cavs

David Blatt seems to think so.

While Cleveland has gone a collective 145 years and counting without a championship from any of its three professional sports teams,* that doesn’t mean we haven’t see our share of quality men calling the shots in the dugout or on the sidelines.

And we might currently be in the golden age of Cleveland managers and coaches.

The argument for the greatest NFL head coach of all-time begins and ends, of course, with Paul Brown. If you went solely by his time in Cleveland, Brown’s .750 lifetime winning percentage would be third best in NFL history, behind only Guy Chamberlin and John Madden. (And ahead of a guy named Vince Lombardi; maybe you’ve heard of him.) But even adding in his time with Cincinnati, Brown still checks in at No. 11 on the all-time list.

New England’s Bill Belichick is rightfully considered the best coach currently in the NFL, but even Belichick has not taken the Patriots to 10 consecutive league title games, let alone win seven of them. As good as Belichick and Tom Brady are, they are not now, and never will be, Paul Brown and Otto Graham.

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From the editor’s notebook …

browns release ben tateIt what was a surprise – at least to us – the Cleveland Browns released running back Ben Tate on Tuesday.

In eight games with the Browns, Tate rushed for 333 yards and four touchdowns, which, interestingly enough, were as many touchdowns as the Browns rushed for as a team in 2013. Tate’s rushing yards were a bit inflated by his 124-yard performance against Tennessee; take away that game and he was averaging just 2.49 yards per carry.

“With all the transactions we make while constructing our roster, it will always be our intent to do what is best for our football team,” general manager Ray Farmer said in announcing the move. “This move is no different and we wish Ben the best going forward.”

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From the editor’s notebook …

antonio brown steelersWith the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town on Sunday for what has turned into a rather important divisional game, the Cleveland Browns are facing the usual litany of problems when it comes to the Steelers.

One of those problems may be getting worse with the uncertainty surrounding the availability of cornerback Joe Haden, who may miss the game after injuring his hip in the win against Tennessee. (Defensive tackle Phil Taylor is also out now for several weeks after injuring his knee, which doesn’t help matters, either.)

Even with Haden in the lineup the Browns have had problems with Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown, who has career highs in receptions (37), receiving yards (610) and touchdowns (four) against the Browns. In the opening game of the season, Brown had five catches for 116 yards and a touchdown.

See what we mean?

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Tribe’s problems easy to spot, but solutions may not be

Kansas City Royals v Cleveland IndiansThe Cleveland Indians closed out what ultimately will go down as a disappointing season on Sunday with a 7-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Tribe came into the season with high hopes and looking to build on the momentum of making the Wild Card play-in game in 2013. But the team came up short of a return trip to the playoffs, meaning the Tribe hasn’t had consecutive playoff appearances since the last millennium (1998 and 1999). They did the season at 85-77, in the process managing to post consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 2001 and 2001, so at least they can hang their hat on that.

It was readily apparent, even just from watching a handful of games, what was wrong with the team this season. The Tribe’s defense had a major-league leading 116 errors; the bullpen was inconsistent; and the offense had a major drop off in the second half of the season, especially in September, which helped to stall any thoughts of repeating last September’s 21-6 record.

Diagnosing the problem is only half the battle, however, as finding a cure could prove to be more difficult.

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Numbers can often confirm what we are already seeing

joe haden numbersIn his autobiography, Mark Twain famously wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Twain wasn’t talking about sports when he wrote that, but he certainly could have been. It is very easy to manipulate statistics and numbers to support any argument you are making, especially if you worship at the ideal of analytics and some of the newer categories of statistics that have come into circulation in the past few decades. (For the record, we are not anti-analytics; we just don’t believe they are the be-all, end-all that some people make them out to be.)

But that doesn’t mean that statistics don’t provide a valuable tool when it comes to sports, especially when they reinforce what you see on a weekly or nightly basis.

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From the editor’s notebook …

jd martinez indiansIf the Cleveland Indians come up short this season in their quest to return to the playoffs, there will be plenty of moments and miss opportunities for Tribe fans to point to as they review the season.

The biggest one may be J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers.

Friday night, Martinez had a three-run homer and a triple as the Tigers beat the Indians for the fourth time in the past five meetings. On the season, Martinez is batting .327 against the Tribe, with six home runs and 18 RBI.

It’s not just the Indians that Martinez has been tormenting as he has clearly taken a liking to the American League Central. He’s batting .432 against Kansas City, with five home runs and 15 RBI; .324 against Minnesota; and .319 against the White Sox.

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