Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Time for the Indians to turn this around

The Cleveland Indians head to New York this weekend for four games with a chance to get their season back on track.

The Tribe still holds a 1.5-game lead over the second-place Tigers, and as strange as it may sound, four games with the Yankees may be cure for the slumping Tribe.

The Indians have an advantage in at least three of the four pitching match-ups this weekend:

  • Fausto Carmona opposes someone named Ivan Nova in the series opener
  • Mitch Talbot (three runs in his last 12.2 innings of work) takes on Bartolo Colon on Saturday
  • Josh Tomlin goes against Freddy Garcia on Sunday

Even Monday’s match-up, Carlos Carrasco against A.J. Burnett, could favor the Indians if Carrasco keeps pitching the way he has lately (4-2 since coming off the disabled list).

Throw in the fact that the Yankee bullpen is a mess, with Joba Chamberlain likely out for the year with a torn ligament in his elbow, Pedro Feliciano out until July and Rafael Soriano still injured, and the Indians have an opportunity here.

Since sweeping the Reds, the Indians have gone just 5-11 and seen their seven-game lead evaporate. But manager Manny Acta is keeping a cool head amid the slump.

“Because it happens to every team in a 162-game season, and it’s not going to be the last one, either,” Acta told The Plain Dealer. “Usually, teams have two to three. Doesn’t matter who you are, big market, small market, young, old. It just happens. Teams went through it earlier in the year. We didn’t. Now we’re going through ours. We just have to fight back.”

With three games coming up next week against Detroit, now would be a good time for the Indians to start fighting back.

***

Big story out of the Gold Cup, as five players on Mexico’s soccer team, including goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, have tested positive for a banned substance and are out of the tournament – for now.

Decio De Maria, general secretary of the Mexican federation, said Ochoa, defenders Edgar Duenas and Francisco Rodriguez, and midfielders Christian Bermudez and Antonio Naelson tested positive for clenbuterol.

The five players haven’t been suspended, just “removed” from the team and won’t be allowed to play during the investigation. They were expected to miss Thursday night’s game against Cuba.

“What is presumed … one had to ingest contaminated materials – meat or chicken,” De Maria said in published reports. “Now comes the tough part, taking the players off the squad and opening an investigation. Meanwhile, it is a disagreeable moment to take this kind of decision, but we have to take responsibility.”

The Mexican federation said the five tested positive in pre-Gold Cup doping tests conducted May 21. Officials said the substance detected was the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol.

“Everything points to it being an accident, very unfortunate,” De Maria said.

If the players end up being suspended for the rest of the tournament, that will remove an big obstacle for the U.S.

***

The rebuilding of Liverpool continues, as the club has completed a £20-million transfer deal with Sunderland for Jordan Henderson.

The 20-year-old midfielder if the club’s first signing of the summer, and joins fellow big-money signings Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez. That’s three high-profile, young players to join the club since Fenway Sports Group’s takeover and Kenny Dalglish’s return as manager.

The fact that the team is working to get younger is a positive sign that the club continues to move in the right direction.

***

Finally, we might have to bid on this vintage Cleveland Indians cookie jar – unless Cleveland Frowns beats us to it, of course.

(h/t Uni Watch)

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