Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Are the Indians at the breaking point?

We have to say, the Indians have us left us feeling extremely bipolar the past few weeks.

Two weeks ago tonight, Travis Hafner’s grand slam in the bottom of the ninth beat the Blue Jays (up).

Then the Tribe lost three in a row (down).

Coming out of the All Star break, the Indians took the first two games from Baltimore (up).

They then lost the next two (down).

We were worried going into Monday’s double header with the Twins because David Huff and Fausto Carmona were scheduled to start. But the Indians swept the day (up).

But then they lost the past two games with their best pitchers, Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin on the mound (down).

Against the Twins, the Tribe’s starters had a 2.03 ERA, giving up six earned runs in 26 2/3 innings (up).

The bullpen, however, had a 9.40 ERA (down).

Well, you get the picture

Now we’re left wondering if the team is finally reaching its breaking point.

Because of injuries, the Indians fielded an outfield the past two games of Austin Kearns, Ezequiel Carrera and Luis Valbuena, which obviously isn’t going to get it done.

Grady Sizemore joined Shin-Soo Choo on the disabled list this week and now will be out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.

It seems unrealistic to expect either Sizemore or Choo to come back and make any kind of positive impact on the team the rest of this season, and the Indians are running out of other options.

They dipped into the minor leagues again on Thursday, promoting second baseman Jason Kipnis from Class AAA Columbus. Kipnis hit .279 (95-341) with 64 runs, 15 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 55 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 91 games at Columbus this year.

While it is certainly nice to have another bat in the lineup, Kipnis doesn’t solve the outgoing issue with the outfield.

With the trading deadline coming up next week, there will be calls for the Tribe to “do something” and make a trade. But for who? There’s no guarantee that anyone they trade for will make that big of a difference, and we are nervous about the price the Indians would potentially have to pay.

We still remember the late ’90s when the team traded away prospects to bring in players like Kevin Seitzer, Jeff Kent and Ken Hill, among others, in an attempt to win a World Series. Of all the moves the team made, Hill really is the only one that made a difference and it could be argued the Indians would have reached the World Series in ’95 even without him.

We’d hate to see the team give up any of its top prospects when there’s no guarantee the Indians will make the playoffs even with a move.

Plus, people get excited about getting the best (pitcher, hitter, outfielder, etc.) available without stopping to ask if that player is any good. If you draw up a list of anything, someone has to be at the top, that doesn’t mean the Indians have to be the ones to overpay for someone.

The Indians certainly have issues – they wouldn’t be just five games over .500 if that wasn’t the case – and it’s also true that the AL Central is there for the taking this year. But the front office has worked hard to build this team the right way and we’d hate to see them sacrifice their long-term potential for a short-term game.

But check back in a few days. With the ongoing bipolar issues, we may feel differently come the weekend.

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