Ten games are in the books and we’ve seen the highs and lows early on into the sprint that is the 2020 season. From brilliant starting pitching to some at times abysmal hitting, this stretch has it all. This first week and a half have provided a lot of thoughts that I needed to get off my chest. Hopefully, it can make 5-5 less deflating at the moment.
The Starters Are Elite:
I think we underestimated how good this rotation was going to be, even when we knew this would be the strength of the team. The Indians in their first 10 games have registered 9 quality starts which is the most since 1986, with Shane Bieber spring boarding his Cy Young campaign as the ace of the rotation. The rotation is leading the AL with a 2.25 ERA and is in the top ten in other major pitching categories. The pitching has depth and length throughout. Nobody is doubting the talent coming every 5th day in Bieber and the rest of the rotation has followed suit.
Let’s talk about Hitting (or lack thereof):
While the Indians’ pitching has everyone salivating, the Indians hitting has caused everyone to poke out their eyeballs. The counting stats reflect the lack of offense with a .193 team average, a .285 OBP, and a pathetic .597 OPS, so in other words, they are below the Mendoza line so far out the gate. Outside of Caesar Hernandez and Jose Ramirez, the team has collectively been slumping, while the pitching has carried them with what little offense the team has mustered. It’s not to say the offense will be this hopeless forever, but in a 60 game sample size, the Indians have to be near the league average. I do believe this will eventually resolve itself because guys like Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana, Franmil Reyes, and others will start hitting as they should, but will it be too late by the time they heat up?
The Bullpens Been Alright:
So far, the pleasant surprise has been the bullpen, outside of Brad Hand. However, with so much surrounding Brad Hands decline, the other arms of the pen have stepped in to eat up innings. With new faces like James Karinchak and Cam Hill providing some much-needed nastiness in a bullpen full of junk. It’s nice to see that the bullpen is at least looking respectable. The biggest question going forward is how long Brad Hand’s leash is in the closer role, even though he has recorded two saves, you could say a little luck was involved in each save appearance. The future is staring the team in the face with Karinchak and Hill as they gain more trust from the coaching staff, and I expect sooner than later they will grab hold of the 8th and 9th inning as the season progresses.
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