CLEVELAND –– Bruce Springsteen would love the 2014 version of the Cleveland Indians, since they could use one of his songs for the season highlight film.
"One step forward, two steps back"
Coming out of the All-Star Break, the Tribe appeared to be on an upward swing by winning the first three games against Detroit. Since then they have lost seven of nine, including a 5-2 defeat to Seattle on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
With Thursday’s trade deadline approaching, the Indians find themselves six games out of the final Wild Card 6 Â½ behind Detroit in the division.
Last year the Tribe remained above .500 after mid-June. This year, they find themselves two under at 52-54 and they haven’t been more than three games above .500 this season.
"At this point there’s still way too much time left," outfielder David Murphy said. "Have we been through almost four months? Yes. Have we played too inconsistent? Yes. Have there been plenty of games that we lost that we could have won? Yes. There’s so much that can be done in two months. We’ve seen teams come back from 10-15 down."
Murphy has seen it first-hand. Two years ago the Rangers were up five games on the Athletics with two weeks to go only to see Oakland storm back and take the division. The difference though is that there are still way too many questions left with this team.
A lot of them are with the rotation. Corey Kluber is the only absolute as he has emerged as the ace. Trevor Bauer had a 3.16 ERA in his five previous July starts but showed that he is still young on Tuesday. The right-hander tied his shortest outing of the season by allowing five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
The Mariners scored four runs in the fourth and Bauer was pulled after a Mike Zunino solo shot in the fifth.
"I didn’t command the ball too well. When you don’t get ahead they take more confident swings and you back yourself into a corner. That’s what happened to me," Bauer said.
After Kluber and Bauer, who knows what the rest of the rotation will develop into. Zach McAllister, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin and T.J. House have shown flashes of pitching well but not consistently.
That is why if the Indians are entertaining any hopes of a late-season comeback, getting another starter is paramount.
The offense also continues to struggle, unless you are Carlos Santana. For the 48th time they scored three or fewer runs and are 9-39 when that happens.
"It’s been a rough go these past couple weeks for us," Nick Swisher said. "Coming off the break we had a great series against Detroit and then thinking to ourselves playing Minnesota, Kansas City and Seattle there wouldn’t be a letdown but we have to pick it up."