Indians slide back home

A few quick thoughts on the Indians, who (yes) are still in first in the AL Central:

* First the facts: The Indians have lost three straight and return to Progressive Field for six straight games. The first three are against Kansas City, the next three vs. Detroit.

* The Indians played their worst game of the season Saturday in a 10-3 loss at Minnesota. Starting pitcher Fausto Carmona did nothing right, and the relievers were nearly as bad.

* After that, the Indians surrendered a 3-2 lead late to lose 4-3 in Minnesota. The relief pitching wasn’t great, but the biggest blunder was made by second baseman Orlando Cabrera — a former Golden Glove winner. Then again, Cabrera also led all shortstops in errors in 2009 (with 25).

* None of this is meant to trash Cabrera, Carmona, or anyone else. Just the opposite. In fact, if you learned anything after the Indians’ three-game slide it’s this: Don’t panic. We knew things wouldn’t always be great. No team avoids a slump. Not in a 162-game season.

* But there is a point to this, and it has a lot to do with what we have seen in the previous three games. That being, if the Indians are going to contend for a playoff spot, there is very little room for error. Some teams can overcome two, three or four major mistakes per game and still contend. It’s highly doubtful the Indians are one of those teams.

* So this is a fairly big homestand for the Tribe. And that should excite you. After all, whoever thought we’d be talking about the Indians and important games this late into April? My guess is, you probably figured the Tribe would be lucky to be 7-14 at this point. Instead, they’re 13-8.

* As Tribe Manager Manny Acta said, “We all know that everybody’s going to win 60 and lose 60. It’s what you do with the other 42 that counts.”

* As for Tuesday’s game, Indians starter Justin Masterson faces the Royals’ Luke Hochevar for the second time in six days. At 4-0, Masterson has been the Indians’ best pitcher so far.

–Sam Amico