Cleveland (WOIO) - Down to their final 24, and barring a collapse of epic proportions (and considering their talent, that's not going to happen), the Detroit Tigers are cruising to another division title. Which leaves the Wild Card race for the Tribe.
Heading into Wednesday's game against the Orioles, the Indians were 3.5 back of the A's and Rays in the race, and chasing the Yankees and Orioles as well. They've been far too streaky, and at times simply void of any offense, but here they are, still playing games that matter, in September. And the question is, is that enough?
It's a flawed question, asking the critics if they'd have taken this scenario, if offered back in March, because it leaves out a lot of key elements. It ignores the fact that, other than picking up a middle reliever, the Tribe's front office once again did nothing of importance at the trade deadline to help this team make a serious playoff run. It also fails to point out the offseason moves that didn't work, including Mark Reynolds.
But many other moves did work, including Mike Aviles and Scott Kazmir, low-risk, low-paying gambles to be sure, but moves that helped the Indians stay in the race throughout the summer.
The schedule over the final month favors the Tribe. Their streaky nature does not. But they've made this a fun, competitive summer, and if their win total hits the mid-80's season's end, it's a giant step forward. Not enough for many fans, but more than we've seen in awhile.