Another October to forget for the Indians

It's time to move on from some and expect much more from others

Mike 'Chico' Bormann
October 08, 2018 - 11:49 pm

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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It has been damn near 2 years since the Indians dropped that heartbreaking Game 7 to the Cubs in the 2016 World Series, yet I still remember the phone call like it was last week.

I can't recall the name or where he was calling from,(it was roughly 4am during our extended Playoff Postgame Show) but his point woke me up in a hurry. "Chico, this was an incredible ride and I have nothing but love and respect for what that depleted roster accomplished, but I'm not sure we all realize how difficult it is to get as far as they did."

Silence.

I have done enough shows over the past 20 years to have a good feel for when it's time to open up my big mouth. I would love to tell you I was pausing for effect, but I wasn't. It honestly had not occurred to me how true his statement was.

I mean, I knew what he was saying was accurate, but I had not allowed myself to go there just yet. I needed to.

After seeing the Indians blow a 2-zip series lead to the Yankees last year and the Astros complete a sweep of the Tribe Monday afternoon, that point has been rudely driven home.

There is no question the Front Office has plenty of work to keep them occupied during these cold winter months. I know fans are justifiably frustrated after witnessing another quick exit to their postseason. I admit being critical of Terry Francona for sending Corey Kluber out for the 5th inning of Game 1 after clearly not having his best stuff and laboring through a 35-pitch fourth.

The decision to send Kluber out for the 5th was made worse when he elected to pull Carlos Carrasco with one out in the 6th of Game 2. Kluber clearly was struggling out of the gate, while Carrasco, despite getting in a bit of a jam to start the inning, had been in control from the first pitch. That said, any questions or debate about Francona's future as the Indians' skipper are at best, short-sighted, and at worst, ludicrous.

He's going nowhere, nor should he be. 

The bottom line is this: With the exception of a select few, many of the guys expected to perform on the big stage known as October Baseball failed miserably. Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson could muster just one hit in three games.

That was one better than Jose Ramirez and Yonder Alonso. Tribe bats went 0-6 with runners in scoring position in the series. 0-6! Which number is more egregious? 0 hits or only 6 opportunities to cash in? Anxiety surrounding the bullpen was well founded after Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were mere shells of their 2016 selves. 2-time Cy Young winner Kluber has given up 9 long balls in his last 4 playoff starts. 

The bar has been significantly raised since 2016 and the Indians have fallen well short of expectations. While the bullpen and outfield will need some new faces, you should feel confident that a stellar Front Office headed by Chris Antonetti and Mike Chernoff will get to work with new additions.

We have likely seen the last of Andrew Miller and Cody Allen close out games. Both were key cogs in the 2016 run and both will now hit the open market. I'm not sure Allen will ever get the respect he deserves as the all-time saves leader for this franchise.

That said, it's time to move on from some and expect much more from others. 

Another strong rotation returns along with young stars Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez under team control for the forseeable future. Another postseason appearance would seem certain. How lengthy the stay will be is a much cloudier proposition.

A couple of underwhelming cameos following 2016 has made this much crystal clear: Don't take it for granted.