Friday, June 27, 2008

42 Days of Hell

On May 15th the Indians stood in first place of the AL Central at 22-19 holding a 1.5 game lead over the Chicago White Sox. They were getting ready for the opening series of Interleague Play versus the cross state rival Cincinnati Reds in the Battle of Ohio.

As they ready for the conclusion of Interleague Play on June 27th, against those same Reds, the Indians fans are in the midst of what can only be described as “42 Days of Hell”. A stretch of baseball, based on the opponents they faced, has caused the hearts of the Cleveland faithful to sink into their stomachs.

Going in to the Reds’ series on May 16 the Indians’ schedule looked to set up favorably. All their games were against the last place Reds, marginal Texas Rangers, weak NL West and the teeter-totter that is the AL Central. A perfect time to pad that 1.5 game AL Central lead.

Quite the opposite happened. The Tribe was swept in back to back three game sets by both the Reds and Chicago White Sox. Then they lost three straight three game series to the Rangers, White Sox and lowly Kansas City Royals.

They split two consecutive four game series to the Rangers and Detroit Tigers to at least stop their consecutive series lost at five. They did show a little life by taking the next two series against the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres, but struggled to do so.

But is was only a tease as they were swept by the Colorado Rockies in three games as the Indians were only able to muster seven runs total in three games… in the thin air of Denver. A series win was attained versus the Los angles Dodgers but that work was undone by a series loss to the San Francisco Giants.

In what was the perfect opportunity to shine, the Indians fell flat on their face. Not included in the win-loss column were the losses of Fausto Carmona, Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez to the DL. Jake Westbrook was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John Surgery. Even Josh Barfield was lost for two months after only appearing in two games.

Forty-two days. Thirty-seven games. A 13-24 record against the bottom of the MLB circuit. Simultaneously, the rest of the AL Central was beating up on the NL West. When it was all said and done the Indians sat at 36-43, 7.5 games behind the White Sox, and every other team in the AL Central leapfrogged them.

Yes, even the Royals. The Indians found themselves in last place for the first time since June 25, 1993. Fifteen years. Back when there were only two divisions per league and no wild card berth. That’s how long it has been.

But not as long as the last 42 days. 42 Days of Hell. Hopefully that's as long as it will last or God help us all.

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