April was a time for the most wins in Indians franchise history (18). The Indians were surprising everyone and proving to be (01) in all of Major League Baseball. May (01) 2011, they had (19) and everyone was shocked. Now it is June (02) 2011 and the Indians are 33-21, still in first place, the best record in the major leagues by .004 percentage points. So I ask myself, why do I sense panic when we finished the greatest road trip on turf at 3-3 and lost last night and now are just 4.5 games ahead of rival Detroit?
Our philosophy as a team was set by Acta when he said that the pitchers need to attack the strike zone. Yet yesterday, Indians pitching never recorded a strikeout. We need to play fundamental defense to win. Yet yesterday, the Indians had crucial errors that either scored the runs for Texas or led to more opportunities to hit the runners in allowing them to score. Also, we sacrificed an early lead in the ballgame. These are things that never occur in our 33 wins.
As a team the Indians were 10 in the AL with 147 total strikeouts earned. In May they were dead last in the AL with 151 total strikeouts. They are 5th total this month but with no strikeouts recorded last night, they could not gain ground on the teams that were off yesterday in this category. Overall for the entire year, they are tied for 13th out of 14 teams with 328. The team needs to get better at this if they want to continue to contend this year.
The errors and/or walks have allowed for the team to go from only allowing 3 unearned runs per month in April to 12 unearned runs per month in May to 4 unearned runs already these past two days in June. If this pace continues, the lead that Cleveland enjoys for the moment in the league and division will quickly evaporate.
Reasons for concern
The Indians pitchers began the 2011 season ending April with an 18-8 record and 6 saves with a 3.49 ERA for the month. In May, the Indians were 14-12 with 8 saves and a 4.05 ERA. In June, the team is already 1-1 with no saves and a 6.00 ERA.
These stats also show the Indians’ offense had a league-leading .272 batting average, a .344 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .447 in April, all tops in the AL. In May, they fell to 11th in the AL in batting average with a .248 batting average, 10th in on-base percentage with a .380 slugging percentage and 11th in on-base percentage reaching base at .314. In June so far, the Indians are 1st again in batting average at .321, 1st in on-base percentage at .382 but are only 3rd in the league in slugging percentage at .481.
These three areas highlighting pitching, defense and offense show why the Indians appear to struggle. They lost 1.5 games in the standings to Detroit from April to May and another half game to them already in June. Factor in also that we have yet to play them on the road where the Indians do not do as well and there is reason for concern.