Even when the Indians started the season 30-15, and even though they play in what might be MLB’s worst division, I still didn’t expect the Tribe to hang around in the race as long as they have.
Especially considering all the injuries, there were times when I don’t know if the big-league club could have taken a series from the Columbus Clippers. Choo, Sizemore, Hafner — they’ve all missed significant portions of the season, and that’s just for starters. When Jason Kipnis went down, he might have been the team’s best player.
Monday’s loss to Detroit may have been the death blow to the Tribe’s chances this year. All that’s left now, it seems, is finishing .500 or better. Given all that’s happened this summer, that would still be impressive — particularly for a team pegged by most to lose 90 games.
But, as we look to 2012, the future is sort of bright, as many of the youngsters got major league experience. Really, it was the established players (see above) who let the team down this season.
So, a big tip of the Wahoo cap to the Indians for making it a watchable season, and to Manny Acta, who somehow managed to keep the Tribe on an even keel — and in the AL Central race — most of the year. With one of the smallest payrolls in baseball, and most of the players making money sidelined for weeks, if not months, Acta should get more than a few votes for Manager of the Year.