As the Indians wake up on May 25 atop the American League Central Division, 6.5 games ahead of the Detroit Tigers, everyone in Cleveland is wondering if this thing can work? Can they keep it up and clinch a spot in the postseason? We all know that in order to kiss the prettiest girl at the dance, you have to physically be at the dance first. Cleveland fans have had their heart broken time and time again … but we still dare to dream.
Cleveland fans think the Indians can hold onto this lead and make the playoffs. Whether or not they do will be played out in front of our eyes in the months ahead, but as the season progresses, changes will be made to the lineup.
Here are some of the questions to keep an eye on as the season progresses:
Third baseman Jack Hannahan is hitting .190 in May. He wasn’t brought in here to be Mike Schmidt at the hot corner, so the offense you get from Hannahan is a bonus. But how long can the Indians plug in a guy hitting .237 at a spot typically reserved for a power hitter? Do they bring up Lonnie Chisenhall?
How does the rotation line up in the second half? Do they have a true ace? Justin Masterson and Josh Tomlin have both been terrific, but can they keep it up? Do they bump Masterson to the top line after the All Star break, and follow him with Tomlin, Fausto Carmona, Carlos Carrasco and Mitch Talbot? What about Alex White when he returns? Do they keep him stretched out in AAA Columbus or use his power arm in the bullpen, ala David Price in 2008 with the Rays when they finished second to the Phillies.
Who else gets called up … and contributes? Zach McAllister is 7-0 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts in AAA Columbus. Is he a candidate to join the rotation? What about Nick Hagadone, another piece received from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade. Could he join the bullpen? Do they need him? Is there a role for Hagadone? The bullpen, so far, has been outstanding. Can they keep it up?
Do the Indians make a move? They could use another bat, but who do you want to give up? This isn’t a video game where you can trade trash for a treasure. Teams are going to want Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis – not Cord Phelps and Jason Donald. Is the organization willing to part with prospects to make a one-year run at this thing?
Does Seattle want to help us out … again? Eduardo Perez for Asdrubal Cabrera? Ben Broussard for Shin-Soo Choo? Even Russell Branyan helped the Tribe win a game this year by turning into Ezequiel Carrera. Even going way back, Felix Fermin and Reggie Jefferson for Omar Vizquel? We sure could use that Hernandez pitcher they have. Is he available, and do they like Austin Kearns?
In all seriousness, this has been a terrific ride so far – one that no one saw coming. But it’s May 25th, and there is still a ton of baseball to be played. And some fascinating storylines as well.
Here’s hoping for the best!
This article originally appeared on LandLoyalty.com