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The Indians have no time to wait around for a big trade deadline move.
August is approaching, which means the dog days of summer are upon baseball again. The Tribe, amid trade rumors regarding Shin-Soo Choo and Justin Masterson, need a strong month to put themselves back in pennant contention.
Time will tell which playoff story line proves to be easier for the Indians in the final two months of the season.
The Chicago White Sox lead the Tribe in the AL Central by 5.5 games, while the Indians are five games back of the Los Angeles Angels in the Wild Card.
Three game set against the Royals
This past weekend was, in short, a disappointment for the Indians. They were coming off a strong home series win against the Tigers and left Ohio with road games against two of the division’s worst teams.
But the Twins dominated every facet of the game. They outscored the Indians 28-6, with timely hitting and clutch pitching from Scott Diamond, Nick Deduno and Brian Duensing.
The Indians can put the sweep behind them with a strong series against the Royals.
Kansas City has lost five games in a row and are just 17-30 at home this season.
The Tribe will start Derek Lowe in game one, who went eight strong innings giving up a single earned run in April against the Royals. Zach McCallister, starting game two, has never faced the Royals.
Josh Tomlin in game three is 4-1 lifetime against the Royals with a 3.76 ERA since 2010.
Meanwhile, the Tigers will travel to Boston and the White Sox will face off against the Twins at Target Field.
For the Indians, this week could make or break their season. They are two games under .500, losers of seven of their last 10 games, and grasping at one of two wild card spots.
Even though they are closer towards the wild card than an AL Central pennant, winning their own division is likely the easier route for the Tribe.
Oakland and Los Angeles share the two AL wild card spots, but five teams including the Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Sox, Tigers and Rays are also competing for them and all have a better record than the Indians.
Instead, the Tribe has two months to overcome the White Sox and Tigers. The former is one of the surprises of the league, while the Tigers were the overwhelming favorites at the division at the year’s start.
They can hope for Boston to pull back into a race of their own against the Tigers and for the Twins to stay hot against Chicago. But for the Indians, destiny remains in their own hands.
A three game set against the struggling Royals is a must-win for Cleveland. Anything other than two or three wins could do them in mentally, if not in the standings.
Derek Lowe (8-9, 5.09 ERA) ~VS~ Luke Hochever (6-9, 5.26 ERA) – 8:10 p.m. EST
Zach McCallister (4-2, 3.18 ERA) ~VS~ Luis Mendoza (4-7, 4.47 ERA) – 8:10 p.m. EST
Josh Tomlin (5-8, 5.87 ERA) ~VS~ Jeremy Guthrie (3-11, 6.68 ERA) – 8:10 p.m. EST