By: Adam Tortelli
The month is September, there is less than a week of the MLB regular season to be played and the Cleveland Indians are hanging onto the final Wild Card spot.
What? Yes, after years of brewing above average players simply to be traded away in order to earn their deserved all-star paychecks, the Dolan family opened their wallets to make a “win-now” ball club.
From former Yankee Nick Swisher and speedster Michael Bourn to high profile skipper Terry Francona, the scrappy Indians are turning out to be a wise investment.
Cleveland’s final series are against two of the worst teams in baseball, the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox, and bode well for a the team that leads the league against opponents under .500 as they hang on to the second American League wild card spot.
Tampa Bay currently has a one game advantage for the top spot.
After the resurging Ubaldo Jimenez and flame throwing rookie Danny Salazar led the last home stand against Chicago, starters for the imperative four-game set in Minnesota are unsure at this point.
Ace Justin Masterson will be the determining factor as he is due to return from injury at some point, whether it be as a starter or in relief.
Regardless of Masterson’s arrival, remaining starters Corey Kluber, Zac McAllister and Scott Kazmir will be waiting to take the bump for the crucial games that are left.
At 86-70 the Tribe looks to hold off a hungry Texas Rangers team from sneaking into the playoffs.
The Rangers, 85-71, are looking forward to a two-game set against the horrendous Houston Astros before finishing off their season against the star-studded Los Angeles Angels.
Collapses by two of the three teams separated by two games will open the door for an array of teams including the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals.
Of all teams looking for a Wild Card bid in the American League, I believe the Indians and Rays will hold onto the spots they currently reside in.
The Rays are too good and the Indians are too resilient. All year the Tribe has been back and forth. Just when you count them out, they sweep a series against the White Sox. As soon as they look to be dominant, they get swept by the American League Central leading Detroit Tigers.
But who knows? This team might just find themselves in postseason play.