Indians fight for final playoff push

By: Ryan O’Toole ~Staff Writer~

After a late season surge, reminiscent of the one they had a year ago, the Indians have put themselves in a position to get back to the postseason.
While the division lead held by Kansas City may be insurmountable, a wild card berth is within the Indians grasp.
The Tribe is currently 3.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second spot in the wild card race after a sweep of the struggling Chicago White Sox.

The Indians have been leaning on Carlos Carrasco, who has arguably been their strongest starter since returning to the rotation a month ago.
He returned to the rotation on Aug. 10 after a bullpen stint and has been absolutely brilliant. Carrasco has gone 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA in six starts, while batters are hitting a measly .179 against him. In the series finale against the Sox, he took a shutout into the ninth inning and lead Cleveland to a 2-0 victory and the series sweep.

After losing three of four to the Tigers, the turnaround against the Sox was crucial.
It brought the Indians’ record to 21-12 in the month of August and kept them alive in the playoff chase. One has to wonder, however, if it is indeed too late.

“We’re running out of months,”manager Terry Francona said after the sweep. “Not days, but months. So, we need to make up some ground. I don’t know if you can go into a series thinking about a sweep, because I don’t think that’s a very productive way to play, but now that it’s over, it certainly helps. Now, it makes tomorrow that much bigger.”

If the Indians want to see October, their pitching must continue to deliver for them.
Since Aug. 9, the rotation has produced astonishing numbers: a 1.84 ERA with 165 strikeouts over 161 2/3 innings.
If Cleveland can keep producing those numbers, it will find itself in every single game with a chance to win.
“When you get good pitching, it makes everything look better,” Francona said.

Looking ahead, the Indians host division rival Minnesota before traveling to Detroit to play the Tigers.
The Tigers hold a lead over the Tribe in both the division and the wild card. The Indians and Tigers still have a weekend series to play against each other. It is very possible that these games will decide who is still playing in October.