For a majority of the MLB season, the Cleveland Indians have looked like a bunch of zombies during games.
The players weren’t having fun and the fans lacked the energy that usually fuels this team to do big things.
When the Tribe made its historic run in the 2016 playoffs, everyone was having the time of their lives. Whether they were on the field or in the dugout, the Indians always brought energy to the ballpark that was unlike any other. That’s what made that 2016 team truly special.
However, the amount of excitement around this team has slowly dwindled down, game by game, to the point where fans won’t even show up to games. Even though attendance has been an issue for many years with the Tribe, to have a start to the MLB season like they have, is not helping that issue.
That is until the top-seeded Minnesota Twins came to town on Tuesday.
The Tribe understood how big this series was, as the Indians have been as far as 11.5 games back from first place in the division. To close the gap on the Twins in this series would be a huge boost of confidence for the Tribe.
I know last week I opted to “shake things up” in Cleveland, but maybe I was too quick to judge. The bats have seemingly gotten better, as the Tribe have scored five or more runs in three of their last four games, resulting in a 3-1 record during that span. That is a good sign for the Tribe.
However, the thing that has caught my attention the most during this span, and especially during this series against the Twins, is the enthusiasm the team has brought back.
When guys like Francisco Lindor are having fun and the team brings the energy late in games, the results are always in our favor. After being down 6-5 coming out of a rain delay, the Indians could have easily come out flat, but that was not the case.
After giving up a home-run, the Tribe answered right back with a 2-run shot from Jordan Luplow, followed by a solo shot from Roberto Perez, who is slowly heating up as well. But to cap it all off, the All-Star shortstop that is Francisco Lindor decided to join the home-run derby the Tribe had going, with a solo shot of his own, which sealed the deal on another impressive an encouraging performance.
Indians manager Terry Francona was all smiles after the game, saying that even though the team has gotten younger and inexperienced in some ways, the team has found that youthful enthusiasm they’ve been looking for, which has helped this team.
Tito couldn’t be truer here. The youth the Indians have gathered this season, with guys like Luplow, Mercado, Bauers, as well as pitcher Zach Plesac, who’s gotten high praise from Tito.
“Since Plesac’s been around here, he’s got a nice little presence about him,” Tito said. “He hasn’t backed off of anything.”
Tito had the same to say about Indians outfielder Oscar Mercado, who has been a nice find for a team who desperately needed some hitting from their outfielders.
The youth the Indians have can be the strength of this team. Teams in the past like Houston and Chicago in 2016 all had young talent that put them over the top of other teams. This could be the Tribe’s turn to do the same.
The Indians are currently 9.5 games back from first place in the division, so there’s still a lot of work to do, but this team still has a lot of time to make up some ground. The Tribe plays one more game tonight against the Twins, where they can potentially climb to 8.5 games back from first place in the division.
Let’s hope the Tribe can continue to bring the energy in games this season and make the Twins, as well as other teams, mindful of just how quickly the tides can turn in our favor.
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