The Indians have a lot of tough decisions to make throughout the rest of the season and will need to use the rest of 2012 like an extended try out for 2013. The biggest decision is Travis Hafner, who will most certainly not be extended with his current option. He could however be released and re-signed like Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona were last season, but we can all see how well each of those deals worked out. Both of those players are also on the list of players the Indians need to judge. There is no reasonable way that Sizemore will return for next season, but the effort they have put into Roberto Hernandez already this year makes it worth at least giving him a shot for next year.
At least the Indians did win a single game against Minnesota so they can get off that losing streak kick. On to the matchups.
This start, and every other for the rest of the season, will be all about trying to turn Ubaldo back into the Cy Young candidate he once was. He is extremely important to any playoff chances the Indians could have next season and shoulders more than his share of the blame for this seasons collapse. If he had pitched like the ace he was supposed to, he would have at least cut the losing streak in half. As of right now he has thrown 11 decent games and 11 bad games. With the type of talent the Indians gave away for him, that ratio should be more like 16:6.
Another thing the Indians need to get together before the end of the season is hitting against left handed pitching, and they can work on that in this game as well. Another of the main points of blame was the fact that the Indians have looked hapless against just about every left hander they have faced. It is time to play all the starters, especially Travis Hafner and Jason Kipnis, against left handed starters to give them as many chances to figure out how to hit them.
The Chris Seddon experiment took an odd turn the other day when he was used in relief instead of his usual starting role. He is slated to start on Friday so the Indians have apparently not given up on him yet. Seddon has only made one start that didn’t go well. He was thrown right into the middle of the biggest Indians losing streak of recent memory. He only allowed 4 runs against Detroit, but was pulled in the 5th as Manny Acta was doing everything he could to get the Indians a win. The pressure will be off this time around, so we should see what Seddon is capable of. There is a good chance he will not be part of 2013, but if he pitches well the rest of the year, he will at least deserve a thought.
On June 17th, Morales was converted from reliever to starter and has since been back and forth between the bullpen and starting rotation. He will be making his second start in a row after about a month in the bullpen this time. Of course he is a lefthander so this could be another low scoring affair by the Indians.
McAllister has been the Indians most consistent pitcher this season and should easily make next year’s rotation even with the additions of Carlos Carrasco and Roberto Hernandez. He does need to keep up his excellent production so far this year to prove that he can finish out a season well. His last start was his first bad one this year, but some of that can be forgiven by the fact that every other starting pitcher was even worse.
Lester has a lot of experience against the Tribe, most of it good for him. He is 4-1 in his career against Cleveland with a 3.53 ERA. This could be a tough series against three strong left handers, but if the Indians can even split the series, they can take it as some momentum moving on for the rest of the season.