The Cleveland Indians are beginning to show some of the same glaring weaknesses in 2012 that doomed last season’s promising campaign. In what has become an eerily reminiscent double take of the 2011 season, the Tribe has recently succumbed to injury and inconsistent starting pitching.
A three game sweep of the rival Tigers was followed by successive injuries to Travis Hafner, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Jack Hannahan, and an abusive three game sweep at the hands of the suddenly red hot Chicago White Sox. Things didn’t improve much after the Tribe returned home to lose two of three to the Royals, with the offense predictably struggling to hit soft-tossing Royals left-handed starting pitching in the process.
Cabrera has thankfully made a prompt return, the injury to Santana doesn’t appear to be serious, and the loss of Super Jack will give Lonnie Chisenhall another shot to prove himself both at the dish and the hot corner. Hafner’s loss, while unfortunate, is neither surprising nor irreconcilable if management makes some wise roster decisions.
The following five players need to be given a legitimate chance to prove themselves in the wake of the Hafner injury and the inconsistent play of veterans currently on the roster.