Surprise! The Cleveland Indians are off to a sluggish start.
Slow beginnings are par for the course during the Eric Wedge era, and it's starting to get old for the legion of Tribe fans. Not that I'm calling for the manager's head; it's far too premature for that.
However, if the Tribe gets off to another poor start and it costs the team an opportunity to contend, Wedge and his staff should be fired before the all-star break.
Too often, fans have seen the team struggle so mightily in the first two months of the season, contention becomes impossible. While in years past, the tribe public relations department has been able to assign a bevy of reasons for struggles, this year the team looks poised for a run at the American League Central Division title.
GM Mark Shapiro has done a masterful job this off season. He shored up the bullpen with adroit signings and trades. He procured DeRosa to fill the second hole in the lineup, and found a starting pitcher on the cheap who has a good chance to win double-digit games for the squad.
Even the Dolans, heretofore notorious for their frugal ways, have upped their payroll significantly during a time when most clubs are cutting back. The talent is there, the infrastructure has been built, and it is time for the manager to step up.
So far it hasn't happened. The team appears unprepared. Cliff Lee looks a couple of starts away from gaining his command. Same for Fausto Carmona. Mark DeRosa looks lost at the plate. Travis Hafner isn't as fearsome as he once was.
Some blame for the 0-2 start must be laid at the doorstep of the players, as there are plenty of veterans that should know how to get ready for the 162 game marathon. Yet, when an entire club struggles, plays without urgency or fire, April after April, some responsibility must be directed at the Manager's office.
Texas is a very underrated team. Give them credit; they have played well. It's only three games, so tribe fans shouldn't panic.
Yet, if this disquieting trend of uninspired play, quiet bats, and gasoline arms continues through April into May, Eric Wedge will be sitting in a hotter seat than he is today.