I know it's early, but I really don't think the Cleveland Indians have a shot at winning the AL Central division. If you look at all the pieces, they just don't seem to come together.
While I don't think Cliff Lee's phenomenal year in '08 was all a fluke, I'm calling him out a little bit. I can't see him with an ERA under three this year. Looks more like he'll post one around 4.00, which is much more in-line with his career numbers.
He lost three games all of last year against 22 wins. This season, he has two losses already and has allowed a staggering 11 earned runs in just 10 innings pitched.
Fausto Carmona needs to replicate his monster season from 2007. In 2008, he was absolutely atrocious. I know he didn't pitch a full year and was dealing with injury problems, but in the games he did pitch in, he was horrid.
He surrendered a lot of hits and a staggering 73 earned runs in just 120 innings pitched. That is the same number of earned runs against him in his 215-inning, 19-win season in 2007.
Through two starts this year, he's been pretty bad, having given up 10 earned runs in 10 innings. Yikes.
In 2007, when the Indians were so great, C.C. Sabathia won the Cy Young and Carmona finished fourth in voting for that award.
Unless Lee and Carmona are both dominant pitchers (I'm talking top-five in the AL, as CC and Fausto were two years ago) for the rest of this campaign, this team doesn't seem have much of a chance. The rest of the rotation simply isn't good enough for the team to succeed.
Yes, the Tribe's bullpen has some nice pieces, and their offense could potentially be very good, providing Pronk and Victor Martinez return to 2006-2007 form.
Grady is a legitimate threat and one of the best young players in baseball, and Mark DeRosa was a nice addition and should put up numbers similar to those that he produced last year on the North Side of Chicago.
But without the stars of the rotation performing, Cleveland won't be in the discussion at year's end.