The Cleveland Indians weren’t supposed to be this good. Not this quickly at least. Plenty of pundits and fans thought that the Indians would play better baseball than they did a year ago when they won just 69 games and finished 25 games behind Minnesota in the AL Central standings. Having Grady Sizemore and Travis Haffner back healthy will do that for you I suppose, but don’t forget that the Indians had one of the better team ERAs in the American League down the stretch of last season.
We’ll see if things hold up, but for now, there’s plenty to be optimistic about for the downtrodden fans of Cleveland. The Tribe is currently 8-3 as of Wednesday, just a half game behind Texas for the best record in baseball. (The Indians are currently tied with the Angels, 1-1, during Wednesday night’s game).
Needless to say, GM Chris Antonetti is pleased with the team’s hot start. But he knows it’s a long season, and that there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the young squad. On Tuesday, Antonetti joined WKNR in Cleveland to discuss the encouraging start to the year, if the Indians might be buyers at the trade deadline if their solid play continues, and other topics Indians’ fans might be interested in hearing his take on while optimism remains high along Lake Erie.
On the hot start:
“It’s been a really encouraging start. I think some of the things that we’ve talked about being keys for our season have played out that way so far; specifically one of the things that we thought would be important for our success would be the consistency of our starting rotation. If you take out the first game for Fausto (Carmona) and the first few innings of (Carlos) Carrasco we’ve gotten very consistent starting pitching and they’ve given us a chance to win games. That’s been boosted by an offense that has had consistent at-bats and everyone has contributed to helping us win games in every spot in the lineup. Combine that with some very good defense and sound execution. I think that’s led to the quick start.”
Whether or not they can be buyers as opposed to sellers at the deadline if they keep playing well:
“Yeah I think that is our mindset. We need to be prepared for that. Manny (Acta) said this in the offseason that his job is to try and put the Dolans in a position to add guys at the deadline. That’s certainly my focus. Part of our job as we go into a season is prepare for all the different ways the season can go. We’re hopeful that if we can continue to play quality baseball and are in contention, we will make sure we examine all those opportunities to improve the club and give us the best position we can in the second half.”
On what they still need to get better at:
“I think the same things. We try to be mindful of not looking into ten games. You can fall into some traps if you make evaluations based on that. I think the consistency in our rotation I think is going to really determine the success of our season. If those guys can continue to give us a chance to win games then I think we do have a chance to surprise some people. I think that’s the thing, because it is such a young group and they don’t have the same track record as other teams have, although they are exceptionally talented, I think that consistency is going to be the important thing for our season.”