When the Indians take the field in Minnesota on Monday to begin a day/night doubleheader, they will have 69 games left to play.
47 of those games will be within the Central Division. It is safe to say that the Tribe's post-season hopes truly will be settled "in-house".
Of the 22 games that will be left outside of the Central, six will be in Texas over two different three-game sets, against the Indians-nemesis Rangers. It will be remembered that the Rangers came into Cleveland earlier this season and swept the Tribe in four straight.
For the other 16 games outside of the Indians' division, three will be at home against the Angels, there is a four-game gauntlet of a trip to Boston to face the Red Sox, five will be in Cleveland vs. the Mariners (including two games made up that were rained out earlier in the season), and the Oakland Athletics will pay a visit to Cleveland for four.
You look at these 22 games and -- if you are me -- you say that you would settle for going 11-11 and count yourself lucky.
So far in 2011, the Tribe is 7-2 vs. Kansas City, 4-2 against Detroit, and 1-4 vs. both Chicago and Minnesota, adding up to a 13-12 record in-division record.
It won't be just the Indians with a full plate of Central games the rest of the way: Detroit still plays 44 games; Chicago plays 46; Minnesota plays 42; and Kansas City plays 37 within the division.
So none of the contenders will be able to dodge having to win in the division to win the division.
For the rest of July, beginning on Monday, the Tribe plays 10 of 13 in the Central. In August Cleveland faces Central teams 15 of 29 times. And in September, the screws will tighten as -- down the stretch -- the Indians play 22 of 27 in-house.
Strap in and buckle up. The rest of this season could very well be a wild ride, and when about 70% of the rest of your games are basically two-game swings, intensity could be the order of the day.
And not just when the Tribe is involved in the games.