Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  By SAM AMICO  |  Last updated 8/9/13
CLEVELAND -- Well, it sure does stink to be a member of the Cleveland Indians right now. Five days ago, it was great. Then the Detroit Tigers came to town. By the time they left, they took a commanding lead in the American League Central and stole nearly every reason for the Indians to believe in something good. Four games and four losses -- punctuated by the Tigers 10-3 hammer job Thursday night at Progressive Field. Hows that for sheer delight, Tribe fans? When the Tigers strutted into town, they owned a three-game lead in the division. Its now up to a whopping seven after their first four-game sweep in Cleveland in 25 years. Its no wonder Tigers starter Max Scherzer called it his teams best four-game series of the year. Well, duh. Scherzer is having a remarkable season, winning all but one of his 18 decisions -- and allowing just four hits in seven innings Thursday. But drummer Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsten and Conan OBrien fame could have been the pitcher on this night and it wouldnt have mattered. When you give up 10 runs (including six by Indians starter Zach McCallister in the third), youre entering mercy-rule territory. So yeah, the Indians were not good. And yeah, theyve been that way pretty much all season against the Tigers. For the record, Cleveland is 59-40 vs. everyone else, and 3-13 against Detroit. None of this would necessarily be dreradful news if Detroit wasnt the very team Cleveland is chasing. We got beat up a little bit, said Indians manager Terry Francona, and he sure can say that again. We need to do a little better. Now, if it sounds like Francona is downplaying the situation a little, its because it probably is the right thing to do. You cant panic in early August. The so-so (so far) Los Angeles Angeles come to Cleveland this weekend, and the Tigers are headed to New York to face the Yankees. The Yankees need to get their act together soon and will certainly have plenty of motivation. So if all goes well, or close to well, the Indians could be right back in it by Sunday night. We are going to be fine, Francona said. I believe that or I wouldnt say that. I have a feeling that we will hang in there. We will figure out a way. As depressing as this series was, Francona may be on to something. These arent the Indians of the past two summers, who got off to hot starts but were built to fail (and eventually did). This particular group is more talented, more experienced, and seems more capable of putting together an inspiring run when it means the most. Provided, of course, the Indians arent playing the Tigers. Things got so bad Thursday the Indians used utility man Ryan Raburn to pitch the ninth. Then again, Raburn had the best night of anyone, throwing a perfect inning against his former team. Before that, it was all bad news, starting with McCallister in the third. He gave up bases-loaded doubles to Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez, and after 2 13 innings, the Indians trailed 6-0. That about did it, folks. On the bright side, it just did it for one series. One the downside, it did it for a series that everyone who plays for or follows the team viewed as critical. Thats where things stand today, and it pretty much stinks. The Indians dont stink -- just the situation. Because if the pressure isnt all the way on, its darn near close. Francona said he believes the Indians will be OK in spite of what just happened. Theres still enough time for him to be prophetic. But now the Indians just have to prove him right a little sooner than hoped.
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