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The Tribe is Failing to Meet Expectations

                When the Indians started the season out on a 30-15 clip, everything was clicking. The average result of a game was a win by 1.5 runs. They had a respectable .265 batting average and their ERA was a sparkling 3.38. They were looking like a true team as well. The Tribe was consistently coming back to win games that they never should have won, thanks to above-average hitting and stellar pitching. However, all hell has broken loose.

After the first 45 games of the season, the Indians are playing .400 ball. During the last 51 games, their batting average has shrunk to a measly .238, while their ERA ballooned up to 4.56 during the span. And worse, the average result of a game during this stretch is a loss by 1.2 runs. But all of this is understandable: they are a young team, they have been plagued by injury worse than just about anybody in baseball, and every team goes through some rough patches. However, true teams can handle adversity. The worst thing about the Indians is that they are not playing as a true team.

The so-called “WINdians” are not playing good baseball at all. But that’s no reason to keel over and die, is it? On July 7th, the Indians looked like the Tribe of old, when they came back in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Blue Jays on a walk off grand slam by Travis Hafner. That should be a huge motivation to the team, right? Nope; they would go on to lose the next three games to the sub-.500 Blue Jays. During a four game series in Baltimore, the Tribe came out and pounded the Orioles in the first two games, because they are simply the better team. However, they stopped playing their hardest and conceded the next two games to the O’s. Think they learned their lesson? Wrong again. The next series, they committed the same exact crime and even found new, creative ways to lose. But when the mighty Yankees came to town, the Indians decide to play hard and they took two of the three from the Bombers. It seems that they play to the level of their opponents, and it costs them dearly.

But at least they have each others’ backs as a team, right? I’m afraid you’re mistaken. In the last month, Lonnie Chisenhall was hit in the head with a pitch. About a week later, Travis Buck was hit in the head with a pitch. Additionally, Shin-Soo Choo was hit on the thumb with a pitch that was directed straight for his head. Now I’m not saying that any of these HBPs were on purpose, but regardless, why was there no retaliation at all? No one from the bench was upset about it; no pitcher felt the obligation to offer a little payback. The team has no fire in its belly. No drive at all. I think part of the blame goes on Manny Acta for not preparing and firing up his team, but at the end of the day the players have to step up.

I’m an Indians fan, so I’m allowed to say this: the 2011 Indians are a bunch of losers. I don’t mean losers in the derogatory sense; they’re not losers at life. They just have no idea how to win games. It almost seems like they are satisfied with their success up to this point in the season, and they don’t care what happens the rest of the way. I speak for the entire city of Cleveland when I say that the Indians better start to play like contenders instead of playing like chumps.

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