The Cleveland baseball team is coasting into the 2018 MLB playoffs. But that’s not due to how well they’ve been performing on the field. In fact, at 70-52, they are the only team with a winning record in the AL Central. Going into Saturday night, they held a 11.5-game lead over the Minnesota Twins. Now 70 wins is nothing to scoff at, of course. However, they currently have the fifth-best record in the American League. Yet because they lead their division, no matter how terrible it is, they won’t have to play in a wild card game.
The 74-win Houston Astros? They might have to. Same goes for the 74-win Oakland Athletics. The 77-win New York Yankees are heading that way too, but that’s also because the Boston Red Sox just cannot stop winning.
Now, though, is when the news gets bad for Cleveland. Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer has a small stress fracture in his fibula. According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, manager Terry Francona says he’s going to be out for a while. At least a month, it looks like.
“Francona said Bauer will be out of game activity for 4-6 weeks.”
That sucks for Cleveland. But it also sucks for Bauer, who is having quite the season on the mound.
“The more I sit back and think about how good my season’s going, the more pissed off I get, because now I’m not pitching,” he said to Bastian.
His follow-up comments also show that he’s a little bit defensive about it. Not to mention, Bauer appears to care way too much about other people think of him.
“And that’s what I should be doing. I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there that are happy about the fact that they get to ignore that I’m one of the best pitchers in the league for another year. They don’t have to face that reality,” he adds.
Yes, for the first time in his seven-year MLB career, Trevor is pitching well for more than just a handful starts in a row. He is finally putting it all together for a full season. Bauer has career-best numbers across the board this season, including in ERA (2.22), FIP (2.41), DRA (2.40), K/9 (11.6) and HR/9 (0.4). If that’s the pitcher Cleveland gets back upon his return, and into the next couple of seasons, they’ll be feeling pretty good.
As it stands, we don’t know what this means. Cleveland is going to win their division; we know that. But even with Bauer, how much noise will they make in the playoffs?