Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Preview A Day Keeps the Winter Away, #12

For the month of March I will be doing a season preview, with a new team each day, going in alphabetical order by team so I can save the Yankees for last, because I am, in fact, that devious.

As this is a Yankees' blog, the previews for AL East teams will be more detailed than those of AL Central and AL West teams, and any AL team previews will be more detailed than NL team previews, save maybe for the Mets. Each preview will involve consideration of how much 'threat' a team is to the Yankees, for fairly obvious reasons.

Up today: The Cleveland Indians

If someone mentions "Indians" to you, and you're a Yankee fan, you'll probably remember midges. Lots and lots of midges.

Probably a good idea to remember that Cleveland's got a pretty good baseball team, too.

It's got virtually no similarities to the Indians team of the late nineties, but one could argue that this year's squad is better than that team. In CC Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, they arguably have the best 1-2 "punch" in the American League. In Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera they have some excellent young talent.

Cleveland's biggest issue right now is tht they have to play in the same division as Detroit. While Cleveland clearly has less questions concerning its pitching staff than Detroit does (outside of Verlander, the Tigers' staff doesn't inspire much confidence), Detroit's line up is much more intimidating.

This isn't to say Cleveland doesn't have a good line up. In fact, with Sizemore, Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner, Cleveland's got a better line up than most teams. It's just that Detroit, right now, probably has the best line up in the league, and given that of the Yankees, that's saying something.

So keys to Cleveland's 2008 Season:

1) Like the Yankees, they need the young guys to produce. This wasn't much of a problem last year, so it theoretically shouldn't be a huge problem this year.

2) Establish pitching depth outside of Carmona and Sabathia. They have a great prospect in Laffey, but the division in talent between their first two pitchers and Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd is considerable.

3) Stay healthy. I might as well.

Threat to the Yankees: RED--DANGER

Well, they did beat us last October, and while you can blame one game on freak midges, you can't blame all three losses on it.

We don't play them the same amount of games as the AL East teams, but not only are they a very likely playoff foe, there's a considerable possibility we wi8ll be fighting them off for the Wild Card spot, unless Detroit utterly collapses.

Which has been known to happen.


  1. Cleveland is a good team but I still think that the Yanks should have beat them last season in the playoffs. They will probably be one of the contenders for the wild card.

  2. I am figuring them for second in the division, maybe third.

    Ahead of the Yankees no matter what.