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Cleveland Indians Coverage: Francona Still May Need a Bubble Gum Supply for October by Jim Brazytis

I’m not giving up on the Indians just yet! I know, I know, we’re four games out of the division and second wild card spot with two weeks left in the season. But stay with me, I’m talking with my head here, plus a little bit of my broken Cleveland sports heart.

If you take an objective look through my “homer” glasses at the teams we’re battling for a playoff position, which include the Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Kansas City Royals and Seattle Mariners,  the Wahoos still have a chance to ensure Manager Terry Francona is blowing bubbles in October. First, we’ll start at home with the Indians. After last weekend’s series with the Tigers the Tribe now will take on the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins, then they go head-to-head for four games with the Royals (this series includes a suspended game we’re leading by two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning) before wrapping up the season against the Tampa Bay Rays.

All these teams are sub-.500 except for the Royals but at least we control our own destiny against them. In addition to the series with the Indians, the Royals also have a three-game series against the Tigers. So their road to the franchise’s first playoff appearance in nearly three decades is not a lock.

Now let’s look west to see what’s in front of the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. The A’s are leading the wild card race by a ½ game over the Royals and Mariners but are fading fast. This team in playing horrible baseball! Over their last 10 games they’re 2-8 and 14-26 since July 30! My prediction - and you can take this one to the bank - team “Money Ball” will not be playing in October. (In your face Brad Pitt.)

In Seattle, the Mariners are hoping their $240 million investment in Robinson Cano will pay playoff dividends. The Mariners are playing at a high level with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games.  But Tribe fans have no fear; the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are here! Luckily for the Indians, the Mariners have seven games left against the best team in the American League – the Angels – who are fighting to hold off the Baltimore Orioles for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Over their last 10 games the Angels are 9-1. All I know is that I’ll be Mike Trout’s biggest fan the next two weeks.

Now that all the analytics are out of the way, I’m just pleading to the sports-gods, please, please let the Tribe get on a roll. We can still do it, I know we can! All we need is a little hitting to go with the outstanding pitching we’ve been getting and Francona will be blowing playoff bubbles on the corner of Ontario and Carnegie.

Jim Brazytis is a 43-year old amateur athlete still waiting for the scouts to find him at his "old man" baseball league games. A life-long Clevelander, he has suffered through decades of losing sports teams and heartache while waiting for some Cleveland professional sports team team, besides the Cleveland Crunch, to win a championship.