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A Look At The Indians (Potential) Postseason Opponents

While it is much, much too early to be looking at the Indians’ progress to another postseason berth as guaranteed, the shape of the American League has had a familiar look to it for the last few months now. Barring some sort of catastrophe, i.e. letting a double-digit game lead slip to a poor Detroit side, Cleveland will be in the 2018 ALDS as AL Central champions.

The other AL contenders have leads just as commanding, so, as we hurtle towards the All-Star Break, let’s take a look at them, and the areas that could cause concern for Tito Francona and co.

Houston Astros

If the regular season ended today, the Indians would face the Astros in the ALDS. The Houston players have, pretty much, maintained the excellent form that saw them crowned World Series champions in 2017.

What concerns Cleveland?

Basically, everything. It is arguable that the Astros are the most well-rounded team in baseball. They lead MLB in ERA (a fantastic 2.84) and are second in terms of runs scored. For good measure, they also lead MLB in most fielding stats. Most legal online sports betting Canada sites have the Astros as favorites at around 7/2 (William Hill) for the World Series. The Indians, incidentally, are a tempting 14/1 with the same sportsbook.

New York Yankees

The Bronx Bombers have been like a yo-yo in trading places with the Red Sox atop the AL East all season, so there is no point in predicting if they will be the East’s champions or not. The Yankees will surely be in the postseason though. They are just a shade behind Houston in the World Series odds, coming in at 4/1.

What concerns Cleveland?

Power hitting. Aaron Judge (23) is smashing it with home runs and Giancarlo Stanton (19) seems to be heating up nicely, but it is the support cast, such as Didi Gregorius and Gleyber Torres both hitting 15 long balls so far, that best demonstrates the power of the Yankees.

Boston Red Sox

The Sox look a completely different team to the one that crashed out to the Indians 3-0 in the ALDS in 2016. David Ortiz is gone, but the power hitting from Mookie Betts and J.D Martinez has more than made up for the loss of Big Papi. It looks nearly guaranteed that they will get the AL Wild Card at least.

What concerns Cleveland?

It’s hard to put this Red Sox side in a box. Their run production is excellent, leading the MLB. In fact, they are one of the best teams in baseball for smelling blood on the mound and effectively winning a game in a single inning. They do, however, have concerns over the bullpen and David Price is not doing what David Price used to do. But they always seem to get the job done.

Seattle Mariners

Currently on an 8-game winning streak, the Mariners might do what most thought was impossible and unseat Houston as kings of the AL West. Some sportsbooks have them as high as 18/1 for a World Series win. Unlikely perhaps, but they look to be a side full of momentum.

What concerns Cleveland?

This Seattle side looks to be more than the sum of its parts. No standout performers, with even ‘King’ Felix Hernandez’ posting an ERA of over 5.00. However, they have the look of a team about them, a sense of unity in their ranks. Perhaps that is most dangerous of all. They’d be a very tricky opponent for the Indians.

Matt Loede has been a part of the Cleveland Sports Media for over 21 years, with experience covering Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, the National Football League and even high school and college events. He has been a part of the Cleveland Indians coverage since the opening of Jacobs/Progressive Field in 1994, and spent two and a half years covering the team for 92.3 The Fan, and covers them daily for Associated Press Radio. You can follow Matt on Twitter HERE.

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