Tomorrow is Opening Day for the 2012 Cleveland Indians. I’m not sure anybody knows what to expect from the team this year — tomorrow we’ll start to find out.
Last year the Tribe surprised the baseball world with its fine play early in the season. With excellent pitching and timely hitting, the Indians eked out a series of wins and stood atop the AL Central into the summer. As the season wore on, however, the Tribe faded, then crashed and burned, and ended the year with a record below .500.
The only thing that is predictable about this baseball season in the AL Central is that the Detroit Tigers will win. They won last year, and they’ve added Prince Fielder to an already potent mix. The rest of the division, including the Tribe, will be fighting for second place and hoping to keep the mighty Tigers from winning by a record margin.
We’ll hope that spring training results don’t mean anything (and they often don’t) because the Tribe was awful this spring. I think the team has some good young pitchers, but the bullpen is iffy and they likely will struggle to score runs. The rules of baseball don’t permit games to end in 0-0 ties, so the latter problem is going to hurt. Unless the Indians come up with someone who can hit consistently, and with power, I think they’ll be hard pressed to end up with a record as good as last year’s team .