Analyzing Potential Playoff Opponents for the Indians

Zach Shafron

Despite a recent eight-game losing skid, the Cleveland Indians look to be in good shape to make the playoffs this season, as they currently sit with the number seven seed in the American League with seven games left.

This, in part, due to the fact that Major League Baseball expanded the amount of teams that will make it to the dance in each league from five to eight. Thus, 16 total (more than half).

Those eight are the top three in each division, then the second place team behind them and finally, two wild cards round it out.

In a normal season, nobody would be analyzing the playoff race just 50 games into the year. However, this is a 60-game season and there will be six more playoffs teams across the league.

It is certainly much different than usual.

Currently third place for the AL Central, the Indians are likely to be one of the two wild card teams that make the playoffs in the American League.

Thus, their opponent will likely be either the Tampa Bay Rays or Chicago White Sox. The first round of the playoffs is a three-game series, yet another nuance thrown at the clubs.

The White Sox are third in the league in average at .270, fifth in home runs with 83 and sixth in RBI with 252.

Obviously, this is a team that can hit tremendously led by shortstop Tim Anderson with a .365 batting average.

However, the Indians do have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and could certainly challenge a team like the White Sox.

Pitching-wise, the White Sox are third with 33 wins and fourth with a 3.53 ERA.

The other possible opponent in Tampa Bay is not in the top-five of any major hitting statistical categories.

Pitching-wise, the Rays are second in wins at 34, first in saves at 19 and fourth in strikeouts at 476. Led by starters Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, the Rays would have the ability to control a series with good quality starts.

The Indians may have to find a way to have more offense than seen in the regular season against a team like Tampa in order to win a series against such great pitching. It would shape up to be quite the pitchers’ duel.

In baseball, all that a team has to really do is make the playoffs and then get hot at the right time.

Certainly, these two teams the Indians could face are extremely talented and the Tribe will have a tough task in defeating either one of them. However, especially with the

shortened-series, anything can happen.

Look forward to a postseason filled with action from baseball clubs that yearn for that coveted World Series Crown.