Cleveland: Projected Win Total O81.5 wins: 3rd in the AL Central
The Indians were the biggest possible stunners in 2013, rising from 68 wins all the way to 92 victories. Everything fell into place and first-year manager Terry Francona energized a collection of fairly good players, playing for a leader who believed and trusted them to compete daily.
The offense produced all season and ended up tied for 5th in the big leagues at 4.6 runs a game. Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir found lightning in a bottle and pitched like they were six years younger and Francona had the Tribe take care of business.
These numbers explain why Cleveland was the best bet in baseball last year for those making baseball picks. In all division games not against Detroit, the Indians were 40-17. They won the close one’s with a 30-17 mark in one-run outcomes and knew how to win when favored at 56-23 (+26.4 units).
But when you rise so dramatically, reality usually comes calling, which is why sportsbooks have set the Tribe’s total at 81.5.
When you break down Cleveland’s offense by the individual talent, it is hard to figure why they were so potent and likely a certain amount of regression will set in with opposing teams less likely to take the Indians as lightly.
Jimenez and Kazmir probably would have not had as good of years had the stayed on the shores of Lake Erie, however, not sure who is convinced Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber and Zack McAllister are ready to carry the load behind Justin Masterson.
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Game Notes: Danny Salazar did not display the triple digits fastball, but threw hard nonetheless and his breaking pitches had bite against what was essentially the Angels likely Triple A team.
Trevor Bauer’s bid to be Cleveland’s No. 5 starter took a hit, being clobbered for seven and seven hits in two innings and giving up two free passes.
MLB Season Prospects: The Halos are 17-32 the last two April’s and this is a team in desperate need of a good start to help build their confidence. The schedule could help, having six games with Seattle and three each with Houston and the Mets. My feeling is at this time the slight of leans for Anaheim to go over the total on the basketball odds.
Maybe Cleveland will surprise again, but history tells us teams like the Indians typically regress 10-11 games following such a giant leap, placing them around .500.