Paying a Monday morning — Cleveland Indians-heavy — visit to the variety store...
The Cleveland Indians will kick off their 2014 season tonight against the Oakland Athletics, with first pitch set for just past 10 p.m.
Benjamin Eckstein, the guy who compiles the excellent America’s Line feature that appears on these pages on an every-day basis, has set the over/under for victories for the Wahoos at 80.5.
Considering manager Terry Francona’s squad is coming off a 92-victory season, one that saw them earn the opportunity to host the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wildcard game at Progressive Field, that number would appear to be a bit low, at least in the opinion of many who follow America’s pastime in this neck of the woods.
However, it says here the loss of 40 percent of Cleveland’s starting rotation from 2013 will have a big effect on the longterm health of the Tribe in terms of wins and losses this season.
We’ll get to my exact number of wins for the Indians in a bit, but here’s how our real experts whose names you will see most of the spring and summer on these pages see the Indians faring in terms of victory total:
Vince Peluso — 88.
Bob Ettinger — 95.
Rich Kelly — 97.
Michael Shaffer — 87.
Steve Goldman, our Tribe beat writer — 88.
As for yours truly, I see the Wahoos finishing just better than the break-even mark, 82 victories sounds about right.
If the likes of Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Zach McAlister and Carlos Carrasco can come through, the chances of that 82-win total climbing will improve dramatically.
Regardless, after the abysmal performance by the (supposed) professional football team in this region, the disappointing finish to the Ohio State football season by coach Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, the blech campaign logged by the Cavaliers and the one-and-out effort by Thad Matta’s Buckeye cagers this winter, the Indians getting back on the ballfield is a very welcome happening.
By the way, Eckstein places the odds on the Indians winning the 2014 World Series at 30-1.
In terms of winning the American League pennant, he has the Tribe at 15-1.
Looking at the American League Central Division, where the Indians finished a game behind the Detroit Tigers a year ago, he has set the odds of the Wahoos winning the crown at 6-1.
No night owl
A wonderful elderly lady called the other night and had an issue.
“Son, what can you do about my Indians not starting their first game until after 10 o’clock?” she said, matter-of-factly. “I think you should put in an official complain for us old people because we can’t stay awake that late.”
When I politely informed her I had zero influence about such decisions, she didn’t want to hear about it.
“Listen, you do your job, sonny!” she barked, then slammed the telephone down and hung up.
I’ll see what I can do, mam.