The Cleveland Indians lost their ace Justin Masterson on Monday at Progressive Field, and lost the game as well.
What does this mean for the team who stands within reach of that second AL Wild Card? It means that the chances of reaching the postseason are much slimmer than before.
Masterson (14-10) leads the Indians in wins, innings pitched, complete games, and strikeouts. The only Jamaican-born pitcher in the MLB left the game in the second inning after sustaining an injury to his rib cage.
An MRI was scheduled for this afternoon with the results stating he has an oblique strain and will miss at least one start.
The good news is that Corey Kluber will pitch for him.
The injury to the All Star makes fans wonder if this injury is the final nail in the coffin for the 2013 season. The Indians sit at 3.5 games back of the second wild card spot, but that doesn’t mean much if they continue to lose.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am the biggest Indians fan on the face of the earth. I proudly wear my Indians gear wherever I go and watch every single game that I possibly can. If i could, I would attend Progressive Field for every home game. Every year, I hope that this is the year. And this year, it really felt like it could be.
The injury to Masterson isn’t the end of the world. It hurts. But it doesn’t mean the Indians are done for.
The schedule is fair. The Indians have to leap over Tampa Bay, New York Yankees, and Baltimore for that second wild card, but they can do it. (Let’s not forget, the Vegas odds makers only predicted 77 1/2 wins for the Tribe on their over/under). In the midst of a 3 game series with Baltimore, if the Indians can win the next 2 games, that will bump the Indians ahead of the Orioles.
After this series with Baltimore, the Indians will face the Mets for a 3 game series, the Twins and Astros for 4 games each, and the White Sox and Royals for 6 games each.
The Indians can easily win 16 out of those 23 games. Heck, they can easily win 18- remember the streak they went on earlier this season?. If they do, they have a great shot at the postseason.