A lost series to the Yankees looks like a huge positive step forward as the Indians weren't swept after being swept in five of their last eight series. They haven't actually won a series in over a month, the last being at the end of July against Detroit when they were still in the playoff hunt. At this point, winning a single game is a momentous victory. Marred with two losing streaks (one 11 games, the other nine), the Indians will likely finish the month with out winning a single series and with just five wins so far in the month, it is looking to be like one of the worst in franchise history.
The only significant change made during the most recent losing streak was the addition of Matt LaPorta, back from Columbus. If the Indians management has any clue what it is doing, this has to be Matt's last chance and he should be given a fair one. So far he has played in two of the three possible games for him to play, but if the Indians actually want to learn anything about him, he needs to play every single game for the rest of the year. Casey Kotchman will not be returning for 2013 and the Indians don't currently have many options at first, so step one is deciding whether it is worth even having LaPorta on the 40 man roster next season.
The Indians have also announced that they will possibly change to a six man rotation for the last month of the season, most likely with the return of Jeanmar Gomez to the starting rotation. Since the five pitchers that are currently starting can't seem to keep anyone down, it can't hurt to bring in another arm at this point.
August 27th, 7:05 EDT: Brett Anderson, LHP, 1-0, 1.29 ERA vs Roberto Hernandez, RHP, 0-2, 6.75 ERA
This will be an intriguing match-up as Hernandez will be throwing his third game this year after returning with a new name and Anderson will be throwing just his second game of 2012 after returning with a new elbow ligament. Obviously his first time out was a success as can be seen by his record and Roberto's was not as can be seen by his. The Indians had a hard enough time scoring in their last series with the A's (one of the sweeps mentioned above) when they were outscored 21-9 and neither of these pitchers threw. This match-up doesn't look good for the Tribe, but maybe their new weapon against left handers can show what he is really made of. My guess, Jesus juice.
August 28th, 7:05 EDT: Tommy Milone, LHP, 10-9, 3.87 ERA vs Zach McAllister, RHP, 5-4, 3.50 ERA
This is going to be a rematch of last weeks game between two rookie starters. Although Milone has had an arguably better season, McAllister matched him in their last match-up as each pitcher gave up 4 runs (McAllister pitched one more inning) in a game decided by bullpens. In a rare occasion, the almost infallible Joe Smith allowed this one to get away, but you can be sure he won't let that happen again. If there are two people who should have guaranteed spots on the roster next season they are Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano. No one else on the team has shown the combination of heart and talent that this right handed low-throwing duo has out of the bullpen.
August 29th, 7:05 EDT: TBA vs Corey Kluber, RHP, 0-2, 5.32 ERA
Bartolo Colon's spot in the rotation was originally taken by Tyson Ross, but he has since been demoted to AAA and will be further replaced by another minor league starter for this game. The options are A.J. Griffin, Dan Straily or Travis Blackley.
Kluber has been basically guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation for the rest of the season with Manny Acta's mention of a possible six man rotation. He now has to show the Indians what he has to bring to the table as a possible starter in 2013.
August 30th, 12:05 EDT: Jarrod Parker, 8-7, 3.52 ERA vs Justin Masterson, RHP, 10-11, 4.60 ERA
Yes, this is a four game series, one of two left in the season (the other against the Twins). After this the Indians will play multiple series against the Rangers, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Royals in what is some very uncreative scheduling to end the season. With such tough foes ahead, the Indians will have to pull out all the stops to try to at least split the series against Oakland and find some semblance of respectability. This should be a good chance for the Indians to pull out a win with a right handed pitcher throwing against the Tribe and Masterson on the mound for them. Justin was good in his last outing and has been himself in two of his last three earning each of the Indians last two wins and almost magically, three of the Indians five wins so far in the month of August.