Legendary manager Connie Mack of the Philadelphia A’s once said that pitching is 75% of baseball. The SP78 edition of the Cleveland Indians are trying their best to prove him right: through July, the Tribe are batting .294 as a team, with five regulars hitting over .300 for the season, and Buddy Bell, Bernie Carbo, and Jim Norris all hitting over .350 in July. Why then did the team finish the month with a 13-17 mark, good for sixth place in the AL East and a current record of 47-59? One only has to look at the pitching staff for the answer: a 4.43 staff earned run average for the year, with three pitchers—Mike Paxton, David Clyde, and Paul Reuschel—stuck with ERA’s over 5.00.
Starting southpaw Rick Waits remains the only bright spot on the Indians staff, going 14-5 through July with a 2.73 ERA, 12 complete games, and five shutouts. In his three seasons with the Cleveland organization, he’s never had more than nine wins, and with two months left in the SP78 campaign, he has a good chance of reaching the coveted 20-win mark. Tribe bats remain hot, with Carbo leading the squad in average (.368), Bell in hits (141), and Andre Thornton in HR (21) and RBI (72), and Bell leading the AL in triples, with 14. But unless Indians hurlers can make a quick turnaround, the final two months of the season could be frustrating ones for Tribe fans.
To take a look at the Indians team page for results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.