Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 8/22/18

  • August 21, 2018

They’re this year’s afterthought playoff team. But it might be time to start zeroing in on the Cleveland Indians as a team with a real shot to win it all come October. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making the Tribe the favorites. But this is a pretty good looking team right now and they’ve certainly built a bit of a case for themselves with two straight wins at Fenway Park against the powerful Red Sox.

The Indians are not without flaws, but there are some major strengths. Trevor Bauer will miss some time with his injury, but he should be fine when the games matter most. Bauer, Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are a very potent big three at the top of the rotation. That trio can match up with anyone.

The top of the lineup is outstanding. Lindor, Brantley, Ramirez is a 1-2-3 capable of inflicting damage against any pitcher.

The one real area of concern for this team has been the bullpen. But that aspect is looking much more robust now. Andrew Miller is finally healthy and that ridiculous slider appears to be working its magic once again. Cody Allen isn’t lights out but he’s good more often than not. The trade with the Padres that brought Brad Hand to Cleveland might turn out to be one of the best deals any contender made at the deadline. Hand can setup or close and now that he’s escaped from the relative anonymity of baseball in San Diego, the veteran lefty seems to be loving the chance to pitch in big games.

I think this is a dangerous team. The Indians might not qualify as the team to beat, but they might well end up as being the opponent no one wants to face come October.

I’m looking at a pretty busy football weekend. I’m on each of the two Week Zero college games and have already wagered on two NFLX Week Three games where the info stream has produced what I feel are positive expectation plays. More to come as rotations and possible game plans are determined over the next day or two.

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Here’s an early opinion on one of the Wednesday MLB matchups.

ASTROS (Morton) at MARINERS (Gonzales)

Take: ASTROS  -135

The Astros got a needed win on Tuesday night as they hung on to defeat the Mariners. Jose Altuve didn’t do much with the bat in his return from the DL. But make no mistake, getting the reigning AL MVP back on the field was a big mental lift for this Houston team.

Quick take on today’s series windup. I’m looking at going against Marco Gonzales. The Mariners southpaw has had a breakout season and has been a real asset to this Seattle entry. But I suspect the innings might be starting to take their toll on Gonzales. There’s been a bit of slippage lately and it might not be just a short term blip. The hard hit rate has zoomed and it dimply looks to me like Gonzales doesn’t have the same late life on his offerings that we’ve seen for most of the season.

Charlie Morton has to rate an edge on the starting pitcher comparison and I think it’s now just a matter of getting that one big offensive game for this Astros lineup to get rolling again, That could come today at Safeco. Just an opinion for now, but Houston is definitely a consideration for me today.