Fortunately for Cleveland, the Indians play in the AL Central and not the AL East. The AL Central does host the reigning American League Champion Detroit Tigers, and their reigning triple crown MVP Miguel Cabrera. And lets not forget the 2011 American League Cy Young winner for the Tigers Justin Verlander. Despite this mighty hurdle, the rest of the division is up for grabs, and the one thing that drastically sets a part Detroit is there elite starting rotation.
We saw what the Baltimore Orioles were able to accomplish in 2012, and they achieved their success through their pitching. The Orioles are constantly competing with the high slugging Yankees and Red Sox for a trip to the post season, and of course the Tampa Bay Rays. But as many runs as these slugging clubs are putting on the scoreboard, they are also giving up from their own starting pitching woes. That has been the downfall for the Yankees and Red Sox recently.
On paper, Detroit is stronger than Cleveland in most categories, so if the Indians want to make any type of run for the division or wild card, they will need big comeback seasons from Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jiminez. The Indians are still unsure if newly acquired pitching prospect Trevor Bauer will start the season in triple-A Columbus or with Cleveland, but regardless he still needs to make an impact with the Tribe whenever he does debut. Lastly is Carlos Carrasco, who was acquired as part of the Cliff Lee deal in 2009 from the Philadelphia Philles. Carrasco has shown great flashes at times with the Tribe before injuring his arm. Carrasco is coming off Tommy John surgery, but has been pitching in the off season.
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