The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 31, 2014

A Don McCormack column: Another season is upon us

Paying a Monday morning — Cleveland Indians-heavy — visit to the variety store...

Tribe time

The Cleveland Indians will kick off their 2014 season tonight against the Oakland Athletics, with first pitch set for just past 10 p.m.

Benjamin Eckstein, the guy who compiles the excellent America’s Line feature that appears on these pages on an every-day basis, has set the over/under for victories for the Wahoos at 80.5.

Considering manager Terry Francona’s squad is coming off a 92-victory season, one that saw them earn the opportunity to host the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League wildcard game at Progressive Field, that number would appear to be a bit low, at least in the opinion of many who follow America’s pastime in this neck of the woods.

However, it says here the loss of 40 percent of Cleveland’s starting rotation from 2013 will have a big effect on the longterm health of the Tribe in terms of wins and losses this season.

We’ll get to my exact number of wins for the Indians in a bit, but here’s how our real experts whose names you will see most of the spring and summer on these pages see the Indians faring in terms of victory total:

  • Vince Peluso — 88.
  • Bob Ettinger — 95.
  • Rich Kelly — 97.
  • Michael Shaffer — 87.
  • Steve Goldman, our Tribe beat writer — 88.

As for yours truly, I see the Wahoos finishing just better than the break-even mark, 82 victories sounds about right.

If the likes of Danny Salazar, Corey Kluber, Zach McAlister and Carlos Carrasco can come through, the chances of that 82-win total climbing will improve dramatically.

Regardless, after the abysmal performance by the (supposed) professional football team in this region, the disappointing finish to the Ohio State football season by coach Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, the blech campaign logged by the Cavaliers and the one-and-out effort by Thad Matta’s Buckeye cagers this winter, the Indians getting back on the ballfield is a very welcome happening.

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