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Cleveland needs pitching help heading into second half

The All-Star Classic takes place this week giving players and coaches four days to relax and get ready for the second half of the season.

In the American League Central, two teams are fighting it out for first place. Currently the Detroit Tigers are in first place by 1 ½ games over the Cleveland Indians. However, the Indians have won three straight games to stay close heading to the four-day break.

After 94 games, the Cleveland Indians have shown they are a team of streaks. Despite making an overhaul of the team during the offseason and hiring manager Terry Francona, the team was expected to have a modest season.

The Indians started out of the gate slow and after 21 games were just 8-13. Cleveland then went 18-4 over their next 22 games, but followed that streak by losing 16 of their next 20. That was followed by the Indians winning 15 of their next 20, and then losing five of seven. Currently, they are starting another streak after having won three straight.

That inconsistency has many of their fans worried as they head to the last 70 games of the regular season.

If Cleveland has any hopes of making the postseason they need to changes some things following the All-Star break.

One way to shorten or end any rally is a strikeout. Strikeouts have been the downfall of Cleveland for years and this season they are second in the league in Ks. Only the Houston Astros have more strikeouts than Cleveland does.

With the acquisitions of Michael, Bourn, Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs and Mark Reynolds came an improved offense for the Indians, but also four players who can rack up large numbers of strikeouts.

Over the past 10 seasons, the Indians have been in the top three in team strikeouts 8 times.

Even though they have posted more strikeouts than most other teams, the Indians are still fifth in the league is scoring. Lower the number of strikeouts and the run total should increase.

The Indians also need to find a strong starter to add to their current rotation. At this point Cleveland has Justin Masterson as their number one starter with Scott Kazmir, Ubaldo Jimenez and Corey Kluber.

Although the pitching staff has done well without two projected starters in Zach McAllister and Brett Myers, the Indians must find another strong pitcher for their rotation.

One option is Danny Salazar who has worked his way up through the team’s farm system and made his Cleveland and MLB debut against Toronto last Thursday. He gave up just two hits and one run in six innings to earn the win. However, it is much too early to see if he can become one of the top three starters in the Cleveland rotation.

If the starting rotation was not enough of a problem be itself, the bullpen has had its ups and downs. At one time between Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith and Chris Perez, no opposing batter had a chance in the late innings versus Cleveland.

That has all changed as each has not pitched well and the Indians have lost games they should have won. Cleveland needs to trade for a reliever or get the ones they have back on track.

With the trade deadline less than three weeks away, Cleveland needs to make some additions to their starting rotation and bullpen if the postseason is in their game plan.

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