This point in the year is an interesting time for sports fans. On one hand, the NFL season is right around the corner, as football teams are getting ready for their first preseason games. On the other, the MLB season is entering the final stretch and at this point we have a clear vision of who the top World Series contenders will be. How are the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians looking at the current moment?
The Cleveland Browns
After the 11-5 season they had last year, Browns fans have every reason to be excited. Everyone seems to be rallying around them including fans and analysts and, at the time of writing, they are the overwhelming -620 favorites in their matchup with the Houston Texans for instance. What is the team going to bring to the table this season?
For the most part, quarterback Baker Mayfield and the rest of the successful offense from last year are returning. This means that we can likely expect them to be more comfortable and perform well again. They already have the experience and synergy needed to excel. Coach Kevin Stefanski has shown consistency with his play calling abilities and in recent interviews, he has certainly sounded sure of what he needs to see this year.
Defensively, the squad is looking much better than last year as well. They spent the majority of their draft picks on defensive players like Greg Newsome, CB from Northwestern, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB from Notre Dame, James Hudson, OT from Cincinnati, and Tommy Togiai, DT from Ohio State. These players will likely give the Browns’ line the boost it needs. While anything can happen this season, the Browns look as ready as they can be and have an exciting schedule ahead of them.
The Cleveland Indians
As one team is just beginning their season, another is looking towards the end. The Indians have just a few months left in their long MLB season and what we’ve seen thus far has certainly been up and down. With so much commotion surrounding the team, it’s a wonder that they have managed to hold things together. However, they just dropped 3 of their 4 games against the Blue Jays this week and have finally fallen past .500. If they don’t fight to keep their energy up, this could be a disastrous end of the season.
By now, all Ohio MLB fans know what’s been happening over in Cleveland. The Indians are playing their last season under this moniker, soon to be rebranded to the Cleveland Guardians. In addition, famed MLB manager Terry “Tito” Francona has undergone surgery and is out for the rest of the season. His future is uncertain and it would be a major blow if he didn’t return next year. With several players like Shane Bieber and José Ramírez facing multiple recurring injuries and others like Cesar Hernandez and Eddie Rosario traded, what does the team have left for the remainder of the year?
The answer is sadly not much. It would be tragic for the Indians to go out with a whimper, so they need to focus on the talent they do have and the games in front of them. Pitcher Triston McKenzie has been coming along, as well as Eli Morgan. Both are finding their rhythm and starting to become very consistent and dependable. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about the Indians’ most promising relief pitchers, James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase. They both have very strong traits and abilities, but are struggling to stay consistent, especially in big games when they are most needed.
Most troubling however is the team’s batting lineup. Ramirez has been the backbone of this squad yet he has been sliding recently, as has designated hitter Franmil Reyes. Amed Rosario was on fire before the All-Star break but has since really fallen off. The Indians are having trouble putting up runs regularly and it has greatly affected their record since the midway point of the season. At the current moment, the post season looks like a near possibility for the Indians and we can only hope a fresh rebrand will help the team come back next year with renewed vigor and ambition.