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Indians join the throwback craze
By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor
Indians team report
(Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians have apparently decided to jump on
the throwback bandwagon by resorting to their old-school ways. All that's
missing is Cory Snyder and those dark blue v-neck jerseys from the 1980's.
From 1995-2001, Cleveland averaged 93 victories a season and won the AL
Central title six times. The Indians, who also made two World Series
appearances during the span (1995, '97), had been revitalized after a
stretch in which it failed to make the playoffs from 1955 through 1994.
However, last season the Indians began trading away high-priced names and
finished below .500 (74-88) for the first time since 1993. They are poised for
an even worse year in 2003.
Admittedly, the Indians are going through a rebuilding stage, which is the
cause of this retro era. The shift in philosophy forced Cleveland favorite Jim
Thome to reluctantly pack up and sign on with the up-and-coming Philadelphia
At 7-19, the Indians off to their worst start in since 1969, when they were
5-21 through 26 games and finished with a 62-99 record. The team is currently
riding a seven-game losing streak for the first time since June 27-July 3,
Cleveland has totaled just 16 runs during its losing streak. For the season,
the team is second-to-last in the AL in both batting average (.243) and runs
The Indians' most recent loss came at the hands of the Anaheim Angels in the
opener of their three-game series on Tuesday. Ramon Ortiz tossed a complete
game and Garret Anderson and Jeff DaVanon each knocked in three runs, leading
the Angels to a 10-1 rout at Jacobs Field.
Ellis Burks homered for the Indians, whose home record dropped to 3-8.
Cleveland also fell to 0-15 when trailing after six innings.
Ricardo Rodriguez (2-2) had his worst outing of the season and gave up six
runs -- four earned -- in five innings of work.
"Anytime you lose a couple of games in a row, it's something you've got to
deal with," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "I think these guys do a good job
of separating each game from the next. I think it shows because they keep
battling every day."
As if the team's thin lineup wasn't trouble enough, the Indians are currently
playing without their best hitter this season -- Milton Bradley. The
centerfielder is on the 15-day DL with a hamstring injury.
Despite last playing on April 22, Bradley still leads the team in batting
average (.375), hits (30), doubles (10), runs scored (16) and OPS (1.046).
On top of that, the Indians are receiving little help from their ace and their
Working with weak run support, C.C. Sabathia (0-2) has yet to post a win six
starts in 2003. The southpaw has gone 13-13 since posting a 17-5 record during
his rookie season of 2001.
Danys Baez is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA and just three saves this year. His three
losses have come in his last four appearances and his last save occurred way
back on April 9.
Third baseman Casey Blake has gone 6-for-15 over his last four games with two
homers, three RBI and two runs scored.
Essentially the bulk of Cleveland's roster is struggling, but the player
that stands out is Karim Garcia. The rightfielder has only one hit in his last
22 at-bats and owns just a .197 average this season.
After its series with Anaheim, Cleveland welcomes the Texas Rangers for three
games at Jacobs Field. The Indians then embark on a six-game road trip that
features the same two opponents.
04/30 15:14:15 ET
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