Maybe this time, the Indians will answer it. Maybe the club will hold more meetings, more sessions to air frustration. The regular season is nearly half over, after all, and the Indians keep pressing the snooze button.
A 14-game winning streak vaulted the Indians into more prominent conversations last summer. Those franchise-record stretches don't grow on trees, though.
"This isn't last year," Tribe manager Terry Francona said Sunday. "Last year has nothing to do with this year."
The Indians suggested they understood that fact during spring training, when they discussed their desire to move past their World Series run (and ultimate disappointment). Francona mentioned how he didn't want the Summer 2017 talk to center on the Autumn 2016 accomplishments.
The Indians won eight of nine entering their weekend series against Minnesota. The offense delivered nearly eight runs per game in that sterling stretch.
Then, the Twins -- short-handed both in terms of talent and available players -- outscored the Tribe, 13-2, in a three-game sweep. The last time the Twins swept the Indians in a three-game set in Cleveland, the Indians played in an oft-empty cavern known as Municipal Stadium. The setting for this weekend's drubbing was more aesthetically pleasing and better attended. More than 94,000, in fact, witnessed the waxing.
Now, the Indians sit at 39-35, a half-game behind the Twins in the battle for AL Central supremacy. They have been a model of inconsistency this season, with persistent question marks in the rotation and in the lineup.
They stranded 30 runners in the three games against the Twins. They notched one hit in 23 at-bats with runners in scoring position, and that hit -- an Austin Jackson single -- did not produce a run.
Said Francona: "We just weren't disciplined enough."
"It's definitely frustrating," said Yan Gomes, who stranded six runners in his first three trips to the plate on Sunday. "We can't sit back and sulk about it. We've just got to move on."
They'll do that with a four-game set against the Texas Rangers beginning Monday. And maybe they'll return to the other end of the performance spectrum.
The Indians have been rather erratic this season. If we examine the club through a three-game lens, there's plenty to scrutinize. If we choose a 12-game lens, the optics actually look pretty good (8-4, nearly six runs per game).
"We're pretty streaky," Francona said.
The 74-game lens, the 39-35 mark, is what matters.
That wouldn't fly in the AL West or the NL West, but it still might work in the AL Central, where only the overachieving Twins and, maybe, somehow, the rejuvenated Royals can mount a challenge.
The Indians have plenty of homework.
It's time to wake up and catch the bus.
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