CLEVELAND -- Following a three-game sweep at the hands of division-leading Detroit, the Indians opened an 11-game homestand against three sub-.500 teams. Seems like the perfect medicine for an ailing team facing its largest deficit in the American League Central all season, right? Not so fast.
Teams out of contention can often be the most dangerous come August and September, several Indians players cautioned.
"We've been on the other side, where we were supposed to get beat later in the year and didn't," closer Chris Perez said. "Teams like this have got guys playing for next year, young guys getting called up and showing what they've got for the first time. I guarantee they don't care what their record is."
Without much to play for in the waning weeks of the season, teams with losing records often extract the most out of their young players in an effort to see what they're capable of. That can put an extra burden on opposing pitchers.
"They're hard to pitch to," Tribe reliever Chad Durbin said. "They're trying to win spots and they're in survival mode, trying to impress their particular team's staff. So this is their playoffs."
The Indians discovered the demanding task of facing inexperienced hitters during Monday's 3-2 loss to Seattle, which trotted out a lineup littered with players fighting for a future roster spot.
"If you make pitches to these guys, you say, 'Well, he wasn't supposed to hit that,'" Durbin said. "But how do we know? There's not enough information there to back up the scouting report."