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Pluto's prediction: Tribe will win 85 games, miss the playoffs
Terry Pluto says it's important for the Indians to have a solid April because Tribe fans "are admittedly skeptical."
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Crews get Progressive Field ready for Friday's home opener against the Minnesota Twins.
Courtesy of Cleveland Indians
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For Indians fans, the month of April is filled with cautious optimism. There are a few new faces and a new slogan: “Unfinished business.”

The team hopes to return to the playoffs and go deep into the postseason. Still, there are 159 games to go until October.

WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about the upcoming season and offers his predictions...which he playfully acknowledges aren't always accurate.

LISTEN: Pluto's Indians 2014 season prediction

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:57)


Pluto's Prediction
Terry Pluto's prediction for the Indians' 2014 record: 85-77, missing the playoffs.

But, he takes all of his predictions with a grain of salt. “Anybody who bets on my predictions, I’ve got a better idea: Just send me the money, I’ll hang on to the money and at the end of October I’ll send it back to you and you’ll feel like you’ve won!”
A history of Pluto’s Indians predictions:

2013: 82-80 [Indians were 92-70]

2012: 76-84 [Indians were 68-94]

2011: 74-86 [Indians were 80-82]

The science behind this year's prediction 
"I was watching the team at spring training in Goodyear, Arizona," Pluto says. "I was there twice. I said, well it looks like they’ll win more than they lost. 81-81 is .500. So I thought I’ll give them a few more than above .500 and I came up with 85." 

Pluto says two things contributed to the Indians winning 92 games last season and a lot of them had to do with luck.

  1. Walk-off wins, when you win in the bottom of the ninth inning. They did it 11 times and they only lost two games like that.
  2. One-run games. They were 30-17 these and 12-2 in extra innings.

"They won all these close games," Pluto says. "And you could say that’s a good team, but sometimes that’s just luck. Nonetheless, a lot of things did go right and I just figure, they probably won’t again..but maybe that is what happens when you grow up watching the Indians."

Skeptically optimistic
Terry Pluto says there is reason to believe the Indians will have a good year. "This isn’t the Browns, who are always 5-11 and 4-12," he says. "There’s reason for optimism. But, if you’re a Cleveland fan, there’s always reason to be skeptical. So, I’m somewhere between optimistic and skeptical."

New Wahoos  
Two new Tribe players made a big impact in Monday's season opener. Nyjer Morgan hit the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth inning as the Indians went on to a 2-0 win over Oakland. Morgan had his contract purchased by Cleveland from Triple-A Columbus last week to fill in for the injured Michael Bourn. "Last year [Morgan] was playing center field in Japan," Pluto says. 

A new face in the pitching rotation this year is closer John Axford, who replaces Chris Perez. "Axford was a guy that last year opened as the ninth inning pitcher in Milwaukee and in his first four games, he blew four leads and gave up five home runs. And then after that he pitched well, but he lost that prestigious ninth inning job," Pluto says. "So, in Monday night’s game, where he got that save was so important because I was saying if he could just get through April, I think he’ll be just fine."

[On a side note, Axford, a movie buff, correctly picked Oscar winners in 18 categories. He made his predictions public on Facebook and Twitter hours before the live awards show took place.]

Pluto says the Indians have been good bargain shoppers the past couple years. "Especially since they hired manager Terry Francona, they really like to find these guys that have been cast off by other teams that Francona thinks, as he would say, he can squeeze a little juice out of."

"Unfinished business"
After last year's trip to the postseason that ended with the Indians losing the Wild Card game, Indians first baseman Nick Swisher bought red T-shirts for his teammates in working out in Arizona with a simple message: "Unfinished Business." 

Pluto says it's important for the Indians to have a solid April, because Tribe fans are admittedly skeptical. "Paul Dolan, the Indians owner, said 'I know we need another good year, so that fans would really believe in us.' So, even ownership itself knows," Pluto says. 

LISTEN: Is a player's "NFL Pro Day" worth all the hype?
Other options:  MP3 Download (7:09)



Related WKSU Stories

Early voting begins today...with changes
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pluto: Indians' Progressive Field is still magical 20 years later
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lots of expectations -- and questions -- at Indians spring training
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pluto: Why smokers and drinkers pay for stadium upkeep instead of wealthy owners
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In the Browns' shadow, Indians bank on nostalgia
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