CLEVELAND - Let's be clear about something right off the bat, Major League II is not a good movie.
It was your typical Hollywood cash-grab sequel. The plan being, 'let's bring back all of the stars and try to re-capture the magic that made the original film so timeless.'
Wesley Snipes said no thanks to playing Willie Mays Hayes again. Rene Russo appears in just one scene. The critics hated it. Rotten Tomatoes has given it only a 5% approval rating.
I am indebted to writer-director David S. Ward for one line of the movie however:
But that's not the point of this column.
The point is that the real Cleveland Indians are in trouble as the American League Division Series shifts back to Cleveland for Wednesday's do-or-die Game 5. The Tribe has completely lost the swagger that propelled them to 102 victories, including an AL-record 22 wins in a row.
This team is playing tight. And the statistics bear it out.
As a team, the Tribe is batting .173 in the series. Francisco Lindor is just 1-for-14 (the grand slam in Game 2), Jose Ramirez is 2-for-17, Michael Brantley 1-for-11. Although it does appear that Edwin Encarnacion will be able to play on Wednesday, he can't be expected to carry the offense by himself.
The Indians have made six errors on defense in the four games of this series, four of them in Game 4.
In his Game 2 start, Corey Kluber looked nothing like the guy who is about to receive his second Cy Young Award in four years. He'll get the ball on Wednesday with a mountain of pressure on him to deliver a superb pitching performance.
And yes, Terry Francona shares some responsibility for the Tribe's current predicament. For my money, Tito is the best manager in the game and a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But sometimes he makes decisions based on loyalty. Players love that, but I'm not sure they're the best choices for the team. (i.e. Jason Kipnis thrust into the centerfielder role, Brantley given a postseason roster spot with little or no rehab, starting Trevor Bauer on three days rest)
But none of that will matter if the Tribe can figure out how to recapture the spark that made them the best team in baseball for the final 6 weeks of the season. It can happen.
Here's where we can interject a little Major League II for some help. Jake Taylor (played by Tom Berenger) is the acting manager of the Indians heading into Game 7 of the ALCS against the White Sox. He's paying a call to Ricky Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) to try to bring back the 'Wild Thing' persona that had made Ricky a star.
I love the line from Taylor, "You wanna be a Major League pitcher? You have to find something in yourself that's yours, and nobody else's."
The Indians had that. I wrote about it prior to the ALDS when we looked at the 5 things that made the regular season so special.
And just like Jake Taylor told Ricky Vaughn, if I were the Indians, I'd spend the rest of the night trying to find it again.
WATCH: I talked with WKYC Channel 3's Jim Donovan about the Indians' struggles, plus we previewed Game 5 of the ALDS and more on Tuesday's Donovan Live! Postgame Show. Check it out below:
© 2017 WKYC-TV