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FIELDING The Indians were in the bottom third in the AL in errors last year (98) and return the same cast of flawed fielders who combined to make most of them. Kipnis (12), Cabrera (nine), Swisher (nine) and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (nine) are all prone to mistakes. Santana’s move to third is an additional liability. Bourn still covers ground in center, but not like he used to, and Brantley, a former centerfielder himself, is steady in left field. The biggest issue is the infield, where minor mistakes led to errors and unearned runs. STARTING PITCHING Even with staff ace Justin Masterson (14-10, 3.45 ERA) back to bolster the top of the rotation, the Indians have more question marks than answers in their starting lineup. With Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir departing via free agency, Cleveland is expected to rely heavily on unproven youngster Danny Salazar (five career starts), Corey Kluber (11-5, 3.85 ERA) and Zach McAllister (9-9, 3.75 ERA). Salazar has a lot of hype around him and the latter two are both coming off career years. But that was in the lower half of the rotation, not the top as they’re expected to be this year. RELIEF PITCHING The Indians’ bullpen was overhauled in the offseason. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s good or bad. Longtime closer Chris Perez left via free agency and the Indians picked up veteran John Axford to replace him. Axford saved 46 games for Milwaukee in 2011, then went through a slump that lasted until the end of last season, when he rejuvenated his career with the Cardinals. Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen are expected to be the primary setup men (Allen has filthy swing-and-miss stuff) and Vinnie Pestano is looking for a bounce back season after his ERA ballooned to 4.08 in 2013 from 2.57 in 2012. MANAGING Maybe we’re giving Francona too much credit, but come on, the guy makes miracles happen. First he ends Babe Ruth’s curse by leading Boston to two World Series titles, then he takes Cleveland (CLEVELAND!) to the playoffs in his first year as manager. If he ends Cleveland’s championship jinx (now pushing 50 years) after ending the “Curse of the Bambino,” the Cubs should offer him $100 million to end theirs, too. That said, Francona has his hands full this year. GM Chris Antonetti didn’t do much to improve the team and it’s on Francona to make the most of what he’s got. Justin Masterson HANNAH FOSLIEN/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


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