After last year's performance and the addition of a few seemingly useful bodies over the winter I thought the closer position might be the only problem with the pen this year.
But it seems to be a much larger problem.
I knew the relief corps had been getting slapped around a bit so far this season, but I didn't realize the extent of it until I checked the numbers.
Through 14 games the pen is 1-3 with 2 saves and four blown saves (two by Joe Borowski and two by Raffie Perez).
The Tribe is 1-3 in games tied after 7 innings.
Here's a real grabber. The bullpen has allowed 9 homers in 41 1/3 innings pitched. Of the seven guys in the pen, only Craig Breslow and Masa Kobayashi have not been taken deep, and the two of them have pitched only a combined 8 1/3 innings.
Tribe relievers have allowed 75 base runners in those 41 1/3 innings - 49 hits, 21 walks and 5 hit batsmen. For those of you even less gifted in math than I, that's darn near two base runners per inning.
The pen has given up 26 earned runs in 41 1/3 innings, for an ERA of 5.66.
Not exactly the kind of stats you want from a group of guys paid to put out fires.
It has been cold and mostly ugly during the first 2 1/2 weeks of the season and that makes it tough to pitch. But it also makes it tough to hit.
The players and manager are still sorting out roles, an issue made more complicated by the shelving of Borowski and the short- and long-term uncertainty around the closer position.
But the kind of performance we've seen so far indicates deeper problems than the usual getting-it-in-gear-early-on troubles.
The real problem is there are no quick fixes immediately visible, but the Tribe can find itself in a redux of 2006 (when early bullpen failure doomed the season) if the magic bullet is not found pronto.
That has me a little worried.