It's all relative, and ultimately it may be difficult to accurately pinpoint the blame should the Indians miss out on a division title on one series, but the Indians must be relieved to be done playing the Tigers for the time being.
After getting out-hit, outpitched and outscored, 25-10, during a four-game sweep to Detroit this week, the Indians fell to 3-13 against their American League Central-leading foes, who they'll see again at the end of August. The Indians are 59-40 against everyone else.
While Cleveland has struggled against all teams over .500 this season, posting a 28-39 mark, the Tigers have posed a particular threat, with each win over the Indians counting as two in a way, only sinking the Tribe further into second place in the division and spinning in Wild Card abyss.
But it's on to the next team. The Indians must get the job done against the struggling Angels, who are in town for a three-game set this weekend.
"If we win more games than the Tigers," general manager Chris Antonetti said, "regardless of whether we beat the Tigers or we win all of our remaining games and don't beat the Tigers, it matters who has more wins at the end of the year, us or the Tigers."
One way the Indians could relight the flame: Get Asdrubal Cabrera's bat going.
The dynamic shortstop posted an OPS of at least .760 the past two seasons, though he's hovered around .680 this season and fumbled through the second half, in which he's hitting .203 with seven extra-base hits in 79 at-bats. Manager Terry Francona is keeping his chips on Cabrera and leaving him at the crucial No. 4 spot in the order.
"To be really just bluntly honest, if he doesn't get hot, we might not be good enough," Francona said. "I'm not trying to put all that on him. But I just think for the moment we're better staying put."
For Friday's affair, the Angels turn to their ace, Jered Weaver, with hopes to get back in the win column. The Halos have lost their last four games, and are 7-13 since the All-Star break, including two sweeps by the Rangers.
The last time the Angels won a game, Weaver allowed three earned runs in 7 2/3 innings Saturday against the Blue Jays. He has four quality starts since the break and has allowed four runs in 29 1/3 innings. Weaver is 6-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 14 career starts against Cleveland. The right-hander didn't allow a run in 13 innings pitched against the Indians last season.
Los Angeles does have at least one table setter at the top of the lineup. Kole Calhoun is hitting 12-for-37 since he was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Salt Lake. He homered in three of his last four games as the leadoff hitter.
"He's made some huge mechanical adjustments from when he came out of Arizona State and played A-ball with us and got into big league camp," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's slowly has gotten his swing shorter, more compact. And I think right now, I don't know if he's ever swung the bat better in his life."
The Indians will send Scott Kazmir to the hill, as he faces his former team for the first time this season. He has received 5.86 runs of support from his offense this season, but he didn't need much for his seventh win Sunday against the Marlins. Kazmir threw six scoreless innings, collecting seven strikeouts and two walks, in the 2-0 win.
Indians: Reynolds designated for assignment
"He's a guy that carried us the first month of the season," Francona said of Mark Reynolds, who smacked eight homers, drove in 22 RBIs and hit .301 in the month of April. He then went on to hit .187 with seven homers in his next 252 at-bats.
The Indians, without the time or flexibility to keep sending the struggling first baseman to the plate, designated Reynolds for assignment on Thursday.
Reynolds, who has no interest in a Minor League assignment, will be put through waivers, where he can be traded or eventually released.
"We knew when we got him that he wasn't a .300 hitter," Francona said. "He was hitting .300 and basically hitting everything in sight. And [explaining his slump] is probably not as easy as one sentence. The pitches he was hitting in April, he was either fouling, or sometimes you get one pitch in an at-bat, and he'd miss it or foul it and strike out."
Angels: Kendrick avoids major injury to knee
An MRI exam relieved Howie Kendrick didn't have any significance damage in his left knee. He strained the knee colliding with Collin Cowgill in right field Monday against the Rangers. He's hitting .301 with 47 RBIs this season.
Grant Green was called up from Salt Lake and started at second base Tuesday and Wednesday. Kendrick is expected to miss a few more games before he's re-evaluated.
• The Angels allowed 13 stolen bases over the last two games to the Rangers.
• The Indians are 16-4 against AL West opponents.
• Ryan Raburn received a two-year extension worth a guaranteed $4.85 million. The deal includes a $3 million club option for 2016.
Jason Mastrodonato is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jmastrodonato. Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.