2017: This Year is Next Year
After a well deserved day off, the Cleveland Indians will get back to action across the country as the Los Angeles Angels host the top team in the American League from their home in Anaheim, California.
The Indians (93-57) remain in the driver’s seat in the race to the top record in the AL this season with the hopes of claiming home field advantage throughout the junior circuit half of the postseason. They head into the weekday series with a game and a half lead over the Houston Astros for the best record in the league. They took care of the Angels in three games back in July at Progressive Field, winning on a walk-off Edwin Encarnacion grand slam on July 25 before winning 10-4 and 2-1 decisions to close out the series.
Corey Kluber continued his march to the American League’s Cy Young Award this past week with a pair of scoreless victories over Detroit and Kansas City. Those efforts earned him the AL’s Player of the Week award for games played between September 11 and September 17.
Cleveland claimed a second consecutive American League Central Division crown in the late night hours on Saturday night in anticlimactic fashion as the Minnesota Twins fell to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Tribe was able to celebrate with another win in its first game as the division champs behind seven shutout innings from Corey Kluber, a big blast from Edwin Encarnacion, and a bit of a dicey finish from the normally reliable bullpen.
The Indians (93-57) won another series to improve to 24-1 in their last 25 games. They wrapped up their homestand with a 9-1 record to push their season mark at home to 45-30. With the AL Central title in tow, the Tribe will look to fend off the Houston Astros for the best record in the league.
Cleveland wrapped up the season series with Kansas City with a 12-7 record while outscoring the Royals, 90-52.
Had the Cleveland Indians continued their record-breaking winning streak through the weekend, they would have gone for win number 25 in a row on Sunday, which just so happened to be the 25th birthday of one of the big reasons the club was able to be so victorious for so long. Unfortunately, that numerical coincidence was not meant to be.
Jose Ramirez was absent from the Indians starting lineup again on Sunday, getting a well deserved rest after appearing in 141 of the team’s 150 games so far this season. Minor aches and pains are common this time of year, and Ramirez rested while tending to a minor hamstring injury. With an off day on Monday, it was the perfect time to give the little extra base hit machine a bit of a breather from his every day hustle and bustle.
There was no letdown for the Indians on Saturday afternoon in Cleveland’s first game after the end of its 22-game winning streak as the club used a big four-run sixth inning to break open a one-run game and coasted to an 8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals to reduce its magic number to clinch the American League Central Division to one.
Carlos Carrasco had the unfamiliar task of ending a “losing streak” for the Indians, who had not been in the position of playing after a loss since the fourth week of August. While he did not have his best stuff, he gave the Indians a good start and his offense came up with plenty of needed support to earn the win. At 92 wins and 57 losses on the year, the Tribe will need to go 8-5 in its final 13 games to reach the century mark for just the third time in franchise history.
The Cleveland Indians did something for the first time on Friday night since August 23 – they lost.
A back and forth ball game went in favor of the Kansas City Royals, who ended the Indians’ 22-game winning streak in a 4-3 contest at Progressive Field.
Is there anything that this Cleveland Indians team cannot do?
Finding themselves down in the ninth inning for the first time in a 22-game span, the Indians rallied down to their final out to tie the game against Kansas City closer Kelvin Herrera and won the game on a walk-off single the next inning down the right field line by Jay Bruce as the Tribe clinched a trip to the postseason for the second straight year in a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Royals on Thursday night.
The Cleveland Indians sent a very loud message to the Kansas City Royals when the two clubs met six times over two series in August. The Tribe took two of three early in the month, outscoring KC 22-5, and then swept a later set in Cleveland, putting up three straight shutouts while tallying 20 runs of their own.
The Royals will try to change that trend during a four-game weekend series with the Indians in Cleveland, but will have the daunting task of trying to stop the Indians’ 21-game winning streak first.
With a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday afternoon, the Cleveland Indians made history, exceeding the Oakland A’s American League record for consecutive wins in a season with 21 (set in 2002) while matching the Major League record of 21 (set by the Chicago Cubs in 1935).
The Indians (90-56) have cut their magic number down to four, with the Minnesota Twins scheduled to play San Diego at 8:10 PM ET from Target Field. One hundred wins are in sight for the club, as they need to go just 10-6 in their final 16 games to reach the century mark for the first time since 1995 and just the second time in club history (111 in 1954). The Indians finished the season with a 13-6 record against the Tigers, outscoring them 110-62.
Is there any pitcher in Major League Baseball you would want on the mound in a big game?
The list is probably small, but Corey Kluber is a must mention. He proved once again why he is charging towards the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday night, as he blanked the Detroit Tigers on five hits for his third complete game shutout of the season while giving the Cleveland Indians their 20th consecutive win.
The improbable winning streak by the Tribe (89-56) has now matched the AL record of 20, set by the Oakland Athletics in 2002. The team will take aim at the Chicago Cubs’ Major League record of 21 straight wins in the series finale with the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cleveland Indians are no strangers to September injuries to key pieces of their roster.
Just last season alone, the Indians lost Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber to various ailments in the final month of the regular season schedule. While Kluber would return and put the team on his back for the postseason, Carrasco was lost for the duration while Salazar made a brief cameo in the World Series, but only in the capacity of a reliever when the team was in dire need of a starter to ease the workload on the remaining healthy members of the rotation.
Those injuries attacked an area that the Indians lacked good quality depth. The same cannot be said for the disappointing news that came out of the Tribe’s 18th straight win on Sunday night, when Bradley Zimmer was stepped on during a head first dive into first base.
The pressure of a long winning streak has not been too much for the Indians, as Cleveland pulled within one game of the American League record for consecutive wins on Monday night with its 19th straight victory, an 11-0 shutout of the Detroit Tigers from Progressive Field.
There seems to be little slowing down the Indians (88-56), who have made it loud and clear that they are the favorites to claim the American League pennant despite missing several big names from the lineup and appearing unfazed by injuries that have chipped away at the roster throughout the second half of the schedule. Despite missing three former All-Stars in Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley, and Jason Kipnis and losing rookie Bradley Zimmer to what appears to be a season ending broken left hand, the Indians kept on rolling in the series opener with the Tigers and continued their dominance of Detroit since the beginning of July after dropping the first two series against them to start the season.
The Indians were challenged by rookie Myles Jaye on Monday night, as the young right-hander was making his third Major League appearance and first career start with the unenviable job of stopping Cleveland’s reign of terror on AL clubs. He would dodge a jam in the first, but that would be the last time he would slow down the Tribe.