The Lynchburg Hillcats put up four runs in the third and three more in the sixth to coast to a 7-1 victory to take the rubber match of the Carolina League’s Northern Division Championship Series from the Frederick Keys on Saturday night.
The victory gave the Hillcats a share of the Carolina League championship, an honor that they will share with the Down East Wood Ducks, who won their series on Friday to claim the Southern Division Championship Series.
We are approaching the one-year anniversary of a game better left forgotten.
Last September 17, a line drive off the bat of Ian Kinsler struck Carlos Carrasco in the right hand. The second pitch of that mid-September game broke the pitching hand of Cleveland’s No. 2 starter. At the time, it seemed it would shatter the long-term playoff hopes of a Tribe team that was already destined to win the American League Central Division.
The effects of losing their second best starter were not evident immediately. An injury-depleted rotation carried by 2014 Cy Young winner and ace Corey Kluber and a top-notch bullpen spearheaded by Andrew Miller and Cody Allen gamely pitched the Indians to the doorsteps of what would have been the team’s first World Series championship since 1948. Of course, it was not to be as the Tribe lost Game 7 of the Fall Classic to the Cubs in extra innings.
What might have been with a healthy Carrasco, though, is the biggest unknown of all from last year’s postseason run. The Tribe was able to get through the ALDS against Boston and the ALCS against Toronto with little problem. However, the pitchers doing the heaviest of lifting were clearly tired by that final game against Chicago.
The streak remained alive on Saturday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians overcame an early deficit with runs in three straight innings and added an insurance run late on the way to a 4-2 win.
The Indians (86-56) extended their franchise record for consecutive wins to 17 straight with the victory, as Cleveland guaranteed itself its fifth straight series win. Including ties, the Indians have not dropped a series since losing two games and having a third rained out on July 31 and August 1 in Boston against the Red Sox.
It took 75 years for the Cleveland Indians to break their franchise record of 13 straight wins (despite matching the mark in 1951). The team needed just 14 months to break that new record of 14, coming with the club’s victory in Chicago on Thursday.
That most recent record lasted less than 24 hours as the Indians returned home to Progressive Field and celebrated a sweet 16th as they blanked the Baltimore Orioles in a 5-0 four-hit shutout on Friday night in the first game of a ten-game homestand.
The Indians extended their winning streak to 16 straight with a big first inning home run and another start from a polished Mike Clevinger, who made a third strong start in a row for the Tribe. The shutout was the Indians’ Major League leading 17th scoreless game of the season.
The Indians make their long awaited return home to Progressive Field on Friday night as the team hosts the Baltimore Orioles in the first series of three from downtown Cleveland over the next week and a half. As was the …
With a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles, the Cleveland Indians clinch the American League Central Division crown. With the season shortened at the front-end of the schedule, it was the 123rd game of the season, the fastest that any team has won a title in Major League history. The Indians improve to 86-37 with the win.
Did the Tribe win last night? Of course they did.
The Cleveland Indians completed a perfect 11-0 road trip by winning a franchise-record 15th straight game with a lopsided 11-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox to sweep a second straight four-game series to accomplish a feat never done in their 117-year history.
Corey Kluber had the starting nod, giving the Indians a favorable edge to break a record barely a year old. Putting the odds even more in the favor of the visiting Cleveland club was the fact that Chicago’s probable left-hander, Carlos Rodon, was scratched mere minutes before first pitch, forcing the White Sox to turn to veteran Mike Pelfrey, who had already worked two and one-third innings in relief just two nights prior. Pelfrey’s recent use may have shown quickly on the mound as the Indians raced out to a quick first inning lead and never looked back.
The Carolina League plays a split season schedule, with the winner of each half gaining entry into the postseason festivities. The Lynchburg club earned a spot by winning the first half in the Northern Division. Finishing out the season strong by sweeping its final three home games against the Potomac Nationals, and then traveling to Wilmington, Lynchburg completed a four-game sweep against the Blue Rocks to conclude the season and win the second half Northern Division crown. Overall, the team finished its season with a league best 87-52 record, posting the best winning percentage for a Lynchburg team since they were a Mets farm club in 1985.
Looking at the roster for that Mets club, the most recognized name is shortstop Kevin Elster. He would go on to play for the Mets’ 1986 World Series Championship before establishing himself as their everyday shortstop in 1988. This year’s edition of the Lynchburg team is similar in that few players are top draft picks or rising stars. Instead, the Hillcats play as a team in the truest sense of that word.
“That’s kind of how we are built,” said manager Tony Mansolino. “At the beginning of the year, coming here, we thought we’d have pretty good pitching. That’s held true. The rest of it we weren’t so sure, no big strengths team wise.”
For the second season in a row, the Cleveland Indians have won 14 straight games, sealing the deal with a 5-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night.
It was a historic effort for the Tribe, which matched the club’s franchise record just one season after breaking a 75-year-old mark for consecutive wins in a row. Carlos Carrasco made it look easy, as he faced one batter over the minimum in scattering three hits and just one run while throwing his first complete game of the season.