MILB.com Names Indians’ Organizational All-Star Team... October 22, 2016 | Bob Toth
Today in Tribe History: October 22, 1997 October 22, 2016 | Bob Toth
Dunn’s Decision in 1920 May Have Had Role in Tribe’s World Series Fa... October 21, 2016 | Vince Guerrieri
Today in Tribe History: October 21, 2007 October 21, 2016 | Bob Toth
As Carlos Santana closed his mitt around that wondrously stitched white orb that had fallen perfectly to him in foul ground at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday night before he dropped to his knees with arms raised as a victim of his own indescribable emotions, I couldn’t help but to be at a loss for words. Moments later, I screamed “YES!” and probably something belligerent along the lines of “We’re going to the World Series!”
I stared at the TV screen, still very much in a surreal state of disbelief, lost in some dream state, needing someone to pinch me to ensure that this moment was occurring in real time and in real life.
This is Cleveland. These things don’t happen in Cleveland.
But this is 2016. The old rule was broken. Chaos now reigns supreme. Cleveland is a city of champions.
The Cleveland Indians blanked the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-0, on Wednesday afternoon to claim the American League pennant and a trip to the World Series for the first time since 1997.
Ryan Merritt channeled his inner Gene Bearden and gave the Indians nearly half a game of shutout baseball. Supported by a first inning run and a pair of home runs later, the young southpaw handed the game over to the dominating Indians bullpen, who got the final 14 outs to send the city of Cleveland to yet another world championship series in 2016.
For the first time since September 28, the Cleveland Indians lost a game when they were defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-1, in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday. In the span to follow, they won each of their final three games to close out the regular season (and missed a game due to rain in Detroit), then swept the Boston Red Sox in the American League Division Series before taking a commanding three-game lead in the ALCS over the Blue Jays.
Now, in order to claim the American League pennant and advance to the World Series, the Blue Jays will have to do something to the Cleveland club that has yet to happen to them in 2016 – the Indians must lose four consecutive games. With their backs against the wall, the Blue Jays got enough offense and a dominant pitching effort on Tuesday afternoon in the 5-1 victory over the Indians to extend the ALCS to a Game 5. Aaron Sanchez outlasted Corey Kluber, and the productive Indians bullpen was touched for three runs in the late innings to make a close game a little bit more lopsided at the end of the day.
The season is on the line for the Blue Jays. The Indians know that they need just one win over the next three games in four days to clinch their first pennant since 1997.
One of my unofficial duties with this website is as its book reviewer.
I’ve read plenty of books about baseball history and talked to a lot of authors. The most recent was “No Money, No Beer, No Pennants,” a book by Scott Longert about the Indians during the Depression.
Also on my list of books to read is James Sulecki’s book, “The Cleveland Rams: The NFL Champs Who Left Too Soon.” It’s about the football team that called Cleveland home and in fact won the NFL championship in 1945 before decamping for the West Coast (the people of Cleveland weren’t too disappointed by their depature; a new team in a new league was coming into existence with a deeper connection to the city: the Browns).
Obviously, the books cover similar time periods, so there is a certain amount of overlap, but there’s one person who figures into the history of both the Rams and the Indians – and Cleveland sports in general: Billy Evans.
They say all good things must come to an end, and such was the case on Tuesday afternoon as the Cleveland Indians saw their franchise-record six-game postseason winning streak conclude behind a strong pitching performance from the Toronto staff and the reemergence of their bats in a 5-1 win by the Blue Jays in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
The Indians had no answer for 24-year-old right-hander Aaron Sanchez, one of the Jays’ All-Stars this season in his third year in the Majors. Coming off of a 15-win regular season and a tidy 3.00 ERA, he kept the Jays in the ball game by keeping the Cleveland bats at bay and his offense provided its first burst of runs against the Indians in the series and did so against their ace, Corey Kluber.
The Cleveland Indians will look to clinch their first American League pennant since 1997 on Tuesday while the Toronto Blue Jays try to keep their season alive in a big Game 4 of the American League Championship Series from Rogers Centre.
The Indians have used just enough offense and incredible pitching efforts to win each of the first three games of the ALCS to extend their winning streak in the postseason to six straight and nine straight overall this season after winning the final three games of the regular season. They need to win just once over the remaining four possible games to lock up the best-of-seven series to secure a trip back to the World Series. The Blue Jays had won six straight games before running into the Indians, winning each of the final two games of the regular season to land a Wild Card spot before winning the play-in game against the Baltimore Orioles and sweeping the top-seeded Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series.
With the Blue Jays on the ropes, the Indians will look to their ace to deal the knockout blow.
If you’ve read anything about the Tribe’s postseason run, you’ve probably read about the absolute dominance of relief pitcher Andrew Miller. You’ve read about how many batters he strikes out (60% of total batters faced) and how silly he’s made them all look (very). You’ve probably also read about how manager Terry Francona is embracing the new era of bullpen usage by not limiting Miller to a specific role. The left-hander has entered games in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, always coming on to face the opponent’s toughest hitters.
Understandably, Miller has been a very important part of why the Indians have not yet lost in October. There’s no denying that without him, it’s questionable whether the team would have even beat Boston in the ALDS, let alone be standing a mere one win away from the World Series. Yet, there’s another man in the Tribe’s bullpen who deserves some credit too.
That man’s name is Cody Allen.