All the Indians Need is a 14-Game Winning Streak

The Indians are done.

It hurts to say it, but even the most eternal optimists have to come to grips with the fact that the Indians will not make their second straight trip to the postseason this October. After printing t-shirts in March stating that they had, “Unfinished Business,” the Indians dug themselves into a hole too deep to dig out of.

Cleveland’s chances to reach the postseason were probably still a stretch as they entered the three game series in Detroit this weekend, but after being swept by the Tigers, the chances look a little less than bleak. Cleveland needed to take at least two of three from Detroit to continue to make ground in the division and Wild Card race. Instead the Indians Bryan Shaw gave up leads late in two of three games to make the sweep all that more depressing. According to ESPN’s playoff odds, the Tribe is just a 2.1% chance to make it to October.

Last year, the Indians ripped off a 10-game winning streak to end the season and run themselves into the playoffs. This year, it might take a little more if that 2.1% long shot is going to come through for Cleveland. If lightning strikes again and the Tribe this time rips off 14 in a row to end the year, they’ll finish 90-72, two games worse than they did a year ago. Meanwhile, Detroit would have to go 6-7 and Kansas City 8-6 to each finish with 89 wins. It’s possible, but not very probable.

While those records for Detroit and Kansas City seem possible to realistically happen, a 14-game win streak seems a bit unrealistic for the Tribe. If they play well, but a plausible 10-4, the win totals for Detroit and Kansas City start to become a bit unrealistic. Ten wins for Cleveland would give them 86 wins, meaning Detroit would have to go 3-10 and Kansas City 4-10 to give the Tribe an outright division win. Both teams flopping so embarrassingly becomes even harder since they play one another for three games next weekend.

Face it, 6.5 games back with 14 games to play isn’t going to happen. That chance isn’t even 2.1%. If your wagon is still hooked to the dream of a Wild Card game, you might want to hang on, it’s still pretty bumpy. The Indians are currently five games back of the final Wild Card spot, trailing New York, Toronto and Seattle all for the final spot as they look up at the Royals. If the Indians go 10-4 to finish the season, Kansas City can go no better than 4-10, Seattle 5-9, Toronto 8-6 and New York 9-6 (including the last night’s Sunday night game). That’s a lot of losing.

Cleveland is going to need that 14-game winning streak just to win the division.

The Tribe’s playoff hopes may have evaporated this weekend, but the Indians didn’t lose their shot at the postseason because of their recent play. If anything, they had playoff hopes as long as they did due to a 24-16 play since the July trade deadline and a hot 18-9 in August. It’s a streak that has produced a lot of positive and will likely be what the 2015 roster is built upon.

They lost it when they started the season 11-17 through the first month and played abysmal defense throughout the season. The Indians haven’t had a losing month since April.

All the while the Indians danced in mediocrity, we were reminded all summer that they were in the same place as they were a year ago. Organization officials and media members alike were always quick to compare the 2014 Indians’ record to that of the 2013 version at the same point. What everyone forgot to mention was the 2013 version ended with a 10-game win streak to make the postseason. Last year wasn’t the conventional route to October.

If they Indians are going back, it looks like they need a 14-game win streak this time. That’s pretty unconventional and unrealistic, too.

Photo: Duane Burleson/AP Photo

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