Indians Make History With 22 Wins
The Cleveland Indian’s magical run in the 2016 playoffs were ended November 2nd when in the top of the 10th inning the Chicago Cubs scored 2 runs en route to their first World Series victory in over 100 years. The Indians, crushed by this defeat added all-star slugger Edwin Encarnacion, and got pitcher Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar back from injury. This Indians team was ready, and they had unfinished business. A slow start to the season had fans on edge, hoping the game 7 defeat wasn’t too much, but as the all-star break approached the Tribe picked it up and reclaimed first place in the AL Central. The Indians quickly gained steam after the break, led by Cy Young front runner Corey Kluber and MVP candidate Jose Ramirez. This team was rolling, and as the Indians kept winning, the Astros realized their iron grip on the AL’s top seed was slowly slipping. As the Indians crept up on the AL West leading Astros, they got on a roll, and they wouldn’t stop for a while. After losing at home to Boston 9-1, the Indians took the final game to split the 4 game series. This win against Boston would lead to something much greater as from that day, August 24th until September 15th the Indians would not lose a game. 22 straight wins, beating the longest win streak in the American Leagues history (20 by the 2002 Oakland A’s), beating the longest win streak in the modern era (21 by the 1935 Cubs), and falling 4 games short of the longest streak in baseball history (26 1916 by the Giants). These 22 games included 2 double headers in the span of 3 days which the Indians swept both of, and games against postseason bound teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees. So how'd they do it? How did this Indians team win 22 straight games this season? There were definitely many different parts that contributed to this dominance, but pitching is the biggest reason. The Indians pitching, lead by former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber was lights out. Even without all-star reliever Andrew Miller for most of the streak the Indians bullpen was lights out. The bullpen wasn't the only group of pitchers who got the job done, as the Indians starters had a 1.77 ERA during the streak. The pitchers weren't the only ones to get the job done though as the offense did its part. Leading the charge was infielder Jose Ramirez, who hit .423 over the span of the streak with 8 home runs. Ramirez also only struck out 3 times in 78 plate appearances during the streak. As a team the Indians averaged 4.77 runs per game, without all-star second baseman Jason Kipnis mind you. This combination of elite pitching and strong hitting lead to many blowouts. Infact only 4 games were decided by 1 run, where as 9 games were won by a margin of 5 runs or more. Cleveland also only trailed for 8 innings over the 22 game span (198 innings), and had a run differential of +105. The Indians also only had 1 walk off win during the streak where they played 11 home games, and that walk off win was game 22. At the end of the streak the Indians had clinched a playoff berth for the second straight year, and took the best record in the AL always from the Houston Astros. With outstanding pitching, and dangerous hitting, the Indians managed to beat the Moneyball A’s win streak record (the basis for the movie Moneyball), and march their way into another year of October baseball in Cleveland.