Last fall, the Cleveland Indians ran roughshod over the American League and were within one win of their first World Series title in nearly a century (1920).
With a 3-1 lead, the Indians had three chances to get one win against the Chicago Cubs, but the team that had been remarkably clutch all season fizzled out when it mattered the most and ultimately lost in seven games.
Many lifelong MLB experts were certain the hangover of disappointment Cleveland took into the 2017 MLB season would hinder the Indians throughout the entire campaign.
At times, it appeared as if the Indians’ haters and naysayers were right, as they got off to a relatively slow start. According to Cleveland.com, the Indians were 47-40 heading into the 2017 All-Star break, which means they accumulated five fewer wins than they did at the break in 2016 when they were 52-36.
Well, since the All-Star break, the Indians have played like an impregnable juggernaut, going 42-16 thanks to the absolutely incredible 20-game win streak they are on currently.
That’s right. On Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers, the Indians, led by Corey Kluber’s five-hit, complete game shutout, extended their win streak to 20 games with a 2-0 victory.
According to ESPN, Cleveland is now tied with the 2002 Oakland Athletics for the longest win streak in American League history.
“Following a familiar script of scoring first, playing strong defense and riding dominant pitching, the Indians extended their winning streak to 20 games and matched the AL mark held by the 2002 Oakland Athletics, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on Tuesday night.”
“Cleveland’s streak, which began on Aug. 24 in Boston, is tied for the majors’ second-longest in 82 years — and the Indians show no signs of stopping.”
Kluber’s been nothing short of invaluable to the Indians’ success once again in 2017. Through 26 starts, Kluber is 16-4 with a 2.56 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, to go along with 235 strikeouts.
As ESPN’s Buster Olney pointed out on Twitter, Kluber is arguably the front-runner to win his second AL Cy Young award this season.
And at 89-56, the Indians are also now two games ahead of the Houston Astros (86-57) for the best record in the American League.
Obviously, it’s far too early to crown the Indians World Series champions, as there’s plenty of baseball left to be played.
Teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, the aforementioned Houston Astros, and even the reigning champs, the Chicago Cubs (assuming they make the playoffs) are going to do anything and everything they can to prevent the Indians from getting it done.
However, with Terry Francona doing an extraordinary job once again managing Cleveland, Kluber pitching the way he has and shortstop Francisco Lindor having an MVP campaign, don’t be surprised if the Indians are the last team standing come November.
[Featured Image by Jason Miller/Getty Images]