Tag Archives: Cleveland Indians

A Tribe Like No Other

There are many words that can be used to describe the 2016 Cleveland Indians, but the best way to describe them would be resilient. Without a doubt this team, on paper, did not look like a playoff contender at the beginning of the season. Somehow they started winning games. No Michael Brantley, no hitting from catcher, a rookie center fielder. Somehow they managed to find ways to defy the odds.

Once September hit it was a forgone conclusion that the Indians would win their division. Then Danny Salazar leaves a game with a forearm strain. A few games later Carlos Carrasco leaves his start less than an inning in after being hit in the hand by a pitch. All of a sudden the Indians are facing the playoffs without their 2nd and 3rd starting pitchers.

Then they end up with the Boston Red Sox in round 1. The best hitting team during the regular season. Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, and Josh Tomlin led the Tribe to a sweep and the right to take on the Toronto Blue Jays for the pennant.

The Indians dispose of Toronto in 5 games and many wonder just how this team has come this far. Their incredible resiliency allowed them to face adversity and keep on pushing all the way to the World Series.

Both the Indians and the Cubs knew going in that after game 3 the Cleveland pitchers would be operating on short rest. This meant a longer series seemed to favor the Cubs. Cleveland jumped out to a 3-1 lead needing one win in three games, two being at home, to win their first title since 1948.

In the end it was not meant to be. The Indians and Cubs took us on an emotional roller coaster throughout game 7 before the Chicago Cubs were able to wipe away their over a century of sorrows with championship shirt.

For Cleveland fans, such as myself, this loss joins the losses to the Braves in 1995, the Marlins in 1997 to form a terrible trio of memories in the World Series as the organization looks for their first title since 1948.

There is hope for next season, as Brantley and Carrasco will be back from injury, as well as the core of the team. With these experiences the Indians will be able to put themselves in this position again next season. Hopefully with a different result.

One Game: Win or Lose

commissioners-trophy

One game is all that remains to decide it all. One game to end a streak that predates entire generations of two fan bases.  One game to see who takes home the coveted Commissioners trophy. One game.

For so many people there are childhood memories of playing baseball Sandlot style with friends, imagining that it is Game 7 of the World Series. For a precious few these dreams are given a chance to be fulfilled as they are able to make it to the MLB. Still many of these players will never taste the glory of victory that comes with lifting the Commissioner’s trophy at the end of a 162 game regular season and a grueling three rounds of playoffs. As October gives way to November there are two teams who remain that can do just that: The Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.

For the Cubs fan base it has been 108 years. Generations of fans lived and died without seeing their beloved Cubbies win the World Series, however their hope has endured. Revitalized by the development of youth brought in by Theo Epstein, and led by Joe Maddon, the Cubs are one game away from ending the longest drought in professional sports. With one win these young Cubs can make half a city forget about goats, and maybe even allow the misdeeds of one Steve Bartman to slowly fade away.

For the Indians fans base it has been 48 years since their latest World Series title. Only one member, 1st baseman Eddie Robinson, from that team is till alive as Tribe fans hope to close out what could be a fairytale summer in Cleveland. The Cavaliers brought the city their first championship since the Browns won the Super Bowl in 1964. Now despite all the team has been through this season, the Indians stand nine innings away from winning the World Series at home. Memories of the Atlanta Braves, and Florida Marlins may finally begin to fade away as Terry Francona leads his young team into this, final game of the 2016 MLB season.

As the curtains close on the final act of the 2016 season we are left with one game. One final chess match between managers Maddon and Francona. One final game to end a drought. 54 outs. Only one can be crowned 2016 MLB champions. One Game.

Welcome to October

In most cases it took 162 games to decide who was worthy of battling for post-season glory. For the San Francisco Giants and the Toronto Blue Jays it took an extra game to decide who would have the right to face each conferences number 1 seed. Now it is time for the real games to begin!

In the National League we have two matchups that have the potential to be straight pitching duels.

San Francisco Giants v. Chicago Cubs

This matchup pits the best team in baseball against the team that has won the World Series in the past 3 even years. The Cubs had the best pitching staff in baseball. Led by aces Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, Chicago was first in the league in ERA(earned runs average), Opp. BA(opponents batting average), and WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). They were assisted by a lineup that was in the top 5 of the league in both runs scored and OBS (on base percentage). This combination of pitching and hitting led the Cubs to win 103 games.

Their opponents, the San Francisco Giants, had to rely on the Wild Card game to gain entry to the playoffs and therefore will not be able to count on a game 1 performance from ace Madison Bumgarner. This season, the Giants have counted on their pitching staff, who was 4th in baseball in ERA and WHIP. Where the Giants will struggle is at the plate. They were middle of the league in all hitting stats this year.

Because of the large difference in quality of these teams, the Chicago Cubs are the easy choice to move on to the NLCS.

Los Angeles Dodgers v. Washington Nationals

This series appears to be set up as another pitching duel. The Dodgers staff was 5th in ERA and 2nd in WHIP and Opp. BA. This was without having Clayton Kershaw for most of the season, but he is now back and looks ready to go for the post season run. On the other side of the field,  the Nationals pitchers were also top five in these three pitching stats this season. They are led by Max Scherzer and are looking to advance to the NLCS this year.

The other key component for these teams is hitting. Both teams are fairly even here as well. They spent the season being middle of the road at the plate, which makes this series likely to be dominated by pitching.

In the end, the Dodgers will be able to prevail as they have a deeper rotation to call on and that will allow their stars to be more sharp when they are called upon.

In the American League there are two vastly different series. The Toronto Texas series appears to be more of an uneven series, while the Boston Cleveland series seems to be evenly matched between the two teams.

Toronto Blue Jays v. Texas Rangers 

This series is not going to be a matchup of top pitching staffs. The Rangers were in the bottom 1/3 of the MLB. On the other hand,  the Jays are top 5 in pitching this year.

When it comes to performance at the plate, both teams rank in the top 10 in most categories.  Because of this, there is no edge at the plate due to the reliance on power hitters by both teams.

Despite having to play in through the Wild Card game, the Toronto Blue Jays will be successful in this series as they are the more well rounded team. Their pitching strength will help them keep the Rangers off the board, while their bats will give them a lead to work with. This series will be worth some extra attention not only because of the caliber of teams that are playing, but also because of their history. Earlier this year these teams had a brawl in their final meeting, which led to quite a few susensions, but also seemed to spark the Rangers to get to this point.

Cleveland Indians v. Boston Red Sox

This series features two teams with top tier pitching talent. Both of these staffs were inside the top 10 in ERA, WHIP and Opp. BA throughout the course of the 2016 season. With that being said, the Red Sox have the edge here since the Indians have two of their top pitchers, Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, out for the rest of the year.

With the Tribe losing the edge in pitching, they will also be behind the eight ball at the plate as Boston was 1st in the MLB in runs scored, BA, OBS, and Slugging percentage. The Indians were not too far behind, placing in the top ten for each stat, however if they can not get runners on base then the most aggressive base running team in the majors will not be able to get runners in good position to score enough runs to beat Boston.

In the end Boston will come out of this series victorious due to the fact that the Indians have a weakened rotation and have been less successful at the plate than the Red Sox have been this year.