By WILLIAM CALLAHAN
Cue the old saying, “when you’re hot, you’re hot.”
It had to end sometime, right? After a win streak of 22 games, The Cleveland Indians were finally defeated last Friday by the Kansas City Royals 4-3. It was their first loss in four weeks.
So what does it all mean? Now that the streak has finally come to an end, I think it deserves a proper breakdown of how Cleveland got there.
For starters, the Indians’ 22-game win streak now stands as the second longest in MLB history. It shattered the American League record of 20 consecutive wins established by the Oakland Athletics in 2002.
Cleveland outscored its opponents 142-37 over those 22 games, scoring an average of six and a half runs and giving up under two runs each game. The average run differential was 4.77 over the streak. In other words, most of their wins were fairly convincing.
You can’t win games if you don’t score, and Cleveland definitely did some of that during their streak. Six players totaled at least ten runs batted in during the streak, led by their all-star shortstop Francisco Lindor at 20. Their collective 41 home runs is the most a team has hit during any winning streak in MLB history. Third baseman Jose Ramirez led that category with eight as he hit .432 and had an on-base percentage of .462.
Then again, you can’t win games if you don’t pitch. The team’s starting rotation earned a run average of 1.77, led by Cy Young candidate Corey Kluber.
Kluber went 5-0 during the stretch with a 1.28 ERA, striking out 44 batters in 39 innings. Of the 22 games played, Cleveland’s pitching shut out the opponent seven times.
That isn’t even the best part of it all. The Indians played 198 innings in those 22 games, and were behind in score in only eight of those innings. During that time period, 85 pitches were thrown when the Indians were trailing.
So yes, the Indians were either winning or tied in 190 of those innings. Truly remarkable.
Now that the winning streak has come to a close, the focus shifts to the upcoming playoffs set to begin in just a few weeks. The Indians will surely be a part of the party, having won their division for the second year in a row. When the streak started on August 24, the Indians led over the second-place Minnesota Twins by four and a half games. By Sunday’s end, they held a 14-and-a-half-game lead as division champions.
The streak has surely propelled Cleveland as the front runner to compete in the World Series. The team’s attempt last year was foiled by the Chicago Cubs, who took the trophy and left the Indians empty-handed.
The streak certainly gives Cleveland the confidence to get back to the World Series, but to win it this time.
Buckle up Cleveland. the ride isn’t over but it’s just getting started.