The Cleveland Indians just made history. Somebody set them on God mode and now they seem incapable of losing. They have forgotten how it’s like to drop a game.
After beating the Detroit Tigers at home on Wednesday, 5-3, the Indians broke the American League record made by the 2002 Oakland A’s by bagging their 21st straight victory. To underscore the impressive length of that streak, the last time the Indians lost, the NFL was a week away from ending its preseason games.
With Wednesday’s victory, Cleveland moved five wins closer to tying the big-league record set by the 1916 New York Giants, who went undefeated in 26 consecutive contests.
Cleveland’s pitching has played a big role in the ongoing success of the Indians. So far in their win streak, they’ve played in just two games in which they allowed more than three runs. The scary thing for Indians’ opponents is that the team’s offense is on fire as well. During their three-game sweep of Detroit this week, for example, the Indians outscored the Tigers, 18-3. The series began with Cleveland shutting out the Tigers in the first two contests.
Let’s take a brief look at how the Indians’ pitching and hitting have looked during this incredible win streak.
This September alone, the Indians have gone 14-0, holding opponents to an average of just 1.57 runs per game. Each starter that took the mound for the Indians over the past several days looked like Cy Young candidates led by Corey Kluber, who is 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA since the streak started. Carlo Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Josh Tomlin all became Clayton Kershaw clones, too. All five starters have a combined record of 11-0 and 1.56 ERA since the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox way back on Aug. 24, 13-6. Including the job done by the bullpen, the Indians’ team ERA is 1.57 dating back to that Red Sox game according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Speaking of the bullpen, closer Cody Allen has been just been as dependable as ever, making four saves this month with a win and zero runs allowed in 4.1 innings of relief innings. Since the beginning of the month, the Indians’ relievers have a collective ERA of 0.77 with no home runs surrendered in September per Fangraphs. According to Richard Justice of MLB.com, Allen and company haven’t yielded a run in nine days. The fact that the group is doing this without Andrew Miller, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 21 due to a knee injury, is just as mind blowing as the Indians’ run itself.
Cleveland has crushed 41 home runs over the streak’s course with Francisco Lindor accounting for nine of those blasts. The offense that began to heat up late in August continues to scorch this September, wherein the Indians are slashing .300/.380/.547, have made 25 home runs and 86 RBI’s. All those numbers lead the majors this month.
Lindor owns the hottest bat of them all. Apart from the mentioned home run tally, the shortstop is also hitting .346 the past 14 games. Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion, meanwhile, are batting .375 and .306 during the same stretch, respectively. Not everyone is hitting well on the team, though, with Lonnie Chisenhall and Austin Jackson not doing much in sharing duties in the 2-hole of the order, as the former is just .220 at the plate this month, while the former is hitting poorly at .214. Nevertheless, the Indians are wielding a terrifying offense that has no signs of letting up anytime soon.
With the American League Central’s top spot virtually locked up for good by the Indians, who are 14 games ahead of everybody else in the division, Cleveland’s immediate target is breaking the Giants’ 101-year record. The Tribe have the Kansas City Royals up ahead for a three-game set at home. Sweeping those club is doable for the Indians. After all, they beat Kansas City to a pulp in a three-game sweep late August in which the Indians outscored the Royals, 20-0 (that’s not a typo.) Next is a three-game date with the Los Angeles Angels. Assuming the Indians’ streak is still alive by then, they could tie the Giants’ record in Game 2 of that series and break it in the finale.