22 and counting

on September 2017 | in Sports | by Dario Passarelli | @PapaDart | with No Comments

To say that the Cleveland Indians have been on an incredible run is an understatement. At the timing of this article they have won their 22nd game in a row. This surpasses the 20 game streak of the “MoneyBall” Oakland A’s in 2002 as well as the 21 game streak of the 1935 Chicago Cubs and the 1880 Chicago White Stockings. You read that correctly, I said 1880 and I did say White Stockings. Hmmm, Sox doesn’t sound so bad anymore does it?

Cleveland is still a few games away to get to the current record of 26 games held by the 1916 New York Giants. Standing in their way is the remainder of a four game series with their division rivals the Kansas City Royals after coming back and beating them 3-2 in extra innings. Talk about drama.

Better yet, talk about the lack of drama heading into this series to begin with. If you are a peripheral baseball fan, you may be wondering why haven’t you seen this story everywhere you go? Why isn’t it dominating not only sports radio and tv, but dominating regular news coverage as well. Part of the reason is that for the most part the games themselves have been… dare I say, boring.

Back in 2002, the A’s had some nail biting games including losing an 11 run lead only to have Scott Hatteberg hit a bottom of the ninth, walkoff homerun to win the 20th game of the streak. That’s the kind of drama that movies are made of. Oh wait, duh.

But these Cleveland Indians have provided little in the form of intensity because they have been consistently dominate. During this winning streak they have outscored their opponents 142-37 averaging a 7.5-2 score in the process. 56 of those runs have come in the first two innings and gets them out to an early lead. Cleveland fans I’m sure are appreciative as they can watch with less apprehension for the remainder of that game. In fact, during the 199 innings of work, they only trailed during 8 of those innings and half of those came in that last victory. Just solid baseball on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball. Like I said… boring.

In this case though boring still means impressive. Not only in what they are doing and how they are doing it, but also by who is doing it. These 2017 Indians aren’t only a good team. they are a deep team. No player has played in all 22 games.Thanks to Jeff Passan, MLB writer for Yahoo Sports who unearthed the following stat. Only 1 person has played in 21 games (thank you Jeff Passan writer for Yahoo Sports for this fact) and that player is Giovanny Urshela. If you had to ask who that is, don’t feel bad. Not many people do. He has started only 8 of these games, but he has come in for the remainder of them as a defensive upgrade in the infield.

Cleveland are also rewriting history without two of their best players. The first is outfielder and All Star Michael Brantley who has an injured ankle and will be gone for awhile. The second is someone the Toronto Blue Jays remember from last year’s postseason. Relief pitcher Andrew Miller has also missed the streak but may still factor into it as he should be in the lineup at any time. Miller was the ALCS MVP vs the Blue Jays as he gave up only 3 hits and no runs in 7.2 innings of work.

This has been a fantastic run by Cleveland and even though it hasn’t been dramatic it has been fun. Following social media and seeing hashtags with WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWindians on it for each victory has been entertaining and has given the fans of Cleveland great hope. They won’t be celebrating too soon though as they held a 3-1 lead in the World Series last year before losing in extra innings of game 7.

Although Blue Jays fans are gravely disappointed with how the season has turned out this year, they too now have hope. After all, it was the brain trust of Toronto President Mark Shapiro and General Manager Ross Atkins that helped build this Cleveland team before moving north of the border.

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