When I think of Cleveland I think of losing teams, I think of teams literally called the Browns, and I think of, well, not much else. But the ragtag Cleveland Indians, dubbed by supporters as the “Windians,” might just change all that.
At the beginning of the year, nobody gave them much of a shot. If they were going to win the AL Central it would be because of a lack of talent in their division, not because they were good at baseball. But instead, the Indians crushed the division, winning 94 games, beating the second-place Tigers by eight games and the originally-favored Royals by 13 games.
The Indians had fantastic pitching from Corey Kluber (18-9 with a 3.14 ERA) and Carlos Carrasco (11-8 with a 3.32 ERA), and alright years from Josh Tomlin and Trever Bauer. But make no mistake, the Indians are in the playoffs because they can hit. They finished fifth in the league in runs despite the fact that they inexplicably hit their super slow, 34-homerun hitting first baseman/catcher/DH Carlos Santana leadoff and a .300 hitter, Tyler Naquin, eighth in the order. Their cleanup hitter, Mike Napoli, hit .240 and their No. 3 hitter was the shortstop, Francisco Lindor.
To summarize, the Indians pitching is alright, their hitting is okay, and they won 94 games. So how did they do this? The answer is they just win games, like they have done in the first two games of the ALCS. The Blue Jays and the Cubs have all the glamour, all the power, and all the support – but watch out for the Indians, a team that just knows how to win.
Teams like that [cough cough, wink wink, last year’s Royals] tend to do big things in the playoffs. This is due to the fact that power comes and goes, even for the best hitters, but players that know how to win never forget how to capture victories.
No true fan will ever forget the Schilling Sock moment, and maybe in 20 years John from Cleveland will reminisce and tell his kid about the Trevor Bauer finger fiasco of ’16 as he looks out the window and watches people leave the city he loves in droves for the warmer climate of Miami.