Indians Reach 22, Break Record; Is it Enough? We’ll Talk in November

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, sept. 15.

Well, they’ve done it-and with an extra-inning win to put an exclamation mark on it.  The Cleveland Indians have won 22 in a row.  The question is, will it mean anything in late October and early November when the World Series now takes place. Yes gang-baseball_ in Cleveland_ in early November.  Can you say 1997 World Series anyone?  I can because it was the series that drove Vin Scully to refuse to broadcast postseason baseball in the future.

The examples are many, going all the way back to David and Goliath when the supposedly invincible opponent came out on the losing side.  The Indians are an example all by themselves.  Starting on Sept. 29, 1954 the Indians lost the World Series in 4 straight to the Giants.  The Indians had come in with 111 regular season wins. In 2001 the Mariners bettered that with 116-and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.  Just this past April, the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, winners of 111 in a row and an apparent certainty to win their 4th NCAA title in a row were embarrassed by a Mississippi State team whom they would have beaten easily if they bothered to prepare for the game.  As recently as last night a team that should have had a league championship wrapped up fell apart.  The Yankees’ AA Trenton Thunder won 92 games in the regular season, defeated  the Mets’ Binghamton entry 3 games out of 4-then got swept by the Pirates’ team in Altoona. The 2002 A’s won 20 in a row, the American League record the Indians broke earlier this week.  They did nothing in the postseason.  So while this streak looks good on paper and is marginally good for attendance it won’t be remembered if the Indians blow it next month.

When the streak began I was on a lazy two-week vacation with my special someone, the nearest thing to a honeymoon without marriage being involved.  I rarely thought of baseball and only asked my beloved to turn on the TV for a ball game when it was the Little League World Series final. The last time the Tribe lost may be telling-they lost 2 of 3 to Boston August 22 and 23.  With a few exceptions-Boston, the Yankees, Houston and just maybe Minnesota-the American League is a disgrace.  With teams like the White Sox and Tigers in their division it’s hardly surprising the Indians have won 22 in a row. The Tribe won their final game against Boston, swept the Royals, the Yankees, the Tigers (twice) the White Sox (twice) and the Orioles.  One of the series against the Tigers was a 4-game series, as well as one series with the White Sox.  Come October, the Indians won’t be facing these awful teams. They may see the Yankees who they swept in New York-the one series in the entire streak that had playoff implications.  They may see Boston or Houston, either of whom can put up a better fight than the White Sox, Orioles or Tigers.  Their opposition  have been outscored 142–37 by the Indians during these 22 games.

Last night it looked like the Royals might snap the streak leaving the Indians tied with the 1935 Cubs at 21 consecutive wins.  The Royals had a 2-1 lead going to the last of the 9th until Francisco Lindor doubled home the tying run with two outs and two strikes against him. To his credit that game-tying hit came off ace closer Kelvin Herrera and was almost snared by outstanding left fielder  Alex Gordon, past winner of 4 gold gloves.  An inning later, former Met Jay Bruce doubled the winning run across the plate in the person of Jose Ramirez. The Indians have 3 more with the Royals, who at least can stay even with them temporarily.

The Cardinals and Cubs meet in today’s only matinee game.  The Cardinals’ starter today, Carlos Martinez passed 200 strikeouts in his last outing.  He’s the first Cardinal age 25 or younger to do this in almost 50 years.  Steve Carlton pulled it off in 1969. Martinez faces the Cubs’ John Lackey who’s been a hot pitcher since the All-Star break. The Orioles send former Met Gabriel Ynoa against arguably the Yankees’ best starter, Luis Severino.  Against an awful Orioles’ team the Yankees looked like a new Murderers’ Row with Aaron Judge hitting home runs 42 and 43 and Gary Sanchez breaking Yogi Berra’s record for Yankee catchers by hitting number 31. The Dodgers, who appear to have righted the ship after their streak of 16 losses in 17 games.  They send Alex Wood against the Nationals in Washington. The Rays return to their home field for the first time after hurricane Irma. They host the Red Sox and Chris Sale.  The Marlins aren’t so lucky, as they have to play in Milwaukee as the shambles that is Miami tries to put itself in order.  When the Royals and Indians meet the Tribe sends out Trevor Bauer who’s been 9-0 in his last 11 starts, two last month against the Royals.

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