The streak is over, but the march to the pennant continues! The Indians have become the dominant team in baseball. Can they go all the way? Only time will tell, but fans in Northeast, Ohio have come to revel in the team-wide heroics that define this team. Let’s look at a few.
We see the mastermind in the dugout, constantly chomping on his sunflower seeds. His humble demeanor masking the strategy going on in his head. He is a wizard with the players, bringing out the best in each of them. Perhaps the best moment to understand Tito is when he sent 21-year Francisco Mejia to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with a 23-game winning streak on the line. Some may question the wisdom of that decision, but Tito was less concerned about a winning streak and more concerned about developing a winning player. He understands talent and will take a gamble when he sees potential. In terms of the game, sometimes that gamble pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t. But, in terms of player development, the gamble always pays off. Every player on the roster is playing to their potential. That starts at the top.
Frankie continues to spank the ball—it’s going back deep, deep, deep, . . . it’s gone! When he came to Cleveland, we knew Lindor could lead with leather. Now, he’s developing into a potent power hitter and a great lead-off batter.
When discussions arise about Cleveland’s pitching staff, the first name mentioned is Kluber. He is the Klubot and resistance is futile. However, it has been the development of the rest of the staff that has transformed them into a force of nature. Right before our eyes, Bauer and Clevinger are becoming aces. The road to the pennant is paved with pitching. The formula is usually: 2 aces, a dominant closer, several setup men, and solid pitching to fill in the gaps. The Indians may enter October with 4 aces, 2 dominant closers, and a bullpen filled with hard hurling setup and middlemen!
We also have to give props to Bauer for his Mini Head baseballs. This is the type of fun that creates a great atmosphere—both for the fans and the players!
The big man takes it deep—again! The Indians are playing better with his bat, and no doubt his presence in the locker room and on the field. We’ve also witnessed his efforts to help those harmed by Hurricane Harvey. He doesn’t just make this team better. He makes the world a better place. Welcome to Cleveland!
When Ramirez hit five extra base hits in a game, no one in Cleveland was surprised. Jose is one of the most exciting offensive players in the game. The moment the ball leaves the bat, he’s looking to extend a single into a double, or a double into a triple. He’s also developed into a great fielder. What may be scary for every other team is that we’re not certain if Ramirez has peaked. He could get even better!
Credit must go to the two men behind the plate—Gomes and Perez. The fans have come to expect their defense, their cannon throws to pickoff runners, and the way they work with the pitchers. But, these two have given us more—so much more. They’ve transformed the bottom of the lineup into a threat. Opposing pitchers simply can’t find an easy out anywhere in this Indians’ lineup.
This kid has leather—lithe and lively! He may be the best defender in the Indians’ infield—and this is an infield stacked with leather. It seems every young player the Indians call up brings something fascinating to the field. The logical conclusion is that this organization is deep—from the minors all the way up, they have the management and developmental staff to bring the best!
I could also refer to the parrot! EE is a veteran that brings experience and a big bat to this club. It’s also fun to watch fans dressing up in parrot uniforms. He is an anchor in the middle of the lineup!
It may be more appropriate to use his nickname, Ajax. We’ve all heard of the cleaner that washes away grime, grease, and gunk. Ajax washes away homeruns! He had the catch. It’s likely the play of the year for baseball—maybe the play of the year for all of sports. It’s just another example of the excitement every player brings—night in and night out!
Carlos goes deep! Again! Night after night he brings the bat. We are also watching him develop into a defensive diamond at first. Clevelanders stay up late at night arguing who should win the MVP. The obvious choice is Lindor, but then talk of Ramirez and Santana enter the mix. If only Santana could also play guitar. Would that be asking too much!
There’s not much debate in Cleveland who should be the manager of the year. And, even less debate about the Cy Young. It should be Kluber! But next year, could several Indians hurler be in the race? Ah, that is worth a late-night argument.
Of course, these are only a small sample of all the highlights. We have the 22-game winning streak. That should be enough, but we want more. We want the pennant, and this team has the tools to deliver!