The Indians are at it again. The Tribe has a current win streak of 10 games, and look to keep it going today against the Tigers. The current streak is the longest of the season, surpassing their former best of 9, with a 5-2 victory over the Tigers last night. A lot needs to go right to make a 10 game win streak happen, so let’s take a look.
First of all, you have to be resilient. A section of this win streak came in the form of playing and winning two double headers in three days. Those 3 days account for half of the win streak. Of the 10 games, six have been on the road. If they want to keep the streak going, they have five more games on the road before heading back home to Progressive Field. The funny part is, they may not lose the rest of the road trip, and come home with a 15 game streak. They finish off a series with the Tigers, then head to the Windy City for a four game series against a struggling White Sox team.
To be the best, you have to beat the best. The Indians have done that. Not every game of the streak has been against a team’s ace, but in the last 10 games, they have beaten Red Sox ace, Chris Sale, Royals ace, Jason Vargas and Yankees’ stud Luis Severino. The Tribe had Sale’s number, hanging 7 runs on him (6 earned) in just 3 innings. More impressive is that they did it to Sale without hitting any home runs off of him. They put together those seven runs on seven hits, and didn’t look back. Against Vargas, it was a little bit of the same. They got to him early by posting four runs, all earned, on six hits including a home run by Francisco Lindor, and knocked Vargas out of the game after just five innings. Severino had a much better performance, going 6.2 innings, only allowing four hits. Unfortunately for Luis, three of those were long balls off of the bats of José Ramirez, who had two solo shots, and Santana who also added a solo shot in the sixth.
The Tribe has been dominant at times as well. During this win streak they have out scored their opponents 68-17. They scored double digit runs in three of the ten games and tossed four shutouts in that span. The starters have earned 9 of those 10 wins as well. And the bullpen has struggled at times, but held strong to protect the leads.
The team had been getting offensive contributions up and down the lineup. Guys that weren’t even supposed to be in the lineup, but filled in for injured players like Brantley, Chisenhall (just came off of the DL) and Kipnis. Guys like Bradley Zimmer, who has been much more productive both with the glove and the bat as of late, Gio Urshela, and Yandy Diaz have also filled in nicely and produced on many levels. Roberto Perez and Yan Gomes, who both struggled for much of the season are giving the bottom of the lineup a much needed spark. The usual suspects, Ramirez, Lindor, Encarnacion and so on, are doing what they’re supposed to, get big hits in key spots.
The Indians have blown the division wide open during this incredible run. They enter today with an 8 game lead over the Minnesota Twins, and knocked the Royals a whopping 12.5 games back. They also have built a 2.5 game lead over the Red Sox; our potential opponent in the ALDS. That lead, if held on to, would give them home field advantage through the series. The Astros have a 3 game lead over the Indians for best record in the American League. If the Tribe keeps it up, and can overtake the Astros, they will earn home field advantage throughout the ALDS and ALCS. Depending on who comes out of the National League, they could even win home field for the World Series. So don’t think the Tribe and manager, Terry Francona are going to cruise to the finish line. There is a lot on the line over the next 27 games.