1. Cleveland Indians (87–56, plus-207, LT: 5)
Top six fun facts about Cleveland’s 18-game winning streak:
6. Cleveland has hit 37 home runs during the streak. Its opponents have scored a total of 32 runs.
5. As great as Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor and others have been lately, the team’s top second-half hitter, by far, has been Carlos Santana. He’s batting an outrageous .312/.423/.597 since the All-Star break.
4. Since we did this with the Twins, let’s do it with Cleveland too. On June 14, Cleveland stood at 31–31, having scored 11 more runs than the team had allowed. Since then: 56–25, +198.
3. The pitching’s been pretty damn great.
Indians have 17 shutouts, their most since 1976 which is the year Willie hosted his best 4th of July Picnic ever.— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) September 9, 2017
2. Saturday’s game against the Orioles was the only time Cleveland hasn’t scored first during this 18-game streak.
1. The following players have spent significant time on the DL during the streak: Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller, Danny Salazar, Josh Tomlin, Abraham Almonte, and Lonnie Chisenhall. Which reinforces a point that’s been valid all year, from that slow 62-game start to the current blitzkrieg on the league: This year’s roster is better than last year’s.
Carlos Carrasco is healthy and dominating, Edwin Encarnacion is a significant upgrade over Mike Napoli, Bradley Zimmer’s shagging flies in center, and last year’s deep bullpen is even deeper this year. Kipnis, Brantley, and Miller could all be back within a week. When that happens, the team that went all the way to extra innings in Game 7 of last year’s World Series will be fully intact, and better equipped to win it all this year than it was last year.
In the meantime, Cleveland’s just three wins away from breaking the record for longest winning streak by any AL team, breaking the record set by the Moneyball A’s. History awaits, with only the lowly Tigers standing in the way. Stay tuned.