Thursday, December 14, 2017 Medina 26°
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Tribe Notes

Ingraham: Like a broken record ... this Tribe team is a great one

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The infamous 1899 Cleveland Spiders, the losingest losers in the history of loserdom, were 20-134.

The 2017 Cleveland Indians have won more games than that since Aug. 23.

The greatest winning streak in major league history now stands at 21 in a row.

The Indians have gone three weeks without losing a game. That’s almost a month. A month is one-sixth of the season. No losses. None. Twenty-one and zero. Undefeated and untied — unlike those shadow streakers, the 1916 New York Giants.

The 1916 Giants are the only team in major league history (since 1900) with a longer winning streak than the Indians. The ’16 Giants won 26 games in a row — sort of.

Actually, the ’16 Giants won 12 games in a row, but then, on Aug. 26, they played the Pirates and, with the score 1-1, the game was halted after 14 innings, presumably due to darkness, but possibly out of boredom.

The Giants then won 14 more games in a row. Despite that tie smack in the middle of it, they are somehow still credited with a 26-game winning streak.

It says here that the 2017 Indians not only have a more legitimate winning streak — no ties! — than the Giants, but the Indians are a better team, and their winning streak is way better.

In addition to that tie-marred 26-game winning streak, the 1916 Giants also had a 17-game winning streak, but they only finished in fourth place in the National League.

The Indians have won 21 in a row, with no ties, they’ve blown the doors off the Central Division race, and are stalking the Dodgers for the best record in the major leagues.

With a record of 90-56 — since July 21 they are an outrageous 42-11 (.792), the best record in the majors — the Indians need only to win 10 of their last 16 games to reach 100 wins in a season for only the third time in franchise history. They were 100-44 in 1995 and 111-43 in 1954.

“Nothing against the Mets, but I went from the least fun situation to the most fun,” said Jay Bruce, whose three-run, first-inning home run Wednesday was the Indians’ trampoline to win No. 90, the last 21 in a row. “This team was awesome before I got here. I’m just so fortunate to be a part of this, and happy to help out wherever I can.”

Right now, the streaking Indians are even awesomer. Awesomest.

Their numbers make your eyes bulge. They’ve outscored their opponents during the streak 139-35. One-third of their wins (seven of 21) have been by shutouts. They have 19 shutouts overall. No other American League team has more than 11.

Indians starting pitchers during the streak are 19-0 with a 1.67 ERA. Mike Clevinger during the streak is 4-0 with a 0.38 ERA — and he’s their No. 4 starter. Or is it No. 5?

The Indians during this streak don’t just beat teams. They beat them UP. Pummel ’em. Pancake ’em. Punish ’em. Wallop, wham and whack ’em. Slap ’em upside the head.

Most of the victories aren’t just wins, they’re blood lettings. Maulings. Muggings and Mayhem. Seriously: 139-35.

This is playground bully stuff in Temple Tito.

On Aug. 24 they beat Boston 13-6. Then they (deep breath): swept three from the Royals (all shutouts), three from the Yankees, four from the Tigers, four from the White Sox, three from the Orioles and three from the Tigers.

“Quite frankly, they’re just better than us. It’s as simple as that,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, whose team in seven games against the Indians this month is 0-7 and been outscored 47-8.

It’s a team in every sense of the word, led by one of the sport’s all-time great team builders and leaders.

Terry Francona’s steady hand and devotion to roster inclusivity are all over this winning streak. Everyone plays. Everyone contributes. Everyone stays engaged.

“Everybody has pretty much had a hand in doing something,” Francona said.

“It comes from a manager who makes you feel comfortable and confident as soon as you get here,” Bruce said. “It doesn’t matter who we put out there. We’ve got guys up from Double-A taking meaningful at-bats.”

And winning. A lot.

Indeed, what the winning streak has done is remind everyone what kind of baseball machine the defending American League champs can be when everyone is reasonably healthy, because they saw what kind of baseball machine the Indians can be when everyone is not.

They saw it last year, when a starting rotation of Corey Kluber and the Klubettes took the team as far as a team can possibly go without winning the World Series.

That was that Indians team.

This one is better.

This year’s Indians are likewise bruised and battered, but they are also now battle-tested, hardcore hardball heroes.

On a roll.

Contact Jim Ingraham at 329-7135 or jingraham4@gmail.com. Follow him @Jim_Ingraham on Twitter.



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