19 Straight For Indians
CLEVELAND—One more day. One more game. One more win.
The Cleveland Indians are ripping off victories like few teams before them.
And, they’re not finished.
With their latest lopsided win, the Indians extended the majors’ longest winning streak in 15 years to 19 games on Monday night by blowing out the Detroit Tigers 11-0 to move closer to a record that has stood for 101 years.
Francisco Lindor tripled home three runs off rookie Myles Jaye (0-1) in the second inning, and the Indians, who haven’t lost since Aug. 23, prolonged the third-best winning streak since 1947.
But while they may be the talk of baseball, Cleveland’s players are taking it all in stride.
To them, it’s no big deal.
“Surprised? I don’t want to say I’m surprised,” said Lindor, who is batting. 338 during the streak. “We haven’t really paid attention to it. We’re just enjoying the ride and trying to focus on what we have in front of our feet. Today is in the past already. We focus on what we have tomorrow and we’ll see what happens.”
Cleveland is the sixth team to win at least 19 straight, and the streak is the longest since the 2002 Oakland Athletics won 20 in a row — a run that was celebrated in the film “Moneyball.”
The Indians can match those A’s on Tuesday, and their chances of getting No. 20 are strong with AL Cy Young Award contender Corey Kluber starting.
At this point, it hardly matters who’s on the mound.
The defending AL champions aren’t just rolling, they’re steamrolling, outscoring opponents 132-32 during a stretch that includes six shutouts.
They’re making it look easy, but manager Terry Francona refuses to make more of the streak.
“I get it,” Francona said. “I just don’t feel like going there. I think it sends the wrong message. I think our message is always consistent, that, ‘Hey, show up and try to outplay them today.’ I think they’re doing a good job, that’s the understatement.”
Carlos Carrasco (15-6) struck out nine in six innings, Lindor had four RBIs and Jose Ramirez hit a two-run homer as the Indians lowered their magic number to clinch the Central to six.
Cleveland joined the 1906 Chicago White Sox (19), the 1947 New York Yankees (19), the 2002 A’s (20), the 1935 Chicago Cubs (21) and the 1916 New York Giants (26) as the only teams to reel off 19 consecutive wins. The Giants’ record run is in the books as the major league mark, although it did include a tie, which does not count as an official game in baseball, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Even tying these Indians during a game has been nearly impossible.
Cleveland has trailed in only four of 171 innings, scored first in 18 of 19 games and has hit 38 homers. In a season where other teams have displayed dominance, the Indians stand alone.
“In the whole picture they’re the best team in baseball,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “No offense to the Dodgers and the Astros. Between their starting pitching, their bullpen, their athleticism, their lineup, they can get you from both sides of the plate.”
Cleveland’s streak has happened despite the team missing three of its best players: All-Star reliever Andrew Miller, All-Star left fielder Michael Brantley and second baseman Jason Kipnis. They’re all on the disabled list.
“It’s just the next guy up,” Kipnis said. “It doesn’t matter who it is or what goes down. We like the depth that we have. We have the players that go out and compete each night and you’re going to win a lot of games when guys play with that attitude.”
Ramirez is expected to be fine after suffering a bruised left forearm when an inside pitch caromed off his bat and hit him.
Miller threw 30 pitches in a simulated game, a major step in his recovery from knee tendinitis. The team will see how Miller responds Tuesday before deciding the next move. Kipnis faced Miller during the workout and doubled off the left-hander.
“After I fouled one off, I said, ‘I’ve already had a better at-bat than I have ever versus him in a game,'” Kipnis said. “He smiled at that one.”
Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmerman received an injection last week for the neck injury that’s bothered him since last season. He will begin a throwing program in the next few days, and Ausmus said Zimmerman will make a few more starts if there are no setbacks. Zimmerman is 8-12 with a 6.18 ERA in 27 starts.
Indians: Rookie CF Bradley Zimmer will undergo surgery on his broken left hand on Tuesday in New York. Zimmer got stepped on while diving into first base on Sunday. The Indians do not have a timetable on his return, but it’s safe to assume his season is over.
Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.92 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander, who leads the AL in ERA (2.56) and opponent batting average (.192), will face Detroit’s Matt Boyd.