It took 19 innings, but the Indians haven't lost since the Cavs won the Finals
After 52 years without a championship in any sport, the gods must be smiling down on Cleveland. Every resident in the town is surely walking around with a smile on their face and the sun shining upon them even when they're indoors. Because, since the Cavaliers upset the Warriors, winners of a record-setting 73 regular season games, the Indians haven't lost.
In fact, since the Cavs returned to Cleveland and won Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 16 to even the series, the Indians have won, running their lead in the AL Central to 6 1/2 games entering Friday night.
The streak was nearly snapped on Friday when the Indians' Cavs-powered magic went up against the Blue Jays' Canada Day-fueled national power. But after 19 innings and two position players on the mound, the Indians kept the streak going when Carlos Santana went deep off Darwin Barney to give the team a 2-1 victory.
It pushed the Indians' winning streak to 14 games, setting a team record by topping the 13-game streaks the team had from April 18-May 2, 1942, and from Aug. 2-15, 1951.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 15) -- A Cleveland team just lost a game of sports but it's cool because it won't happen again the rest of the month.- Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) July 1, 2016
The streak has seen them barrel over the White Sox, Rays, Tigers, Braves and now, the Blue Jays. They've won games on walk-offs (twice), shutouts (three) and blowouts (there's no way to quantify a blowout, but scores like 13-2 and 9-3 certainly seem to fit.) And now they've won games that were really two games given the 19 frames it took to top the Jays.
It's even spawned the greatest of pun-based hashtags, with #WWWWWWWWWWWWWWindians taking on the role of a meditative mantra.
How did they do it, though?
While some hot hitting from the likes of Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Naquin are certainly part of it, and Francisco Lindor puts on a defensive clinic every evening, it all comes down to the starting rotation.
It makes sense -- there are also five starters, which is the same number of players the Cavaliers have on the court at any one time (and of course, we believe that there is some residual NBA magic in this team).
Not counting the usually-a-starter Trevor Bauer's five shutout innings in relief on Friday, the starters went 10-0 with an 1.83 ERA and 99 strikeouts, with just 26 walks in 103 innings.
Each and every pitcher has been phenomenal.
Corey Kluber has allowed only two runs in 17 innings, thanks to that amazing curveball.
Bauer, this time including his relief outing, has allowed only four runs in 27 innings with his mix of roughly 8,000 pitches. Carlos Carrasco's given up only three runs over his last three starts and is coming off a 14-strikeout demolition of Toronto. Danny Salazar's changeup has befuddled batters to the tune of a 3-0 record and only five runs in his last three starts.
Even Josh Tomlin, with a fastball that rarely reaches 90 mph, has stymied batters. During the streak, he's given up only seven runs in 21 innings.
While it may be difficult for the team to run its streak to 15 on Saturday (since Bauer was pressed into relief duties), perhaps the post-parade magic will continue. Or maybe LeBron James could pull a Michael Jordan and make a quick stopover into baseball. At least until the Indians pitchers can recharge for a game.
Keep going Indians!! 14 in a row #GoTribe- LeBron James (@KingJames) July 2, 2016