CLEVELAND -- One has the infectious smile. The other the intimidating swagger. In the field together, shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jose Ramirez are artists up the middle. In the batter's box, they each offer consistency with an increasing amount of power.They led the way again on Monday night,
CLEVELAND -- One has the infectious smile. The other the intimidating swagger. In the field together, shortstop Francisco Lindor and second baseman Jose Ramirez are artists up the middle. In the batter's box, they each offer consistency with an increasing amount of power.
They led the way again on Monday night, when the Indians' 11-0 rout of the Tigers extended the franchise's record winning streak to 19 games, which is territory few teams have experienced previously. Lindor delivered a triple that broke things open and Ramirez crushed a home run that effectively put the game away. The numbers they have posted during Cleveland's run are bordering on absurd.
"I could be out there," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said, "but that's like Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar right there. I think people are going to talk about it later on. That double-play duo. Two guys like that, young guys coming up together. You can tell, man. They just feed off each other."
Vizquel and Alomar are baseball saints in these parts. If anyone is going to compare players to them, especially ones wearing Cleveland's uniform, they better be able to back it up. Right now, it is hard to argue with Gomes' assessment of the Tribe's budding superstars. Cleveland is on the cusp of matching the 2002 A's American League record for consecutive wins (20), and Lindor and Ramirez have played a huge part.
Take what the duo has done in this 19-game winning streak, for example.
In Monday's victory, Lindor laced a three-run triple in the second inning, added a single in the fourth and finished the night with four RBIs. The switch-hitting shortstop is now batting .365/.434/.770 with eight home runs, two doubles, two triples and 18 RBIs during the winning streak. Lindor is feeling so good at the plate that he even homered with a bat borrowed from teammate Abraham Almonte in Sunday night's win.
"That's what we live for, to help the team win," said the 23-year-old Lindor, who will praise his teammates before ever discussing his own accomplishments.
Ramirez, 24, launched a two-run homer in the fourth inning on Monday, pushing Cleveland to a 7-0 lead. That marked his 26th home run and 79th extra-base hit in a campaign that has thrust him into the AL Most Valuable Player Award debate. Within the Indians' winning streak, Ramirez has hit .383/.415/.950 with eight homers, eight doubles, one triple and 14 RBIs. That is 17 extra-base hits, compared to six singles.
Ramirez exited Monday's win in the sixth, when a pitch from Warwick Saupold shot off the handle of the second baseman's bat and into his left forearm. With the score lopsided, Indians manager Terry Francona pulled Ramirez from the game as a precaution, but he noted after the win that the infielder was fine.
After their showing against the Tigers, Ramirez and Lindor ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in the AL in WAR. Only Jose Altuve (6.7, per Fangraphs), Michael Trout (6.3) and Aaron Judge (6.1) rated higher than Ramirez (5.2) and Lindor (4.7).
"They've just been so consistent, and at such a high level," Francona said of Lindor and Ramirez. "They play with a lot of energy."
Gomes said it has been fun to watch the young infielders blossom together in the big leagues.
"Jose, you can put him anywhere and he's going to be one of the better guys in the league at that position," Gomes said. "Then you've got Frankie, who's just smiles all around, man. He's definitely contagious with what he does on the field."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.