The Cleveland Indians have won 22 straight games. Yes, you read that right. They already have the biggest winning streak in the American League and are inching closer to the MLB record.
Even though no one can deny how good they have been, there are two keys that have made them a successful ballclub. And considering the playoffs are just around the corner, it seems no team in the AL can stop Cleveland right now.
One of the keys to their moment has been the offense. It only takes a quick look at the stats to realize the Indians are near the top in every major offensive category in 2017.
For instance, Cleveland ranks second in the AL in batting average (.264), OBP (.340), slugging (.451) and OPS (.791). The Houston Astros are on top of them in all four of those stats, and it seems they are the only team capable of going toe-to-toe with the Indians at the moment. But Cleveland is far more balanced than Houston.
Despite ranking eighth in the AL in homers with 193, they are fourth in runs scored (743) and third in RBI (708). The power is not a big part of their offense, but they are hitting when it matters the most. That has to be one of the reasons why they have been SO GOOD of late.
Impressive Individual Efforts
If we look at their individual stats, some players really stand out. Francisco Lindor has emerged as a leader this season, and we could make a case to say he is the best offensive shortstop in the Majors. The 23-year-old leads all shortstops with 30 homers, and his robust .842 OPS shows he is clearly an above-average offensive player for the position.
Lindor is not alone, though. Edwin Encarnacion ranks seventh in the AL with 34 homers and is in the Top 10 with 89 RBI as well. Infielders Carlos Santana (23) and Jose Ramirez (26) have topped the 20-HR mark as well. In fact, Ramirez has been considered an MVP candidate for most of the season. He is not Lindor, but he has been extremely important to the team.
Last, but certainly not least, we have the rotation. There was a lot of talk regarding the Boston Red Sox’s rotation before the season, but the Indians have been far better on the mound.
Let’s start with their ace, Corey Kluber. The 31-year-old righty is a bonafide AL Cy Young candidate and has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball this season. His 16-4 record and 2.44 ERA speak for themselves and has also struck out 243 in only 184.2 innings. His 0.87 EHIP
Kluber is not alone, though. Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.41 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and Trevor Bauer (16-8, 4.33 ERA) have looked better than expected as well. And the bullpen features two shut-down arms in Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
As we can see, the Indians have a balanced roster and are going through an impressive run of results. They are getting hot at the right time, and it is clear no one can compete with them in the American League this year.