The Cleveland Cavaliers snapped the “Cleveland curse” of 52 years without a professional sports championship in just seven games. Riding the wild wave of hometown pride right into the 2016 baseball season is the city’s most beloved team, the Cleveland Indians.
In the team’s first playoff appearance since 2007, the Indians have been the Cinderella story of October baseball, swiftly knocking off the Red Sox 3-0, and advancing to the American League Championship Series.
After a two-run single from rookie Tyler Naquin in the fourth inning and a two-run homer from veteran Coco Crisp in the sixth, the Tribe rolled to a nerve-wracking 4-3 victory at Fenway Park.
Terry “Tito” Francona set the tone for a sweep from the very beginning, managing Game 1 like it was Game 7 of the World Series, and sending in two of the team’s best relievers in Cody Allen and Andrew Miller to secure the first win. This was no doubt a power move from Francona, showing the world that his team is ready, and boy are they ever.
Following Francona’s lead, the team has slowly but surely rebuilt over the last three years, making this year’s Indians roster the best in recent history. Undeniable team chemistry, powerhouse pitching and skillful trades have helped this team excel over the Red Sox.
After squeaking out the win 5-4 on Thursday evening in Game 1, the Tribe managed to show the league what they’re made of in a 6-0 victory in Game 2.
In the series against the Red Sox, eight of the Indians’ eleven-man roster have contributed runs, with Jose Ramirez, Roberto Perez, Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer all scoring multiple.
The Indians now faces the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that’s witnessed some of the Cleveland magic this season. The Indians won four out of the seven match-ups between the two teams in the regular season, and even broke a franchise record for their 14 game win streak when they played the Blue Jays on July 1st.
Now listen, I’m not saying the Indians don’t have their work cut out for them. Toronto houses some of the strongest players in the league with Edward Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and former AL MVP Josh Donaldson.
The Blue Jays are looking to fight, but the Indians once again have the home-field advantage in the first two games of this pivotal series. It’s time to see what the Tribe is made of.
This team is playing with a fire in their belly and their backs against the wall, much like we saw from the Cavaliers this summer. With an electric hometown behind them and obvious passion on their side, not much is going to get in the way of the Indians this October.