You might have noticed lately that the Indians are absolutely crushing every team that gets in their way. They just finished up a record-setting 22-game winning streak, which brought them only a few games away from clinching the American League Central. On Saturday they erased their magic number completely and actually did it, earning them the AL Central crown for 2017.
Cleveland clinching was fairly inevitable even before that insane winning streak (they had a decent lead on the second-place Twins), but winning 22 games in a row definitely helped. And everyone has pitched in. The starting pitching has been masterful, with a rotation that contains Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger, and they've all turned in seasons that are close to their career bests. Their bullpen has been beyond good, which means they’re nearly half a run better than any other bullpen in baseball. (And they just got Andrew Miller back!) Their offense has been humming, and while Francisco Lindor and his world-lighting smile deserves a special mention, everyone has contributed. Their dominance has been a true team effort, which is how it's lasted so long.
This year has been a strange one for baseball. The rise of the home run (due to the juiced ball, let's be honest) has changed things. Three different teams — the Astros, the Dodgers, and the Indians — have had crazy dominant stretches. But the Indians are getting hot at exactly the right time. Playoff baseball is in sight! Two weeks from now the regular season will be coming to a close. (::sob::) And that's when the Indians will get another chance to do what they came so close to doing last year. They'll head to the postseason with something to prove, but a with a spectacular regular season behind them.
- Matt Lyons of Let's Go Tribe thinks Rob Manfred should follow NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's lead and try to modernize today's outdated baseball broadcasts. But Manfred shouldn't stop there — he should go further.
- If you were headed to the Cubs game at Wrigley Field on Friday night and thought you saw a dude who looked like Eddie Vedder playing on the street, I have some news: That was Eddie Vedder playing on the street.
- The Twins fired their Class-A manager (and former Double-A manager and former player) Doug Mientkiewicz, and Twinkie Town is NOT happy about it.
- What's even worse about the firing (aside from the absence of a clear reason for doing it) is that it came right after Mientkiewicz got cell service back ... because he's been cleaning up his neighborhood from Hurricane Irma. Classy.
- Cody Bellinger is probably going to be the NL Rookie of the Year, but he's not done making a case for himself. With 38 home runs, he's tied the NL record for most home runs by a rookie.
- The Phillies really need some good pitching next year, but that brings up an important question: What does "good pitching" look like now compared to 10 years ago?
- Matt Ferenchick of Pinstripe Alley wrote up the story of Ben Shields, and you know it's from a different era because tuberculosis plays a major role.
- Sam Dyson has a cat named Snuckles, and he loves him. A lot. Really really a lot. This is still somehow an understatement.