Cleveland sports fans were usually the laughing stock of the sports world for over 50 years.
But the city is finally experiencing prosperity.
After an NBA Championship, three-straight Finals appearances for the Cavaliers and an American League (AL) pennant for the Indians, Cleveland supporters are tasting what Boston fans have been enjoying so far this century (10 championships in 16 years isn’t too shabby).
The taste in their mouths ran a little sour after blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series to the Cubs. The Indians were preseason favorites to return to the Fall Classic.
Now, they are official favorites to win it all after pulling off a record-breaking win streak. The team just won 22 consecutive games, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by an AL team since the “Moneyball” 2002 Athletics (they won 20 straight). Now, Cleveland owns the longest AL-winning streak in baseball history. The 1916 New York Giants hold the all-time record of 26 straight wins.
World Series odds change throughout the year based on team performances. The Dodgers have been favored for most of the year, but around the same time the Indians began their win streak, the Dodgers went on a dreadful losing streak.
Cleveland’s odds of winning the World Series currently sits at 9-4, the Dodgers at 5-2, and the Astros at 5-1.
So is it time to hop on the Wahoo Wagon? The 2002 Athletics won 20 games in a row and won their division, only to be eliminated by the Minnesota Twins in the first round of the playoffs.
But, the Indians are a much better team than those Moneyball Athletics.
The Tribe knew they had to bolster their lineup. They went out and signed free agent Edwin Encarnacion to a three year, $60 million contract, providing another power-bat to go along with the likes of Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis. Add in their already dangerous rotation of Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco and Corey Kluber, the Indians seemed poised to return to the World Series.
Of course, the postseason is when everything resets and everyone has an equal chance of winning a championship, but Cleveland is roaring towards the postseason with a vengeance. They fell one win shy of erasing a 68-year championship drought, and they seem adamant to make up that one win.
If the Indians are going to win their first World Series since 1948, they will need to continue to play the fundamental style of baseball that won them 22 straight games. They will also need to avoid blowing 3-1 leads in the postseason as well. Whether they face the Dodgers, Nationals or find a rematch with the Cubs again in the World Series, I think I speak for most baseball fans when I say that the Indians look like Series favorites.
Now, if only they can do the right thing and let Charlie Sheen’s character from “Major League,” Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn throw out the first pitch.
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