Congratulations Cleveland, you did exactly the opposite of what I thought. Shows what I know.
Cleveland won their first American League Pennant since 1997 yesterday and get to head back to Cleveland for Game 1 of the World Series starting next Tuesday. The Indians now get 6 off days including today to rest up and prepare for the Fall Classic.
I questioned the starting pitching of Cleveland going into the series with Toronto, and boy did they prove me wrong. Who says you need 2 of your best starters in the most important games of the year?
Reasons they won (or “circumstances”): Andrew Miller, Terry Francona and the starting pitching.
Game 1. Corey Kluber keeps them off the board over 6.1 innings. Francona goes to Miller for 1.2 innings of shut out relief setting up the easy save for Cody Allen in the 9th.
The offense did just enough getting 2 runs in the 6th inning and it was more than enough.
Game 2: Josh Tomlin gives up 1 run over 5.2 innings. Bryan Shaw gets him out of the 6th with a fly ball. Miller goes 2.0 more innings of shutout relief and sets up another save for Cody Allen.
Andrew Miller struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. It’s almost like this guy is really good or something…
Game 3: The Trevor Bauer blood game. The guy goes 0.2 innings and faced 4 batters and rips his stitches open dumping blood all over his uniform, the ball, his cleats… It was awesome.
Francona loses his starter in the 1st and had to throw future pitching plans out the window to win this game. Cleveland used 6 pitchers after Bauer’s exit to propel them to a 4-2 win and a 3-0 series lead. Francona didn’t use any arm too much. The longest outing for a Cleveland pitcher that game was 1.2 innings.
This time, Cody Allen came in earlier than usual for the hold setting up the 4 out save for Miller. If you haven’t caught on yet, Terry Francona knows what he’s doing to win these games.
Game 4: Corey Kluber on short rest against the American League ERA leader for 2016. Kluber has had his struggles in Toronto and the Jays get a game led by Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion.
A sweep would’ve been awesome for Cleveland, but only 1 team has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the Postseason.
Game 5: Ryan Merritt gets the starts with only 11.0 career MLB innings pitched. Toronto starts licking their chops over this one saying something about how he will be more scared than they are. Yeah, good job boys. Way to back the talk up.
Merritt went 4.1 innings giving up 2 hits. More than what you ask for out of him in the situation. Well done, rook. Bryan Shaw threw an inning getting it to Andrew Miller in the 6th who went 2.2 innings on just 21 pitches. Once again, he is really good.
Cody Allen notches his 3rd save of the series and Cleveland gets to celebrate in front of Toronto’s fans.
MVP: Andrew Miller.
Shocking news there. The guy was lights out. Cleveland gave up a big package for Miller at the trade deadline, but they went all-in and it paid off. I’ll continue to praise Terry Francona for bullpen management. The game may change in the future because of what he has done. Good for you Tito. Enjoy this one.
The offense hasn’t been spectacular, but they haven’t needed to be. Just do enough and let good pitching win it for you. You’ll find yourself playing deep into October.
The people of Cleveland are enjoying 2016. Now, you get Game 1 of the World Series on the same day as the Cavs home opener? I think it makes up for the Browns instantly.
Losers: Jonathan Lucroy.
Cleveland probably isn’t looking too bad right now, huh?