The Cleveland Indians have had one heckuva regular season filled with plenty of ups and downs, including key injuries, losses, and most importantly wins. It hasn’t gotten better than the last three weeks of baseball though. Nowadays, it’s hard to win 10 games in a row given the amount of talent around the MLB. That wasn’t a problem for the Indians. Before suffering their first loss in three weeks Friday night, they had a 22-game winning streak, the most consecutive wins by a single team in MLB history.
With their dominance on the field, they were able to strengthen their lead in the AL Central to 14 games over the second-place Twins. With such a big lead, it wasn’t a matter of if the Indians would win the AL Central, it was a matter of when they would clinch it. Well, the when part of that statement has been answered. After Cleveland followed up their first loss in three weeks with a win over the Royals Saturday afternoon, the magic number was one. With Minnesota losing to the Blue Jays Saturday night, the Indians have officially clinched the AL Central for the second year in a row.
With the division in hand, the Indians can now focus on getting healthy for an October and also do their best to secure the best record in the American League to have home-field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. At 92-57, they currently have the best record in the AL over the Astros (90-58, 1.5 games behind Cleveland) and Red Sox (85-63, 6.5 games behind). The Indians are 4.5 games behind the Dodgers (96-52) for the best record in the league. Unlike in year’s past, whoever has the best regular season receord will get home-field advantage in the World Series.
Due to the Indians playing this afternoon and them not clinching the division until tonight following the Twins loss to the Blue Jays, the team has already been announced that they will celebrate their AL Central division title both before and after tomorrow’s game against the Royals.
Here's the (tentative) plan for tomorrow:
Pregame flag raising in CF
Tito addresses crowd briefly
— AL Central champs! (@Indians) September 17, 2017
Now let’s hope that this won’t be the only time the Indians will be popping champagne in celebration the next two or so months.