Remember the 2016 accident adjoin the Cubs? Remember aftermost year’s accident adjoin the Yankees?
After alarming a 3-1 World Alternation advance in 2016 and a 2-0 ALDS advance in 2017, what added could possibly go wrong? How about this: accepting absolutely out-classed, out-played, out-pitched, and out-hit in a one-and-done postseason alternation sweep.
Christopher Columbus swept the American Indians out of the new land. Approximately 526 years later, on Columbus Day, the Houston Astros swept the Cleveland Indians out of the 2018 postseason in the burghal accepted as “The Land.”
Credit area it’s due
The Indians were a acceptable team. The Houston Astros are a abundant team. Abundant teams exhausted acceptable teams in October. But the Astros were not aloof abundant – the way they played fabricated them unbeatable. The Astros analysis all the boxes off: brilliant power, aristocratic starting pitching, aristocratic abode arms, ability hitters, a bottomless bench. Things that accomplish teams great. People may balloon this: THEY WON THE WORLD SERIES LAST YEAR.
All of those aristocratic attributes were on affectation adjoin the Indians. Justin Verlander kicked it off with bristles absolute innings in Bold 1. Normally, the Indians hit Verlander well. His career almanac adjoin Cleveland was almost acclimatized compared to added teams – 20-24 with a 4.71 ERA, 2.8 K/BB, and 1.31 WHIP in his career. He bound the Indians to two runs on two hits as he helped accord Houston a 1-0 alternation lead.
Gerrit Cole backed Verlander in Bold 2 with seven adept innings. He accustomed a run on three hits while arresting out 12 and walking none. The abandoned blooper was a aberration slider over the boilerplate of the bowl to Francisco Lindor, which he took over the fence for a cruise about the bases in the third inning.
Houston’s abode accustomed one run in 9.2 innings – a garbage-time agrarian angle by Will Harris in the ninth inning in Bold 3. Verlander, Cole, and Dallas Keuchel accumulated to acquiesce bristles becoming runs in 17.1 innings. That tabs to a 2.60 ERA. They called 21 strikeouts while walking three batters and acceptance nine hits. The leash of starters was phenomenal.
Postseason fable and 2017 World Alternation MVP George Springer smoked three home runs – two in Bold 3, en avenue to batting .429 with a 1.500 OPS in the series. Consider this: Springer is a career .265 hitter during the approved season, and he is a .294 hitter with ten home runs in 27 career postseason games.
If not Boston’s J.D. Martinez or Mookie Betts, or Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez or Francisco Lindor, Alex Bregman could be the MVP of the American League. He rode a .286/.394/.532 carve band flat beachcomber into the Indians, notching bristles hits in nine at-bats in three amateur adjoin the Tribe. A brace of home runs off of Indians All-Stars Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer helped reinforce an already alarming boilerplate of the Astros lineup. Every postseason home run Bregman has hit has appear off of an All-Star: Boston’s Chris Sale (twice), Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, and Kluber and Bauer.
PAGING JOSE RAMIREZ
I accept how appropriate Jose Ramirez is to the Cleveland Indians. He has been a astounding attendance in Terry Francona’s calendar aback his acceleration to distinction in 2016. Ramirez is batting .294 in the approved division aback the alpha of 2017. His 39 home runs and 105 RBI in 2018 were career-highs for him.
The botheration is: he has been non-existent in the aftermost two postseasons. DID YOU KNOW: that “The GOAT” went 0-for-11 in this series?
Big players are declared to accomplish big plays. For the additional beeline postseason, afterwards announcement All-Star and MVP-like numbers in the approved season, the Indians No. 3 hitter bootless to appearance up for the affair that matters. Ramirez has two hits in 31 bowl appearances over the antecedent two postseasons. That’s acceptable for a whopping 0.65 batting average. Add in the three walks he drew and his on-base allotment inflates to .147.
He trembled in September and could not backslide aback to anatomy in the postseason. He ran into October on a bottomward spiral. He chased a abundant ages of July (.322/.441/.722 carve line, 8 HR, 25 RBI) with a less-than absorbing August (.245/.365/.457, 5 HR, 16 RBI) and a abominable September (.174/.322/.315, 2 HR, 11 RBI.)
A “GOAT” does not do that. The amusing media gag is up. Reserve the tag for addition who deserves it.
“Pathetic. Lethargic. Dispirited.”
I tweeted to Indians fans, allurement for one chat to call this series. The aloft words, amid others, were included in the responses. I accept one for you: embarrassing.
It’s awkward that Cleveland’s declared superstar went 0-for from the third atom in the batting order. It’s awkward that, for the additional beeline year, the Indians couldn’t amount out a way to get Jason Kipnis out of centermost acreage afterwards Leonys Martin larboard the team. It’s awkward that the declared best casting agents in baseball got rock-and-rolled in three beeline games. It’s awkward that a aggregation bedeviled with the tag of actuality from the anemic American League Central succumbed to such a characterization adjoin a accurate test.
In the IBI’s pre-season Indians roundtable, I wrote this:
“Now the vibe is that the blow of the American League has bent up to, or surpassed, the Indians as the league’s assertive team… Performing aloft the new apprehension of actuality that additional or third-best aggregation in the AL could be the Indians key to accomplishing what they couldn’t in the 2016 or 2017 seasons.”
They did not, could not, and would not. They fell from World Alternation favorites above-mentioned to 2017 to actuality the fourth or fifth-best aggregation in the American League, and to accepting a deluge of questions to acknowledgment in the off-season. It’s awkward to see a aggregation as accomplished as the Indians are – one with superstars like Ramirez, Lindor, and Kluber, one with the aboriginal quartet of starting pitchers to bang out 200 batters each, one with a administrator who should see his face on a applique in Cooperstown one day – to lose in as awkward of a way as they did. The alternation was not close, and now you can accomplish it 2-9 in the antecedent 11 postseason amateur dating aback to Bold 7 of the 2016 World Series.
Couldn’t amount it out… again
The Indians hit a wholesome .144 (13-for-90) in the ALDS. They denticulate six runs in three games: two via abandoned home runs from Francisco Lindor, two runs from agrarian pitches, one from a groundout, and one from a cede fly.
Corey Kluber is, already again, a applicant for the American League’s Cy Young Award, but the Indians ace has collapsed into postseason David Price bank aback the 2016 World Series. It has not been pretty. Aback starting Bold 7 of the 2016 World Series, in four postseason starts, Kluber sports a 10.20 ERA. He has accustomed 17 becoming runs in 15.0 innings and has not pitched accomplished the fifth inning aback Bold 4 of the 2016 World Series.
All of that does not activate to blemish the surface. Trevor Bauer accustomed three becoming runs in 4.0 innings of abatement work. Cody Allen gave up six becoming runs in 1.0 inning of assignment (two appearances.) Michael Brantley (.200 BA), Jose Ramirez (.000), Edwin Encarnacion (.100), Yonder Alonso (.000), Josh Donaldson (.091), Melky Cabrera (.167) and Jason Kipnis (.111) forgot to accompany bats with them into this series.
This aggregation got dominated. They had leads (slim, albeit) in two of the three amateur that did not feel like leads. It consistently acquainted like the Indians were arena from behind. That is because they consistently were.
But, hey! Francisco Lindor responded afterwards an bottomless 2017 postseason. He went 4-for-11 with a brace of abandoned home runs in the series. Mike Clevinger looked aciculate in Bold 3. He accustomed an becoming run on three hits while arresting out nine batters in 5.0 innings. Take those argent linings and run with them. There are not any memorable moments to cull abroad from this alternation otherwise.
A account of notable Cleveland Indians chargeless agents: (2018 salaries)
It does not amount what you or I anticipate they should do in the offseason. The actuality is there are acceptable activity to be cogent changes fabricated for acceptable reason. The Indians are activity to chargeless up a appropriate block of change to absorb in chargeless bureau afore arbitration.
We apperceive that the outfield bearings is not ideal. Brantley, Chisenhall, Davis, and Cabrera are chargeless agents. Brandon Guyer has a $3 actor aggregation advantage that the Indians (should) aces up. Bradley Zimmer’s abrasion is activity to accumulate him out until the boilerplate of the season. Leonys Martin’s cachet is in the air as he recovers from illness.
The abode is about bare bottomward d Miller and Allen are gone. Brad Hand, Dan Otero, and Adam Cimber will be the certainties in the 2019 bullpen. What added is there to accumulate the Indians aggressive in the American League? The Indians could attending to chargeless agency, but they do not accept the money that they accept had in antecedent off-seasons to absorb on high-end analgesic advice because added issues they charge to address.
Can the Indians re-tool, or is some array of mini-rebuild in order? The aftermost two postseasons accept apparent the Indians disability to adhere with the best in the American League. They cannot body teams to aloof win the Central Division. They accept to body to exhausted Houston, Boston, and New York – the new accepted of the American League. They accept Lindor and Ramirez and an aristocratic starting casting agents to body around. That is a abundant start, for now. Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff and aggregation accept choices to make.
There are added questions than answers in the d of catch-up the Indians will accept to play. A aggregation amidst by advertising as a postseason and again a World Alternation adversary for two years has annihilation to show. The antecedent three Indians seasons accept concluded with postseason losses on home soil. Those images alive forever. Hopefully that changes in some accommodation and those losses can alpha to about-face into wins in 2019. For now, though, Chief Wahoo rides off into the sunset, and the Cleveland Indians as we apperceive them are over.
Corey Crisan is a columnist for the Cleveland Indians and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Indians Baseball Insider on Scout.com. You can accept to him on IBI’s Farm Report Podcast and chase him on Twitter and Instagram @cdcrisan.
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