Can the Cleveland Indians Win the 2016 World Series?
The confetti has been cleared, the dust has settled and the city of Cleveland is ready to do it all over again. You need no explanation unless you were living under a rock all summer. The city finally got a championship in the form of LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers. It hasn’t been forgotten, but the dust has settled and the city wants more. Luckily, a few months later, in the same calendar year, the Cleveland Indians are adding further pride to the city. They won the American League Central Division and they’ve already won 2 games of their division series against the Boston Red Sox. However, so much more is wanted from Terry Francona’s Tribe. The ending of 2016 is far from set in stone sport-wise, and although the Cavs have made sporting history, the Indians have a chance to build on that, making a year that not only Cleveland will forever talk about, but the world, too.
Can the Tribe win it all?
Yes, yes they can. And they WILL.
The Cavs were 3-1 down against the NBA’s record-breaking Golden State Warriors, and they made history. The Indians have had their fair share of adversity this season too, but they seem to be just as prepared – if not more so – to cope with it than even the title-winning Cavs were.
In Game 1 37,762 Cleveland fans watched their team enjoy home advantage. Their big season got bigger on the big stage. They waved their towels, ate their hot dogs, drank their beers, all whilst watching the Indians grab a 5-4 win over the Red Sox in the American League Division Series.
That’s great, but just why will they win it, you ask?
First and foremost, believe in their manager Terry Francona. He was at the helm of the 2004 and 2007 World Series Champs Boston Red Sox, so he knows a thing or two about managing and winning in the post-season. It’s not a coincidence that the Tribe was 68-94 before he took over in 2012, and 92-70 in his first year as manager in 2013, and 94-67 this year. Francona is a good manager and a difference-maker; if you want to undervalue the impact a manager can have, compare Francona to other managers like Matt Williams or Buck Showalter who have made costly and incorrect managerial decisions that lead to games lost.
Second, the Indians have yet to lose more than four games in a row this year, an MLB best. The only way they will lose a series during the postseason is if they go on a losing run they’ve yet to face this season, which they won’t. They quite simply don’t know how to lose that many games in a row. This team has the bottle, the nerve, to never say never, to never give up. They’re never out of a ball game, they’re never out of a series, and that will steer them to the World Series. Adrenaline alone that should be enough, but they have so much more than that.
Although they don’t have the homerun-hitting king, what they do have is a talented, consistent array of hitters. They’re hitting better than they’ve done in the last decade, and that’s a surprise as many felt they didn’t upgrade with the big bat many felt they needed.
Add this alongside their All-Star elite pitching and it’s easy to see why many believe they’ll make the Cleveland miracle year all the more magnificent.
The Indians already have the talent to beat the Red Sox, the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays, so why should they play in fear? The World Series will likely be an encounter of historical proportion against the Chicago Cubs. That will, however, be more difficult, but yet again, they’ve got the tools to get the job done.
Trevor Bauer, their Game-1 starting pitcher, explained the adrenaline they felt from the crowd. He said “Adrenaline is a crazy thing. You don’t want it to take over, because that’s bad. And you don’t want to try to suppress it either, because that’s bad. The first couple of innings I just tried to locate — that was my focus — and kind of let the adrenaline take care of the velocity. After the second, it felt like a normal game again.
That adrenaline is what seemingly carried the bumped-and bruised Cavaliers to their title this summer, and it could happen again across the road at Progressive Field.
Although there was a near half-century wait for a Cleveland championship, it might well end in 2016 with TWO major professional sports titles.
Now wouldn’t that be a fitting end to one of sport’s most unsuccessful cities?
Reasons why the Indians WON’T win the World Series
The city of Cleveland has already had its magic for the sporting year with the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA championship. Although the Cleveland Indians have somewhat added to their speculative year, they won’t repeat the success that LeBron James’ Cavs had. The Cleveland Browns, across the city, are struggling, sitting at 0-4. The magic seemingly didn’t reach the levels of impossible. Even the impossible miracle has limitations when it comes to Cleveland. The Cavs have LeBron, the Browns have little to nothing, and the sad reality of it all is the Tribe are a great representation of the city, unlike the Browns, but that’s as close as they’ll get to any form of recognition or trophy collecting this season.
It’s sad to say it, Tribe fans, but you had your fun when you watched the Cavs tear down the championship-winning Golden State Warriors in their own back-garden. It won’t happen again. Home advantage is great, as is winning Game 1. However, beating the Boston Red Sox, and then one of the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers is seemingly impossible.
Say they get that far they’re likely to face off against the Chicago Cubs- who seem destined for greatness this year- or the Los Angeles Dodgers who would seemingly be too much for the Indians.
Miracles don’t push that far, espeically when the said team – the Indians – has a depleted roster, missing several star players. Danny Salazar and Michael Brantley are two that instantly spring to mind. Both players have been valuable assets to this roster, and although they’ve survived regular season baseball, they won’t be able to remain intact in the postseason, especially without so many star names.
However, there will be championship winners in the building for Game 2, with the Cavs coming to watch the Indians play. However, that’s as close to a title as the Indians are likely to get, at least this season anyway.
Cody Allen believes the fan support will be crucial like it was for the Cavs, saying, “Cleveland is definitely a diehard sports town. They love their Browns, they love the Cavs and they love us. And we love them.”
That’s great, but is it enough to see a second title in 6 months enter The Land? Probably not.
There’s a reason the Cubs and Rangers had the National League and American League best records, and there’s a reason it’s likely to be those teams that make it to the World Series to fight it out for the coveted baseball championship.
The Indians have tried hard, and they’ve made a magnificent contribution to this year for the city, but their efforts will be forever in the shadow of the amazing triumph the Cavs completed. The Indians could never have matched that this season.
Whilst they deserve their applauds, their screams and their playoff place, a title is wishful thinking, and the city will be left appreciating the title they got their hands on in the summer.
Although it’s near on impossible for the Indians to win it all, it looks more possible than the Browns winning a game this NFL season.
Good luck, Tribe, but when the going gets tough, you’ll need it.