Close but No Cigar for the Cleveland Indians
It is quite difficult to comprehend what losing in Game 7 of the World Series actually feels like. But that is exactly what happened to the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago Cubs earlier this month.
The two-time Major League Baseball champions were 3-1 up and on the verge of notching another championship before losing three in a row to gift the Cubs a World Series success. As if that’s not bad enough, the manner of their collapse could prove detrimental ahead of the offseason.
Despite their slip-up on the big stage, Cleveland can walk away proud of their achievements in the 2016 campaign. Heading into the season, nobody expected the Indians to reach the playoffs, let alone the World Series. In fact, Cleveland had featured in the postseason just once in the past eight years; a statistic that makes this year’s accomplishments all the more impressive. For some reason, the Indians’ first Central Division triumph since 2007 seemed to spark the franchise into life.
It could also continue to develop and spur the Indians on for greater success in the near future. After losing in such an agonising fashion, Cleveland will be desperate to get back to action. Plus, a couple of free agency acquisitions will bolster Terry Francona’s roster ahead of what could be a memorable campaign. At the time of writing, the Indians are priced at 10/1 in Bet365’s World Series odds and plenty of bettors will fancy this year’s runners up to go one better in 2017. They will certainly be watching Cleveland’s free agency activity very carefully in the build-up to next season.
— MLB (@MLB) November 5, 2016
When you break down the numbers, the Cubs probably just about deserved to beat Cleveland. But, that will be of little consolation to Indians supporters across the globe. Not only did Chicago rack up more runs, hits and home runs during the postseason, but they also ranked above their World Series opponents consistently throughout the regular campaign. Ultimately, a Cleveland triumph wouldn’t have been undeserved but the Cubs were worthy winners and some would argue that they were the right winners. After all, they were outstanding during the regular campaign; winning 103 games to Cleveland’s 94.
The future is bright for Cleveland and their fans will be quietly confident of success in the coming years. With 22-year-old Francisco Lindor performing at the top of his game, Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis finally have a third exceptional batting talent. That will give the Indians a much-needed edge in most of their clashes. In fact, Lindor recorded more runs and clean hits than his team-mates; albeit from two additional fixtures. If Cleveland can keep these three players under contract for the foreseeable future, the Indians will go deep in the playoffs once again.
Next season, the Cleveland Indians will be back and fighting for the World Series title – they’re far too good to slip up again.