Now It's the Cleveland Indians' Turn
While most of Northeast Ohio was focused on the championship season of the Cavaliers, the Cleveland Indians were quietly winning games. Now it’s their turn.
The Tribe won their division with a lot of unlikely heroes and tonight begin their postseason playoffs by hosting the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field. Ideastream’s Mark Urycki reports they’ll need more unlikely heroes to keep winning.
The last time the Indians won their division was 2007 when they were one win away from going to the World Series. But Boston, under manager Terry Francona, beat them and went on to win it all. Francona is still popular in Boston but now he manages Cleveland. He says this 5 game series is about his players, not him.
“Both teams have accomplished so much to get here it needs to be about the players. Whatever my personal feelings are need to stay just that.
Francona did say it’s an honor to face one of his best friends, Boston manager John Farrell, a former Indians pitcher.
The Tribe tied Texas for the best home record -53 wins- in the league this year. 11 wins came from last inning walk-off hits. Young players like Francisco Lindor and Tyler Naquin joined veterans like Mike Napoli Rajai Davis, and Carlos Santana to win 93 games. One of the league’s best bullpens kept the Tribe winning.
Francona spent his first 5 years as a boy in Cleveland. His father Tito played for the Indians.
The 2016 regular season success is not lost on the manager.
“I enjoyed the whole way pretty much. I mean there are certain days that are longer than others. I would guess I consider myself pretty lucky. I get to come to a place work that I love, deal with people I really care about, and a team that it’s about the least amount of babysitting I’ve ever seen in my career. So it’s been fun.”
Odds-makers say Cleveland will lose this series. Their best hitter Michael Brantley has been out for the season. Ace pitcher Corey Kluber has a thigh muscle strain, second best pitcher Carlos Carrasco is out with a broken hand, third best Danny Salazar will only play if the team gets to the second round.
So tonight they go to their 4th best starter Trevor Bauer.
Does the skipper need to inspire his team?
“There’s no speech that’s gonna, you know, we’ve been together since February, I think I’m about out of stuff. I didn’t have much to begin with.”
Tonight’s game starts at 8:00, Game 2 is Friday at 4:30. Tito Francona will throw out the first pitch.
Indians ALDS Roster
No. Player position
37 Cody Allen RHP
56 Cody Anderson RHP
47 Trevor Bauer RHP
52 Mike Clevinger RHP
28 Corey Kluber RHP
53 Jeff Manship RHP
34 Zach McAllister RHP
24 Andrew Miller LHP
61 Dan Otero RHP
27 Bryan Shaw RHP
43 Josh Tomlin RHP
38 Chris Gimenez C
10 Yan Gomes C
55 Roberto Perez C
22 Jason Kipnis INF
12 Francisco Lindor INF
1 Michael Martinez UTL
26 Mike Napoli INF
11 Jose Ramirez INF
41 Carlos Santana INF
8 Lonnie Chisenhall OF
4 Coco Crisp OF
20 Rajai Davis OF
6 Brandon Guyer OF
30 Tyler Naquin OF