Cleveland baseball fanatics have watched their final Indians game, as the team will no longer go by that name. Next season there will be a whole new logo and name across the chest of the players; in 2022 they will be known as the Cleveland Guardians. Enough about next season, why don’t I talk about ending this season on a high note with a win?
Let us rewind and kick it off to the top of the first after Indians outfielder Myles Straw singled, followed by his 30th stolen base of the season. Texas Rangers starting pitcher Duane Dunning was ahead in the count to shortstop Amed Rosario. Rosario smacked a hard ground ball up the middle on a 79-mph breaking ball which plated across the speedy Myles Straw. In the top of the third inning, after Rosario got on base the slugging Jose Ramirez hit a laser back to Dunning which deflected off his glove and rolled into the outfield for a double. A wild pitched allowed Rosario to score to make it a 2-0 Indians lead. Outfielder Bradley Zimmer contributed to the offense, as he hit a RBI single up the middle. Later in that same inning, outfielder Oscar Mercado ripped a ground-rule double over the left field wall to score Zimmer. The Indians were able to produce two runs in the top of the fifth inning, thanks to Yu Chang, who clobbered an inside fastball up in the zone and deposited it over the left field wall. It marked Chang’s 9th home run on the season and extended the lead to 6-0 Indians. Cleveland starter Aaron Cavale early on was in the zone as he threw 10 pitches in 2 full innings of work. Cavale had strong command of his breaking ball, as the Rangers were swinging at the pitch as it bounced over home plate. Aaron Cavale finished his outing with a stat line of three hits, one walk and four strikeouts in six full innings of work. The main thing for a starting pitcher is limiting walks, as it can make or break an inning and can change the entire ballgame. Following Cavale were relievers Nick Wittgren, Bryan Shaw, Anthony Gose and young flame thrower in Emmanuel Clase. The four relievers combined for three strikeouts and only surrendered one hit, as the Indians came out on top, 6-0.
In sports, it is always important to remember the great memories of a team, and for Cleveland Indians fans there are many especially for a team that has been around since the 1900s. 1975 was a memorable year when Frank Robinson made his player/manager debut when he became not only the first African – American manager, but he hit a home run in his first at-bat. 1995 was a memorable season for the Tribe, as they clinched the American League Central Division for the first time in 41 years. It also was the same year that future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray got his 3,000th hit on June 30th in Minnesota against the Twins. The Indians also went on to the World Series that same year, thanks to the heroics of outfielder Kenny Lofton. In 2007, the Cleveland Indians came into Yankees Stadium and won the series which catapulted them to the American League Championship Series, though they came one win away from returning to the “Fall Classic”.
In 2016, the Indians won the division for the first time since 2007, behind a stellar performance from right-handed starter Corey Kluber who sported 18 wins and nine losses with a 3.14 earned run average. Kluber was in the top three voting for the American League CY award. Other notables were shortstop Francisco Lindor, outfielder Tylor Naquin, and third baseman Jose Ramirez who finished in the top three voting for American League MVP.
That same year, Cleveland had a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Cubs in the World Series but was unable to close it out. The Indians were a team that took pride in their talented rotation with the likes of Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer though they were defeated by the New York Yankees. The Indians have had great players over the years in Hall of Famer slugger Jim Thome, slick-fielding Omar Vizquel, Manny Ramirez, Roberto Alomar, along with crafty lefty pitchers such as C.C. Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Regardless of how this season transpired, there should be some positivity as the Indians have a group of talented young players such as Josh Naylor, Amed Rosario, Bradley Zimmer, Shane Bieber, and James Karinchak. Starting pitcher Triston McKenzie has great upside, as he is a tall powerful pitcher with a filthy repertoire who I could see in the future possible winning a CY award. Emmanuel Clase has shown he can take the reins and be a closer on this team, as he has nasty off-speed pitches to complement his 100-mph fastball. Outfielders Franmil Reyes and Bradley Zimmer complement this team nicely with what they can provide. Outfielder Oscar Mercado is on the rise to becoming an all-star slugger, who can only get better at the plate as he can learn so much from star Jose Ramirez.
There is always passion and emotion in the game of baseball. One moment it can bring you from joys of happiness to tears of sadness. Remember that next year is always around the corner and the memories will not be forgotten.