For the first time since 1997, the Cleveland Indians are heading to the World Series. After a five-game series win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS, the Indians now await the winner of the NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.
It has been since 1945 that the Indians have been crowned champions of the baseball world, but the 2016 installment is now just four wins away. Despite not having right-handers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar due to injury, and fellow righty Trevor Bauer for just two outs, the Indians rode their pitching staff to a 4-1 series win, allowing just eight runs to the high-octane Toronto offense.
After a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, the Indians won the first three games of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, before losing a game started by their ace, Corey Kluber in Game 4. With the extended break, Kluber will now shape up to start Game 1 of the World Series as the remainder of the club’s rotation sits at one gigantic question mark.
Despite their berth in the World Series, Cleveland’s offense has seen only one regular player hit above .300 this postseason – shortstop Francisco Lindor. However, one would be remise to not recognize Cleveland’s pitching as the primary reason for their involvement in the Fall Classic, backed by left-handed reliever Andrew Miller and his 11.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. Kluber has allowed just two earned runs in 18.1 innings of work while closer Cody Allen has nailed down five saves without allowing a run as the Indians have won the American League Pennant.