Polarization Abound, Indians Need Higher Middle-Ground

CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – The Cleveland Indians have now lost four-straight games for the first time in 312 games, the third longest stretch without four-straight losses in American League history.

What does that mean for the team? Nothing, really.

The defending American League champions did not lose four in a row a year ago, but who was the last World Series champion to lose four straight?

The 2016 Chicago Cubs.

As a matter of fact, the last World Series winning side to not lose four in a row at some point during their season was the 2013 Boston Red Sox, who lost three straight games on five different occasions.

The reigning champs? Not only did they lose four straight nights, one of those slides turned into five straight.

The 2015 Kansas City Royals lost four straight on three separate occasions, while the 2014 San Francisco Giants did it four times, losing five straight three times, and six straight twice.

So the Indians’ four-game losing streak does not put them out of World Series contention. Glad that is out of the way.

While that concept, not rocket science by any means, is all good and well, the streak does cement the fact that this rendition of the Cleveland Indians is far less consistent than the one that reached the World Series a year ago. That idea is not novel either.

The 2016 Cubs, while suffering a five-game losing streak a week removed from this date a year ago, fell to 52-35 with the loss. By July 16, they were 55-35, and 75-43 a month later.

The 2017 Indians, for comparison, have amassed a six-game winning streak over 90 games, two streaks of five, and two of four. The Cubs a year ago had three six-gamers, five five-gamers, and ten four-gamers in 72 more attempts.

These Indians are not the 2016 Cubs, but it seems that despite an improved roster, they cannot match the 2016 Indians.

It is almost impossible to believe that this group will replicate last year’s 14-game win streak, and that is fine. They will not need a 14-game win streak to win the AL Central. All they need is to make it back to the playoffs, and all bets are off, but the potential to return to the post-season will be in doubt until this team can put together more three- and four-game streaks.

After the sweep-clinching loss to the Athletics, shortstop Francisco Lindor said that the team ‘expected to come in and win.’

“Tough start. They outplayed us,” Lindor added. “They pitched better than us, they hit better than us and they played better defense than us.”

There is something to be said for having a winner’s mindset, the thought that you will win no matter the cost, but this team has gone to that well often this season only to say they were outplayed later.

The problems are inexplicable. The timing of the hitting is fluky. The failures are random, with one facet of the game disappearing when the other shows up.

All of those things boil down to consistency, and it showed in the sweep by the Athletics.

Kluber is on? No offense. Late offense? Here’s a poor start from your pitching.

The four-game losing streak is not the issue, rather having just one more streak of as many wins.

More from Alex Hooper | 92.3 The Fan
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