CLEVELAND (92.3 the Indians) – The manner by which they did so was a little odd, but the Cleveland Indians were able celebrate a division title at home with their fans.
They want to remain there long-term.
The back-to-back American League Division Champions snuck it into their penultimate home stand with just enough time to spare, but before they did any celebrating, there was a game to be played.
The Indians showed their normal brand of top-notch pitching and aggressive offense in a 3-2 win that was almost marred by controversial home plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Then the party started.
Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber dominated again, throwing 7 scoreless innings and extending his personal scoreless streak to 22. The game’s winner acknowledged the potential lack of focus heading in to what was all-in-all an important affair.
“Yeah, I think it was a little bit odd at the beginning of the day just because before the game started everybody wanted to get it to this point, but I think we did a good job once the game started we went out there and took care of business and did a good job of focusing on that, and then obviously celebrated when it was all over,” he said.
Things went on as any division title party would, the customary showers of champagne and cheap beer – a tradition President Chris Antonetti questioned the pragmatism of pregame.
Seemingly every person to talk in the past few days, whether it be players or personnel, acknowledged that there was more work in front of them. The Indians sit two ahead of the Houston Astros in the win column for the AL’s best record, and three back of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Veteran outfielder Jay Bruce acknowledged that the team’s clubhouse is not home to a group that would rest on their laurels.
“We can obviously only control our destiny and what we do and we have to see what happens but I think those things are the biggest factors and I don’t feel a lot of complacency from any of those guys,” he said. “That’s just not in our nature, I don’t think. It’s important to keep a high level of energy and focus because one of the things when you clinch early, some people would say you can kind of get your rest or go through the motions or whatever, but we have a lot more than we can accomplish so I don’t think it’s going to be an issue.”