CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Jose Ramirez’s year had been MVP-caliber headed into awards season, but before the regular season had a chance to end, the young infielder has pivoted towards historic.
Ramirez doubled in his first two plate appearances Friday, his 54th and 55th of the season, putting him into sole possession of 3rd place in Indians history on the single-season list. The 25-year old is now within reach of Tris Speaker’s 2nd-place mark of 59 doubles in 1923 with two games to play.
His 90 extra-base hits put him 4th in franchise history, trailing Albert Belle (103, ’95), Hal Trosky (96, ’36) and George Burns (64, ’26).
At this point, there is not much more to say about the second baseman, a notion that starter Trevor Bauer summed up.
“He’s a helluva player,” Bauer said. “I don’t think there’s anything I can say that tells people more than his play does.”
101 and not quite done
The Indians inched ever closer to clinching the top seed in the American League with their 101st win of the season. With the Houston Astros’ 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday, Cleveland’s magic number for at least a tie for the top record in the AL is down to 1.
The idea of getting players adequate rest before the playoffs start has been talked about at length, but with the Astros winning 13 of their last 15 games, the current leaders have had their work cut out for them.
“Yeah I feel like we still have stuff to play for,” outfielder Jay Bruce said. “And I feel like we’re a group of guys who don’t really settle for good. We’re going to take everything we can get. We still have stuff to play for. We’ll see what happens and we have plenty of time to rest when this is all over.”
Bauer said the motivation to keep winning does not come from a potential home field advantage, but the day-in, day-out mentality the team demonstrated during their 22-game win streak.
“I think everybody is playing the game at a high level right now,” he said. “There’s not really any like added motivation. We’re motivated to go win the World Series.
“Everyone’s just playing at a high level right now, so the results are what they are, because of that focus on the right things.”
The Indians starting rotation is the best in baseball statistically, but have become the best rotation ever in some categories.
With Trevor Bauer marking his 17th winning decision on Friday, the Tribe rotation became the first trio of teammates to win 17 games and strike out 190 hitters in a season.
The staff as a whole is the best of all time in terms of fWAR, their 30.9 mark a full 1.4 wins ahead of the 1996 Atlanta Braves staff. They have the highest K% of any staff ever at 27.4%, though 7 of the top 10 staffs by that measure are from 2017, and the other 3 coming from 2016.
Anything past the 90-some wins it took to clinch the AL Central has been made to feel irrelevant if you speak to anyone in the Indians organization, but what the team has accomplished is eye-opening.
The team will finish with the 2nd-most wins in club history, trailing the 1954 pennant winners who took 111 contests.
Since the debut of the current divisional format, no American League Central team had ever won 101 games in a season.