by Kyle Lewandowski
Indians Skipper Terry Francona has preached the same message all season to his club: Show up to the ballpark ready to win the game.
It may be cliché, sure, but that cliché has led the Tribe to 20 straight wins, tying the American League record previously accomplished by the Oakland Athletics in 2002.
Even with the even-keeled attitude towards the streak, the team knows what they are in the midst of. They have used that knowledge to help embrace the streak as opposed to getting too caught up in the moment.
“I haven’t heard anybody in [the clubhouse] talking about how many games in a row we’ve won or anything like that,” Indians ace Corey Kluber said. “Obviously we’re aware of it just because of the attention that it gets, but it’s not something that we’re focusing on.”
After tying the franchise record for consecutive wins last season, the feeling of a win streak of this magnitude seems to have less of a psychological effect on the club.
“We went through something similar to this just last season,” Kluber began. “So we’ve got a little bit of that experience as well. To me, last year we embraced the winning streak more than we are this time. This time I think we’re just going about our business. I guess that’s partially because of having a long winning streak last year, too.”
Francona continues to hammer home the day-by-day approach to his guys, just as he has since Spring Training.
“All the things we believe in, there’s a reason we believe in it because we think it’s the best way to be a good team,” Francona said about the approach. “It’s not because we don’t value the importance of winning and everything. We really value it, that’s why we do it this way.”
That mindset has everybody in the clubhouse on the same page.
“We see the results from it but I think it’s kind of preached to us from day one and it’s a lot easier to buy into it when you see the results,” Kluber said.
Winning helps everything, even a two-time World Series manager’s ability to reach his team on a new level. But, 20 in a row? No one could have imagined that, even as recently as the end of July.
“It’s pretty crazy to think just because you play so many games in so many days over such long stretches and stuff to go almost three weeks without losing a game is not something that you ever really expect,” the Cy Young candidate added.