As we roll into the month of September, the Cleveland Indians are staying red hot despite key injuries.
They’re on a seven game winning streak, completing sweeps of the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees.
The team currently sits at 76-56 with a seven game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central division. Currently sitting with the second best record in the American League by mere percentage points over the Boston Red Sox and are only three games behind the Houston Astros for the best record.
If you weren’t a diehard Indians fan and you’d look and see Andrew Miller, Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis are injured, you’d wonder how the Indians keep winning.
This team is special.
The starting pitching has been dominant. Corey Kluber is pitching once again on a Cy Young level, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer have been pitching up to their potentials, Ryan Merritt and Mike Clevinger have stepped in and made major contributions.
The bullpen has held steady with Andrew Miller on the sidelines and have finished the job time and time again. If they keep it up, just keep Miller off until the postseason and let the tendinitis heal.
And then there’s the offense.
While their average went down to a .242 as a team during the month of August, they got hot with the long ball hitting 46 home runs, the most in a month this season for Cleveland.
The addition of Jay Bruce not only bolstered the offense but Edwin Encarnacion especially. He hit 10 home runs in the month of August, bringing his total to 31 on the season. Many fans though early on that Encarnacion was another free agent bust but he’s been making those fans eat crow.
Bruce stepped in quickly when he got here as Brantley as well as Lonnie Chisenhall were and still on the mend. In 19 games, Bruce is hitting .279 with four home runs and 13 runs batted in. He has and will be a big part of the Tribe success down the stretch and in October.
Francisco Lindor is getting back to the MVP level we all know he can be at. He hit a career high nine home runs in a month during August and hit a respectable .271 at the plate.
Jose Ramirez struggled hitting .235 but going 4 for 4 in the first game of the double header on Wednesday which gave people hope he broke out of the slump. Unfortunately he then went 0 for 5 in the second game.
As we head into the final month of the regular season, the Indians are definitely the team to beat in the American League. They’re hitting their stride in all aspects of the game. Not to mention everyone who is injured will be back within the next month.
Houston and Boston don’t look like serious threats and the other teams in the league are all fighting each other for the wild card spots. The Indians control their destiny and I don’t see how they aren’t the team representing the American League in the World Series.