It was the most anticlimactic 19th consecutive win in MLB history.
But who's complaining?
The Cleveland Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 11-0 on Monday as Francisco Lindor drove in four runs, Jose Ramirez knocked in three and Carlos Carrasco cruised through six scoreless innings. It's fitting that this one was the Bob Feller win:
A few nuggets, with research help from my friends at ESPN Stats & Information:
The shutout was the largest ever to extend a winning streak of 15 or more games.
The 19-game streak is tied for fourth-longest of the modern era (since 1900), but the Indians have a larger run differential than any of those other streaks.
With a plus-100 run differential, the Indians became just the fourth team of the modern era with that large of a differential over 19 games: (1) 1939 Yankees, +130; (2) 1933 Senators, +104; (3) 1904 Giants, +103; (4) 2017 Indians, +100. The second-largest differential this season for a 19-game stretch is plus-68 by the Dodgers.
The Indians have allowed just 32 runs in 19 games (1.68 per game). They've hit 38 home runs.
They've trailed at the end of an inning just four times out of 171 innings (it helps that they've scored first in 18 of the 19 games).
They lead the majors with 18 shutouts; next-most in the AL are the Twins and Orioles with 10.
Lindor, who hit a bases-loaded triple in the second inning, is now hitting .365/.434/.770 with 17 runs and 18 RBIs during the streak.
Carrasco has allowed zero runs or one run in six of his past seven starts.
OK, a timeout from all the fantastic numbers. I hope everyone is appreciating what we're seeing here. This is arguably the most dominant winning streak we've ever seen. If they can beat the Tigers the next two games, the Indians will pass the 2002 A's and tie the 1935 Cubs for the second-longest streak, leaving only the 1916 Giants ahead of them at 26. And no offense to those Giants, but that was a little different era in major-league history. Not to mention they had a tie game in there, so that streak is really an unbeaten streak -- not a winning streak.
Put it this way: We get a World Series winner every year. We get a winning streak like this less often than a total solar eclipse. Before the A's, the last 19-game winning streak was in 1949. You just don't see this happen in modern baseball. Except we're seeing it happen right now.
In our fast-paced world with iPhones to check and Instagrams to update and photos to message, our ability to sit back and soak in the everyday aspect of baseball has, to a certain degree, been lost. We tend to focus on the final result: Who wins the World Series.
I understand that. It is, after all, the goal of every team and every player. But what the Indians are doing is more impressive than winning a World Series.
I guess my plea is this: Let's admire greatness in the regular season the same way we admire greatness in the postseason. I know, I know: Nobody remembers the 2001 Mariners, the 2016 Warriors aren't the best team ever and the 2007 Patriots lost the game that mattered most. I can live with it. I just don't want to hear that this streak doesn't matter unless the Indians win the World Series. That's a sad way to view the world. It matters and it's awesome.
Zimmer injured. One piece of bad news for the Indians: Center fielder Bradley Zimmer will undergo surgery for a broken fourth metacarpal suffered on a head-first slide into first base on Sunday (you can say it). The Indians didn't give a timetable for his return, but it's certainly possible he's done for the season.
The immediate baseball: What do the Indians do in center field? Zimmer is clearly the best defender out there, and it's basically been a Zimmer/Austin Jackson platoon of late. With a right-hander starting for the Tigers on Monday, September call-up Greg Allen drew the start. He's an unlikely replacement, even though he's a switch-hitter, since all his production in the minors came from the right side (.923 OPS versus LHP, .619 versus RHP).
You could just go with Jackson, who has crushed lefties (.997 OPS) and fared well enough against righties (.734 OPS). Lonnie Chisenhall played some center earlier in the season, but hasn't started there since May 22. Tyler Naquin is still around, but he has spent almost all of the season in the minors and I doubt Terry Francona will want to relive Naquin's adventures on defense from last October.
Some of this depends on whether Michael Brantley gets healthy for the playoffs. If not, it's probably Chisenhall in left, Jackson in center and Jay Bruce in right, with maybe Brandon Guyer or even Allen platooning with Chisenhall.
Wild-card winner of the night. The Texas Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 5-3 to improve to 19-12 in their past 31 games. In one sense, however, the big winner was the Minnesota Twins, who didn't even play. While the Rangers won, the Royals, Mariners, Orioles and Rays all lost.
Wild-card loser of the night. The Baltimore Orioles lost 4-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays for their fifth loss in a row, dropping two games under .500 and 3.5 games behind the idle Twins. Ubaldo Jimenez allowed three runs in five innings, good enough to actually lower his ERA from 6.80 to 6.75. Remarkably, the Orioles are 11-12 when he starts.
Anyway, while Mark Trumbo homered in this game, one thing the Orioles will look back upon if this season ends without a playoff appearance is the disappointing production from Trumbo and Chris Davis. Those two combined for 85 home runs in 2016 and ranked 37th (Trumbo) and 71st (Davis) among qualified regulars in wOBA. This year, they've combined for 47 home runs and rank 116th (Davis) and 135th (Trumbo) out of 148 regulars.
Attendance for Yanks/Rays at Citi Field: 15,327. First time in their last 10 home games that the Rays have drawn 15,000.— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) September 12, 2017
You can imagine how much the Rays players must have loved having this series rescheduled to be played in New York, essentially giving the Yankees a home game, just minus the Little League porch in right field. Anyway, the Yankees won 5-1 and the most interesting thing was how Joe Girardi managed CC Sabathia. He got burned in Sabathia's last start when he left him in a couple batters too long. This time, he pulled him with one out in the fifth inning and the Yankees up 5-1. There were two on, but Girardi didn't care about letting Sabathia qualify for the win:
Joe Girardi said that CC Sabathia is healthy, but he just wasn't sharp tonight. Girardi didn't want CC to face Evan Longoria again.— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 12, 2017
It's exactly how Girardi should be managing given his bullpen. If Sabathia's ego is bruised with the quick hook, so be it. The Yankees are trying to chase down the Red Sox and if you can put the game away you do it. Don't give the other team a chance to get back in it. David Robertson pitched 2⅔ scoreless innings, throwing 36 pitches and showing Girardi he could be a multi-inning reliever out of the pen down the stretch (and in the postseason).
Play of the night. Oh, just Nolan Arenado doing Nolan Arenado stuff:
You've really outdone yourself, Nolan. pic.twitter.com/19t51FTPIW— MLB (@MLB) September 12, 2017
Even Arenado liked it.