The last time the Cleveland Indians won an American League pennant came in 1997. The last time they won the World Series came in the year 1948. The drought is the second longest in the league, only behind the Chicago Cubs who have a 108 years without winning a title.
After winning the AL Central Division and coming second in the league with a 94-67 record during the regular season, the Indians steamrolled the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS winning the best of 5 series in 3 games. This came while the Blue Jays competed in the Wild Card game, beat the Baltimore Orioles, defeated the Texas Ranger, and went up against Cleveland.
In the end, Cleveland came out on top of the best of 7 series of the ALCS, they won 4 games while only losing 1.
On the hill for the series clincher was rookie Ryan Merritt, who was appearing in his first career postseason start. Merritt only appeared in 4 games for the Indians during the regular season, where he put up a 1.64 ERA in just 11 innings.
With the emotions surely being a major contributor during Merritt’s first career start, the rookie explained the backing he felt from the whole team. He spoke of his conversation with Manager Terry Francona before the game, “He said, ‘No matter what, good or bad, when you go out there, we’re behind you. I’m behind you. Your team’s behind you. So just go out and be yourself, control what you can control and have fun.’”
Despite an excellent performance on the mound, Merrit only went 4 1/3 innings, where he did not allow a single run.
The game ended with the Indians being victorious, 3-0. The sold out Rogers Center of Toronto had 48,800 fans in attendance.
After the series victory, giving them the American League pennant, they will be watching to see the winner of the NLCS, between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers and Cubs are currently tied 2-2 with Game 5 currently in progress.
If the Cubs are able to win their first pennant since 1945, it would be interesting to see the two franchises with the longest spans without winning a World Series to face off.
After having notoriously bad sports for a number of years, it has been a very good year for Cleveland sports. Interestingly, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be raising their championship banner just across the street on the same day as Game 1 of the World Series.
Despite this success in the city, the Cleveland Browns are still 0-6, there it does not appear to be a very bright future for the organization.