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Indians set franchise record by beating White Sox 17 times

Never before in the expansion era had the Indians beat one team as frequently as they beat the White Sox this year.

Jason Miller

The Indians finished their season series with Chicago by beating the White Sox 7-2. "Beating the White Sox" has been one of the most common refrains of 2013, as last night's victory gave the Tribe a 17-2 record against them on the season. Where do 17 wins, and an .895 winning percentage against a single opponent rank in franchise history?

Most wins by the Indians against one opponent in a single season:
Rank Wins Opponent (Year)
1 20 Red Sox (1954)
t2 19 Athletics (1953), Orioles (1954), Orioles (1955)
t5 18

Senators (1904), Browns (1910), Athletics (1916)

Red Sox (1932), Browns (1937), Athletics (1938)

Athletics (1939), Athletics (1954), Senators (1954)

A couple things that jump out:

  • The Athletics sure did lose a lot of games back then, with 5 of the Indians' 13 highest win totals coming against them.
  • The Indians sure did win a lot of games in 1954, with 4 of their 13 highest win totals coming in that season.
  • All 13 of those seasons came before expansion. That means the Indians played each of those teams 22 times while compiling those victories. Sure, 18 out of 22 is awfully impressive, but what about since expansion began in 1961: This season's 17 wins against the White Sox this year are the most by the Indians against any one opponent in a single season since expansion began.

In order to give more recent season more of a fair shake...
Highest winning % for the Indians against one opponent in a single season (min. 12 games)

Rank W-L W% Team (Year)
1 12-0 1.000 Tigers (1996)
t2 11-1 .917 Royals (1995)
t2 11-1 .917 Red Sox (1996)
4 20-2 .909 Red Sox (1954)
5 17-2 .895 White Sox (2013)
t6 19-3 .864 Athletics (1953)
t6 19-3 .864 Orioles (1954)
t6 19-3 .864 Orioles (1955)
t9 10-2 .833 Athletics (1986)
t9 10-2 .833 Orioles (1995)
t9 10-2 .833 Athletics (1999)

The Indians' 17 wins are also the most by any American League Central team against another since the division was created in 1994. Never before had on Central team defeated another more than 15 times in one season. Balancing total wins with winning percentage, this season's domination of the White Sox should be considered one of the three best seasons the Indians have ever had against any one team (along with the Red Sox in 1954, and the Tigers in 1996).

The Tribe is also riding a 14-game winning streak against Chicago. Tomorrow I'll look at where that ranks among single-opponent streaks in franchise history.