Tribe improves to 85-77
Of course we all wanted this season to include another trip to the postseason, but that was not to be. Still, 85 wins is a good season. Starting with the dawn of divisional play in 1969, the Indians went a quarter of a century without a season this successful, and while we were briefly spoiled from the mid 90s to the early 2000s (The 1997 team which came an inning away from winning the World Series, won 86 games in the regular season.), in the last 13 years this is only the fourth time the Tribe has won this many games. You can be depressed by that fact if you like, but it should also help you put this season in perspective.
The Indians played games in the final week of the season that really meant something for them, and that's worth applauding. This is also the first time since 2000/2001 that the Indians have had a winning record two years in a row. That's worth applauding too.
The offense, which has mostly floundered since the start of August, came to on the last afternoon of the season, despite the absence of two of the team's top three hitters, with Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes each getting a spectator pass for the finale. David Murphy and Zach Walters each homered in the 2nd inning. Given that the Tribe had only even homered twice in an entire game once in the last month and a half, two in one inning felt like quite a wonder. (July 27, when Santana and Gomes each homered in the 9th, was the last time the Indians had two in an inning.)
The Indians ended the day with 14 hits, with Jesus Aguilar the only starter without one. Murphy and Walters each had 2, as did Lonnie Chisenhall and Tyler Holt. Jose Ramirez topped had 3, lifting his OBP to .300, which looks a lot better than the .294 he entered the day with. He'll probably be the team's starting shortstop for at least the first few weeks next season, and I feel good about that. Carlos Santana didn't add to his MLB-leading walk total, but he singled in two runs in the 7th, and he ends his season with 85 RBI, to go along with an ugly looking .231 battine average but a very good .365 OBP and a team-leading 27 home runs, which ranks 17th in all of baseball, because this isn't your older brother's MLB.
On the other side of things, T.J. House concluded a far better season than almost any Tribe fan imagined he would have, giving up just 1 run in 5 innings before Francona pulled him. He ends the season with a 3.35 ERA, and he was the Tribe's third best starter for the year. It seems the southpaw starter many fans were angry the front office didn't sign last offseason was already in the system.
As seasons go, this one was neither the best of times nor the worst of times. It was 162 games of baseball though, and that's always a treat.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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|Denver Tribe Fan