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Indians dig themselves a hole too deep to climb out of in World Series loss

I’m sure to literally every other fanbase in the world thought this game was amazing. I want to forget it ever happened.

World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This is not the Cleveland Indians team we watched win 94 games in the regular season and nearly sweep their way to the World Series.

This is not the Indians team that won with solid defense, great starting pitching, and unbelievable base running. Granted, the pitching suffered because of devastating injuries, but the rest of the Indians collapsed in a heap at the worst possible time and it cost them a chance at winning the World Series. Even Andrew Miller looked downright mortal in his limited time.

Corey Kluber did not look sharp from the beginning, but what more could you ask from the staff ace? This was his third start in nine days; the first time in any season he has started on short rest and he has already done it several times in October/November. Kluber was not at his best, but this loss in no on him — his defense let him down. His offense let him down.

There is no defending the first run of the game — that was clearly on Kluber. Dexter Fowler barreled up a flat sinker, something Kluber had throughout his four innings of work. Outside of two solo home runs (the other coming in the fifth inning), though, Kluber had the Indians a chance to win. If only anyone else had any interest in participating for the first hour-and-a-half.

Cleveland’s offense did provide a brief glimmer of hope in the third inning. Carlos Santana singled home Coco Crisp after a sacrifice bunt moved him over, but the next outs came quickly and painfully, even after Javier Baez forgot how to catch a baseball and gave the Indians another free shot.

Then the top of the fourth happened, which will go down as maybe the worst 20 minutes of my adult life. Mike Napoli, who has looked his age and them some in the World Series, botched an easy double play by by air-mailing it to Francisco Lindor. Not only did the bad throw leave runners on first and third with one out, but it nearly resulted in Lindor being injured. I have to think, with the old sliding rules, Anthony Rizzo would have destroyed Lindor’s right leg when he went back to tag the base.

Things only got worse from there as Rajai Davis hesitated on a pop fly (again, a fly ball that would not have mattered with two outs) and threw a ball high to home plate, allowing Kris Bryant to score. Davis blew it again in the next at-bat when he deeply misplayed a deep ball that bounced off the outfield wall.

Redemption came later for Davis, though. He would homer to cap off a three-run comeback for the Tribe as they tied it at 6-6 in the eighth and later with an RBI in the 10th. That’s about where the Indians’ good fortunes ended. Bryan Shaw imploded in extras, Terry Francona made some questionable intentional walks, and the Indians once again found themselves trailing heading into the bottom of the 10th inning. Mike Napoli looked atrocious all night long and he was equally as bad in his final at-bat of the season, and maybe his final at-bat as a member of the Indians.

Perhaps the most depressing thing was seeing this all unfold with a crowd so heavily inundated with Chicago Cubs fans that they actually managed to drown out Joe Buck’s cheering every hit. I can’t tell Indians fans what to do with their money, but watching this game from home was embarrassing. I turned off the TV the moment the game ended, but I assume the post-game celebration was unbearable, and I will be forced to watch it for years.

There will be a time to look back and be proud of the Indians for being in this spot to even begin with, but that is so hard to do right now. I love this team, this franchise, and this group of guys, but it’s difficult to simulate any emotion besides disappointment right now. There is no guarantee the Indians will make it back next year, even with Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, and Michael Brantley presumably healthy for the remainder of the season. They now hold the longest World Series drought in the majors, and who knows if it’ll extend another 68 years. “Anything can happen” is not always a good thing.

I envy all of you who can curl up in a ball and not care about baseball for a few months. I hope you’ll stick around for some offseason chatter, but I don’t blame any of you for a damn minute for going baseball dark, either. So if this is the last thing you read on Let’s Go Tribe for a while, thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for support us, and thank you for making this horrible night a little more bearable. Misery loves company and I couldn’t ask for company better than all of you.

We’ll see you in April. Let’s go Tribe.