5 Cleveland Indians Stats That Will Win Them the World Series
Can the Cleveland Indians Win it All?
It's safe to say that not many people saw the Cleveland Indians as a legitimate World Series contender a month ago. But thanks to a late-season hot streak, the MLB's new multi-Wild Card playoff system and a total collapse by the Texas Rangers, the Indians are now in position to make the playoffs and be a dark horse World Series candidate. We've seen plenty of teams in recent years, namely the 2010 San Francisco Giants and especially the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals, fuel their fire with fantastic regular-season finishes and continue their hot streaks into the playoffs. With as good as they've been this month, there's no reason why Cleveland shouldn't be able to do the same thing.
Obviously, as a consequence for being afforded the opportunity to make the playoffs, Cleveland has one more obstacle to deal with than the aforementioned teams did: the one-game Wild Card playoff, which was instituted before last season. If things stay the same as they are right now, the Indians will be facing off with the Tampa Bay Rays, who have been one of the league's top teams throughout the season, and like the Indians, are currently on a seven-game win streak. Things should be interesting as the league's two hottest teams go up against each other.
It's always beneficial to examine the stats when you're looking for clues as to how things will turn out. The Indians have plenty of statistics that lie in their favor, and here are five of them which give them a great chance at a World Series victory.
5. Justin Masterson's 0.00 ERA as a Reliever
Obviously, this is a tongue-in-cheek statement, because Masterson has thrown one inning out of the bullpen this season, making an appearance on September 25 in his return from a rib injury. But for the Indians, it's invaluable to have the All-Star starter available out of the 'pen, with the ability to summon his 94 mph fastball and dominant slider whenever needed. If the Indians do advance past the divisional round, they may re-insert him into the rotation, but for now, he's their secret weapon in relief, and he may even become an option in the ninth if closer Chris Perez continues to struggle.
4. Michael Brantley's Late-Season Tear
After years of failing to live up to his potential as a big-time prospect, Michael Brantley really seems to have figured it out this year, and he's been particularly electrifying over his last 30 games. In that span, Brantley is hitting .388 with a .934 OPS. If the 26-year-old can keep up his hot streak into October, he could very well end up being the biggest threat in Cleveland's lineup.
3. Power Numbers Across the Board
Cleveland has a very balanced power hitting attack. Though they rank only 10th in the majors with 168 homers, they have guys who are truly capable of hitting the ball out of the park all through their lineup. Among the players in their usual starting lineup, Yan Gomes, Michael Brantley, Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Nick Swisher, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall all have at least 10 home runs. In addition, utility man Ryan Raburn has 16 jacks, and right fielder Drew Stubbs and part-timers Jason Giambi and Mike Aviles all have nine homers. If they can continue this kind of success, they'll surely intimidate opposing pitchers in the playoffs.
2. Yan Gomes' Second-Half Offensive Numbers
The Indians have found a surprising source of offense this year in the form of 26-year-old catcher Yan Gomes. After beginning the year in Triple-A, Gomes, who was an offseason acquisition from the Toronto Blue Jays, came up to replace Lou Marson, and he has now settled into the starting catcher role while relegating Carlos Santana to designated hitter duties. Gomes has earned that position with good reason: he leads all the team's regulars with a .325 average and .396 OBP since the All-Star break. Though he's not the biggest extra-base threat in the world, Gomes has been extremely consistent, and he's someone that will give them a big advantage in October, especially since he's created so much offense out of the catching position.
1. Their 17-6 September Record
The Indians have been on fire during the season's final month, and though they've made things interesting, they've been arguably the league's hottest team. They're currently on a seven-game winning streak, and though some will argue that it's irrelevant since Cleveland has been playing inferior teams, there's nothing that inhibits postseason success more than a winning atmosphere, and the Indians have certainly created one of those in September.