The Cleveland Indians are obviously deeply disappointed that they didn’t have a longer October in the MLB playoffs, but teams are starting to find out that getting a Wild Card spot with the one-game playoff isn’t the way to go. The best bet now is to win a division to avoid single-game elimination.
So while Terry Francona and the Indians enjoyed a return to the playoffs for the first time in six years, they realize the best way to make the AL Division playoffs is to win a divisional title.
Next season, that’s the No. 1 priority for the Indians. Forget about the Wild Card. They lost 94 games last season and won 92 this year. That’s quite a turnaround, but a one-game stay in the playoffs is still unacceptable by Francona’s standards.
Francona has the Indians geared up to win the AL Central title next season. Yes, they have to get past the Detroit Tigers with one of MLB’s top payrolls and some of the best talent in the league, but they almost did that this season, finishing one game behind Detroit for the divisional title.
Next season, the Indians simply have to figure out how to beat the Tigers head-to-head. They couldn’t do it this year and that cost them the title and a better seed in the playoffs. It’s easy to see that with Danny Salazar‘s arm and other fine young talent like Lonnie Chisenhall and Yan Gomes, the Indians will win a lot of games next season.
They’ll also win the AL Central.
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