Indians fans might not want to admit it, but their team was doomed right from the start.
Almost two years ago, on Nov. 2, 2016, the Cleveland Indians were one victory away from winning the World Series. Had they defeated the Chicago Cubs in that classic Game 7 in a rare November baseball game, it would’ve been their first World Series championship since 1948.
But after a rain delay, the Cubs took the victory 8-7 in extra innings to end their 108-year title drought, leaving the Indians and their fans in disappointment and frustration.
Looking back, the Indians really should’ve just finished Chicago off and won it all in 2016, because they haven’t been able to get back ever since. They fell to the New York Yankees in last year’s ALDS after surrendering a 2-0 series lead, and now this year, they’ve been swept right out of the division series in three games by the defending champion Houston Astros.
Cleveland won the AL Central division, and thus had every right to be in the 2018 postseason. But it was always just a formality. They never really had any chance to accomplish much in the playoffs this year. They won 91 games, the only team in the AL playoffs (minus the Oakland A’s, who lost in the Wild Card game) to not crack triple-digit wins. The Indians just weren’t a good enough baseball team to compete with the other behemoths of the American League.
If you had put the Indians in a four-team playoff tournament against the Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, they probably would’ve won with ease. But in the postseason, you rarely get to play teams from your own division, and that’s why Cleveland didn’t stand much of a chance at getting to the World Series this year.
Against the AL Central, the Indians went 49-27. But against everybody else, they were just a mere 42-44. You can shred up your own division, that’s totally fine. But sooner or later, you’re going to be put to the test against the rest of the league. And if you aren’t good enough, you’re going to get smacked, and then you’re going to watch the rest of the playoffs while sitting on your living room couch.
That’s the story of the 2018 Cleveland Indians. They were never good enough to compete for a championship. They had to be here because of an incredibly weak AL Central. But no matter which team they got matched up with in the division series, they were always doomed right from the get-go.
Now, at last, they are out of the way, and the rest of the postseason can continue.