First came the total solar eclipse, which swept across the country on Monday, August 21. Then just a few days later, the streak began to ripple through the sport of baseball and has yet to stop.
No team has enjoyed a career like this in a long time, but somehow the Cleveland Indians’ eighteen-game winning streak has been underestimated. After all, winning eighteen games in a single month is quite an accomplishment, and some teams go two full months without adding eighteen digits to the victory column. This season alone, the Philadelphia Phillies didn’t get their eighteenth victory until June 4, something Cleveland has managed to do in eighteen days.
There are many notable aspects to this streak, aside from what little has happened in baseball’s long history. Consider, for example, that eleven of the eighteen consecutive victories occurred during a road trip in three different cities, from New York to Detroit to Chicago.
It’s one thing to beat rebuilding teams like the Tigers and White Sox, but the other four opponents during the streak have been in the middle of a pennant race. Boston, Baltimore and New York are battling not only for the AL East championship, but also for a spot in the wild card game, as is Kansas City.
The quality of the opponent didn’t seem to matter during the streak, and neither did the pitcher. Evidence of a strong rotation and excellent bullpen, eight different pitchers have earned the decision in eighteen consecutive victories.
Nor did playing time seem to affect the Indians, who continue to shoot either under the stars or in the sun. Ten of the wins during the streak were night games and the other eight were played during the day.
Even though the eighteenth victory was decided by just a 3-2 margin over the Baltimore Orioles, most of the games have not even been even. Over a dozen and a half contests, Cleveland has outscored its opponents by an overwhelming 117-32 margin. Incredibly, the Indians are averaging more than four runs per game than the team they are playing.
The roll has gone on for almost three weeks now, which, even in a baseball season’s marathon, is still a long time. As proof, consider some of the strange events that have occurred at the diamond since the start of the streak on August 24.
Houston played a home series against Texas at Tropicana Field, the ballpark of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Astros had been displaced by Hurricane Harvey, prompting the club to face the Rangers in the Eastern time zone.
Tampa Bay, ironically, scheduled a home series to be played at CitiField, the ballpark of the New York Mets. The cause was again weather related, as Hurricane Irma threatened Florida so much that the Rays had to play a home series against the Yankees across town.
Mother Nature has certainly thrown us many challenges over the past few weeks, from an eclipse to two hurricanes and an earthquake in our south. She, like her many opponents, has been powerless to stop the Cleveland Indians’ historic winning streak.