Who’s going to play each member of the Cleveland Indians during the “Moneyball” sequel? We assume that’s the most pressing question facing the club, as they tied the American League record with their 20th straight win Tuesday night.
The Indians accomplished the feat in somewhat dramatic fashion, at least for them, beating the Detroit Tigers 2-0. We say “dramatic,” because they’ve completely obliterated some clubs throughout the streak. Cleveland has scored double-digit runs six times and won by more than five runs nine times during the streak. By comparison, a 2-0 win should be considered dramatic.
Then again, a 2-0 lead feels like a 7-0 lead when Corey Kluber is on the mound. Cleveland’s ace was magnificent during the contest, tossing nine shutout innings. He allowed just five hits and struck out eight. He did not walk a batter.
It also helps that Cleveland got on the board early. A solo home run by shortstop Francisco Lindor gave them a one-run lead in the first inning. It was Lindor’s 30th home run of the season, which puts him in elite company at short.
Francisco Lindor's 30 homers are the most for a shortstop 23 years old or younger since A-Rod launched 42 in his age-23 campaign in 1999.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) September 12, 2017
With their 20th win, the team is just one victory away from what the league is calling the “modern record” of 21. That was set by the 1935 Chicago Cubs. There have technically been longer winning streaks, but ties were involved in those. There’s debate over whether the 1916 New York Giants, who won 26 straight games, should be considered the true record-holders.
The last time a team made it to 20 straight wins, they got a best-selling book and a pretty solid sports movie out of it. We’re talking, of course, about the 2002 Oakland Athletics. Hopefully Brad Pitt can reprise his role as Billy Beane for a quick cameo in Cleveland’s version.
The heart of the “Moneyball” film was Scott Hatteberg and his dramatic home run during the club’s 20th win. We’re not sure which moment stands out the most during Cleveland’s win streak, but we’ll gladly take suggestions in the comments.
Getting back to actual baseball, the 2002 A’s prove that ripping off a huge win streak like this doesn’t guarantee success in the postseason. They lost in Game 5 of the American League Division Series to the Minnesota Twins.
Cleveland is hoping for more, obviously. After taking the Chicago Cubs to the brink of elimination in Game 7, Cleveland extended the longest World Series drought in the majors another year. Simply getting back won’t be enough. They have to win the whole thing now, and they are the co-favorite to do so according to the oddsmakers.
For now, Cleveland looks untouchable. The real task at hand for Cleveland begins in a few weeks, but Cleveland and their fans should celebrate appropriately now. Winning 20 games in a row is one heck of a feat.
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