Cleveland Sports Insiders

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Notes From the Wigwam: Season in review

While the season came to an end earlier than many of us had hoped, it’s impossible to not look back at the year the 2013 Cleveland Indians had and not be incredibly impressed with the team’s performance.

The Tribe finished 92-70, which was a 24-game improvement from the 68-94 record they posted in 2012. For their efforts, the Indians were able to host the American League Wild Card game, which they unfortunately lost 4-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

While the year did ultimately have a sad end for the Tribe, it’s impossible to not be pleased with the improvements that the team made. The foundation is now set for the future as it appears as if the Indians will be contenders for years to come.

This year certainly had its ups and downs (with a lot more ups), but the end result was that the Indians were able to make immense progress in their first year with Terry Francona at the helm. The future is bright, and things can probably only get better from here on out.

But how did we get here? Going from 68 wins to 92 in a year obviously takes some time, so what happened along the way for the Indians to have such a drastic turnaround?

With that being said, let’s take a look back at some of the key moments from the past year…
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Notes From the Wigwam: Tribe clinches Wild Card spot

When the Cleveland Indians brought Terry Francona on as manager last October, it seemed to signal a new approach by the organization. The bold hiring indicated that the team believed it could win right now despite what others might think.

That notion came full circle on Sunday after the Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-1 to win the American League’s top Wild Card spot.

Overall, the Indians finished 92-70, and all attention now shifts to Wednesday’s Wild Card contest where the Indians will face the winner of tonight’s play-in game between Tampa Bay and Texas.

It’s astonishing to think of how far this team has come. We all know that the schedule did look favorable down the stretch, but the bottom line is that teams still have to play the games. Also, the Indians closed the season on a 10-week win streak, and that was crucial as the team ultimately needed all of those 10 wins.

The Indians are now in the postseason for the first time since 2007 when they came within just a game of reaching the World Series. It’s just incredible to think of the turnaround from last season when the team finished 68-94.

So, what lies ahead?
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Notes From the Wigwam: Indians control their own destiny

We’ve officially reached the stretch run.

With just six games left to play in the 2013 MLB season, the Cleveland Indians’ record sits at 86-70, and the team is in possession of one of the two Wild Card spots.

Texas is close behind as the Rangers trail the Indians by just 1 ½ games.

The Tribe will face the Chicago White Sox twice this week before they head to Minnesota to face the Twins in a crucial four-game series that will close out the season. While it may be a cliché, the reality is that the Indians do in fact control their own destiny. As long as the team takes care of business this week, they will be in the postseason.

Of course, the Indians’ current strong position has a lot to do with this past week, which was a week that saw the Indians go 5-2 and gain significant ground in the Wild Card race.

With that being said, let’s take one look back at the week that was as the Indians prepare to begin the most important stretch of their entire season…
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Notes From the Wigwam: Tribes moves to a half-game back

When the Indians made the moves this past offseason to sign outfielders Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, the message was clear: this team wants to compete… and now.

Almost a whole season later, it’s clear that that goal has been accomplished as the Indians sit here on September 16 with a record of 81-68. They’re also just a half game out of claiming one of the two American League Wild Card spots.

This week, the Indians will look to continue to gain ground as they’ll face the pesky Kansas City Royals before heading back home for a four-game set against the Houston Astros. The Indians really could not ask for a better way to end the season, so it’s imperative that they go out there and win the games that they’re supposed to.

Before getting too ahead of ourselves though, let’s take a moment to look back at the week that was — a week that could prove pivotal to the team’s chances of ultimately clinching a playoff spot.
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Notes From the Wigwam: Divisional race effectively ends

Remember when the Indians were in the thick of the American League Central race? Well, it’s safe to say that race is officially over.

The Indians went 1-5 this past week, which all but ensures that the Detroit Tigers will clinch the AL Central. The Tribe’s performance was especially difficult to take because the Oakland Athletics actually won 3-of-4 games against the Tigers, so the team could have made up some serious ground had they not been swept by the Atlanta Braves.

Following the week’s action, the Indians’ record now sits at 72-64, but there does happen to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Even with the rough week, the Indians are just 3 ½ games back in the AL Wild Card race. In other words, despite the fact that the team played downright terrible, the Indians will still have a chance to take home one of the two Wild Card spots.

This next week now becomes incredibly crucial as the Indians begin play against the Baltimore Orioles (another Wild Card contender) today before the schedule starts to ease up a bit. Now is the time for the Tribe to put it all together because one more bad week could essentially eliminate them from the playoff picture.

With that being said, let’s take one look back at the week that was…
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Notes From the Wigwam: Wildcard race heats up

Are you believing yet?

It was quite a week for the Cleveland Indians as the team went 5-1 and won some games that they probably should have lost. This was probably most evident Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels as they won 4-1 and 14 innings, and it was arguably even more evident on Sunday as the Tribe defeated the Twins 3-1 despite the fact that they committed four errors.

After their strong week, the Indians are now 71-59 and just 1 ½ games out of the AL Wild Card race. Who would have thought that it could now be August 26, and the Indians are still relevant in the city of Cleveland? It’s a beautiful thing.

With that being said, let’s take one look at the week that was right before the Indians begin arguably their toughest stretch of the season…
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Notes From the Wigwam: Tribe stays in race

Baby steps. Sometimes that’s better than no steps at all.

The Cleveland Indians went 3-3 this past week, and while it may not seem as if it was all that impressive of a week, the Indians still went .500 while playing on the road, which really is not too shabby.

The one major negative is the fact that the Indians could not take two out of three games from the Wildcard-leading Oakland Athletics, and the team fell to 4 ½ games back in that race.

There’s still plenty of time left in the race, but these next few games will prove critical for the team and its chances of remaining in contention.

With that being said, let’s take a look back at the week that was as the Indians begin another very important week beginning today.
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Notes From the Wigwam: Indians fall in divisional race

The Cleveland Indians have had some pretty rough weeks, but it’s difficult to think of a rougher one than the one endured this past week.

The Indians went 1-6 during the week to fall to 63-55. What’s also so devastating about the performance is that the Indians lost significant ground to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central as they now trail the team by seven games despite the fact that they faced only a three-game deficit in the divisional race just a week earlier.

Of course, that’s what happens when a division-leading team completes a four-game sweep against a second-place team, and that’s unfortunately exactly what happened to the Indians. There’s still a month and a half in the season, but after this past week’s performance, it does indeed seem as if the Indians may now no longer have a chance to win a divisional title.

The week was certainly one that both the Indians and the team’s fans would soon like to forget, and it’s easy to see why. Nonetheless, let’s take one look back at the week that was before we start this week with a clean slate…
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Notes from the Wigwam: Bring on Detroit

Things could not really be going any better for the Cleveland Indians as of late as the team has been on an absolute tear since the All-Star Break.

To put it into perspective, the Indians have gone 11-5 since the break, including a 6-1 record this past week. It’s nice to see the team play so well, especially since Detroit will be coming to town this week, and the teams will be battling for first place in the American League Central Division.

The one downside for the Indians this past week has been that while they have had success, divisional foes Detroit and Kansas City have also been on tears. The Royals went 5-1 this past week and with their record at 56-52, they are just 7 ½ games behind the Tigers for first place.

The Tigers were also impressive and went 5-0 during the week. The Indians currently trail Detroit by just three games.

Knowing that, all eyes in the AL Central will be watching the four-game series between the Tigers and Indians this week, which is set to begin tonight in Cleveland. Corey Kluber will be on the mound for the Tribe while Anibal Sanchez will be starting for the Tigers.
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