Here we are: the 2017 Major League Baseball Postseason is merely weeks away. Many divisions have already been clinched, and other contending ball clubs are on the verge of clinching a postseason berth. It is undoubtedly the most exciting time of the season. Many players and fans would agree that the postseason is when the “true” baseball season starts. For the Cleveland Indians, the postseason is coming at a great time. They are sitting on cloud nine, having won 27 of their last 29 ball games. Because of their incredible success, I have three reasons as to why the Tribe can win it all in 2017.
A Stellar Offense
In Cleveland, anyone in the lineup from one-nine can contribute on any given night. From superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, to powerhouses in Edwin Encarnacion and Jay Bruce, this is a truly scary lineup when they are producing.
Opposing pitchers are certainly aware of the threat that Cleveland poses every night. For example, if Francisco Lindor has an “off” night, there should be no question that somebody like Jay Bruce or even Michael Brantley can and will pick him up. That is how a team wins ball games and gets far in the playoffs. It will be extremely interesting to see how opposing pitchers approach these intimidating hitters in the postseason.
A Lockdown Bullpen
Bullpens are revolutionizing the game of baseball. The current trend is the concept of having multiple power arms that can go more than one inning. Starters no longer need to throw seven strong innings. Bullpen stars such as Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen will be sure to make a huge impact in the postseason.
The one reliever that is sure to stick out in October is LHP Andrew Miller. He proved last year that he is a scary threat coming out of the bullpen for the Cleveland Indians. He can pitch multiple innings and can come in during any inning. That is hard to find around the league but perhaps one of the best weapons for a contending ball club. If a starter such as RHP Trevor Bauer can give the Tribe just five or so innings, Terry Francona should feel very comfortable turning the game over to his powerhouse bullpen.
Last Year’s Experience
In 2016, the Cleveland Indians made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs. Late in the game, Rajai Davis hit a game-tying 2 run home run off Aroldis Chapman, and Progressive Field absolutely erupted.
If anything, Cleveland is hungrier than ever, and I personally believe that this year’s squad is better than last year’s. Progressive Field is sure to be sold out during every postseason game this year, as the Tribe look to bounce back from last year’s heartbreaking Game 7 loss. It will certainly be a thrilling postseason ride for the Tribe and the rest of the league. With flaws showing through the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Cleveland Indians absolutely have a real chance of breaking the longest current championship drought in baseball. This year may in fact be the year that they do it.
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