The Cleveland Indians continued their impressive winning streak, capturing their 21st consecutive baseball game Wednesday to break the American League record set by the Oakland Athletics in 2002.
They also tied the Major League Baseball record set by the 1935 Chicago Cubs.
If the team can defeat the Kansas City Royals at home Thursday night, they will own the longest winning streak in baseball history. They are 9-6 on the season against the Royals, including a three-game sweep on August 25-27, a day after the miraculous victory run began.
Baseball fans, especially those in “The CLE,” can’t stop watching or talking about the feat. About a quarter of a million homes in Northeast Ohio tuned in for Tuesday night’s matchup on local cable television and it was the second-highest rated telecast this season behind opening day.
According to Nielsen, ratings for the squad’s September games are up 50 percent over 2016.
The players, though, are definitely trying to downplay it and apparently a kangaroo court has been established and if someone mentions the word streak he is fined.
The media is in on the secret and has been trying to bait players into saying it. Jay Bruce, who was traded from the lowly Mets to the team on August 10, was the latest victim.
“Absolutely not,” Bruce said Wednesday. “We’re so focused. Everyone talks about the streak, oops, that’s a fine.”
Betting Provides Mixed Results
Those who wager on the sport know how fickle the game can be and putting money down on the Indians hasn’t translated to big cash returns.
For all but three of the contests the team has been favored to win. The first game they were a plus-148 selection against Boston and had plus-121 and plus-155 odds against the New York Yankees in an August 30th doubleheader.
Otherwise they have been solid favorites as the number kept increasing the longer the run progressed. They have been in the minus-150 to minus-270 range, but the previous three games against the Tigers they were minus-400 to minus-460.
Betting the over/under on total runs hasn’t been a guaranteed win. In the 21 games the over has hit 11 times and the under 10.
Postseason Success not Guaranteed
Just because the Indians haven’t lost a regular season game in the past three weeks, doesn’t mean that they are sure bet to win the World Series. Sportsbooks have adjusted their chances to win the title. They were 7-1 at the All Star Break but are now posted at 3-1.
Teams in the past that have had impressive stretch runs failed to win the Fall Classic. The 2002 Athletics were knocked out in a division series and the 1935 Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers in the championship. The 1916 New York Giants won 26 of 27 with a tie and finished fourth in the eight-team National League.
Indians manager Terry Francona was asked about whether the streak the Giants had should count even though there was a tie mixed in and he, unlike his player, wouldn’t bite.
“I wasn’t there,” he said. “I have given that zero thought, I promise you.”