With the regular season winding down, two playoff teams find themselves trending in the opposite direction. The Dodgers, who were on pace to win 116 games just couple of weeks ago, now have people questioning if they will make it out of the NLDS . Meanwhile, the Indians have been riding a winning streak that might carry them all the way to the Fall Classic. Staff Writers Rachel Schaefer and Bryan Lambert debated just which of these streaks is the more impressive feat.
Rachel Schaefer: “Best Team Ever.” “Team of Destiny.” “A Historic Season.” All of these were headlines during the impressive season the Los Angeles Dodgers had been playing. Fast Forward. This team just snapped an 11-game losing streak. They’d lost 16 of their last 18, featuring some impressive losses.
It started with a series loss to the Brewers. That, in itself, isn’t terrible. The Brewers have a winning record and are four games back on the NL Wild Card. Then they were swept by the Diamondbacks. Again, not terrible. The Diamondbacks have been great, particularly lately, and are settled nicely into a wild card spot.
The real downfall was losing three of four to the Padres, who are currently 65-80 and 15 games back from the wild card. What followed was another sweep from the Diamondbacks, then a four-game sweep from the Rockies. The Dodgers lost to the Giants on Monday, which is just sad. But finally, FINALLY, they pulled out a win Tuesday and despite the terrible performance, managed to clinch a playoff berth. It’s been an impressive downfall.
Bryan Lambert: The Dodgers’s fall from grace is impressive but the Indians streak is historic. With a 2-0 win over the Tigers on Tuesday night they tied the 2002 Oakland A’s for the longest win streak in American League history. And by the time this is published, the Indians might have pushed it to 21 straight! This is the kind of winning streak that movies are written about, and you get sucked into watching highlights of on YouTube at three in the morning.
Cleveland isn’t just taking an advantage of an easy part of this schedule either. This winning streak started when the Indians lit up Cy Young candidate Chris Sale for six earned runs. In the middle of this streak is an 11-game road trip against the Yankees, Tigers and White Sox that the Indians won by an average of over five runs per game. During the entirety of their winning streak, Cleveland has outscored their opponents by 102 runs.
Impressive doesn't even begin to describe how dominant the Indians’ recent run has been.
Rachel Schaefer: It’s true. The Indians’s streak is impressive, and should definitely not be ignored. But if we’re asking which is MORE impressive, it has to be the Dodgers’. This team is also making history with what is perhaps the most bizarre season in the history of Major League Baseball. The 11-game losing streak is the most for the franchise since moving to Los Angeles. Before that, when the team was in Brooklyn, only one streak was worse. A 16-game losing streak, smack dab at the end of World War II—records show that 30 Dodgers served during the war. Notably, Frank Wurm served for two years, was discharged with injuries, and started pitching again almost immediately (come on, you guys knew I was going to throw in a little history).
Oh, and by the way, the 11-game streak comes from a team who has also had a 10-game AND an 11-game winning streak during the same season. That’s just unprecedented.
The part of this streak that makes things so difficult to understand is just how many talented players the Dodgers have. Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager (Kyle’s brother), Justin Turner, and not to mention the pitching.
Ever heard of Clayton Kershaw? Kershaw has 17 wins this season and a 2.17 ERA. The Dodgers traded for Rich Hill and Yu Darvish at the deadline. This team should be unstoppable. The skid that they find themselves on is among the most impressive feats in history, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
Bryan Lambert: If we’re discussing history, then I have to talk about how the Indians’ winning streak might just be the greatest in the history of baseball.
The record for longest unbeaten streak belongs to the 1916 New York Giants who went 26 straight without taking a loss. However, those Giants did have a tie in the middle of that streak when that game was called in the 13th inning due to weather. The game was tied 1-1 at that point. If the game was able to continue who knows if the Giants would have won and we’re still discussing them over a century later. At the very least, an extra inning tie in the middle of your winning streak is enough to warrant an asterisk.
The Cubs also had a 21-game win streak in 1935 but their average margin of victory was lower than the current Indians.
I already talked about the 2002 Athletics team but it should be mentioned that those Athletics were able to take advantage of a pretty soft part of their schedule. Only the Minnesota Twins ended up finishing above .500 that year. The A’s also rode some dominant pitching from their starters to begin their streak. The Indians are getting contributions from their entire roster, scoring an average of 6.65 runs per game.
Out of all of these win streaks, the Indians’ is the most dominant. Win or lose against the Tigers on Wednesday the 2017 Indians should begin the conversation when talking about the greatest winning streaks in baseball history. That’s certainly more impressive than a team with a 250 million dollar payroll failing to perform.