For more than 100 years, American League teams have gone on winning streaks of varying lengths — short ones, long ones, double-digit ones.
Nothing, though, like the one the Cleveland Indians have pieced together.
A streak for the ages.
Moving past the 2002 Oakland Athletics, the Indians set the AL record with their 21st straight win on Wednesday, 5-3 over the Detroit Tigers, to join only two other teams in the past 101 years to win that many games in a row.
The Indians, a team with its sights set on ending the majors’ longest World Series title drought, matched the 1935 Chicago Cubs for the second-longest streak since 1900.
And in doing so, they separated themselves from every AL team since the league was formed in 1901.
“Who would’ve ever thought that we’d be in this situation?” right fielder Jay Bruce said. “I can’t even imagine.”
Cleveland is within five wins of catching the 1916 New York Giants, who won 26 straight without a loss but whose century-old mark includes a tie.
“I think they’re enjoying themselves,” manager Terry Francona said as clubhouse music boomed in the background. “They should. I think what’s kind of cool about our game is when you do things, and you do them the right way, I think it means more. Our guys are playing the game to win, the right way.”
The Indians haven’t lost in 20 days, and they’ve rarely been challenged during this late-season run in which they’ve dominated every aspect of the game.
During their streak, which began with a 13-6 win over the Boston Red Sox on August 23, the Indians have been superior in every way possible.
Cleveland’s starters have gone 19-0 with a 1.70 ERA, they’ve outscored their opponents 139-35 and trailed in only 4 of 189 innings.
Incredibly, the Indians have hit more home runs (40) than their pitchers have given up in total runs.
Cleveland opens a four-game series Thursday against Kansas City, which was outscored 20-0 on its three-day visit last month.
Some parents kept their kids home from school and brought them to Progressive Field to see a once-in-a-lifetime event Cleveland residents may remember more than any solar eclipse. They cheered every two-strike count like it was October and there was something much bigger on the line. The Indians have viewed the streak as a perfect postseason warm-up as they try to end a World Series title drought dating to 1948.