Tha Sports Junkies 101

The 2016 Cleveland Indians

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Cleveland Indians

A look at the 2016 Cleveland Indians and how they prepare to make a postseason run

The 2016 Cleveland Indians has been a team to be reckoned with so far this season. They are currently 71-51 with a 7 game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

Some of the credit for the Indians success this season has been starting pitcher Corey Kluber. He has posted a 3.13 ERA with 171 strikeouts which has led to 13 wins. Kluber leads his team in all of those categories and is considered a contender for the AL Cy Young award.

As a unit, the Indians pitching has been great as they rank 6th in total team ERA with a 3.83 mark; they also rank 6th in both WHIP and quality starts. It’s not just been pitching that has carried the Indians this season. The offense has been a juggernaut that has really showed no signs of slowing down at all.

First baseman Mike Napoli leads the team with 29 home runs and 87 RBI’s. Napoli along with Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, and Tyler Naquin are the reasons why the Indians offense ranks 4th in runs scored, 4th in batting average, 8th in OBP, and 5th in slugging percentage.

A big surprise for the Indians this season has been the emergence of rookie outfielder Tyler Naquin. In 86 games this season, Naquin has 14 home runs and 39 RBI’s while hitting .311.

The Indians own a plus 105 run differential which ranks as the 4th best in the majors. Great pitching and ample amounts of runs has led to the Indians not only having a great run differential but also a great season overall.

With a comfortable lead in the AL Central, the Indians still felt like they needed another piece to the puzzle. They found a huge corner piece in relief pitcher Andrew Miller. The Indians landed Miller in a trade with the New York Yankees that sent a huge prospects package back to New York headlined by Clint Frazier. Even though many thought this was a high price to pay, Miller has shown why he deserves that kind of price tag.

In 45.1 innings for the Yankees before the trade, Miller gave up only 7 earned runs and pitched to a 1.39 ERA. Since joining the Indians, Miller has pitched a total of 9.2 innings while giving up only 2 earned runs. Many teams seen Miller as a flexible relief pitcher that could be brought in, in the 6th, 7th, 8th or even 9th inning to get key outs and keep the game close. That is exactly what Miller has been for the Indians in the 8 appearances he has made for the club.

The 2016 Cleveland Indians are built to make a huge splash in the playoffs this season. They have all the starting pitching they need, plenty of power bats in their lineup, and a great “fireman” in the pen ready to clean up messes made by the starting pitchers. If the Indians can fight off teams like the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, they have a real shot at making the World Series.

Could you imagine how the city of Cleveland would react to the Indians making the World Series in the same year that Lebron James brought the city its first championship in almost 50 years? Fans only have to wait 2 months to find out if the Indians can pull it off and bring another title back to Cleveland.