2018 Cleveland Indians
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2018 Cleveland Indians / Franchise: Cleveland Guardians / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 15, 2018, vs. Detroit Tigers
Managed by Terry Francona
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2018 Cleveland Indians had a bit of a cakewalk in claiming their third straight AL Central title. They took over the division lead for good on April 21st and were basically unchallenged the rest of the way. With three of the teams in the division in a rebuilding mode, it was clearly not going to be the toughest division anyway, and once the Minnesota Twins stumbled and failed to keep pace, the Indians were by themselves on top of the standings. They clinched the title on September 15th with a 15-0 beating of the Detroit Tigers, becoming the first team in the majors to confirm a division title (the Boston Red Sox were not far behind, and had a postseason slot already on hand, but still had to play a couple more games before their magic number reached zero).
The Indians were led by a pair of MVP contenders in infielders Francisco Lindor and José Ramírez, who both had outstanding seasons, with Ramírez becoming the first member of the 30-30 club since 2012. On the mound, Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer were both dominant, although Bauer had to be placed on the disabled list in August with a stress fracture in his leg. Carlos Carrasco was not far behind. The only question mark was the bullpen, as Andrew Miller was unavailable for long stretches, and in hs absence closer Cody Allen and the rest of the bullpen failed to reassure anyone about their ability to nurse a lead.
In a season when there were strikeout records galore, the Indians set one when four of their starting pitchers passed the 200-strikeout mark. They were Kluber, Carrasco, Bauer and Mike Clevinger, who joined the club on September 22nd. No team before that had ever had four pitchers reach the mark in the same season, and only three teams had had as many as three such pitchers, the most recent being the 2013 Detroit Tigers.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Trevor Bauer, Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes, Corey Kluber, Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Francisco Lindor (SS) and Jose Ramirez (3B)
- Jordan Bastian: "Tribe's core is back, aims for World Series crown", mlb.com February 25, 2018. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "'Cleveland ain't joking': World Series or bust: With roster beyond '18 unclear, club determined to meet lofty expectations", mlb.com, April 6, 2018. 
- Jace Evans: "Indians clinch AL Central for third straight year with 15-0 destruction of Tigers", USA Today, September 15, 2018. 
- Joe Noga: "Clinching days for the Cleveland Indians: 15 times the club celebrated a playoff bid in the last 100 years", Cleveland.com, Sept. 23, 2020