When thinking back on the Indians’ 2016 season, it’s impossible to not focus on the gut-wrenching World Series loss in game 7. And while it’s safe to say that game 7 will be the enduring memory of the campaign, it was not a bad summer to be an Indians fan.
The Tribe cruised to its first AL Central title since the 2007 season, and did so largely on the strength of its pitching. Starters Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin and Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco anchored the starting five, along with Trevor Bauer. Tomlin struggled as the season wore on, but after so rest, returned as an effective late-season and postseason pitcher.
The other key to the Tribe’s success was their domination of division foes. Take second place Detroit, for example. In 18 games, the Indians emerged victorious 14 times. The best way to control your division is to beat its other members, and the Indians did just that.
Also fueling the success was the breakout season that third baseman Jose Ramirez put together. After spending 2015 bouncing between the minor leagues and the big-league club, Ramirez solidified his spot on the roster, leading the team in doubles and providing a spark in the clubhouse as well.
With all the above-mentioned players returning for another go-around, the 2017 season could be a special one for all the fans of the feather. Stay tuned for a season outlook later this week.