Cleve­land rocked

Yan­kees bring sea­son to stun­ning halt

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

CLEVE­LAND — The end came quickly, painfully and with lit­tle warn­ing.

When the fi­nal out was made, and Cleve­land’s sea­son crashed way be­fore it ever imag­ined with a 5-2 loss to the New York Yan­kees, Cleve­land play­ers re­treated to their club­house to try to fig­ure out what went wrong. The list was long. Ace right-han­der Corey Klu­ber pitched poorly. All-Stars Fran­cisco Lin­dor and Jose Ramirez didn’t hit, and the In­di­ans com­mit­ted seven er­rors in the fi­nal two games when they didn’t look any­thing like a team that won 102 games or was favoured to take home the cham­pi­onship com­ing into Oc­to­ber.

“It ac­tu­ally stinks,” closer Cody Allen said in a sub­dued club­house. “They just flat-out played bet­ter than us the last three days.”

Un­able to fin­ish off a young Yan­kees team fight­ing for its man­ager, Cleve­land be­came the first team in his­tory to blow a two-game se­ries lead in con­sec­u­tive post­sea­sons. It wasn’t sup­posed to be like this. Af­ter get­ting to Game 7 of the World Se­ries a year ago, the In­di­ans set out to win it all in 2017. This was sup­posed to be their year.

In­stead, it’s just another heart­breaker for a Cleve­land team that ap­peared un­stop­pable and had Klu­ber on the mound at home for the big­gest game this sea­son.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing,” man­ager Terry Fran­cona said. “We felt good about our­selves. We came down the stretch play­ing very good base­ball, and we did some things in this se­ries that I don’t think were char­ac­ter­is­tic of our team. We made some er­rors, kicked the ball around a lit­tle bit.

“Some­times you don’t swing the bat. That’s part of it. But we made it harder to win in some cases, es­pe­cially the last two games.”

But the pre­sump­tive Cy Young Award win­ner wasn’t him­self in two starts, post­ing a 12.79 ERA and look­ing or­di­nary. Fol­low­ing Game 5, Fran­cona hinted that Klu­ber may have been both­ered by a back in­jury – and other health is­sues – that put him on the dis­abled list ear­lier this sea­son.

When the team left for New York on Fri­day with a 2-0 lead, Cleve­land seemed to be in the driver’s seat. But a club that won 22 straight games – the long­est streak in AL his­tory – couldn’t pre­vent its first three-game los­ing streak since July 30 to Aug. 1.

AP PHOTO

Cleve­land play­ers watch de­ject­edly dur­ing the ninth in­ning of Wed­nes­day’s Amer­i­can League Di­vi­sion Se­ries game against the New York Yan­kees. The Yan­kees won 5-2 and ad­vanced to the ALCS.

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