Loss is a tough one for Cleveland to swallow
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, the Indians 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 favored 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, the Indians became the first team in history to blow a two-game series lead in consecutive postseasons.
“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.”
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. “I don’t think we need to get into details of that,” Kluber said when asked about the injury. “I was healthy enough to go out there and try to pitch. I don’t think anybody is 100% at this point of the year, but good enough to go out there and try to compete.”
When they left for New York on Friday with a 2-0 lead, the Indians seemed to be in the driver’s seat.
But a team 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.
Seeking leniency: A sports agent and a baseball trainer are seeking lenient prison sentences after their convictions in Miami of smuggling Cuban players to the U.S.
Court records filed this week show agent Bartolo Hernandez is asking for a three-year prison term and trainer Julio Estrada wants no more than five years. They were convicted by a jury in March after a six-week trial.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to exceed the nine-year maximum for both calculated under federal sentencing guidelines.
Sentencing is set for Nov. 2.