Loss is a tough one for Cleve­land to swal­low

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - SPORTS -

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.

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