May 7, 2011

The Indians lost to the Angels last night, 2-1 in extra innings. The seven-game winning streak was snapped in Oakland and was not immediately replaced by another one. We’re only playing .500 ball in the last two games. Tomlin no longer has a perfect record, Masterson no longer has a perfect record, Choo hasn’t had a hit in four straight games, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria… You get the idea. I think baseball fans, especially passionate fans, especially especially passionate Cleveland fans, catastrophize like a Chicago voter—early and often.

Right now, with a 21-10 record, we’re at .677, the best record in the league. While it was a gas to get to 20 wins before we had losses in the double digits, it’s difficult to sustain that kind of pace. The only other club with a record to match ours (at least today) are the Phillies, who are also 21-10. The big difference between the teams is, of course, that the Philllies started the season with what many analysts termed the best starting rotation in history. Everybody expected them to do well this year. The Indians are a pleasant surprise.

To put things in perspective, the 1954 Indians went 111-43 for a .721 winning percentage  in a 154-game season, which is the best record in franchise history. The highest winning percentage for a 162-game season was the 2001 Mariners, who went 116-46 for a .716 winning percentage. The only other team with a winning percentage over .700 in a 162-game season was the 1998 Yankees, who went 114-48 (.704). That’s it. Every other team with a winning percentage over .700 played a shorter season and/or played in the Deadball Era or in the 19th century, when the rules of the game were still taking shape. The Indians played .700 ball for five weeks. Let’s be clear: that’s really freaking hard to do and even more difficult to sustain over a long season. While having a .704 (or higher) winning percentage is awesome, .677 isn’t all that bad either. If we don’t maintain quite this pace, I’m okay with that. I believe in the team this year. (An no, I don’t believe they’re going to disappoint me, I believe.) Don’t let the blips get you down.

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