CLEVELAND -- If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
The Cleveland Indians followed the same formula that won them 14 straight games, and with an early offensive punch and solid pitching throughout, they set a new franchise record with their 15th consecutive victory, an 11-2 decision over the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field Thursday.
“One game at a time,” Indians starter Corey Kluber said. “It sounds boring, but I think that’s what we’re doing, coming to the field every day and trying to prepare to win that day’s ballgame. Yesterday doesn’t really mean anything.
“It sounds boring, but we just take it one day at a time, one game at a time and try to win that day’s game. If we’re able to take that approach and play the game the right way, not that it’s always going to result in a 15-game winning streak, but I think more often than not, things will turn in your favor.”
Indians manager Terry Francona added, “We just try to stay in the moment. I think that’s the best thing. This team stays in the moment really well. So now, we’ll move along. We’ll pack up. We’ll run home, and we’ll see how we do.”
The Indians have won 48 games away from home this season, which is four away from the franchise record.
Including the four-game sweep of the White Sox (54-85), the Indians (84-56) have swept four straight series, against the Kansas City Royals, and then, on the road at the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Chicago, and have won 19 of their last 22 games away from Progressive Field.
With the win, the Indians dropped their “Magic Number” to clinch the American League Central Division down to 13 and still hold an 11-game lead over the Minnesota Twins in the standings.
“It’s been a productive road trip, I’ll give you that,” Francona said. “Other than that, I just think there are other things that hopefully, we get caught up in: the defense being better.
“The winning streak is enjoyable, and I think it’s gotten people’s attention, which gives me a chance to maybe brag on our guys a little bit, which I love. But other than that, we go play tomorrow. The Orioles are already sitting back home waiting for us, and we’ll have our hands full, but it just makes the games a little bit more fun because people are watching and they care.”
With a little less than one month remaining in the regular season, the Indians are focused on finishing strong before opening up postseason play for the second straight fall.
“We have the experience of last postseason to fall back on, but at the same time, it’s a different set of circumstances,” Kluber said. “We’ve got different guys on our roster, a couple guys that are hurt right now that are trying to get their way back, that were a part of our team last year, and hopefully, they can be again before we make it to the postseason. The one constant is playing good baseball and doing the little things that add up to wins.”
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