CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians came up one win shy of the ultimate goal for every team in Major League Baseball, the World Series Championship, but to those in the clubhouse, the season was far from a waste.
Although the Indians did not win the championship, they fought adversity in the form of injuries and pushed a 103-win Chicago Cubs team to the brink of elimination and forced Game 7 at Progressive Field into extra innings.
“For me, it wasn’t a letdown,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “It was a successful season. We shocked the world. Nobody had us here, and it was fun. I believe in the guys we have. I believe in the chemistry. We have a great chemistry. I’m looking forward to 2017. I’m looking forward to it. We’ve got to continue to work hard. I’ve got to stay humble, hungry, and we’ll see what happens next year.
“We knew it was going to be head to head. It was just a matter of who could be more consistent, and they did it. They capitalized on our mistakes and they deserved to win. They can honestly say they are the best team in the world. They deserved it, but I’m happy for my team. It’s a blessing to be here.”
After making it to the American League Division Series for the first time since 2007, the Indians swept through the Boston Red Sox and dispatched of the hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays in just five games in the AL Championship Series to advance to the World Series for the first time in 19 years.
It was in the World Series where the Indians hit and pitched their way to a 3-1 lead before the Cubs took three straight games to claim their first title since 1908.
The Indians made it back to the postseason without the services of outfielder Michael Brantley, was out of the lineup because of shoulder issues since May, catcher Yan Gomes for much of the second half of the year because of a dislocated shoulder and a rotation that saw starters Carlos Carrasco (broken bone in right hand) and Danny Salazar (elbow/forearm fatigue) miss the stretch run toward the American League championship.
“That’s how we’ve been doing it all season long,” Lindor said. “You battle, you grind out at-bats, you surprise people, and you laugh at them. It’s just how we’ve been doing it all season long. It hurts. It hurts that we lost.
“Of course, I wanted to finish it, but it’s just part of the game. I don’t know when we will be back, but I truly believe in what we have and I’m looking forward to it.”