The Cleveland Indians punched their ticket to the World Series for the first time since 1997, after smothering the Blue Jays 3-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS, and clinching the series 4-1. Cleveland’s last World Series title came in 1948, when Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau were leading the team, and you could buy a house for about the cost of a Macbook Pro.
The Indians will host Game 1 of the World Series on October 25, the same night that the Cavaliers open their season and receive their championship rings. Times they are a changin on the banks of the mighty Cuyahoga.
Cleveland middle reliever Andrew Miller, also known as the human incarnation of Satan for Playoff opponents and Toronto Blue Jays fans, was named ALCS MVP.
In the series, the versatile 6’7” lefty buzzsaw, acquired from the Yankees before the trade deadline, pitched 7 2/3 innings of scoreless relief with an inhuman 14 strikeouts. So far in the playoffs, Miller has been a one man middle relief bridge to the 9th inning, and the place where middle inning rallies go to die. In an era of specialized relievers, Miller is a throwback, capable of grabbing the pill and cruising through two or more innings. He’s Mariano Rivera disguised as Paul Bunyan.
In Game 5, the Indians jumped on the board in the first inning, when Mike Napoli drove in a run with a double and largely quieted the Toronto crowd before they could become a factor. Carlos Santana and Coco Crisp added solo shots, which proved to be all the scoring the Indians needed.
Cleveland rookie pitcher Ryan Merritt, who had only one previous major league start, shut down the Blue Jays through 4 1/3 innings, when Tito Francona handed the ball to the bullpen and Andrew Miller to slam the door on Toronto’s season.
While the Cubs and the Dodgers have garnered most of the attention in the MLB postseason, the Indians have easily been the most dominate team, dispatching the Red Sox and Blue Jays, while only losing one game during their playoff run.
The Indians will welcome the NLCS winner to Cleveland for Game 1 of the World Series, a city currently drunk with winning professional sports franchises, and delicious beer.
Game highlights from last night’s ALCS clinching Cleveland win.