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Cleveland Indians Reach 19 Wins In Historic Streak


Let's talk about the number 19. That is the number of games the Cleveland Indians have won in a row.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Indians breeze to the 5-2 win, their season-high 10th straight.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Fifteen consecutive wins.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Guyer near the line - makes the catch. Nineteen in a row for the Indians.

MCEVERS: The question tonight, as Cleveland plays Detroit, is, can the Indians turn that 19-game streak into a 20-game streak? The last time that happened - 2002. It was the Oakland A's. Their 20-game streak was celebrated in the book and the movie "Moneyball."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: What is happening in Oakland?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: It defies everything we know about baseball.

MCEVERS: Joe Posnanski says, regardless of whether the Indians take their streak to 20 tonight, there is something remarkable going on. And he is a columnist for mlb.com. And he's with us now. Welcome.

JOE POSNANSKI: Great to be here.

MCEVERS: So you write that, quote, "no team has ever played baseball like the Cleveland Indians have been playing during this streak." What makes you say that? What's so special about this moment?

POSNANSKI: Well, it's obviously special for a lot of reasons. You start with the streak itself. This is just not something that tends to happen in baseball. But the way Cleveland has been winning these games - I mean, baseball is a game where mediocre teams beat good teams all the time, where, no matter how good you are, you lose 60 games, plus...


POSNANSKI: ...Every full season. So for a team to be playing at this level, where not only have they won 19 in a row, they really have hardly ever been challenged - they've been trailing for only, like, four innings the entire streak. This is a completely different kind of streak from anything we've ever seen before. And this has been a pretty special run.

MCEVERS: And they've also been doing this with a lot of their star players on the disabled list and players from the minors stepping up. I mean, that's kind of a big deal, too, right?

POSNANSKI: It is. It is a big deal. I mean, obviously, it's a long season, and that's what happens to teams. But two of their better hitters are out. Their best relief pitcher, Andrew Miller, who made a real name for himself last year as a 6-foot-10 reliever in the postseason - he's been out for this entire streak. So not only is this a team playing at an extremely high level. You get the feeling that when some of these guys come back, they're going to be even better.

MCEVERS: So let's talk about this game tonight against the Detroit Tigers. It's a home game. How do you think it's going to go? I mean, will the Indians get to 20?

POSNANSKI: Well, I do. I do think they're going to win 20 for a couple of reasons. One is Detroit is not very good. The other thing is Cleveland has their best pitcher starting tonight, a guy by the name of Corey Kluber, who many people, to his disdain, call him the Klubot because he's so unemotional in the way he pitches. He is their best pitcher. He's one of the best pitchers in baseball. So odds are pretty good tonight that Cleveland's going to get number 20.

MCEVERS: And the playoffs are just around the corner. What does it mean that Cleveland is peaking now?

POSNANSKI: It's a very interesting question. And the truth is nobody really knows what it means. I mean, for one thing, this is so unique for a team to be playing at this level at any point, much less in September. For another, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a team that had been called the best team in baseball history for about four months, suddenly can't win a game.

MCEVERS: I don't want to talk about it. I don't want to talk about it.

POSNANSKI: They've lost 15...

MCEVERS: I don't want to talk about it.


MCEVERS: I do not want to talk about the Dodgers right now...


MCEVERS: ...As a person based in LA.


MCEVERS: So what does any of it mean? - is your point. Yeah.

POSNANSKI: Exactly. So once October starts, everybody's on a clean slate. It's actually a weird thing because baseball is obviously a game that's played over a very long season. There's a strategy to being the best team over 162 games. That strategy is very different when, suddenly, you have to win a bunch of short series like you do in October. So what does it mean? I don't think we know anything. It might not mean anything, other than it's incredible to watch right now.

MCEVERS: MLB columnist Joe Posnanski - he also co-hosts the PosCast with Michael Schur. Thank you very much.

POSNANSKI: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOE SATRIANI'S "LORDS OF KARMA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.