Cleveland Indians will contend next year, but it's going to be a - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Cleveland Indians will contend next year, but it's going to be a long winter

Edwin Encarnacion did not get a hit in Game 5 of the ALDS. (Source AP Images) Edwin Encarnacion did not get a hit in Game 5 of the ALDS. (Source AP Images)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

I don’t even know where to start. Or finish.

The best Cleveland Indians team we’ve seen since 1995 lost in the first round because they took a 2-0 lead and forgot who they were.

Final: Yankees defeat Indians 5-2, New York advances to ALCS

The best team in the American League picked a fine time to give away at-bat after at-bat, give away outs and give away games.

Jose Ramirez stopped hitting.

Francisco Lindor stopped hitting.

Michael Brantley didn’t hit, neither did Jason Kipnis, neither did Edwin Encarnacion in his brief tenure in this series.

They just flailed away at stupid pitches and got themselves out.

They didn’t just stink at the plate, they stunk in the field. Seven errors in their final two games. SEVEN!

I’m complaining about Game 5 and still mad about the six unearned runs they gave up in Game 4. SIX??? IN A PLAYOFF GAME??? Disgraceful.

Even Corey Kluber fell apart. Unthinkable. Cy Kluber? Yeah, he’ll probably win it. Whoopty-doo.

This season was about more than personal awards and division titles.

I don’t consider this a great season, I consider it a devastating one.

When you’re expected to contend for a World Series title and you go out in the first round after taking a 2-0 lead, it’s not a great season.

You fell well short of the goal. Didn’t come close. It’s a season that goes down as one we will talk about for years. Decades.

As one that got away, errrr, they gave away. They gave away at-bats. They gave away outs. They gave away the series.

Make no mistake, this Indians team will contend again next year, but you only get so many years as a small-market baseball team, and they have flat out blown two of them.

They’ll be hard-pressed to put a team this loaded on the field next season. Santana, Bruce, Shaw and Smith all are free agents.

It’s unlikely they can re-sign all those guys. Those a critical pieces to what they did down the stretch. They’ll still be the best team in the AL Central, just maybe not this stacked.

This happens sometimes in baseball. Teams that are really good just fall apart in the playoffs. In 2016 it happened to Texas.

This season it was Cleveland’s turn. It is a bitter, bitter pill to swallow, especially after blowing the World Series in 2016.

Especially since they haven’t won one since 1948.

They are still the team in the league that has gone the longest without winning the World Series, and we have no idea when that streak will end.

Pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training in about four months. That’s a long time to chew on this one.

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