The Cleveland Indians have one of the best records in Major League Baseball, currently sitting at 56-41 on the season.
That mark is one game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the best mark in the AL.
You have to wonder what people would be thinking about the Tribe if not for the bullpen problems that have plagued them this season.
Here is the list of games where the relief corps have failed Terry Francona–
Game #4, April 9th: White Sox 7, Indians 3. Yan Gomes’ 7th inning home run off Chris Sale gave the Tribe a 3-2 lead. Bryan Shaw gave up three hits to plate two runs, and then gave up a three run homer to Avisail Garcia.
Game #13, April 21st: Mariners 10, Indians 7. Mike Napoli’s dramatic two out, two run homer tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, but Cody Allen walked two in the top of the tenth, before allowing a three run jack to Robinson Cano.
Game #17, April 25th: Twins 4, Indians 3. Gomes’ homered in the 8th tied the game at 3, before Zach McAllister served up a solo shot to Oswaldo Arcia to lead off the bottom of the ninth.
Game #18, April 26th: Twins 6, Indians 5. Another homer, this one by Napoli with two out in the top of the ninth, tied it up, only to see Allen give up three hits (a caught stealing helped), the last the game winner by Miguel Sano.
Game #20, April 29th: Phillies 4, Indians 3. Tribe had a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth before the Phils tied it off Corey Kluber. But Ryan Howard clubbed a leadoff HR in the 11th off of Allen.
Game #21, April 30th: Phillies 4, Indians 3. No dramatics here, but the Tribe battled back to tie the game in the 5th at 3, but Tommy Hunter in his Cleveland debut, gave up a leadoff single, a sacrifice bunt, and a two out hit and wound up the loser.
Game #31, May 11th: Astros 5, Indians 3. Cleveland tied it up at three in the top of the ninth on Carlos Santana’s one out triple, but the Tribe couldn’t push him across. They lost in the 16th on a Marwin Gonzalez home run off of Cody Anderson.
Game #46, May 27th: Orioles 6, Indians 4. This one was tied at three going into the top of the seventh, when with one out, McAllister gave up back to back doubles and then a home run to Mark Trumbo.
Game #48, May 29th: Orioles 6, Indians 4. Tied at four in the top of the 7th, Jeff Manship gave up a long ball to Hyun Soo Kim, his first big league HR.
Game #61, June 11th: Angels 4, Indians 3. Stymied for eight innings by Matt Shoemaker, the Indians tied it with three in the ninth, with Tyler Naquin’s single evening this one up. Shaw allowed a leadoff hit, sac bunt, walk, and a game winning single to Yunel Escobar.
Game #64, June 14th: Royals 3, Indians 2. Josh Tomlin turned a 2-1 lead to Shaw after seven innings, but the reliever gave up a hit and a dinger to Salvador Perez.
Game #80, July 2nd: Blue Jays 9, Indians 6. Tribe was looking to extend their winning streak to 15 and carried a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the 7th, when Dan Otero gave up a HR to Josh Donaldson to tie it, and Toronto scored three in the 8th off Otero and Hunter.
Game #90, July 16th: Twins 5, Indians 4. Trevor Bauer carried a 4-2 lead into the 7th and had thrown over 100 pitches, but Francona wanted to squeeze one more inning out of him. He allowed a hit and a walk, and Manship and Otero allowed them to score. The winning run came in the 11th on an error.
Game #92, July 18th: Royals 7, Indians 3. Corey Kluber carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Shaw gave up three straight hits to allow KC to tie it, then walked two more. Manship came up and gave up a grand slam homer.
Game #97, July 24th: Orioles 5, Indians 3. Trailing 3-2 in the 8th, the Tribe tied it on a Napoli single, but Allen gave up a two run bomb in the bottom of the ninth.
Look, we aren’t saying the Indians should have won every one of these games, that’s ridiculous. But, they’ve lost a bunch of games where they had the lead or were tied after six innings.
Too many to ignore. Had they won just half of these games, their record would be 63-34, the best in the game by plenty. That’s how good this team is.
That’s why they need to get help for the bullpen going down the stretch. You simply cannot give up leads in the post-season. You can only lose two games in the Division Series, and three games in the Championship and World Series.
When you get a lead late, you have to finish the deal.