1. Are the 2017 Indians the 2015 Royals?
Take a look at this: the three longest championship droughts in baseball history have been wiped out in the past dozen years:
|Team||Years Between Titles||Status|
|Chicago Cubs||107||Ended in 2016|
|Chicago White Sox||87||Ended in 2005|
|Boston Red Sox||85||Ended in 2004|
|Philadelphia Phillies||77||Ended in 1980|
Your turn, Cleveland. The Indians are good enough to win it all this year, which they might have done last year if starting pitchers Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco didn’t go down with injuries late in the season, forcing manager Terry Francona to use Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and then Corey Kluber each on short rest one win away from the title. (In those three games, all Cleveland losses, those starters allowed 13 runs in just 10 1/3 innings.) The second-highest scoring team in the American League added Edwin Encarnacion in free agency and should get Michael Brantley back from a shoulder injury. Uber reliever Andrew Miller is in Francona’s bullpen for a full season. The AL Central figures to be a rather weak division. Yes, the Indians, winners of 94 games last year, should be even better in 2017.
For you fans of symmetry, let’s not forget how a one-run home loss in World Series Game 7—with the tying run on base for the last out—helped inspired Kansas City to become world champions the next year. Royals manager Ned Yost said he saw the team’s resolve from the first day of spring training in 2015.
By the way, the Houston Astros have a place in this land of epic droughts, too. If you consider droughts for a franchise without relocation, Houston comes in right behind Cleveland at number six, at 54 years in one place waiting for a title, which would be its first.