Congratulations, Cleveland. You just lost the World Series.
By Matt Enuco
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Cleveland Indians just punched their ticket to the fall classic with a 3-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. After the Champagne bubbles have gone flat, there will be a long wait leading up to the World Series, and with the Tribe riding such an epic hot streak, this down time could spell disaster.
Let’s look at the last decade. Only the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies won the fall classic after having more rest than their opponent. Six teams with more rest before game one of the World Series lost. The remaining three were toss ups with both teams clinching on the same day, or in the same amount of games.
In 2006, the Detroit Tigers lost the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals after having run through the divisional and championship series. 2007 was a similar story for the Colorado Rockies. After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Boston Red Sox returned the favor after nine days of rest. The same story played out in 2009 for the Phillies, 2012 for the Tigers, 2014 for the Royals and the Mets in 2015.
This kiss of death can be broken down even further. In each of these years the losing team averaged six days off before the World Series, with the longest break for the aforementioned Rockies. With the first game of the 2016 series slated for October 25, the Indians fall just shy of the six-day benchmark. Even more compelling is the fact that, besides the All-Star break, the Indians didn’t have more than one day off between games all season. Perhaps they can defy the odds, but with such a young team riding a wave of momentum, long period of rest spell disaster..
Common baseball wisdom is that rest is good for a pitching staff, but toxic for hitters. In 2012, Detroit bounded through the playoffs so quickly that they had to play simulated games to try and keep arms loose and bats fresh. But as many players have intimated in the past, there is no substitute for the adrenaline of playing in a real game.
Even though Terry Francona has a penchant for lifting hexes, I’m not sure his magic touch can undo the fate awaiting the Cleveland Indians.