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Indians clinch AL Central division. Have won 24 of their last 25 games.
The Indians who lost a heartbreak game 7 in the World Series last season vs. the Cubs, have clinched their division and seem destined to return to the Fall Classic after winning 24 of their last 25 games. A winning stretch that included a AL record 22-game winning streak.
On Friday evening September 15th the streak finally ended at 22 games after the Royals edged the Indians 4-3. The Indians today are sitting pretty in 1st place with an impressive 93-57 record.
Yes, it's primarily all about starting pitching and Cleveland has that. However, the managerial talents of Francona cannot be overlooked.
After five years in Cleveland Francona has been a winner, posting a 445-351 record with a .559 winning percentage.
Last season, Francona won the AL Manager of the Year for the second time in his career. He won the award in 2013 also with the Indians.
In Game 7 of the World Series, the Cubs finally snapped their 108-year championship drought edging the Indians 8-7 in the 10th inning.
Francona's Indians went 10-5 in the postseason. Prior to the World Series, the Indians swept Boston 4-0 then silenced Toronto big bats winning four of five games.
Cleveland Indians managed by Terry Francona played in their first World Series since 1997 when they lost a painful 7-game series vs. the Marlins. Unfortunately, they fell in seven games again.
Francona manages all-out and uses his bullpen creatively. He manages to win in a calm cool fashion and has the respect of his players and the league.
Francona has baseball in his blood. His father was Tito Francona who played for a number of teams, mainly for Cleveland and the Phillies. Terry played in college (University of Arizona) and was a productive MLB utility player for 10-years. He played one season for Cleveland.
Despite all his managerial success in 17 years (1474-1266, .538) Francona was named Manager of the Year just once in 2013. He's more importantly, won two World Series championships with Boston in 2004 and 2007 ending their long championship curse.
If the Indians go the distance this season, Francona and Indians deserve accolades. Barring a collapse, it seems Francona is a lock for the AL Manager of the Year for a second straight season. The only challenge would be Joe Girardi and that's if he manages the Yankees to the AL East crown.