MLB Postseason: The biggest losers of the past decade

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Zack Greinke #21 of the Houston Astros is taken out of the game against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Zack Greinke #21 of the Houston Astros is taken out of the game against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
Cleveland Indians /

The second biggest MLB postseason loser are the 2017 Cleveland Indians.

The Indians are another of those teams it’s easy to overlook. But coming off their 2016 World Series loss to the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland won 102 games in 2017, taking the AL Central by 17 games.

During the regular season, the Indians compiled a 59.7 team WAR, second-best by any team – champion or otherwise — during the decade.

The secret was pitching. Corey Kluber was 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA, Carlos Carrasco also won 18 games against just six losses, and Trevor Bauer went 17-9.

Cleveland led the majors with a 3.30 ERA, allowing an MLB-low 3.48 runs per game. The Indians also allowed the fewest home runs, just 163.

The playoff schedule called for Cleveland to take on New York, which beat Minnesota in the wild card game, in the divisions series. The Yankees’ 91-71 regular-season record was dwarfed by Cleveland’s 102-60, and Cleveland looked by far the better team in taking a 2-0 advantage with 4-0 and 9-8 wins.

But Masahiro Tanaka pitched New York to a 1-0 win in the third game, and that shifted the momentum.  The Yanks took a 5-0 lead in the fourth game and won 7-3, sending the series back to Cleveland. There a pair of Didi Gregorius home runs off Kluber gave New York a quick 3-0 lead and C.C. Sabathia – with considerable help from New York’s bullpen – made that stand up.