Indians could be big spoilers down the stretch
Heading into the long Labor Day weekend, the Cleveland Indians looked like world-beaters. They'd won 10 in a row, beating the Angels, then sweeping the Royals, Rangers and Tigers. With several contenders on their schedule in September, the Tribe looked set to be major spoilers in the American League pennant races.Then they got swept by the worst team in the league. That Seattle stinker notwithstanding, no team in baseball appears better positioned to play spoiler than the Indians. They're in the midst of a three-game series against the AL Central-leading White Sox. They will play a three-game set against the Twins (Sept. 15-17) and four against the wild-card leading Red Sox (Sept. 22-25). Cleveland could do the most damage on the final weekend of the season, when they will play three more against the White Sox, in Chicago.
TOP SPOILERS OF THE PAST 25 YEARS
|5. 1993 L.A. Dodgers (81-81): With one game left in the season, the Giants and Braves were tied for the NL West lead with identical 103-58 records. Atlanta beat Colorado 5-3 in its final game. But the Dodgers crushed their arch rivals from San Francisco 12-1, killing their playoff chances.|
|4. 1998 Colorado Rockies (77-85): On a day which the Cubs lost to the division-leading Astros, the Rockies triumphed 9-8 against the Giants, forcing a one-game playoff between San Francisco and Chicago for the NL Wild Card. The Cubs won the one-game playoff 4-3, knocking out the Giants.|
|3. 2003 Milwaukee Brewers (68-94): Tied at 86-73 with the Cubs going into the last series of the season, the Astros lost two of three to the lowly Brew Crew. Chicago won its series against Pittsburgh, winning the NL Central by one game.|
|2. 1991 S.F. Giants (75-87): When the Dodgers went to San Francisco for their season finale, they were tied with the Braves for the division lead. The Giants won two of three games, causing the Dodgers to miss the playoffs by one game.|
|1. 1999 Milwaukee Brewers (74-87): The Brewers pulled a rare double knockout, killing both the Reds' division and wild card chances when they took two of three from Cincinnati in the final series of the season. The Reds lost the division by one game to Houston. The Mets, meanwhile, swept Pittsburgh to end the season, forcing a tiebreaker with Cincinnati. The Mets won the tiebreaker 5-0, and the Reds went home.
--Matthew Fred Katz
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