CLEVELAND, Ohio — After falling to the Yankees in the ALDS Wednesday night, Tribe manager Terry Francona said his team made some errors and did some uncharacteristic things after a stretch of playing very good baseball.
And no one was ready to for the season to be over.
“You know, whatever you say isn’t going to make anybody feel better tonight, but we win together and we lost together,” said Francona. “It was an honor to go through this year with these guys, and there’s times it hurt, like tonight. But it’s quite a group, and I feel like a better person for going through the year with these guys.”
The Yankees came into Progressive Field Wednesday night and finished off the Indians, who won 102 games during the regular season, ripped off a historic 22-game winning streak and were favored to get back to the World Series after losing in seven games a year ago to the Chicago Cubs.
Cleveland’s Series drought turns 70 next year — baseball’s longest dry spell.
“Nobody wanted the season to be over,” said Francona. “It doesn’t wind down. It comes to a crashing halt. And nobody, myself included, was ready for it to be over.”
He said pitcher Corey Kluber “came out of the chute good” in the first inning.
“I just thought quickly, his stuff was starting to trend down,” he said. “Even the last inning, he got a strikeout on a hanging breaking ball. Just wasn’t the normal, crisp — especially the movement. A lot of pitches were flat.”
Didi Gregorius, following in the October footprints left by Derek Jeter, homered twice off Kluber.
“He didn’t locate the first home run to Didi,” said Francona. “He yanked it all the way across the plate, but then he gathered himself and went back out and looked good.”
One win shy of a Series title last year, the Indians had only one goal in mind in 2017.
They came up short again, and have now lost six consecutive games with a chance to clinch a postseason series. The skid dates to last year’s World Series, when they squandered a 3-1 lead to the Cubs.
Cleveland is the first team in history to blow a two-game series lead in consecutive postseasons.
“It’s disappointing,” said Francona. “We felt good about ourselves. We came down the stretch playing very good baseball, and we did some things in this series that I don’t think were characteristic of our team. We made some errors, kicked the ball around a little bit. Sometimes you don’t swing the bat. That’s part of it. But we made it harder to win in some cases, especially the last two games.”