19-game win streak foreshadows great things for Cleveland

Cleveland Indians' Edwin Encarnacion, right, is congratulated by Austin Jackson after hitting a three-run home run off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wade Miley. (Tony Dejak/AP)

The Cleveland Indians are riding high right now, having won 19 straight going all the way back to Aug. 24. They’re now just two wins from tying the longest winning streak of MLB’s modern era, the 1935 Chicago Cubs’ run of 21 games.

Standing in their way are the 60–83 Detroit Tigers, a team Cleveland beat on Monday and swept in four games earlier this month. The series continues Tuesday night.

All that said, now seems like a good time to ask a simple question: So what? Does winning 19 games in a row actually mean anything? More to the point, is it predictive of future success or just a nice mid-season story? We decided to look at other all-time major MLB streakers and see if we could draw any conclusions.

As it turns out there aren’t a whole lot of 19-game-streak comparables, so we shrunk our minimum by a game. Here’s every streak of 18 or more since 1903*, the year the World Series was first contested:

Streak Team Date range Regular-season record Season result
21 1935 Chicago Cubs Sept. 4-28 100-54 Lost World Series
20 2002 Oakland Athletics Aug. 13-Sept. 6 103-59 Lost ALDS
19 2017 Cleveland Indians Aug. 24- 88-56 TBD
19 1947 New York Yankees June 29-July 18 97-57 Won World Series
18 1904 New York Giants June 16-July 4 106-47 Won NL, refused to play in World Series
18 1953 New York Yankees May 27-June 16 99-52 Won World Series

(*Two other teams — the 1906 White Sox and 1916 Giants — had unbeaten streaks of at least 19 games, but each included a tie so we yanked them from the list.)

Okay, so five teams other than the Indians have won 18 games or more games in a row.

Four of those teams made the World Series. Of the four, two won it all, one lost and one — the 1904 New York Giants — refused to play.

The team that won 18 or more and not make the World Series? The Moneyball Oakland Athletics. They finished 103–59 and still lost the ALDS in five games to the Minnesota Twins.

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