Five Performances that Propelled the Cleveland Indians to the World Series

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Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Ryan Merritt (54) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Ryan Merritt (54) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Prodigal Son

Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians left fielder Coco Crisp (4) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Cleveland Indians left fielder Coco Crisp (4) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays in game five of the 2016 ALCS playoff baseball series at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

The big splash made by the Tribe midseason was of course the acquisition of Miller at the July 31st trade deadline, but a much less heralded move has also had a monumental impact in the playoffs. That was the waiver deal that brought Coco Crisp back to Cleveland, the place where his career started in 2002.

Crisp is no longer the everyday, all-star caliber, impact player that he once was, but his fingerprints have been all over the Indians’ current run.

The moment that will be replayed for quite some time came in the ALDS-clinching win in Boston, when in the sixth inning of a 2-1 ballgame, Crisp belted a hanging breaking ball from Drew Pomeranz over the Green Monster in left field for a two-run home run that ended up being the deciding factor in the game.

The 36-year old was also key to the Tribe’s ALCS victory, first robbing Toronto’s Josh Donaldson of a hit and certain RBIs in the seventh inning of Game Three. With Cleveland leading 4-2, last year’s AL MVP sent a sinking liner into left with two outs and two on, and Crisp, not exactly known for his glove these days, made a diving catch to end the threat.

He also homered off Jays’ starter Marco Estrada in the clinching win in Game Five, extending the Indians’ lead to 3-0 and giving the pitching staff a more comfortable cushion to work with.

It seemed insignificant at the time, merely a move for outfield depth with the looming postseason ineligibility of Abraham Almonte, but the acquisition of Crisp has been yet another master stroke by the Cleveland front office. Without the guy named Covelli, the Indians might not be knocking on the door of a title.

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