A look back at Cleveland’s recent baseball heartbreak

Rajai Davis #20 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Rajai Davis #20 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians, Rajai Davis
Rajai Davis #20 of the Cleveland Indians (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Guardians might have baseball’s longest World Series drought, but they’ve come tantalizingly close so many times since 1995.

The Cleveland Guardians have the longest active drought without a World Series title. It’s now been 73 years since they last won it all in 1948. During this period, they’ve made it to the World Series five times – oh, and there was that other time they blew a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox back in 2007.

There is a valid argument to be made that Cleveland should have won three World Series during this time, and this article will examine those teams and how they collapsed.

2016: Cleveland Blew a 3-1 World Series Lead to the Chicago Cubs

This World Series was historic because both teams had the longest active droughts going into the World Series, with the Cubs waiting 107 years between World Series titles. Cleveland got off to a tremendous start and looked like they would finally break through after taking a 3-1 series lead. They would go back to Chicago to attempt to close them out in Game Five.

Game 5: Cleveland got off to a hot start when Jose Ramirez hit a solo shot in the second inning, but it was short-lived. Trevor Bauer gave up a home run to Kris Bryant and the Cubs ended up scoring three runs in the fourth. They wouldn’t look back and they went on to win the game 3-2 after Aroldis Chapman notched an eight-out save.

The series shifted back to Cleveland for Game Six and the Cubs easily forced a seventh game with a decisive 9-3 win.

Game 7: Cleveland called on ace Corey Kluber to pitch on three days’ rest for the second straight start. Unfortunately, he was completely gassed and gave up four runs in four innings. Relief pitcher Andrew Miller, who was acquired from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline and became one of the best trades in team history, was also gassed, pitching multiple innings in several games during the World Series. He gave up two runs and Cleveland was down 6-3 with just four innings left. They scratched and clawed their way back to tie it up in the eighth, thanks to Rajai Davis, who hit one of the most iconic World Series home runs of all-time against Chapman.

After nine innings the game was tied, but Mother Nature decided to complicate things with a rain delay. This allowed the Cubs to gain back momentum, as Chicago scored two runs off Bryan Shaw in the tenth. Cleveland got one run back, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 8-7 and more heartbreak ensued. Cleveland dominated the Red Sox and Blue Jays to reach the World Series that year, losing just one game in the process. Before the collapse, they were 11-2 in the postseason. This really was the year they should’ve won it all.