Big League Stew

Top to bottom: Indians crashing after great start

David Brown
Big League Stew

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(AP)

Since the start of division play, only three teams in Major League Baseball history started the season in first place after 70 games and finished it in last. The Cleveland Indians are on the verge of making it four.

Beat reporter Nick Camino of WTAM radio writes on Twitter that the 2006 Rockies, 2005 Nationals and 1991 Angels did what the Indians presumably are doing their darnedest to avoid. With a 59-81 record, Cleveland leads the last-place Minnesota Twins in the AL Central by one game with 22 to play.

On June 23 at the 70-game mark, the Indians were 37-33 and led the Central by a half-game. They've gone 22-48 since, including 5-24 in August. But here's the thing about the Indians that makes them special: They have a chance to not only finish last, but also with the worst record in the American League.

Rachel Phelps would love this.

The '06 Rockies, '05 Nats and '91 Angels might have finished last, but they did it somewhat respectably. At least the Angels and Nats did, each going 81-81 (and Los Anaheim finished last in a seven-team division). The Rockies won 76 games and finished a half-game behind the Dodgers for third place in the NL West.

The Indians could avoid last place and they also could avoid the league's worst record — the Red Sox have three fewer losses coming into Monday — but they would have to start playing more like the April-May-June Indians to do it.

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