Helped by a 31-12 finish, Cleveland won the American League Central and returned to the postseason for the first time since 2001. The 96 wins marked the most for the Tribe since it won 97 games in 1999.
Cleveland hasn't been to the World Series since 1997, and haven't won a World Series title since 1948, the second longest streak in baseball.
By month: April 14-8, May 19-11, June 15-13, July 12-14, August 17-11, September 19-9.
The Indians were an exceptional team during the last two months of the regular season. They went 36-20 in August and September after struggling offensively in July. When its offense awoke from a midseason funk, Cleveland reeled off a 24-8 streak that effectively won the division. Co-aces C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona were two of the best pitchers in baseball during the second half.
Avg.: .268, 7th in AL
Runs: 811, 6th in AL
HRs: 178, 5th in AL
OPS: .771, 4th in AL
The Indians enjoyed a better first half offensively than in the second half. Their 471 runs in the first half ranked second to the Tigers. While Cleveland slipped to 11th in second half in scoring, its pitching was far better -- and that proved the difference in winning the race.
Avg.: Victor Martinez, .301
HRs: Martinez, 25
RBIs: Martinez, 114
Runs: Grady Sizemore, 118
OPS: Martinez ,.879
SB: Sizemore, 33
The Indians had seven players with at least 18 homers. Victor Martinez enjoyed an All-Star season and set career highs in homers and RBIs. Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore had seasons below their usual norms, but still posted solid numbers. Cleveland was one of several playoff teams that relied on young players. For the Indians offense, none was bigger than Asdrubal Cabrera, who hit .285 in 44 games.
Overall ERA: 4.05, 3rd in AL
Starters ERA: 4.19, 2nd in AL
Bullpen ERA: 3.73, 4th in AL
Strikeouts: 1047, 7th in AL
HRs allowed: 146, 13th in AL
Opponents BA: .268, 7th in AL br>
The pitching staff was the fulcrum down the stretch. The rotation was one of the best in the Majors, and the airtight bullpen was rarely scored upon. No team received more innings from its starters. Sabathia and Carmona were arguably the top starting combo in baseball this season.
Wins: C.C. Sabathia, Carmona, 19
ERA (starter): Fausto Carmona, 3.06
ERA (reliever): Rafael Betancourt, 1.47
Strikeouts: Sabathia, 209
Saves: Borowski, 45
Holds: Betancourt, 31
HRs allowed: Paul Byrd, 27
Opponents BA: Carmona, .249
The Indians enjoyed some of the best pitching in baseball. Sabathia led the Majors in innings pitched and Carmona emerged as one of the biggest surprises in baseball and finished second in the AL in ERA. In the bullpen, Cleveland used a trio of Rafael Perez, Rafael Betancourt and Joe Borowski to great success. Betancourt had the second-best relief ERA in the AL (1.47), Perez was third(1.78) and Borowski led the AL with 45 saves.
Fielding percentage: .985, ninth in AL
Errors: 91, sixth in AL
The Indians ranked in the middle of the pack in most fielding statistics. The pitching was a pitch-to-contact, ground-ball staff and the infield had a solid season.
Grady Sizemore: .995 fielding percentage
Jhonny Peralta: .974 fielding percentage
Martinez improved tremendously behind the plate, throwing out 32 percent of runners attempting to steal, the third-best mark in the AL. Sizemore is considered one of the best defensive center fielders in the game.
Game by game
April 17: New York 10, Cleveland 3 -- Jake Westbrook allowed three homers in the loss.
April 18: New York 9, Cleveland 2 -- Jeremy Sowers allowed six runs in 2 2/3 innings.
April 19: New York 8, Cleveland 6 -- Borowski blew the save when New York scored six runs in the ninth.
August 10: New York 6, Cleveland 1 -- Cleveland had just four hits against Yankees rookie starter Phil Hughes
August 11: New York 11, Cleveland 2 -- Paul Byrd allowed seven runs in the second inning.
August 12: New York 5, Cleveland 3 -- Westbrook allowed four runs in seven innings.
vs. Red Sox: 2-5
vs. Yankees: 0-6
vs. Phillies: 2-1
vs. Cubs: 0-0
vs. D-backs: 0-0
vs. Rockies: 0-0
vs. Rockies: 0-0
The Indians went 30-30 against winning teams, but had problems with the other three American League playoff clubs. Cleveland finished 7-16 against those three teams, including a 0-6 mark against New York. Sabathia, though, did not make a start against the Yankees. Overall, the Indians went 66-36 against losing teams, including a 14-4 mark against the Twins.
Borowski (5 G, 1-1, 1.17 ERA)
Byrd (5 G, 1-2, 5.40 ERA)
Trot Nixon (.268, five home runs, 22 RBIs)
Kenny Lofton (.244, six home runs, 28 RBIs)
Luis Rivas (.158, one RBI)
Chris Gomez (.222, one home run, seven RBIs)
David Dellucci (.313, one home run, two RBIs)
Outside of a few players, the Indians don't have a lot of postseason experience on their roster. Trot Nixon played in several Octobers with the Red Sox, but may not make the final 25-man roster playoff roster, and will not likely see much playing time if he does.
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.