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6 unsung heroes of the Indians’ incredible 21-game winning streak

For The Win logo For The Win 9/13/2017 Ted Berg

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Nearly everyone on the Cleveland Indians' roster has contributed to the club's ongoing and record-breaking 21-game win streak. Most of the team's stars, predictably, have played well during the stretch: Young infielders Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have been exceptional on both sides of the ball, Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion have hit for big power, and Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco have been unhittable.

But the Indians' incredible run of success has been buoyed by strong performances from less likely sources. Here are six unsung heroes of Cleveland's 21-game winning streak:

1. Mike Clevinger

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Swiftly emerging as one of this site's favorite baseball players, the long-haired, Dazed and Confused-quoting Clevinger has kept pace with the likes of Kluber and Carrasco since the start of the streak. After his win on Wednesday, Clevinger is now 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA across 28 innings in five starts during the winning streak. He has struck out 32 batters and walked 12 in that time.

2. Yandy Diaz

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I know what you're thinking: "Yandy Diaz, is that a baseball guy? It certainly sounds like a baseball guy." And indeed, Yandy Diaz is a baseball guy. This specific baseball guy took over the Indians' starting third-base job when Jason Kipnis went down with an injury and Jose Ramirez shifted from third to second. During the streak, Diaz has hit .357 with an on-base percentage just below .500. A Cuban defector who signed with Cleveland in 2013, Diaz posted consistently high batting averages and OBPs throughout his minor league career.

3. Bullpen dudes not named Andrew Miller

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The Indians' relief corps has been stacked dating back to last season, but it has flourished during the winning streak despite the absence of its most prominent and most dominant member, lefty Andrew Miller. Miller's back with the club now, but in his absence, closer Cody Allen, Dan Otero and lefty Tyler Olson combined to throw 21 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts to only three walks during the winning streak. Brian Shaw, Joe Smith, and Nick Goody have been good, too.

4. Art!

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When you never lose, you can take seize some of your down time away from constantly making yourself better at baseball to pursue creative endeavors. And starters Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer have apparently taken to making likenesses of their teammates with Gatorade cups and baseballs. They're stupendous.

5. Roberto Perez

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The Indians' normally light-hitting catcher already enjoyed a surprise star turn in the World Series last season, Perez has caught fire again since the start of the streak. His homer on Wednesday was his fourth in the 21-game stretch. He's hit .378 with an .810 slugging percentage while starting 10 games behind the plate during the streak.

6. The Detroit Tigers

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Seven of the Indians' 21 wins in the streak have come against the freefalling Detroit Tigers, a club that has lost 28 of its last 37 games. All streaks in baseball require a heck of a lot of luck, and the games against the Tigers do not in any way trivialize the Indians' remarkable success - they've also sept series against the playoff-bound Yankees and the still-contending Orioles and Royals. Playing the Tigers a bunch is just one factor that helped.

Related slideshow: 2017 MLB season (Provided by photo services) 

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 25: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run against the Kansas City Royals during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The home run was number 50 on the season making him the new rookie home run record holder. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) 2017 MLB Season


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