The Cleveland Indians improved from worst to first in the expanded Joe Cronin League, winning a red hot race with the Texas Rangers by three games. The Indians did all of their damage against the Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins.
By BILL PETERSON
Big Leagues in Los Angeles
A new alignment in the Joe Cronin League helped to produce a worst-to-first scenario.
Because the Houston Astros were moved in 2013 from the National League to the American League, they also had to be moved from the Chub Feeney League to the Joe Cronin League. In the interests of evening out all of these leagues, it became necessary to add an eight team to the Joe Cronin League, leading to the addition of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays made a nice showing in their Joe Cronin debut, finishing in third place. But the winners were the Cleveland Indians, who finished last in the Joe Cronin League in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the Indians rolled over the Joe Cronin League, much as the Chicago White Sox did in 2012.
The Indians actually were much better than that, 48-22. Despite their dominant .686 winning percentage, the Indians still won the Joe Cronin League by only three games over the Texas Rangers, who were 46-26. The Rangers finished with a .639 winning percentage, same as the Rays. But the Rays were 39-22, so they finished 4 1/2 games behind the Indians.
The Indians were a combined 36-9 against the White Sox, Astros and Minnesota Twins, meaning they were only 12-13 against the other Joe Cronin teams. The White Sox fell hard in the league, all the way from first place to seventh, 23½ games behind the Indians.