Dallas Keuchel continued his incredible start to the season, looking like his old Cy Young Award winning self, and Josh Reddick supported him both at the plate and in the field as the Houston Astros defeated the Cleveland Indians, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
The Astros staff ace won for the fourth time in five tries to give Houston 14 wins on the season. He used a heavy diet of pitches low in the strike zone to force the Indians to keep the ball on the ground for the majority of the game and three double play balls got him out of several jams that he encountered. The win, however, was overshadowed by a scary collision in right field in the bottom of the eighth inning involving superstar second baseman Jose Altuve.
As well as the Cleveland Indians have been playing on the road this season, they may not have wanted to come home after their two-city trip through Minneapolis and Chicago this past week. But, the schedule says that they must as the Houston Astros will make their lone trip to Progressive Field this season for three days beginning Tuesday night.
The Indians (10-8) doubled their win total for the season last week alone with a productive 5-1 road trip. Starting pitching was living up to expectations and the bats came alive and drove in the runs that had been stranded during the first two weeks of the season.
A rebuilt and threatening Houston (13-6) lineup is poised for big things in the American League West this season and is already off to a quick start. They have started the season 6-2 on the road and their 13 wins are tied for the most in the American League. They hold a three-game lead over Oakland in the West.
Cleveland minor league reliever Steve Delabar was one of three players suspended on Monday for testing positive for substances in violation of the minor league drug program.
The veteran reliever of six big league seasons and a 2013 American League All-Star, Delabar signed with the Indians in the offseason on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He was dealt an 80-game suspension without pay for a positive test for Ostarine.
The Akron RubberDucks have put their five-game losing streak of a week ago to bed as they reeled off five straight wins through Monday night’s action to improve to 8-9 with the Eastern League’s longest active winning streak.
The ‘Ducks finished their two-city road trip with a pair of wins in Reading, including a resounding 12-2 victory in the finale last Wednesday. It capped off a series against the Fightin Phils in which Akron scored 24 runs and allowed 13 during the three-game set. They returned home for their second homestand of the season and swept the Altoona Curve in three straight over the weekend, including a pair of 3-2 victories on Friday and Saturday (including an 11th inning two-out walk-off single from Joe Sever on Saturday) before a more decisive 6-1 win on Sunday afternoon. They opened their three game series with the Binghamton Rumble Ponies with a 5-2 victory on Monday night, using a three-run sixth to break a 2-2 tie.
The Cleveland Indians and Milwaukee Brewers engage in a little in-season Home Run Derby as the two clubs combine for eleven home runs to match a Major League nine-inning record. The Indians get eight of the blasts to power their way to an 11-4 win over the Brewers at Milwaukee’s County Stadium.
The Columbus Clippers’ most recent road trip did not go as planned as the club dropped a pair of series in Lehigh Valley and Buffalo and is marred in a five-game losing streak. The skid is their second streak of three games lost or more already this season.
A rough and heavy road schedule to start the year has put the Clippers (7-10) in the loss column much more frequently than the win one. Already 17 games into the season, they have hosted just one four-game home series this season and they dropped that series in the middle of the month three games to one to Louisville. After going 5-2 in a seven-game trip to start the season, their most recent roadie was far less productive as the club won its opener against the IronPigs last Tuesday before dropping the next two in Lehigh Valley and all three in Buffalo as the Bisons outscored the Clippers by a 19-7 tally in the sweep.
After being dormant all series long and for much of the past week and a half, the Chicago bats woke up against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar early and added some unearned insurance runs late as the White Sox avoided the home sweep by the Indians on Sunday with a 6-2 victory.
Salazar lost his way on the mound in the first inning, but was eventually able to find himself to give the Tribe five innings, sparing a bullpen that was up in the first inning preparing for the worst case scenario. A rough first frame was made all the more difficult as the Indians’ opposition on the afternoon was nemesis Derek Holland, who had flourished against Cleveland in ten starts coming in to the day.
Last season, Jose Ramirez took the baseball world by surprise. After struggling for a couple of years to get his footing at the Major League Baseball level, Ramirez enjoyed one of the game’s bigger breakout performances in 2016.
Some feel he may have been the MVP of last year’s Cleveland Indians – a club that won an American League Central Division championship, the AL pennant, and was one run away from a World Series crown.
Statistically, Ramirez had a breakout season a year ago. He put up career highs across the board with a .312 batting average, 11 home runs, 76 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and 152 games played. Not only did he do all that, but he picked things up where others the Tribe was counting on faltered.