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Did The Tribe Win Last Night? | October 18, 2017

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Tribe Swept Out of Minnesota While Trade Deadline Looms; Twins 5, Indians 1

By Craig Gifford

Sunday afternoon’s tilt with the Minnesota Twins and finale of a three-game road set at Target Field was the Indians last chance to show whether the team should be buyers or sellers at Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline.

Looking at the weekend’s results, it would be hard to fathom Cleveland general manager Chirs Antonetti adding to the payroll. The Twins finished off a three-game sweep of the Indians with a 5-1 win. It was the closest game in a series that saw the Tribe continue to post anemic offensive numbers.

Since the All-Star break the Indians have gone 6-11, dropping to 50-52 and now a season-high six games behind the White Sox in the AL Central Division. Cleveland has scored a mere three runs per game and scored three runs or fewer in 13 of the 17 post-All-Star Game affairs. The team batting average is .229 since the Mid Summer Classic. The offense has been just as suspect, putting forth a poor 6.33 ERA showing since the break.

Sunday was a microcosm of Cleveland’s recent struggles. The Indians got on the board first, scoring a run in the top of the fourth inning. Shelley Duncan, who had the only multi-hit game of the day for the Tribe, singled and scored Asdrubal Cabrera.

Much like other recent contests, however, Cleveland could not build on the lead and the pitching could not hold it.

Ubaldo Jimenez, who looked good through the first three frames, immediately gave up the lead and momentum. A two-run homer for Justin Morneau in the bottom of the fourth put the Twins up for good.

Minnesota added a run in the fifth on a Jimenez wild pitch. A two run single for Ben Revere put the game’s final tallies in the books in the seventh.

While the Twins were adding to their lead, Cleveland’s offense was busy making Brian Duensing look like the next great pitcher. The righty, now 2-6 with a 4.53 ERA, does not have great numbers. What he has is two wins against the Indians this season. The Indians did not get a runner past second base from the fifth inning, on.

After a miserable game, wrapping up a disappointing series, the Tribe and its fans are now in wait-and-see mode. A trade, one way or the other, could well happen by Tuesday afternoon. After a great win Thursday against Detroit and reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Just Verlander, momentum seemed to be on Cleveland’s side. That is now not the case and the Indians are in the worst shape they have been in all season.

The Indians will be off Monday, with a chance to regroup. They take the field again Tuesday in Kansas City to kick off a three-game series with the Royals. Unless he is traded between now and Tuesday, Derek Lowe is scheduled to take the mound for the Indians at 8:10 p.m. He will square off against K.C.’s Luke Hochevar.

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images