Posts By Bob Toth
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball will conduct its 85th All-Star Game, this one taking place for the first time at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Cleveland Indians have been well represented over the years in the exhibition, first started in 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The Indians had three players on that first American League roster – pitchers Wes Ferrell and Oral Hildebrand and outfielder Earl Averill. Neither pitcher made it into the game for AL manager Connie Mack, but Averill entered the game as a pinch-hitter for pitcher General Crowder in the bottom of the sixth and delivered an RBI-single to score shortstop Joe Cronin with the final run of a 4-2 AL victory.
Averill would make six straight All-Star teams, but his Indians record for most All-Star appearances in a Cleveland jersey would be short-lived. Bob Feller would string together a total of eight trips to the Midsummer Classic, passing Averill with his appearance during the 1948 season before adding one more in 1950.
If you want to win a division, it is best to win within your division. The Cleveland Indians will continue a pursuit of the American League Central Division crown as they host the rival Chicago White Sox in a three-game set this weekend to conclude the unofficial first half of the regular season before the All-Star Break.
The Indians (45-46) split a four-game series with the New York Yankees during the week, trading off wins each night. The Yankees won Monday, 5-3, defeating Justin Masterson in another short start for the starter. The Indians returned the favor, 5-3, on Tuesday, defeating AL All-Star Masahiro Tanaka in what could be his final start of the season after partially tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. A solo home run by Jacoby Ellsbury off of Vinnie Pestano in the 14th inning gave the Yankees a 5-4 win on Wednesday night. The Indians’ offense erupted on Thursday, scoring nine runs in the final two innings in a 9-3 victory.
Bauer (3-4) won his first start since June 16th. After giving up three early runs, he settled in, allowing just one of the last 14 batters he faced to reach base. That runner, Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth inning, reached on the Indians’ third error of the night and was erased on a caught stealing to end the inning.
The Derek Jeter retirement show continues on the road as the New York Yankees make their lone trip to Progressive Field this season to take on the Cleveland Indians Monday through Thursday evenings this week.
The Indians (43-44) climbed closer to the .500 mark again by taking two of three from the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. The Royals claimed the opener on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd, 7-1. The Indians bounced back with a 7-3 win on Saturday with three runs in the third and fifth innings, earning rookie T.J. House his first Major League win. Cleveland claimed the series on Sunday afternoon, 4-1, after scoring three early runs and getting eight and one-third innings from potential All-Star Corey Kluber.
It may be an unfortunately small sample size, but the Cleveland Indians are making a bad habit of losing games when more bodies are filling the seats at Progressive Field.
Friday night was just one of many examples by the club in recent history of selling out the stadium only to send the fans home disappointed with a loss. The team could not get the offense going against Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura, who limited the Indians to just six hits and allowed multiple runners on base in just one inning. A Michael Brantley leadoff blast in the ninth inning provided the only in-game fireworks for the fans present, who were treated to dollar hot dogs and an extended fireworks show post-game.
The Cleveland Indians return home after nearly two weeks on the road to host the surging Kansas City Royals for three games over the holiday weekend at Progressive Field.
Cleveland (41-43) wrapped up an eight-game road trip successfully with a …
The Cleveland Indians will wrap up their eight-game road trip with the rare stop in Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers for three at Chavez Ravine beginning Monday night.
The Indians (39-42) dropped two of three to the Mariners in Seattle over the weekend. Cleveland lost a 3-2 final on Friday despite a quality start from Trevor Bauer. Josh Tomlin pitched a one-hit masterpiece, allowing a fifth inning single while facing just one batter over the minimum in a 5-0 win on Saturday night. Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney returned the favor on Sunday, combining on a one-hit shutout of the Indians, 3-0.
Cleveland Indians starting catcher Yan Gomes looks as though he has settled in behind the plate, which was not quite the case through the early portion of this season. Players around the league are getting a harsh reminder:
You don’t run on Yan.
The Indians signed the relatively unknown Gomes to a six-year, $23 million contract extension just prior to the season in a deal that would keep the catcher in Cleveland through 2021 if club options were picked up. The deal seemed a surprise at the time for a player who had yet to even make a Major League roster to start a season and came on the heels of the five-year pact the club tendered to outfielder Michael Brantley. The long-term extension was questioned by some with the small sample size of games logged by Gomes and criticized even more by some when Gomes struggled behind the plate within a week of the season’s start.
Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin was tremendous on the mound, facing just one batter over the minimum in limiting Seattle to one hit as the Indians defeated the Mariners by a 5-0 final on Saturday night.
Tomlin (5-5) gave the Indians all that they could ask for on the mound. He struck out eleven batters in his complete game shutout, establishing a personal single-game high, and allowed just one fifth inning base runner on the night. It was the first complete game by Tomlin since September 24th, 2010, in his eleventh career start, and just the second of his career. It was the first complete game shutout in his career.
The offense rewarded Tomlin’s outing with five runs of offense, which usually equates to wins for the Tribe. The Indians are now 27-5 when scoring five runs or more this season.
The Cleveland Indians began their eight-game West Coast trip by earning a road split in Arizona while trying to fight their way back to the .500 mark. They will continue the battle against the Seattle Mariners, who are right in the mix in the AL Wild Card picture, in a three-game set this weekend.
Cleveland (38-40) split their two-game series in Arizona earlier in the week. After a 14-inning marathon, the Diamondbacks were victorious on Tuesday in the early hours of the morning in a 9-8 win as the two teams combined to use 45 of the 50 players available in the game. The Indians bounced back to win a 6-1 decision on Wednesday, as Corey Kluber provided the Tribe with seven strong and scoreless innings on the mound with eight strikeouts for his seventh win of the campaign.
While the Cleveland Indians have played well at home this season (with the exception of this past weekend against the Detroit Tigers), the Arizona Diamondbacks have done the opposite in their friendly confines, posting a 14-29 home record (.326 winning percentage). Something will have to give starting Tuesday, as the Indians will put their road woes to the test (.368 road winning percentage) as they take on the Diamondbacks in a brief two-game set.
The Indians (37-39) stumbled at Progressive Field, dropping three straight to the Tigers, who are starting to heat up again. Cleveland lost a 6-4 ball game on Friday night, fighting back after a 5-0 deficit to fall just short. The Tigers won in extra innings on Saturday night, 5-4, after Joe Nathan blew a save in the bottom of the ninth on a two-out RBI-single by Michael Bourn. Josh Tomlin and the Indians’ defense fell apart in the fifth inning on Sunday, as the Tigers tabled seven runs on the way to a 10-4 blowout to claim the series sweep.
It is a given that at least one Indians player will be selected to represent Cleveland on the American League All-Star team. They do have a few worthy candidates this season.
This year’s Midsummer Classic will be played on Tuesday, July 15, from Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The AL squad will look to win its second consecutive contest after ending a three-game losing skid last season. First time All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis was instrumental in the victory, as he padded the AL lead in the eighth inning with a ground-rule RBI double to left off of Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel. Starting pitcher Justin Masterson, also a first timer on the team, was not among the ten pitchers to pitch for Jim Leyland in the exhibition.
Barring an almost improbable set of circumstances, neither Kipnis nor Masterson will represent the Indians this season. But there are three whose play on the field should get them at least some consideration.