Posts By Bob Toth
When injuries mount on the big league roster, who do the Cleveland Indians call?
The Columbus Clippers.
The Clippers have answered that call throughout the year, as is their job. Despite an ever-changing roster, they lead the International League’s West Division by five games with a 73-62 record after Saturday night’s loss to Indianapolis. The Indians, meanwhile, are 65-63 and are seven games in back of the division lead and five behind in the AL Wild Card race.
For some players, the shuttle back and forth between Cleveland and Columbus has been consistent throughout the season. For others, they have taken full advantage of the opportunity and have given their parent club no reason whatsoever to send them packing back down Interstate 71 to the state capital.
If you want to be seriously considered in the playoff picture, you need to win. While the results have not always been pretty this season, the Cleveland Indians are winning right now when it counts. They will look to continue their recent hot stretch, while still not playing on all cylinders and to their potential, as they host the Houston Astros for three games starting Friday night.
Cleveland (64-62) took advantage of a young and struggling Minnesota club during the week to push their recent streak to seven wins in the last ten games. After falling behind 5-0 without a single out retired in the series opener on Tuesday, the Indians chipped away with runs in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth to complete one of their bigger comebacks this season, winning 7-5. T.J. House and four relievers combined on a six-hit shutout on Wednesday, 5-0. The offense could not get anything going against Phil Hughes on Thursday afternoon as the Twins defeated Corey Kluber and the Tribe, 4-1.
In dire need of an extended winning streak to remain relevant in the playoff picture, the Cleveland Indians head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for a three-game series with the Minnesota Twins this week.
The Indians (62-61) pushed back over the .500 mark again this past weekend with three more strong starting pitching performances to make up for a general lack of offensive punch. With two wins over the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles, the club kept within six and a half games of the AL Central leading Kansas City Royals and four and a half in back in the AL Wild Card.
Cleveland won a 2-1 final on Friday night in eleven innings on a walk-off home run from Mike Aviles. The Tribe backed another solid effort from Carlos Carrasco on Saturday with a pair of home runs in a 6-0 win. The Indians bullpen allowed four runs on Sunday, with two charged to starter Danny Salazar, in a 4-1 loss in the season finale between the two teams on Sunday.
After an improbable September surged the Cleveland Indians into the 2013 postseason, unless you take the opinion of Kenny Lofton regarding the playoff significance of the American League Wild Card game, the returning players for the 2014 club came in with a powerful motto written across red t-shirts in Spring Training:
Halfway through August and now three-fourths of the way through the campaign, the Indians still look like they are waiting to open up shop. With six weeks to play, if they intend on getting any business started, now would be as good a time as any.
The Cleveland Indians have a challenging and important weekend ahead of them as they host the American League East’s best, the Baltimore Orioles, in three games at Progressive Field.
The Indians (60-60) maintained their aversion to a winning record by splitting a pair of games with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday after Mother Nature interfered with more than three hours of rain delays on Tuesday night. Trevor Bauer struck out nine and pitched a career-high eight innings in a 3-2 walkoff win courtesy of a Zach Walters ninth inning homer in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. The two teams needed 12 innings to decide a victor in the second game, and the spoils went to the Diamondbacks on a one-out RBI single, giving Arizona the 1-0 win.
Monday night, there was a changing of the guard at the top of the American League Central Division. A Kansas City win combined with a Detroit Tigers loss moved the Royals into the driver’s seat, proving that nothing is settled in the Central. Now five and a half games in back of KC, the Cleveland Indians will look to stay relevant in both the divisional and AL Wild Card races as they host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the club’s final interleague series of 2014.
Cleveland (59-59), despite struggling to stay afloat this season with ineffective starting pitching, horrendous defense, inconsistent offense, and injuries, still finds itself within striking distance for a playoff opportunity. They climbed back to .500 again this weekend after taking the final two games of their three-game series at Yankee Stadium. They dropped Friday’s opener by a 10-6 final, as five runs in the first and sixth innings were too much to overcome. They got the usual stellar outing from Corey Kluber on Saturday and his relief corps secured the 3-0 shutout. A successful spot start from Carlos Carrasco paced the club to a 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
If you’re still riding the roller coaster ride that has been the Cleveland Indians season, congratulations on wearing your Cleveland sports pride and pain on your sleeve.
After 117 games, the Indians have been a largely underwhelming team. A frantic finish to the 2013 season led the club back to the postseason for the first time since 2007, but offseason rotation and lineup concerns were relatively overlooked. While the Indians did not lose anything on the offensive side of the ball in free agency over the winter, their upgrade of David Murphy to a platoon and Nyjer Morgan to the bench left a gaping need in the lineup for a power bat, especially a right-handed stick. The rotation, one that saw the departures of Scott Kazmir and Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency, opted to build from within around mainstays Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, and Zach McAllister.
Only Kluber remains and that is largely at play for Cleveland’s 58-59 record heading into action Sunday afternoon. Yet despite the subpar play over the first 70% of the season, the Indians are actually closer to the top of the division than they were at this time last season.
The Cleveland Indians have been a very average looking baseball team throughout the season and their record has shown it. As they try to keep the American League Wild Card race in sight, they will have to take down one of the teams in front of them, the New York Yankees, this weekend to help keep things close.
Cleveland (57-58) heads to the Big Apple to continue their roller coaster ride of a season. The team, desperate for a long winning streak, instead wins a few, then loses a few, and yet somehow is still within striking distance as an easier slate over the final two months of the season gives them a glimmer of hope. They did not, however, play like a team with playoff aspirations this week, as after they won 7-1 on Monday night behind Corey Kluber, they dropped a 9-2 final Tuesday to end a ten-game home winning streak against the Reds before losing 8-3 on Wednesday and 4-0 on Thursday to extend their road losing streak in Cincinnati to eight.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Josh Tomlin was recalled from Triple-A Columbus with a chance to prove he belonged in the Major League rotation. Instead, he allowed six runs on eight hits in four and one-third innings, including a costly three-run homer in the second, as the Cincinnati Reds ended the Indians four game winning streak and ten game home winning streak over the Reds on Tuesday night in a 9-2 final.
Tomlin (5-8) was in his usual form of late – good control, just one walk, a decent tally of strikeouts, but a high hit rate and a costly deep fly that proved to be too much for his offensive teammates to overcome, especially against one of the most dominant pitchers in the National League this season in Johnny Cueto.
The 2014 rendition of the Battle of Ohio returns this week as the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds play a four game home-and-home series, beginning Monday and Tuesday at Progressive Field, as the two clubs look to finally find a decisive winner in the contest.
The Indians (56-55) got back on track over the weekend by sweeping the Texas Rangers. On Friday night, the Indians offense erupted for ten runs and 13 hits off of the Texas starting pitcher in a 12-2 final. The Cleveland pitching staff combined on a five-hit shutout on Saturday in a 2-0 final. A game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth and a walk-off blast from Michael Brantley lifted the Tribe to a 4-3 come from behind victory on Sunday afternoon.
The Cleveland Indians officially unveiled a second statue at Progressive Field on Saturday night with the addition of a monument to left handed slugger Jim Thome outside of Heritage Park.
The iconic image of Thome with his bat extended at home plate in anticipation of a pitch is the first statue to be placed in the ball park since Bob Feller’s statue was part of the opening of Jacobs Field in 1994.
The non-waiver trade deadline came and went Thursday and hopes for substantial upgrades to the Cleveland Indians roster went unfulfilled for the fan base. The team then went out and dropped the series finale to Seattle to lose both the series and season series to the Mariners. The Tribe will try to get back on track, sans Justin Masterson and Asdrubal Cabrera, as they host the Texas Rangers for three this weekend.
The Indians (53-55) dropped a 5-2 decision on Tuesday night as four run-scoring extra bases hits in the fourth inning proved to be the difference. Corey Kluber ousted Felix Hernandez on Wednesday behind an 85-pitch three-hit complete game 2-0 shutout. A two-run shot in the eighth by the Mariners’ Mike Zunino slipped Seattle by Cleveland, 6-5, on Thursday night. Despite the subpar series, the Indians lost no ground to the Detroit Tigers, who dropped two of three to Chicago.