Posts By Bob Toth
The Cleveland Indians will wrap up their season series with the New York Yankees as they head to the Big Apple for three games this week, beginning Monday night.
The Indians (30-26) finished their brief five-game homestand against Cincinnati and Tampa Bay at 3-2. After sweeping the home half of a home-and-home series with the Reds, they dropped two of three to the Rays. Even though they have been playing through a tough stretch of games with several difficult losses, they remain just one-half game out of first place in the American League Central.
Since their doubleheader with the Indians on May 13th, the Yankees (31-25) have had difficulties on the field. They have won just two of their seven series since, losing two of three from Seattle, Baltimore, and Boston and being swept in four straight by the New York Mets. Their recent woes have dropped them to third in the AL East, three games behind the front-running Red Sox and a half-game behind the Orioles for second place and the Wild Card lead.
The 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft will occur this week. The Cleveland Indians will draft fifth overall.
In two of the big three sports in Cleveland, draft days are treated like a city-wide holiday. The difference for those watching and waiting for the results of the MLB draft is that only in rare cases do you see the players picked actually pay dividends within the next few seasons.
Players typically toil for years in the minor league system employed by the MLB, as teams work players through several tiers of the farm system, honing their skills and developing the young prospects into productive big league contributors, if all goes right. But every now and then, there are exceptions to the usual order of things. The Indians’ Cody Allen is one of these exceptions.
Ubaldo Jimenez is making it harder and harder to question that he has sorted out the pitching problems that plagued him through his first two years in a Cleveland Indians uniform.
Behind perhaps the best outing of his Indians career, Cleveland silenced the Tampa Bay offense and had some Saturday afternoon fireworks as they blanked the Rays, 5-0.
Tampa Bay makes its lone trip to Cleveland this weekend, as the Indians host the Rays in a three-game series.
The Rays (29-24) come to town hot, winning their last five games. They salvaged the final game of their series with the New York Yankees on Sunday prior to sweeping the Miami Marlins in four straight games. They took two of three from the Indians in the first week of the season.
The Indians (29-24) swept the Reds in two games at Progressive Field, returning the favor after the Reds swept Cleveland in Cincinnati. The two wins extend the Indians winning streak against the Reds in Cleveland to nine games, the longest such home field advantage stretch between the two clubs in their histories against one another. The series win helped to end a five-game losing streak that the team’s bullpen struggled through. They continue to play through a tough stretch of the season schedule.
The Indians and Reds resume their cross-state battle with a pair of midweek matchups, as the two clubs head north from Cincinnati to Cleveland to conclude their season series at Progressive Field starting Wednesday.
The Reds (33-19) swept the two-game set at Great American Ball Park and have now won six straight games against the Indians in Cincinnati. The Reds are now one game shy of evening up the all-time series between the two clubs.
Manager Terry Francona will need to rally his team after they lost their third straight series and five straight games overall. The Indians (27-24) fall to 16-11 in the month of May. They have a current seven-game winning streak against the Reds in Cleveland though. In their last meeting at Progressive Field, Justin Masterson went the distance and defeated Bronson Arroyo by an 8-1 final on June 20th, 2012.
After losing the final two games of their series in Boston in devastating fashion late, the Cleveland Indians look to return to their winning ways as they head to Great American Ball Park to take on the Reds on Monday. After a pair in Cincinnati, both teams will head to Cleveland for a two game series at Progressive Field to wrap up their season series.
The Indians (27-22) lost their second consecutive series of the season after dropping a short two game set with Detroit during the week and losing three of four to Boston. The team is in a tough batch of the schedule, which includes series against Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, the New York Yankees, Detroit, Texas, and Washington over the next three weeks.
The Reds (31-19) have been playing quality baseball over the last few weeks. Their loss on Sunday ended a five game winning streak. A few games prior, they put together a six game streak that was their best stretch of the season. Both Cincinnati and Cleveland enter with 16 wins in the month of May. The Reds have dropped six, while the Indians have lost nine.
Heading into the 2013 season, there were plenty of questions about the Cleveland Indians’ roster. The starting rotation was full of uncertainty and would need to bounce back as a whole. There were fewer questions about the offense, which on paper looked to be considerably better than the previous incarnation. Big free agents signings, several under-the-radar moves, and a couple of trades looked as though they instantly upgraded the club.
The Bullpen Mafia though, the consistent relief corps of the last several seasons, was thought to be a strength coming into the campaign, as the back end of Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano, and Joe Smith remained in their respective roles and the team added several veterans to compliment the existing roster.
Unfortunately, while both the offense and starting rotation have put together good seasons overall at the quarter pole of the year, the bullpen has gradually grown inconsistent and unreliable, especially pitchers of the left-handed variety.
A four-run bottom of the eighth inning off of Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano, after he recorded the first two outs of the inning, gave the Boston Red Sox their first lead of the day and they closed it down in the ninth to win by a 7-4 final.
Manager Terry Francona followed the recipe that has worked time and time again over the last several seasons. With a one-run lead, reliever Joe Smith had worked a quiet seventh inning and he handed the ball off to the usually reliable Pestano (1-1).
Terry Francona returns to another city he once called home as his Cleveland Indians head to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox.
The first-place Indians (26-19) lost their first series, during the week to the Tigers, since the last time they met up with the Red Sox. They maintain a one-half game lead over Detroit in the American League Central. They are 15-6 in the month of May.
The Red Sox (28-19) fell on some hard times after their previous meeting with the Indians. After finishing the month of April at 18-8, they are a game under in the month of May at 10-11. They have lost four series this month – in Texas, versus Minnesota and Toronto at home, and in Chicago against the White Sox in their last series. After charging out of the gate in first place in the AL East, they have fallen as far as three games back and are currently in second place, one-half game back of the New York Yankees.
The attention of the baseball world returns to the corner of Carnegie and Ontario in downtown Cleveland as the blazing hot Indians welcome the Detroit Tigers in for a short two-game set this week.
The Tigers (23-19) come to Cleveland a week and a half after dropping two of three against the Indians at Comerica Park. They relinquished their longest lead in the American League Central over the weekend to the Indians after losing their series against the Texas Rangers. They are 10-12 on the road this season and have a 17-18 record against all teams not named the Houston Astros.
The Indians (26-17) pushed their lead in the AL Central to two and a half games after sweeping the Seattle Mariners in a four-game series over the weekend. They have not lost a series since a sweep by Boston from April 16th to 18th. They have now won 18 of their last 22 games (since game two of the doubleheader in Kansas City) and are 21-8 since that sweep by Boston.
“In case you haven’t noticed, and judging by the attendance you haven’t, the Indians have managed to win a few here and there…” – Harry Doyle, Major League
Frustratingly lost in the shuffle of another Cleveland Indians walkoff victory on Saturday afternoon was more undesired focus on the fans.
It was not in regards to all fans as a whole. Nor was it related to their attendance, a much belabored point because of the miniscule, pathetic, and disgraceful turnout through the turnstiles this season at Progressive Field.
The Seattle Mariners continue their cross-country tour with their lone stop to the shores of Lake Erie this weekend as they take on the Cleveland Indians in a four-game set.
The Mariners (20-21) pulled into second place in the American League West after a series win over the New York Yankees. They have won or split each of their last six series (five wins, one split). They still trail the division-leading Texas Rangers by seven games.
The Indians (22-17) got a much needed day off on Thursday, their last of the month, but were still able to move back into a first place tie in the AL Central, courtesy of a Detroit loss to Texas. During a 14-games-in-13-days span, the Indians were 10-4. They now begin a stretch of 20 straight games before their next day off.