2017: Game Recaps
It took nearly two months, but the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds finally completed their four-game season series on Monday night as the Tribe, backed by six quality innings from Josh Tomlin and a pair of homers from each side of the plate by Carlos Santana, defeated their in-state rivals with a 6-2 victory.
The Indians (52-45) moved to seven games over the .500 mark and held their ground in the American League Central, with both the second place and third place clubs making trades for pitching prior to the Indians’ one-game date with the Reds from Progressive Field.
Corey Kluber showed no lingering effects from a sore neck that pushed him back several days in the Indians rotation as he struck out a season-high 14 batters and his offense gave him more than enough support in an 8-1 win on Sunday to complete the sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Indians got the series that they needed this weekend while facing their third straight cellar-dweller in a row. After a disappointing 1-5 road trip against the AL West’s worst in the Oakland A’s and the NL’s last place San Francisco Giants, the Jays came to Progressive Field to face an Indians team that had struggled at home all season, but one would have never known it based on the way the Tribe played.
On Sunday in the series finale, Cleveland followed the recipe that worked so well for the club last season in its run to the World Series – dominant starting pitching and timely offensive outbursts by the bats. Kluber led the pitching attack and the offense put up a big number for him again as the Indians improved to 51-45 on the season.
Toronto’s Marcus Stroman was good. Cleveland’s Danny Salazar was even better. Francisco Lindor? He got the party “rock ‘n'” as his solo blast deep to right through heavy raindrops gave the Indians a 2-1 walk-off victory on Saturday night from Progressive Field.
With fans anxious for a Tribe win and a sold out crowd present despite rain, heat, and humidity on the lake shore, Lindor gave a quick preview of the annual Rock ‘n’ Blast fireworks display scheduled for the evening as he stepped to the plate in the tenth against Blue Jays right-hander Danny Barnes. On the seventh pitch of the at bat and after fouling off four pitches, Lindor gave the Indians their first walk-off victory since the home opener against the Chicago White Sox with his first career game-ending shot.
Twelve unanswered runs in the middle and late innings gave the Cleveland Indians a come-from-behind victory at Progressive Field and a rare win in a series opener as they knocked off the Toronto Blue Jays via a 13-3 final.
The key to Friday night for the Tribe was the revival of the bats with runners in scoring position. In the first six games of the second half, a stretch that had seen the Indians go 1-5 during a rough road trip, the offense had contributed a meager 8-for-54 effort with runners in scoring position. That would all change in the fifth inning against the Blue Jays and starter Marco Estrada.
The Cleveland Indians have yet to win an interleague series in 2017. This time, the culprit was a key eighth inning error that led to a big two-run pinch-hit double by Buster Posey off of Bryan Shaw as the Tribe fell again to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon, 5-4.
The Indians have been unable to figure out the senior circuit all year long. They fell to 4-13 in head-to-head matchups with the National League and are now 48-45, just a half game in front of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central Division.
Eduardo Nunez singled through the pulled in Indians infield in the bottom of the tenth inning against Cleveland closer Cody Allen to give the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 walk-off win in extra innings from AT&T Park on Tuesday night.
The Indians’ inability to hit with runners in scoring position was once again an issue as they wasted a quality start from Mike Clevinger, who was stellar on the mound for the Tribe. The Indians blew an early one-run lead with a costly error in the fifth and were unable to mount any support for the pitching staff in the late innings as Giants starter Ty Blach and the San Francisco bullpen kept the Cleveland bats contained for much of the night.
When falling upon hard times, sometimes a little luck and a little help from the baseball gods is exactly what you need. A poor display of fundamentals by the usually reliable San Francisco defenders allowed Cleveland to get back into the game and a strong outing from Josh Tomlin led the Indians to a needed 5-3 victory over the Giants in game one of a three-game series.
Tomlin outpitched the Giants’ Matt Moore, who became his own worst enemy to aid in the Indians scoring. The Cleveland starter would make just 79 pitches on the night, but gave the Indians seven and one-third innings of solid work in a quality outing that the Tribe desperately needed from its one-time stopper.
The Cleveland Indians have entered into unfamiliar territory, and it was not just their once-a-year visit to one of the worst stadiums in use in Major League Baseball today in the Oakland Coliseum. The team’s losing streak hit four straight as Trevor Bauer was only able to retire two batters in a four-run first inning by the A’s as Oakland went on to complete the sweep over Cleveland with a 7-3 win.
The return of manager Terry Francona to the Indians dugout on Friday has not sparked new energy from the Tribe as they dropped their third straight to start the second half and fourth in a row overall in their longest losing skid since losing six straight from July 23-28, 2015.
The second half has not started the way that the Cleveland Indians would have scripted.
One night after being limited to four hits in a 5-0 shutout by the Oakland Athletics, Corey Kluber allowed a game-tying solo blast in the eighth inning and Bryan Shaw gave up the game-winning two-run shot to Khris Davis in the bottom of the ninth as the A’s celebrated their seventh walk-off win in a 5-3 victory on Saturday night.
The Indians (47-42) have now opened the second half by losing games started by the top two pitchers in their rotation.
It was a rare rough road start for Carlos Carrasco and the bats of his Cleveland Indians teammates could not kick off the All-Star break rust against Sonny Gray, who led the Oakland Athletics to a 5-0 four-hit shutout late Friday night.
Gray had the daunting task of taking the mound knowing that each start could be the last in the only home that he has known in his professional career. Rumored to be one of the more heavily pursued starting pitchers potentially on the trade block, now with Chicago’s Jose Quintana off of the market, the 27-year-old right-hander had to deal with rumors of his start being scratched less than an hour before first pitch. The speculation swirled through social media and led to him having to put his cell phone away due to the flood of text messages that he received less than an hour before taking the mound from those wondering if there was validity to his participation in “Hug Watch 2017”.
All Gray did from there was pitch like the highly coveted player that interested teams envisioned him to be.
The city of Cleveland was well represented in Miami on Tuesday night. The Tribe contingent was active throughout the 88th annual All-Star Game in a contest decided on a tenth inning solo home run by Seattle’s Robinson Cano in a 2-1 American League victory over the host National League squad from Marlins Park.
Cano, an injury replacement for New York’s Starlin Castro, delivered the deciding run off of the lone Chicago Cub representative in the game, closer Wade Davis. Cano took home the Most Valuable Player award for his game-winner and the AL has won five consecutive games. The win evened up the all-time series between the two circuits at 43-43-2, while both teams have scored a total of 361 runs each.
Michael Fulmer pitched at his All-Star level through the first six innings and the Cleveland bullpen could not keep the score tied in the middle innings as the Detroit Tigers dealt the Indians a 5-3 loss to close out the first half of the 2017 regular season schedule.
Sunday’s national broadcast put the Indians and Tigers in the spotlight with an impressive pitching matchup between a pair of All-Stars in Fulmer and Corey Kluber.