2017: This Year is Next Year
Only a brief rain delay could slow down the Cleveland Indians on Monday night and that was just temporary as the Tribe bats bashed Baltimore for 12 runs on 17 hits and Corey Kluber completed a three-hit gem in a 12-0 drubbing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Rarely does a complete game three-hitter get lost in the shuffle, but that was nearly the case for Kluber on Monday as he faced just three batters over the minimum with nearly no-hit stuff, allowing just three two-out hits on a night that was delayed 29 minutes by rain at the outset. His 12th career complete game and fifth shutout gave him two this season, tying him for the Major League high. He did so with a diet of filth and plenty of run support as the Indians (37-31) extended their winning streak to a season-high six games and moved the team’s record to a new high-water mark on the year.
It is the middle of June, so it seems just about time for the Cleveland Indians to go on a nice little winning streak. While the franchise-record 14-gamer set last season may be a lofty goal, the nice run by the Indians could not have come at a better time as they have now won five straight and have guaranteed no worse than a split of their roadtrip.
The Indians (36-31) have reached the high point of their performance this season, putting up a winning streak that matches their longest of the season. It was well timed, as their four-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins over the weekend allowed them to move from two games in back in the American League Central to two games up, taking sole ownership of the top spot in the division for the first time since May 10.
The Cleveland Indians completed a very emphatic display this weekend as strong pitching from Trevor Bauer and a pair of home runs from Edwin Encarnacion helped the Indians complete a four-game sweep in Minnesota over the Twins with a 5-2 victory on Sunday afternoon.
The fifth straight victory for the Indians (36-31) moved the club’s record to a season-high five games above the .500 mark. Trailing the Twins (34-33) by a pair of games at the outset of the series, the Tribe gained four games with the four wins and now hold a two-game lead over the young Twins team.
A strong performance from Bauer helped pace the Indians as he moved to the winning side of the season ledger with another victory over the Twins this season. Making his third start against Minnesota after winning each of his first two, he did not allow a run until his final inning of work and retired 15 straight batters at one stretch.
Fans of the Cleveland Indians are finally being treated to the power displays and run-producing ways of slugger Edwin Encarnacion that Blue Jays fans had become accustomed to over the past five years. The Tribe faithful could not be happier to finally see their new cleanup hitter producing like the All-Star and MVP candidate that he has been in season’s past.
At the end of April, some Indians followers and baseball aficionados across the country were ready to call Encarnacion a bust. They were saying the Indians overpaid this past winter when they went out of their comfort zone and gave a large contract to arguably the best free agent on the open market this past offseason. Cleveland had not gone on an offseason baseball spending spree in four years, a little gun-shy from the last time the club had opened its pocket books.
To be sure, the first month-plus was not kind to the Tribe’s new first baseman/designated hitter. However, comparisons to Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, high-profile Cleveland signings prior to the 2013 campaign that did not end well, may have been a little premature. Swisher and Bourn took nearly three years to completely prove that they were not worth the lucrative contracts the Indians had given them. There were some fans who were ready to bail out on Encarnacion after less than a quarter of a season.
After a solid 9-3 win earlier in the afternoon, the Cleveland Indians completed the Saturday doubleheader sweep of the Minnesota Twins, 6-2, using four long balls to get the job done.
The win for the Tribe (35-31) moved them into sole possession of first place after tying the Twins (34-32) earlier in the day. The Indians continued their strong play at Target Field this season, improving to 5-0 there this year with seven straight wins dating back to last season, the club’s longest winning streak in Minneapolis since concluding an eight-game streak there in 1969. Home has not been a sweet home for the Twins this season, as they are just 14-23 at their unfriendly confines.
Series in mid-June can rarely be deemed must-win series, but this weekend’s matchup between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins had the potential to be a statement set for either of the two clubs. Through the first two games, the Indians can claim to have made the loudest noise as Jose Ramirez and Bradley Zimmer each drove in four runs as Cleveland took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader with Minnesota, 9-3, from Target Field.
Having to rely on a pair of arms from the minor leagues to complete the day’s double dip, the Indians started the first half of a long day of baseball the right way as the Cleveland offense paced second-year left-hander Ryan Merritt to an early lead and expanded that advantage in the middle frames for a big win.
Carlos Carrasco pitched into the seventh inning while allowing just four hits and his offense rewarded his efforts with an early lead to work with as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins by an 8-1 final on Friday night.
As fans in attendance at Target Field celebrated the life of the late entertainer Prince with themes of purple, their team was bludgeoned black and blue by the Indians bats, which were productive in a big way for the second straight ball game as Cleveland inched closer to the top spot in the American League Central Division.
While things have not gone as planned for the Cleveland Indians this season, the opposite might be said for the American League Central’s top club, the Minnesota Twins (34-29). The Twin Cities representative remains atop the division, holding a two-game lead over the Indians despite being outscored by their opposition this season. Injuries have knocked out several veteran pitchers from the starting rotation, and yet with a patchwork staff, the Twins have continued to chug along. They have held at least a share of the number one spot in the Central since the second week of May.
The Indians (32-31) will need to take advantage of the series’ location this weekend as the two teams meet for a four-game series, with Saturday serving as a doubleheader day for the two clubs to make up a previous rainout. The Twins have not had a ton of success against the Indians, as they have dropped four of the six games played between the two clubs this season. The Indians will need to take advantage of the Twins’ struggles at Target Field this season, as Minnesota is just 14-20 at home, compared to 20-9 on the road.
A wild and crazy eighth inning went in favor of the Dodgers on Wednesday night as Progressive Field became the site of an episode of the Twilight Zone. Los Angeles plated four runs in bizarre fashion and held off another late Indians charge in a 6-4 victory.
The Cleveland Indians are a .500 team with 100 games to go. While that may have been a positive statement during many seasons in the long history of the franchise, it now serves as a dramatic realization of where the Indians are this season. The Tribe did not roll over after the Dodgers took an early 2-0 lead, nor did they when Los Angeles touched up Andrew Miller for a second night in a row, but in the end, Cleveland ran out of innings and ran out of time.
Cody Bellinger hit a pair of home runs and Los Angeles held off a late rally as the Dodgers defeated the Indians in a rare trip to Cleveland, 7-5, on Tuesday night.
Playing just the tenth regular season matchup in the long history of the two historic franchises, the Dodgers got the usual dominant performance from left-hander Clayton Kershaw. He would not go unscathed on the night but held on just long enough to earn his ninth win of the season.
A better weekend from the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago White Sox kept them above the .500 mark and still within striking distance of the first place Minnesota Twins. Their next opponent, however, is one of the best in the National League and unfamiliar opposition if ever there was such a thing.
The Indians (31-29) will host the Los Angeles Dodgers (39-25) this week for just the second time in the regular season. The series will be the fourth between the two clubs; the Indians have won four of the previous matchups while the Dodgers have claimed five. The two teams last met in 2014 in Los Angeles, where the Indians won two of the three matchups. They previously played in LA in 2008, and the first regular season series between the two clubs occurred in 2003, when the Indians were swept on their home field by the visiting club.
These games, of course, do not include the Indians’ win in the 1920 World Series against the then-Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games in the best-of-nine championship bout.
The Indians made an early lead stand up as Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland bullpen allowed just two runs and the lineup provided RBI hits from Roberto Perez, Erik Gonzalez, and Francisco Lindor in a 4-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Carrasco had to work around some trouble in innings two through five, but by the time the White Sox touched up the scoreboard in the sixth, the Indians already had a 3-0 lead.