2017: This Year is Next Year
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.
Any questions as to whether Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley could get back to his former All-Star status were certainly laid to rest this past Tuesday. The second reveal of balloting for the Midsummer Classic was announced and the left fielder had cracked the top three vote-getters among American League outfielders.
If voting ended today, Brantley would join Yankees’ rookie sensation Aaron Judge and Angels’ two-time MVP Mike Trout in the AL lineup in Miami for the annual exhibition. It is quite the comeback story for a player whom many wondered, just a couple months ago, if he could even get through April without a setback to his surgically repaired shoulder.
While last year was quite the journey and quite the memorable one for his American League Championship-winning teammates, Brantley was forced into the role of spectator.
Left-hander David Holmberg made his longest start of the season and earned his first win in two years as he allowed a pair of runs on three hits over five innings. Four early runs and 14 hits on the night against Indians pitching gave him all of the support that he would need.
A two-run home run from Edwin Encarnacion in the fifth put Cleveland back on top and Corey Kluber gave the Indians six quality innings as the Tribe defeated the Chicago White Sox, 7-3, on a busy night in downtown Cleveland.
With the neighbor Cavaliers hosting Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena, more than 30,000 packed into Progressive Field as the Indians started their three-game series with the White Sox. Cleveland was able to do something it has struggled with this season as it took game one of a series and did so with a team effort on the diamond.
Cleveland’s issues in interleague play continued this week as it fell to 1-7 against National League opponents after a sweep by the Rockies in Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday. With interleague done, at least for the next three games, the Indians will need to improve upon a disappointing 12-14 record at Progressive Field this weekend while hosting the Chicago White Sox, or risk falling back to or below the .500 mark for the season.
The Indians (29-28) did not take advantage of the high altitudes and friendly hitting environment of Coors Field, putting up just four runs in the brief two-game sweep in Denver. They will now have to take advantage of their long-time opponent in the White Sox, who have struggled for much of the season and now find themselves looking up at all four teams in a sloppy AL Central this season.
The Rockies finished off the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon behind a strong start from left-hander Kyle Freeland and another offensive explosion from the Rockies bats in an 8-1 victory.
Freeland earned his seventh win of the year behind six and one-third quality innings on the mound. He needed 100 pitches to hold the Indians to a run on six hits with five strikeouts. The lone damage against him came on the second-to-last batter that he faced as Jose Ramirez took him deep in the seventh for the Indians’ only run on the afternoon.
Prior to Wednesday’s game with the Colorado Rockies, the Cleveland Indians announced that left-handed reliever Kyle Crockett had been recalled from Triple-A Columbus.
In a corresponding roster move, starting pitcher Mike Clevinger has been optioned to Columbus.
With the Cleveland Indians visiting for the first time since 2008, the Colorado Rockies played the rude host on Tuesday night as they crushed the reigning American League champions by an 11-3 final from Coors Field.
One of the top teams in baseball so far in 2017 proved themselves worthy of their 37-23 record as the Rockies scored in five different innings, four of which were multi-run efforts. Even the pitcher chipped in, as rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela (8-2) aided his own cause in the second inning against Mike Clevinger (2-3).
The Indians’ interleague tour of the National League West continues this week as Cleveland travels a mile high to Denver for a brief two-game set with the Colorado Rockies this week.
The Indians (29-26) could benefit from a trip out of the division. Their recently completed series with the Kansas City Royals highlighted an issue this season – too much time playing in the AL Central. The Indians fell to 4-5 against the Royals by dropping two of three over the weekend, which lowered their record in the division to 13-14. Interleague play has been a similar story for the club, as they have lost series to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds thus far this season to post a 1-5 record against National League opponents.
Jim Piersall, a character on and off of the baseball field known for his erratic behavior and public battle with bipolar disorder, passed away on Saturday, June 3. He was 87 years old.