2017: This Year is Next Year
A different Cleveland team than the one they faced just a couple of weeks ago will arrive on the Comerica Park playing field this week as the Detroit Tigers host the Indians in a four-game set this week.
The Indians (14-10) wrapped up a much better homestand than their first of the season, which included a disappointing series against a Tigers club looking to make up for a horrendous effort against Cleveland last year. The Tribe went 4-2 on their homestand against Houston and Seattle and will return to the road where they are 8-4 after four series with three series wins this season.
The Indians capitalized off of a risky base running play and put up eight runs in an offensive outburst in the third inning and never looked back as Cleveland claimed their fourth consecutive series win with a 12-4 dismantling of the Seattle Mariners on a beautiful Sunday afternoon from Progressive Field.
Cleveland (14-10) finished its shaky month of April at home with a resounding win in the series finale with Seattle, pulling to 6-6 in the month after a rough start in its first two home series of the season. The team put up 12 runs on 15 hits against Seattle pitching, a staff that had struggled at times to limit damage against it this season. The 12 runs tallied by the Tribe marked the second-most runs scored by the club this season.
As is the case with most pennant-winning baseball teams, the Cleveland Indians came into the 2017 season with very few question marks. The biggest one may have been whether or not left fielder Michael Brantley could return to his old All-Star form following two shoulder surgeries and a 2016 campaign that was essentially lost, aside from 11 games played.
While the rest of his teammates were celebrating a division title and trip to the World Series last season, Brantley was forced to be a spectator. The club’s best hitter and a team leader the prior two years, Dr. Smooth simply could not work his way back from a right shoulder injury he suffered diving for a fly ball near the end of the 2015 season. He attempted to come back twice, but otherwise, he was resigned to be a cheerleader from the dugout during the Tribe’s amazing American League championship run.
The Cleveland Indians remembered this week how to win a series at home. They will look to make it two straight series this weekend as the Seattle Mariners make their way to Progressive Field for a three-game set.
The Indians …
No Indians lead felt safe on Wednesday night, but the Houston Astros ran out of innings to catch up as Cleveland claimed a 7-6 win from Progressive Field.
The Indians (11-9) got on top in the first inning and never surrendered the advantage, but they needed several additional scoring outbursts throughout the night to fend off the Astros (14-7), who kept it within striking distance while giving their potent offense a chance to get the last big hit that it would need.
For the Indians’ sake, that final knock on the door never came.
Dallas Keuchel continued his incredible start to the season, looking like his old Cy Young Award winning self, and Josh Reddick supported him both at the plate and in the field as the Houston Astros defeated the Cleveland Indians, 4-2, on Tuesday night.
The Astros staff ace won for the fourth time in five tries to give Houston 14 wins on the season. He used a heavy diet of pitches low in the strike zone to force the Indians to keep the ball on the ground for the majority of the game and three double play balls got him out of several jams that he encountered. The win, however, was overshadowed by a scary collision in right field in the bottom of the eighth inning involving superstar second baseman Jose Altuve.
As well as the Cleveland Indians have been playing on the road this season, they may not have wanted to come home after their two-city trip through Minneapolis and Chicago this past week. But, the schedule says that they must as the Houston Astros will make their lone trip to Progressive Field this season for three days beginning Tuesday night.
The Indians (10-8) doubled their win total for the season last week alone with a productive 5-1 road trip. Starting pitching was living up to expectations and the bats came alive and drove in the runs that had been stranded during the first two weeks of the season.
A rebuilt and threatening Houston (13-6) lineup is poised for big things in the American League West this season and is already off to a quick start. They have started the season 6-2 on the road and their 13 wins are tied for the most in the American League. They hold a three-game lead over Oakland in the West.
Cleveland minor league reliever Steve Delabar was one of three players suspended on Monday for testing positive for substances in violation of the minor league drug program.
The veteran reliever of six big league seasons and a 2013 American League All-Star, Delabar signed with the Indians in the offseason on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He was dealt an 80-game suspension without pay for a positive test for Ostarine.
After being dormant all series long and for much of the past week and a half, the Chicago bats woke up against Cleveland starter Danny Salazar early and added some unearned insurance runs late as the White Sox avoided the home sweep by the Indians on Sunday with a 6-2 victory.
Salazar lost his way on the mound in the first inning, but was eventually able to find himself to give the Tribe five innings, sparing a bullpen that was up in the first inning preparing for the worst case scenario. A rough first frame was made all the more difficult as the Indians’ opposition on the afternoon was nemesis Derek Holland, who had flourished against Cleveland in ten starts coming in to the day.
Last season, Jose Ramirez took the baseball world by surprise. After struggling for a couple of years to get his footing at the Major League Baseball level, Ramirez enjoyed one of the game’s bigger breakout performances in 2016.
Some feel he may have been the MVP of last year’s Cleveland Indians – a club that won an American League Central Division championship, the AL pennant, and was one run away from a World Series crown.
Statistically, Ramirez had a breakout season a year ago. He put up career highs across the board with a .312 batting average, 11 home runs, 76 RBI, 22 stolen bases, and 152 games played. Not only did he do all that, but he picked things up where others the Tribe was counting on faltered.
It will be a homecoming for Jason Kipnis this weekend as the Chicago area native was activated by the Indians from the 10-day disabled list prior to the start of their three-game series against the White Sox.
To make room on the 25-man roster, third baseman Yandy Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
When the Indians and Chicago White Sox met a week and a half ago, Cleveland was reeling after a three-game sweep courtesy of the Arizona Diamondbacks. While the Tribe would claim a walk-off win over Chicago in the home opener, the White Sox took the next two games to start a tough 2-4 homestand for the Indians.
The Indians (8-7) turned things around quickly during their second road trip of the season, sweeping the Minnesota Twins in an abbreviated three-game sweep at Target Field during the week. Now, they will face a White Sox club that they scored just seven runs against during a rough offensive drought. The biggest issue for the club at the time may have been the lack of timely clutch hitting, as they were just 2-for-28 (.149) when hitting with runners on second or third base.