2017: This Year is Next Year
The schedule has worked out in bizarre ways for the Cleveland Indians this season as several times, they have played teams on back-to-back weeks. Such is the case this weekend, when the Indians host the Tigers at Progressive Field, just one weekend after the Motor City Kitties welcomed the Indians to Detroit for a rain-shortened three-game set.
The Indians (45-39) may welcome a familiar opponent after struggling during the week with the unfamiliar San Diego Padres, who proved records means nothing when playing a lengthy 162-game schedule. The young Padres took each of the first two games of the series with the Indians before the Tribe bats awoke in a well-pitched game by Josh Tomlin to avoid the sweep in a much-needed way. When the Indians and Tigers met last weekend, Cleveland took the final two games of the set after Detroit took game one of Saturday’s doubleheader and Mother Nature claimed a win over both clubs last Friday.
After a pair of disappointing efforts in the first two games of their interleague series with the San Diego Padres, the Cleveland Indians put together one of their more complete performances of the season in an 11-2 rout of San Diego, avoiding the dreaded three-game sweep in the series finale on Thursday night.
Josh Tomlin was solid in an outing that he desperately needed. The offense was alive, active, aggressive (maybe to a fault), and contributing consistently throughout, one night after scoring just two runs while accumulating 14 hits. The bullpen even chipped in as the Indians improved to 45-39 on the season and remained atop the American League Central Division for another day.
The Cleveland Indians put up 14 hits on Wednesday night but came away with just two runs as they fell 6-2 to the San Diego Padres.
It was more of the same for the Indians, who have found it difficult to win at Progressive Field this season and found defeating National League opponents even more infuriating and impossible to do. Despite giving starter Trevor Bauer (7-7) an early lead to work with, the Indians (44-39) could not protect it and fell to one of the worst teams in baseball in the Padres (36-48) as the inconsistent play from the Indians this season continued in the final days before the All-Star break.
If Corey Kluber is on the mound for the Cleveland Indians, more often than not, the team should come away with a victory. That scenario is much harder to make a reality when the offense goes 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and strands seven men against the San Diego Padres, as was the case on Tuesday night as the Indians were blanked, 1-0, in front of a sold out crowd at Progressive Field.
Fans looking for early fireworks from the Tribe left disappointed as the offense could not find its way despite several opportunities across the night with interim manager Brad Mills once again calling the shots with manager Terry Francona down the street at the Cleveland Clinic as part of his continued evaluation for his recent physical ailments that have been bothering him.
Interleague play has brought a pairing of the American League Central and the National League West this season, mashing up some teams with very limited matchups on the diamond. This week, it will be the San Diego Padres who come to Cleveland for the fourth time ever to do battle with the Indians.
The Indians (44-37) return to Cleveland after a brief weekend away from Progressive Field. They were expecting to play four in Detroit in three days, including the makeup of a previous rainout, but in turn had Friday’s series opener washed away to force another makeup matchup with Detroit in September. The Indians took two of three from the Tigers, losing the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday before winning the nightcap and a well-pitched game by Mike Clevinger on Sunday. The Indians hold a two and a half games lead in the AL Central, but both Kansas City and Minnesota remain within striking distance.
For the second straight day, the accomplishments of Cleveland Indians starter Corey Kluber on the mound were recognized by Major League Baseball, as one day after being named to his second career All-Star team, he was named the American League’s Pitcher of the Month on Monday for his work in June.
Aces put their teams on their backs and carry them when they need it the most. Kluber missed nearly a full month on the disabled list while dealing with a lower back strain, but there was no sign of rust when he returned to the Major League mound on June 1 for his first of six starts in the month. He dominated the Oakland Athletics in that outing and would do the same to the rest of the competition that he saw throughout the third month of the MLB calendar. He was joined by Washington’s Max Scherzer as the National League’s recipient of the Pitcher of the Month honor.
Jose Ramirez has spent this season reminding fans of Major League Baseball that his breakout 2016 campaign was no fluke. For those efforts, and the strong finish by the voters on Thursday, he was named on Sunday night the starting third baseman for the American League All-Star team.
It has been a meteoric rise for Ramirez, once labeled as a utility man and a speed guy who inconsistently performed at the plate and had no set position to assume on the Cleveland roster. Ramirez can now add “All-Star” to his list of monikers, and this one has been well deserved.
The final score from Comerica Park was hardly indicative of what the Cleveland Indians did to the Detroit Tigers in a big 11-8 win on Sunday to take the abbreviated three-game series from an American League Central rival.
Putting up multiple runs in the second, third, fourth, and sixth innings, the Indians were able to chase Tigers starter Justin Verlander early with another lopsided drubbing of Detroit’s veteran ace. Had it not been for six ninth-inning runs in a last-ditch effort by the Motor City Kitties, the Indians would not have had to call upon the services of one of their closers to wrap up things from Michigan.
Over the past couple weeks, the Cleveland Indians have finally started hitting their stride. The defending American League Champions spent April and May mostly treading water and doing just enough to stay near or at the top of a weak American League Central Division.
That has changed in recent weeks as the Tribe bats have started heating up and the pitching staff, led by the always great Corey Kluber, has started resembling last year’s vaunted group.
However, one issue that remains is a somewhat inconsistent offense. Last week was a microcosm of that. In last weekend’s three-game series against the Twins, Cleveland tallied a grand total of two runs. Then, the offense exploded for 15 on Monday against Texas before falling back to one the next night on Tuesday. The Tribe totaled five runs in each of their final two games against the Rangers on Wednesday and Thursday.
For five innings, Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann resembled the pitcher that he was for years with the Washington Nationals. In the sixth inning, it all crumbled apart as Cleveland put up four runs to take the lead and Carlos Carrasco, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller held that edge to the finish as the Indians took Saturday’s second game in a 4-1 win over the Tigers.
The Indians had little to show through the first half of the nightcap with the Tigers, as the offense had been relatively quiet all day long, outside of a big inning in their 7-4 loss earlier in the day. Zimmermann had moved easily through the first five innings, facing two over the minimum while allowing just three base runners total. He walked Lonnie Chisenhall in the second, allowed a one-out single to Michael Brantley in the fourth, and plunked Carlos Santana in the fifth in retaliation for a hit batter by Carrasco the previous half inning, before erasing him on a double play ball.
After the Tribe tied the game with a three-run top of the seventh, Cleveland’s Bryan Shaw allowed three runs in the bottom half of the inning as the Tigers defeated the Indians in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader from Detroit, 7-4.
In a matchup of two inconsistent starters in Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin and Detroit’s Anibal Sanchez, neither pitcher would factor in the final decision, but had plenty to say with how the game got to its end results.
The Cleveland Indians bullpen depth took a hit on Saturday as minor league right-hander Joe Colon was suspended for the remainder of the season for a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment program.
Colon tested positive for the banned selective Androgen receptor modulator LDG-4022. It marks the second consecutive season that Colon’s work will be limited due to a failed drug test. He missed the first 50 games of the 2016 season after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.