2017: This Year is Next Year
In 1997, the Cleveland Indians (86-75) faced the American League Wild Card winners, the New York Yankees (96-66), in the American League Division Series. The Tribe won in five games.
In 2007, the Indians (96-66) hosted the Wild Card Yankees (94-68) again in the ALDS. The Tribe won in four games.
In 2017, the AL’s top seeded Indians (102-60) will host the AL Wild Card representatives, the Yankees (91-71), again in the ALDS.
Can the Tribe win it this time in three?
The eyes of the Tribe will be focused on ESPN on Tuesday night as the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees go to battle in the one-game American League Wild Card Game from Yankee Stadium. The victor earns the privilege of coming to Cleveland to face off against an Indians’ club that took home the top record in the AL this season.
The Twins (85-77) will be an easy underdog in the matchup. On paper, they boast an inferior starting rotation, a bullpen depleted when its best arm was dealt at the trade deadline, and a lineup down its most powerful bat in Miguel Sano, who is not on the roster for the play-in game. While the Twins briefly bought before the trade deadline, they dealt off that acquired piece (Jaime Garcia) to the Yankees and later moved their closer Brandon Kintzler to Washington. While the moves could have spelled the end for the Twins, it seemed to ignite them as Minnesota went 20-10 in August before cooling off to a 15-14 mark in September/October.
Tell me if you have heard this one before. On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced that Corey Kluber had been named the Pitcher of the Month for his outstanding work on the mound.
Another strong effort on the mound from Kluber in September earned him his third award of the year (see also: June, August). The last player to win three Pitcher of the Month awards in one season was Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in 2015. He won his only career Cy Young Award that season.
Maybe, just maybe, the third time will be the charm for Kluber as well, in regards to his pursuits of a second career Cy Young nod.
The 2017 Major League Baseball regular season ended in anticlimactic fashion on Sunday, with all playoff spots and postseason seeding already secured before the start of play. One hundred and sixty-two games have been started and completed and now, the luckiest ten teams have survived the long haul and get a chance to play for it all.
For the Cleveland Indians, Sunday was just one final roadblock to get past before the real fun begins. More specifically, the Indians’ year-long defense of the American League pennant now reaches a true fevered pitch, with four challengers standing between the Tribe and a second consecutive American League crown.
Meaningful October baseball will once again take place on the shores of Lake Erie, and it’s a truly wonderful thing.
In the final game of the regular season, the Cleveland Indians did what they have done consistently over the last five weeks, winning a 3-1 decision over the Chicago White Sox in the final warm-up before the team heads into the postseason.
The game may have felt like a formality with nothing riding on this contest with the division clinched and home field advantage locked up against all playoff contenders with the exception of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite little at stake, the Indians got three early runs, some promising pitching performances, and, most importantly, escaped the day with no injuries.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger sure has come a long way this season. He followed up a so-so 2016 rookie campaign with something of a breakout season this year.
In his first Major League season, Clevinger bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation. He was 3-3 with a 5.26 ERA. He seemed in over his head at times and was only on the Tribe’s 2016 postseason roster out of necessity. With a full complement of healthy pitchers on hand, the Indians probably would not have had room for the long-haired hurler.
This really changed this season, however. The 26-year-old right hander found his footing in Cleveland’s rotation. He has started 21 games and entered the weekend series with the Chicago White Sox at 12-5, with a 3.07 ERA. He has shown that he is likely going to be a fixture in Indians starting five for some years to come.
The Cleveland bats went cold on Saturday night, just hours after the club received word that the Boston Red Sox had defeated the Houston Astros at Fenway Park, clinching home field advantage in the American League Championship Series for the Indians. The White Sox limited the Tribe to just three hits afterwards to earn a 2-1 victory.
The loss for the Indians (101-60) eliminated them from contention for the top record in Major League Baseball and a chance to claim home field in the World Series. As it stands, if the Tribe can reach the Fall Classic for a second consecutive season and for the seventh time in franchise history, the city would be host to any National League opponent with the exception of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
One of the biggest questions looming for the Cleveland Indians as the regular season concludes is the status of outfielder Michael Brantley.
The two-time All-Star has been shelved since landing on the disabled list on August 9 with a right ankle sprain. His return from the injury has been far slower than expected, as running on the injured ankle and dealing with the ligament issue has proven to be much more of an obstacle than initially hoped and anticipated.
While Brantley has been able to resume some “land-based” running over the course of the last week and by all reports is feeling good and is in much better spirits, he has been away from live action and real pitching for quite some time. How much rust the 30-year-old may have developed in that time remains to be seen.
Colder weather could not cool off the Cleveland bats on Friday night as the Indians opened the final series of the regular season with a 10-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox from Progressive Field.
Trevor Bauer took the mound for the Indians in his final start of the season as he prepared for the playoffs. Chasing down a personal statistical accomplishment, he would fall just short of that goal, but he added another win to his career-best totals while ending the Tribe’s Friday losing skid at two.
It’s hard to believe that earlier this week, northeast Ohio was dealing with 90 degree temperatures while leaves were beginning their descent back to earth. Now, the weather has fallen back to more fall-like levels, which seems much more fitting for the Indians’ season finale with the Chicago White Sox.
The Indians (100-59) have had to deal with losses a bit more in the last week, taking a loss last Friday in Seattle and another on Tuesday against Minnesota. It marked the first time the team had lost twice in the matter of a week since the final week of August, further recognition of the incredible run that the team has been on. The Indians offense has continued to contribute at high levels, while the pitching staff has fired on nearly every cylinder. If anything could strike as a concern, it might be the backend of the bullpen, which was on the mound and responsible for each of the team’s last two losses. Still, a 31-3 mark in their last 34 games is nothing to scoff at.
With a playoff spot already locked up, the Indians control their AL playoff destiny. With Houston playing Boston this weekend, the Astros have a much tougher road to pass the Indians to claim home field. Both teams have earned the opportunity to host their American League Division Series matchups, but any combination of Indians wins and Astros losses equaling two this weekend will grant Cleveland home field for the entire AL playoff bracket. The Tribe’s chances for the overall best record in baseball is much more difficult, as they will need the Dodgers to lose all three of their games this weekend while sweeping the White Sox at the same time.
The Indians and Carlos Carrasco took full advantage of a Minnesota Twins lineup missing plenty of its regulars on Thursday as Cleveland rolled to a 5-2 victory and its 100th win of the 2017 season.
Less than 12 hours after the Twins celebrated a remarkable run to the postseason when they claimed the final playoff spot in the American League, Minnesota returned to the field looking to deal the Indians their first series loss since July 31-August 1 in Boston. A lineup full of bench pieces and late season call-ups would not be up to the task as Carrasco shut the Twins down in his final playoff tune up.
Danny Salazar made his case for a role on the Indians’ postseason roster with four and two-thirds innings of strong starting pitching and the Cleveland bats provided just enough offense as the Tribe held on for a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night
The Indians (99-59) held off the Twins offense one night after it erupted for 17 hits against the Tribe pitching staff. With a chance to secure an on-the-field celebration of a trip to the 2017 playoffs, the Twins instead had to postpone their party for several hours until the Los Angeles Angels fell 6-4 in extra innings to the Chicago White Sox, punching Minnesota’s postseason ticket.