2017: This Year is Next Year
Cincinnati’s Scott Feldman limited Cleveland to just one run over six innings of work on Monday night as the Reds opened their annual interleague series against the Indians with a 5-1 win.
The Indians (23-20), fresh off of a three-game sweep of the Majors’ winningest team in the Houston Astros, could not bring the same level of success against their intrastate rival in the opener of a four-game home-and-home series that will move from Great American Ball Park to Progressive Field later on this week.
Feldman matched up with Josh Tomlin, who kept the game close early for the Indians before a three-run seventh inning proved to be far too much to overcome on the night.
It’s that time of year again that the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds renew their forced interleague rivalry as Ohio clubs playing at opposite ends of the state. The two teams will start a four-game series from Great American Ball Park, playing twice there before the series relocates to Progressive Field for the final two contests on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
The Indians (23-19) have had their problems at home this season, but those issues have extended to the road far less. They are one of just three teams (see also: Houston, Colorado) to win 15 games away from home already this season. Cleveland comes into this home-and-home series for the Ohio Cup one game up on Minnesota in the wins column, but also one game worse in the losses column, putting the Indians two-thousandths of a point behind the Twins for the top spot in the American League Central Division.
Yan Gomes matched a career-high with five RBI on Sunday as the Cleveland Indians completed a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros behind an 8-6 victory.
The Indians (23-19) have been one of the best teams on the road in the Majors this season and they used that to their advantage once again in handing the Astros (29-15) a third straight loss for just the second time this season. Cleveland’s three-game sweep in Houston completed a perfect 6-0 record in the state of Texas this season, combined with the Indians’ three-game season opening sweep of the Rangers in April.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has shown in years past that a move to the leadoff spot can be a good cure for what is ailing his bat.
In a small sample size, the Indians have seen a good uptick in production from their two-time All-Star since manager Terry Francona inserted him into the leadoff spot of the batting order last Sunday.
That same lineup restructuring worked wonders for Kip in 2015 when he got off to a slow start. That year, his second season as an All-Star, Kipnis hit .311 when leading off and just .245 in other spots in the lineup. Needless to say, after a late April move, Kipnis batted leadoff most of the year thereafter.
Mike Clevinger carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and combined with two Cleveland relievers on a three-hit shutout of a Houston team with the best record in the Majors as the Indians blanked the Astros, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon.
Like the previous four games in the season series between Cleveland and Houston, the fifth of six matchups in the regular season between the two clubs was a hotly contested game that came down to just a few runs. While the Astros have been one of the top teams in baseball since the season began, the Indians have had their number despite their own inconsistencies this year, dealing the club two of its three series losses this season. Saturday’s victory by Cleveland guaranteed it a winning record against the young and fiery Houston club, one that seems to be on the fast track to the postseason already.
Cleveland overcame an early two-run deficit with the power of the home run ball as three blasts paced the Indians to four runs and a 5-3 victory in Houston over the Astros on Friday night.
Trevor Bauer took the mound in the role of the stopper for the Tribe, losers of two straight coming in and facing a hot Astros team which had won four straight. Bauer’s good career marks against Houston would be tested early, however, as his 6-0 record in six starts against the Astros seemed to be in jeopardy early on. The game would be much closer than the Eastern Conference Finals action of the Indians’ downtown Cleveland neighbor, the NBA’s Cavaliers.
While the Cleveland Indians were able to get that rare series opening home win this week in their matchup with Tampa Bay, the rest of the series was marred by poor starting pitching once again as the Indians fell twice to drop the set against their former friend, Kevin Cash, and his young Rays squad. Now, they return to the road for three in Houston against a very difficult Astros team in their final head-to-head already of 2017, at least within the regular season…
Houston (29-12) is not only the top team in the American League, it has the best record in all of baseball. They are winners of nine of their last ten and have not lost a series since dropping two of three to the Indians in Cleveland in the final week of April. The whole series was tightly contested, as the Astros won by two in the opener before dropping a pair of one-run decisions during one of the few times that they have lost consecutive games this season.
Alex Cobb kept the Indians bats silent for much of the game and Josh Tomlin did much of the opposite to the Rays, allowing two more home runs and six runs in total while unable to finish the third inning as Tampa Bay took the rubber match in Cleveland, 7-4.
The starting pitching woes for the Indians are becoming a growing concern among those watching a staff heavily affected by significant use or injury over the past couple of years. While it seemed as though Tomlin had figured that out in his first two starts in May, he was unable to give the Indians a good or long outing in Wednesday’s afternoon matinee, following the trend of Carlos Carrasco on Monday (injury) and Danny Salazar on Tuesday (ineffectiveness).
The game started out well in Tomlin’s favor, but quickly fell apart.
The Tampa Bay Rays won their Home Run Derby competition with the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday night with a 6-4 victory to even the series at one game apiece.
While the 2019 All-Star Game’s Home Run Derby may still be several years away, Danny Salazar looked the part of the fan-driven exhibition’s pitcher in a strange outing for the Indians right-hander. He gave Cleveland five-plus innings of work on the mound, but four homers offset a nine-strikeout performance and proved to be too much to overcome, despite the Indians dealing Rays starter Jake Odorizzi his worst start since his first outing of the season.
A busy week of roster transactions continued on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians made five roster moves prior to their game with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The biggest of the moves is the promotion of top prospect Bradley Zimmer to the big league club. The addition of the fourth-year pro, who can play both center and right field, became a necessity when Abraham Almonte was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with a right biceps strain.
This season has been a big year for prospect promotions all throughout the MLB. We’ve seen promotions of plenty of top prospects such as the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, and the Giants’ Christian Arroyo. The Indians have joined these teams today as they’ve called up their number one prospect, Bradley Zimmer.
Injuries on top of injuries have been the highlight for the Indians over the last few weeks. After seeing key players like Corey Kluber, Austin Jackson, and Brandon Guyer go down, the Indians are now placing Abraham Almonte on the 10-day disabled list. In lieu of this move, the Tribe has decided to call up Zimmer to replace the ailing Almonte.
What was projected to be an intriguing pitching matchup between Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer turned into a battle of offenses as the Indians held off a late Rays charge in an 8-7 win on Monday night.
The victory moved the Indians to the 20-win mark on the year as they became just the fourth American League team to reach the level. With the first place Minnesota Twins idle on Monday, the Indians pulled within a half game of the top spot in the AL Central while the Rays dropped to 19-22 on the season. It was the first time that Cleveland has won a home series opener since its very first series of the season against the Chicago White Sox.
The game was marred by early pitching problems for both starters and an early exit for the Tribe right-hander Carrasco, who left early with discomfort in his right pectoral muscle in another hit to an Indians roster heavily afflicted by injuries through the first month and a half of the season.